Featured

Links for all author interviews

As a way to find these easier here are links to all of the author interviews

Links for all author Interviews

Interview with Stewart Giles

https://wp.me/pczObw-55

Interview with Tony Forder

https://wp.me/pczObw-58

Interview with Kes McDaniel

https://wp.me/pczObw-51

Interview with Maggie James

https://wp.me/pczObw-5k

Interview with Sean Campbell

https://wp.me/pczObw-5c

Interview with Jay Nadal

https://crazycanadianwriting.wordpress.com/2022/04/27/author-interview-with-jay-nadal/

Interview with Anne Iarchy

https://crazycanadianwriting.wordpress.com/2022/05/08/interview-with-anne-iarchy/

Featured

Contact information and review policy

Currently I am backlogged and only accepting review requests on a one off basis

My reviewing is about the positives. If I wouldn’t personally recommend a book it doesn’t go on my blog.

Author spotlights I am accepting new author spotlights

Author interviews I am accepting new author interviews.

To contact me email seantalbot1977@gmail.com

Fly by Jacob Moore Blogtour

FLY

By Jacob Moore
Published 27th January 2022

A thought-provoking Teen/YA coming of age adventure

“Growing up may be the hardest thing that we do in our lives. Through a fantasy adventure, rooted in real life, I explore my narrator’s battle to grow up and leave the comforts of childhood. It is hard to grow up, and it is up to
those who have gone through the process to acknowledge and respect the process in a way that avoids pandering to the young.” – Jacob Moore

• An engrossing adventure story that mixes a strange alternate fantasy world with the difficult reality of just getting through the day as a
teenager. The first book in a new series.

• A wonderful read for any child aged 12+ that subtly incorporates ideas and techniques that teenagers can use in their everyday lives –
from philosophy to mindfulness.

• Author Jacob Moore is a former English teacher with a masters’ degree in adolescent
development. He has studied, worked with and taught hundreds of young adults over
the years. He is available for interview.

Book bkurb

Will is a normal 12 year old boy. He dislikes school, doesn’t get good grades, thinks about girls, and dreams of escaping his ordinary life by flying away. He is totally unremarkable until he discovers he has special powers which he cannot control and does not yet understand.
With the guidance of his principal, who recognizes his gift, he joins three other ‘special’ classmates on a magical journey.

They travel to a place where reality and time are fluid and change at any moment and they begin to learn how to control their powers for good. When confronted with an evil more powerful than they can imagine, the three classmates cannot escape and Will and his powers alone can save them.

My Thoughts

The main character in this book Will is a preteen. He is very interesting his special abilities make him unique. He doesn’t seem to be like normal kids that age where he acts up a lot or really at all from what I have seen.

A book such as this ticks off all the boxes for me. I love young adult books as they tend to have a lot more unique aspects to the plots and writing especially with the style of this book which is urban fantasy style.

I love the control things with your mind. It talks about a lot and there are so many tricks that are part of what you can do. Telekinesis is great and it seems to be what this book deals a lot with. Which is cool as it is one of my favourite skills you could have.

I can almost feel myself at that age and the way I was treated by my own age group. I really feel sorry for Will and he just seems like such a lonely person.

The book made me very happy as I find the young adult style very attractive especially when dealing with magic and urban fantasy. Very pleased I picked up this book and want to see what is next.

Interview with Anne Iarchy

About Anne


Anne Iarchy helps busy people gain back control of what they think, eat and do through weight loss and healthy lifestyle using her 5 simple steps to releasing the real you method.

While working in the corporate world she struggled herself juggling the demands of work and life with leading a healthy lifestyle. Her struggle made her gain weight and in turn affected her confidence, energy and health.

She’s made it her mission to help others regain control of their lives and developed a 5 simple steps system which she outlined in her book 5 Simple Steps to Releasing the Real You.

Anne lives in London, UK. She’s an avid golfer and bread baker in her spare time. Once a year she likes to challenge herself. Over the years she has run marathons, walked ultra marathons, climbed Kilimanjaro, and even cycled along the Arctic Circle.



Here are the answers to your questions:

1. What was your inspiration of writing your book?
I have read many diet or weight loss books and found them all very frustrating.
Some were going way too deep into the science, while others were way too restrictive and I would have to change my lifestyle totally to be able to succeed with that specific diet. Which was totally unrealistic.

And the same happened with my clients.

I wanted to spread the word and my view on weight loss wider, and help more people achieve the results they really want to achieve while helping them take back control of what they think, eat and do.

Help them understand why they are currently doing what they’re doing and how they can change it. Each and everyone in their own way for long term results.



2. Based on your book you show such a different side to weight loss how did that come about?

It’s a combination of my own experience and struggle with weight, as well as the experience gained over the years working with my clients.

I personally never managed to stick to a specific diet. And very few of my clients, friends, colleagues, etc ever have too.

So the question to me was not just about what one eats or how much one exercises, but more importantly, what habits one needs to put in place and how does one need to think to be successful long term.

In theory, we all know what we should be eating and doing. It’s really about how to make it happen. Something diet or weight loss books don’t cover.


3. Having read your book what do you think is the most important advice you can give someone who is trying to lose weight and become healthier?

Take a step back and observe what you’re currently doing and understand why you’re doing it.
Then find ways to change the habits so that they’ll support your goals. Those new habits need to be realistic and not scary.

Review and tweak daily. Don’t beat yourself up if you “failed”. Failures are opportunities to learn and tweak.

4. One piece of advice you would give to those wishing to go and become a specialist on health and fitness?

Find a course that will teach you what you need to know, and from there onwards read, learn and research and then make your own mind up if it’s something that sits with your values and principles or not.

5. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get published?

Find a publisher that will support you all the way. Not just during the process to get your book published, but also afterwards.
Marketing the book is a huge part of the process.


6. What is your writing process?

Have a clear plan of what you want to write. Have all your “teaching points”, stats, facts and stories ready.
Put all those onto post it notes or little cards.
Then sort them in an order that feels like flowing smoothly.
Then only start writing.

Personally I worked best when I had deadlines to meet.

7. Is there anything you would do differently in your publishing of your book?

I’m very grateful for all the support my publisher of the 2nd edition of my book has given me.
Ideally, if covid was not a factor, I would have tried to be at many more real life events to promote the book much more.

Oath of Blood – A Fane Enedrial story

The path of the blood mage is not one that is taken lightly.  It is a perilous as you are reviled and hated and hunted.  It was anathema to use blood magic and if caught would be the death of the mage.

There are certain magical users who use there own blood such as Shamans.  For the rest it would be there destruction.

Fane was a good man but he had a secret, his family had a dark history.  His grandfather was a part demon, darker than most he tried to force his wills onto the unsuspecting humans and other magical community members.  He was finally banished to the Dark World.

What people didn’t know was Fane was haunted by the deaths that his family had caused.  He could speak with the dead and they constantly were in his mind.  They kept telling him what his family was like and how they wanted the whole line to pay.

The constant harrassment that he felt weighed heavily on him.  He thought when he married Jemalyn and had the twins Edgar and Louise that things would then be better.

The problem was that the ghosts kept pushing for him to do nasty things to his family.  For the last 13 years he had been fighting the destruction for so long.  What he didn’t know was that the demons had other plans.  They wanted Fane to be brought into the fold and become as evil as they were.  

He was watching his teen children as they were playing with the soccer balls that had been given as part of their birthday present.  They were really enjoying them and even gaining skills.

He saw a flickering image all in greyish tinged ghostlike image.  He could see hand signals and his hands moved fast.  It signalled danger.

He turned just in time to see a few dark clad figures wearing masks where all you could see was the eyes.  He turned and started to cast the spell that would put a shield over his family.  

A dark black bolt of lightning struck down from the skies called forth by the creatures.  He screamed as he saw his kids struck down at the tender age of 13.  

He saw Jemalyn running out throwing the most powerful levin bolts that he had ever seen her throw.  She was going all offensive with her spells.  She was a poor defensive mage so he allowed the power he had been about to cast on the twins and redirected it at his wife.  The bright silver aura erupted around her as lightning crackled and struck the shield.  The shield imploded with the ruthless aggressive electrical strike.

He saw a knife flash and slit his wife on the forearm.  She screamed as the blood started to pour out of her arms.  He heard the guttural stirrings of the magic and he felt the draining sensation as his power was being drained.  He he saw the disintegration spell connect with his wife. He screamed out her name and jumped out of the way of a powerful levin bolt.

He was losing his power, the spell they had cast was draining away his power.  He knew that he had very little time left and he could see the three beasts of men coming toward him.  He had one chance but it would be hard and would cause his death.  He had nothing left to live for other than vengeance.

He grabbed his own knife and slit his hand open.  As the blood fell to the ground he cast his mind and his power which was fueled by his blood and anger and loss.  He formed the gating spell and quickly dove through.

He landed in a lump at the foot of a statue of one of the demon kings.  It was a huge mansion where few lived.  He had tears sliding down his cheeks.  This place was secret only his family knew anything about this place. 

He crawled into the abandoned mansion.  It was so dark this place but he got to the couch and there he passed out.

This was his families place that had been destroyed when the the demons from the family had been driven back.  Being part demon he had access to many things that others didn’t.  He could access the most vile places and not have to worry about being corrupted by the darkness.  Oh how he wished he could be corrupted by the dark now.  His family that he had made for himself all killed by the assassins.  Who had hired them and why?

He vowed he would find out and make them pay.  First he needed to replenish his magic and then he would strike back.

He could approach the remainder of the Enedrial clan but to do so would put them all at greater risk than ever.  He had options but it meant summoning the ghosts of the past to him and finding the right ones to get the answers.  He also had plans to summon his ancestors and have them help him with his vengeance.

Demons where not to be trusted in any shape or form but if he had to make a pact with them he would in a heartbeat.  His family deserved vengeance.

He allowed himself to go into unconsciousness.  As he slept his nightmares would have been the thing even the demons feared.  It was a side affect if his special power.  It was also a way to move through his anger and allow himself to feel the grief of his family.

—–

He finally awoke and his head ached. He had overused his magic he saw a figure standing there and he knew he was doomed.  His cousin Shane stood there with his sword on his hip and armoured up.  “I am so sorry Fane” the deep voice intoned.

Fane looked at his cousin and could see the grief in his eyes that mirrored his own.  Shane had never had a family he was close to and had been adopted as a close family member of his.  He would be feeling the grief as well of the death of his family.  He also would help but only for justice which is not what Fane wanted.  “You know I love you.  I can smell the taint of blood magic on you.  What you did will forever taint your magic.  I also can sense what you are after you want revenge.  I can’t follow you down there but nor will I prevent you from it.  This will be the last time we meet as friends and family.  If you go too far you know they will send the Spirit Warriors after you.”

Nodding his eyes sunken and bloodshot.  “You are right what I must do is somewhere you can’t follow.  I will never forget you Shane bit you are right we won’t meet again in the same way.  I know what I must do and you have your own job to do”

Shane hugged his cousin and then left quickly.  Fane looked at the fireplace and quickly created a fire with his magic.  

He concentrated on the fire and began to chant a spell that would bring to him one of the demons still left.  It was time to make the pact.

From the fireplace stepped a large human who was very thick and muscular.  He had two horns on the sides of his head that were black.  His skin was a bright red and looked to glow.  “You called me”. He sniffed the air “Not quite human” he said angrily.

Fane nodded “I did your excellence.  I wish to make a pact with you.  Teach me the use of blood magic and after I complete my task whatever you wish is yours.”

He smiled showing very sharp teeth “You hurt and you want vengeance I can sense that.  The anger you use feeds me so you wish that pact what you must do is send power from the darkest emotions to me.  If you do this then I will add to your abilities and ensure you have the knowledge of what you need.”

Fane nodded “Agreed.” As was custom he slit his hand open and allowed the blood to fall to the stone.

The creature roared loudly “Accepted.”. He shot a beam of pure darkness enveloping Fane.  “You will be able to shadow-walk now as well as your original power and you can also be in contact with me at any time with telepathy.  You can also send me energy at ease.  You will call me Master Dacroix. “. He stepped back into the fire.  Where he had stood he had left three large tomes all red and he could see they were made from skin of some creature probably another demon.

He touched the books and felt a deep hatred enter his mind he also felt the sick feeling as he started to open it.  It was a powerful book.

The first spell he saw was a transformation spell to transform into a demonic being temporarily.  This was interesting as it made you skin very armour like, gave you claws and sharp teeth.  This would be good if he needed to intimidate someone.

The next spell was a dampening spell.  What this meant was that it would dampen the blood scent in the magic he used.  It would be good as some magical cultures use blood magic as well like Shamans.  He could damp it down and then he could pretend to be a shaman.

The third spell in the book was a powerful spell to change your physical look.  This could be used in conjunction with a dampening spell then he could hide in plain sight.  

It wasn’t just his look as well the ghosts tended to be a great trigger that meant he couldn’t hide.  It wasn’t good and he didn’t know how to get rid of the spirits anymore than he could fly.

He knew they were needed especially if he was to find the assassins for his wife and children.  It would take persuasion of the spirits or he knew he was strong enough to coerce them if need be.  He hated doing it as it hurt to force the spirits and his body ached for days after.

Tomorrow he will begin his vengeance and may God have mercy on any soul who stands in his way.

——–

Shane entered the main office of the Spirit Warriors reluctantly as he had been feeling off since the tragedy.  Could he have been infected with the blood magic issues because he had tried to help.  He knew magic didn’t work that way and Fane hadn’t cast a single spell in the time they were together.

“Shane director’s office now” he heard and quickly went to the director’s office.

Veryna was the current director of the group with a rank of Colonel.  She did what she needed “Shane I was sorry to hear about your loss. “

He began to speak but she cut him off “I also have proof you met with Fane what were you thinking?  He is blood path mage now”

Shane shook his head “I had to see him and try and turn him back to us.  He is my family and he deserved to have someone talk to him before there is a hunt for his blood.”

She glared “You will have no further contact with him nor will you have anything to do with his case and the hunt for the rogue mage.”

He nodded “I understand but he knows that shall we meet again it will be for battle and not for pleasantries.  I know my duty and he knows it as well.  I will do what I need to Director whether it is in accordance with your wishes or not.  If you think you can stop me you may report me to Lieutenant General Jagged Anderson I had his direct permission for my side mission”. With that he got up and walked out pleased with himself for telling that shrew what was what.  Don’t mess with family especially not a long established one.

He left the office and knew that things weren’t as easy as he would like to make it out to be.  He was upset and could feel his mind becoming hazy with the anger.  He would have to do something about it but whatever it was it would have nothing to do with his family.

——–

Three weeks had passed since the death of his wife and children.  Fane was in one of his properties that his father had bought years ago but kept hidden. He hadn’t seen the need to report this place as his.  It was a castle in Austria and was high up in the mountains.  

It was dark and gloomy and there was always snow in the area.  It also was home to many of the wild animals some predatory others not.  

The place had no hyrdo and no internet.  He was fine with that as he didn’t care about the tv or internet.  All his research was done via spirits.

The spirits of this place were vastly darker than any place he had been.  He knew what his father had done here.  The dark magic rituals his father had used here before he was banished to the dark world was so devastating and had killed hundreds of people.  He used their energy to open more destructive magics.  

The spirits feared him as the anger had seeped into his very soul.  He had been sending power to the demon since his deal.  He had been learning a lot including how to make a blood ward that could block scrying as well as any form of teleportation.  

These were active on his walls now but he didn’t have to design them just add more strength and power to them.

He had also been talking to the spirits of this place.  Talking to them he knew the sad history of this place as well as how each of the spirits died in their mortal lives.

From what he had gathered this place was set up as an energy syphon.  Any spells cast at it would syphon off and power the shields and other wards.  His father was a gifted mage even if he did go to far.  He had seen the power already and the spirits who lived here could also power the wards.  He could force them to do it if need be until the power had been exhausted.  Sometimes that would destroy the the spirit but most of the time it would vanish to appear once it had regained some power.

There was a place he had set up which had an amplification effect for spirit talkers he had questioned five spirits that lived further away.  They were at this moment gathering information for him.  They were becoming us familiars and he was very pleased he could use and control them.  He also could commune with the undead but they had a lot more willpower and he couldn’t control them as he did with spirits.  

For the most part he lived alone but there was one person that stayed with him most of the time and that was Callisya a female vampire who was very dark and wanted to see people die.  She was gifted with seeing the future and that’s one of the reasons she was with him.  She saw death and destruction in his future which she thrived off of.  She was also strong in there magic and was teaching him little tricks to hide the magic he was using.

She was conniving and was not to be trusted in the least.  He had taken to sleeping with her just to feel something.  He was using her as well she knew a lot of information that would prove useful in escaping the clutches of the magical council.  She had spent over a century now running from the Royal Court and knew how well to escape or hide as she saw fit.

He was concentrating watching the spirits flow around the castle.  He could see them much clearer since he embraced the darkest of magics.  The boost he got from Master Lacroix when he made his pact was still growing.  He had thought it would be a one time boost but everytime he sent negative energy to him the power he had increased.  

Within the months he could now reach anywhere in Europe with his spirit talk which before was not possible.  He could also see the where before he had to cast a spell to see them clearly otherwise they were just wisps of smoke.  He also found he could see through the illusions that the vampires and other demonics cast.  He now saw there true visage.

Callysia entered the room seductively.  She walked whole moving her hips from side to side.  She also wore high heels that showed off her calf muscles and mini skirt that was so tight.  He smiled at her, allowing himself to admire the body.  The white of his eyes were no longer white but a vibrant red.  He hadn’t realized that this was common until he was reading more of the manuscripts that Lacroix had left him.

“Dahling” she said in a drawl of the southern USA style.  Even though she had never been to the Americas.  “I have some news for you”

He nodded “Speak wench”. He growled looking at her as if she had interrupted something important.  He was gathering his thoughts at the time she entered.

She smiled sweetly “I have found one of the Assassins.  You won’t like what I have found but we can start your questioning with him”

He looked angry “Spit it out already.  Geeze you make a story out of a sentence”. He was getting more flustered with her all the time, another affect if using blood magic.

She grinned knowing the answer and knowing that the information could easily start a war “The Assasin Cadre were hired which is not good as they will never give answers but we can at least exact some vengeance.  The name of the one I was able to find was Laryn.  He is a strong opponent but is not known for close quarter fighting. I have located him at The Mystical Tavern.”

He knew the name of that bar well.  It was a safe haven for anyone as no violence was allowed to take place in that hallowed place.  Any breaking of the rules usually landed them in hot water and some of the time it ended in the ultimate death. 

Could he reach there quick enough.  He could shadow walk but even that wasn’t a guarantee that he would be able to do what was needed.  He wanted Laryn in his castle as he would be able to do things here without fear of being found out.

What fool would hire the Assassin Cadre and not just one but three members.  He needed to know the truth and once he found out who was responsible they would pay the ultimate price.

He grabbed Callysia and jumped into the shadows.  They disappeared into the shadow and he could feel the draining affect that normally happened.  The shadows were much like the spirits and needed to be fed and it so happened the fed on his own life force.

As they exited the shadows twenty minutes later he could feel the power to The Mystical Tavern.  He couldn’t enter the tavern because as soon as he did he would be spotted and the assassin cadre vampire would run.  “Your turn Callysia.  You need to bring him out here and then I will use the spirits to overwhelm him which will out him unconscious.  Once that happened we will bring him back here for some fun”

She smiled sweetly and shook her butt towards him “Your wish is my command or Master of Mayhem”

Callysia entered the tavern and saw the vampire she had been looking for at a booth watching the door.  They knew each other and had spent a lot of time together over the years.  In fact she had introduced him to the leader of the assassin cadre Ibrahim.  She walked over to him and he smiled at her.  As she reached him he grabbed her and pulled her tight kissing her deeply.

She smiled “Well well well Laryn.  Aren’t you the naughty boy.  I have missed you but are you insane going after the mage.  What is Isabel say if she had witnessed that.”. Isabel had been his sire and was put to death by beheading for betraying one of the Queen’s. 

He laughed “Can’t say much of anything can she.  I’m so happy you are here, been much too boring without you.  Now what are you doing here?”

She smiled “Betrayal and destruction of course.  The mage that you destroyed his family he is outside waiting for you.  We are going to play a different game.  I am betraying him, what human could think I would abandon my duties to the Royal Court.  Come outside his spirits will knock you out but when we get to the castle you will awaken and we will kill this mage”

Smiling he nodded showing is full trust in Callysia.  He tossed some money on the counter and they left.  She allowed his arm to go over her shoulder.  They exited the bar and when they got a block away he saw a very angry red eyed man staring at him.  He uttered a guttural charm and the spirits went into the vampire immobilizing him.

He went up and grabbed him roughly by his long black hair.  He then walked through the shadows.  When they got back to the castle in the mountains he tossed the assassin into a dungeon cell.  He would have a lot of fun with this evil person.

—– 

Callysia entered the cell as Laryn lay there.  She dropped the key careful not to touch it with her bare hands.  It would show traces of magic but didn’t go back to her.  She was anticipating the pain and the death that was to come.  

He opened the cage door and started to move.  She all of a sudden screamed loud about an escape.  

He tried to run but Fane stood there tall and muscular with a demon skin armour suit on. “You dare try to escape”. He cast a spell of of smoke which quickly knocked him out. It drained his energy giving it back to the blood mage.

When he woke up he felt the pain on his body and the thirst had overcome him.  The double crossing evil bitch.  She had convinced him of this plan then made sure he was caught.  He had no energy to spare now.

——-

Fane entered the room and saw how his spell had effected Laryn.  The thirst must be overpowering him and all he had was what little power he had saved up.  He looked at the pathetic excuse of a vampire.

“You have information I need Laryn.  You will answer these questions and then you will be released.”. Lying came easily to him these days.

“You will get nothing from me.  Our contract is our bond and we won’t break it”

The large red eyed being just looked closer and said a few words in a language long lost to the common groups.  His eyes began to glow and lightning shot out and enveloped Laryn.

“Now who sent you to kill my family”

He shook his head a dnjist kept glaring.  This time the bolt of lightning was double strength.  The scream could be heard through the entire castle.

He begged “I know not who hired us”

Glaring again Fane allowed his mind to open and with the epiphany that came from years of experience he asked “Who are the other assassin’s?”

He sent another bold triple the power into the vampire “Dellys and Ciamma.  They were with me.  Dellys sent the bolt that killed you children and Ciamma destroyed your wife.  I was merely there to assist and to get them out after the job was done.”

The spirits were whispering in his mind and he knew that he was telling the truth.  He had no clue who hired him to destroy the family.  He also knew with a certainty that he wouldn’t get information on where the others were as from what he had found out by the spirits almost never would the Assasin Cadre ever stay together.  They could both be in another continent for a job.

This didn’t go quite as planned but what did it matter he got what he wanted and the amount of energy from the pain he had caused would feed Lacroix as well as fuel him for months to come.

“Since you know so little I guess this is goodbye.  I told you I would release you but you know that’s not going to happen.  You destroyed my family for money.  Taste the fire”

He yelled the words to cast a powerful fire spell.  It engulfed Laryn with ease turning him to dust in just a few breaths.

He looked at the fire “This is my oath of blood Master Lacroix.  With this I swear to find who ordered the death of my family and will make them pay.”. He sent pure energy into the void that was Master Lacroix.  

It wouldn’t be today but someday Fane would have his vengeance after that who cared.  He would take what he could and then he would go after someone more powerful than him and fight a death duel.

To be continued in Path of Blood.

The Northern Fort – Astucia part 2

Two weeks had flown by and now Astucia was in the far north of Canada.  She didn’t even think the little village had a name.  It was off the grid and no maps even listed this place.  It was hard to believe that this could even happen now but not everywhere in the far north was mapped and tracked the same way.

It was strange as many different groups all lived together in peace and harmony.  Humans without magic didn’t fear being preyed on by those from the Vampire Community.  The vampires didn’t war with the shamans or any of the earth magic users.  The lycanthropes weren’t attacking anyone but instead during the full moon went into hiding further into wilderness.

This was not normal from her own experiences and in Asia and Europe this would have been ground zero in a war to end all wars.  This is how the magical community was supposed to behave.  They weren’t enemies or even rivals or frenemies.  You were supposed to work together for the common good of all those who use magic.

She was shocked the lycanthropes were mostly extinct in Europe and were very rare in Asia.  To see them striving in North America and cooperating with the other magical groups.  

In Europe and Asia the Emporer and his loyal assassin cadre had hunted and destroyed almost all traces of the lycanthropes.  They believed that they were too dangerous and would be the death of the secrecy.  It’s why they were reviled and attacked without mercy.

The Native American people were very inclusive in the community.  She hoped it was the same in other communities bit she doubted that many groups could live like this.

What was even stranger was that shifters not lycanthropes existed here where all over the world people believed that they were extinct.

The place was a fortress surrounded by a town with Palisades.  The wall was to keep the wild animals out.  Where they are, there are wolves and bears and other predators.

It was her first week here SummerFawn was definitely not what she was expecting.  Her hair was very long and she wore it in braids with feathers beaded into it.  When she did let her hair loose it was wavy and it touched the back of her knees.  She also had many tattoos including a feather on her left forearm and the bear claw on her right palm.  While Astucia didn’t know what they meant she knew she was a fierce warrior who could fight with the Warriors and had the power to cast spells like a shaman.

The fort itself was large probably covering four acres of ground and was surrounded by wooded areas.  It wasn’t really home like as it was more utilitarian.  She had seen the armoury and fell in love with it.  There were wracks of spearsade of a birch tree with a tip that gleamed as the light struck it.  There were bone knives carefully carved with all manner of animals some as large as your forearm.

On each wall was huge bows that had been hung with care.  She could smell the oil on them.  She couldn’t see how anyone could fire the bows.

So far she had been in seclusion talking only to Alenna and Ashtaya.  Her room was not luxurious and had what you could call almost barracks like beds. Five beds were in this large room with only three of them in use.  It had an ensuite bathroom and even had it’s own kitchen as well as an ensuite office.

She was meditating when she felt a presence brush her mind.  It was the telepaths version of knocking.  A knock on the door sounded and because she could sense Simone was coming she didn’t jump.

“Enter” she said.

In walker the beautiful SummwrFawn. Today her hair was loose and flowing.  She had no ornaments for a change other than a simple headband made out of leather.

“Good Day Astucia.  We have left you for the week to work through what you needed to but we need to discuss your future here in Canada.  We know that it’s not easy to start over”

Astucia nodded “You are right.  Don’t get me wrong I love your home but I need one of my own that can be set up for my defence.  I also don’t want to impose on your hospitality.  I know some fear my being here as European vampires don’t get along well with other magical beings”

She smiled “That has been a concern for my people.  Not one I share though as I have felt your spirit.  I know you are good and that you will do what you can to protect my people.  There are many in the Band that would love to work with you and eventually become the start of your very own family.”

She had never thought she would start her own family.  She had one child that she had created but that hadn’t worked well and they parted ways.  

Would she like a family of her own?  That was hard to think about.  Her human family was long since gone but there were still distant relatives.  This might make up for her losing of her human family but she didn’t know how it would work.  Did sires force bond their children the way that happened in other countries?

Astucia smiled “I would love to have family again but I can’t do the bonding.”

She was interrupted “That is an antiquated custom that isn’t used here.  The European and Asian and African groups use that old style form of coersion, we have banned its use as we promote leadership traits and loyalty is what matters.”

That shocked Astucia as all other groups used the bonding.  It was a way to keep lesser vampires under control and to keep the powerful masters even more powerful.  “I am glad that this isn’t used here.  I hated the custom and broke the bond quickly after I was taken on by the Royal Court.  It’s painful and stunts the growth of vampires”

SummwrFawn was pleased many of her kind didn’t get over not having a bonded slave.  It was nice to see that some of the European vampires didn’t want to have the bond.

It was nice to see that this vampire wasn’t like that.  Seeing this made her feel that maybe it was right to open her home up to this surprising lady.

“Child you have proven yourself to me.  I know you fear an attack on this compound.  And we have heard some disturbing rumours that a small group of vampires have come here to search and hunt.  From what I have heard they are after Damon.”

Astucia shivered when hearing his name.  He was on that had been testing as an investigator but his temperament was just not suited to the life.  His special power was that his skin was like armour and protected him very well against physical attacks.  She was a stronger fighter but even she couldn’t break through his Armour skin.

“I know him well but had no clue he is linked to North America.  He was bonded to his sire quite rightly and didn’t have the discipline to break the bond”

SummwrFawn laughed “correct with no discipline at all.  However his bond is no more.  His Sire was killed here when he tried to prey on my people.  I was forced to end his eternal life.”

Nodding she knew it was necessary Jamil was not good to his underlings.  Had this been in Europe his child would have been bonded to a stronger vampire quickly.  “Good riddance to Jamil.  He was not great and he had been investigated many times we just couldn’t pin anything on him ever.”

“His child is not much better.  As we don’t believe in bonding it was hard as we can’t keep them from doing what is needed.  The geas is what we need but we won’t take another’s freedom away.  All of the band will never do that as we know the pain of losing everything.”

“I will go after Damon.  I am a stronger fighter and I can distract him while you use your magic.  It is his weakness that way we can remove the need for those from Europe to stay here.” Astucia was nervous about any European vampires staying here as she was on the run.  Could she destroy Damon and then have it claim to be SummerFawns work.  She did wonder who the seekers were and if they brought with them a destroyer.

A knock on her door came.  The door creaked open and a tall skinny darker skinned native vampire with short hair and tattoos of the bear claw on his open shorted chest stood.  “Ma’am we have visitors from Europe on a seekers mission here to speak to you.”

She nodded “I will be there shortly. “. He left and she turned “can you go to the hidden alcove balcony to listen to this Astucia.  Stay hidden”

Astucia nodded and quickly rushed to the hiding spot.  It was small and shades with a rich dark brown curtain that had patterns that were feathers.

She looked out trying not to stir the curtains.  Wanting to see the vampires who came from Europe.  She saw the darkest of skin, the skin was as black as the night sky.  He had dreadlocks that touched the small of his back.  She could see the skin shimmering.  She knew who this was.  Obsidian from Rwanda and one of the few vampires to ever make it in Europe with the royal courts.  He was a match in power to Damon the only difference was this his was his skin turned into the powerful rocklike substance.  He had to concentrate to keep it going.  

She shivered with the thought of this deadly destroyer.  He had been around for so long and she had even worked with him once.  He was violent but was also very gentleman like.  It was strange to see that since he could be cultured and then viscous.  She also knew part of his past as he was almost slaughtered during the Rwandan genocide.

There was a woman with him.  She knew the woman she had short cropped black hair and she could see the body.  She was slender and she also had tattoos on her face.  This was Saraya.  She was one of the vampires best trackers.  If she got a taste of your scent with her mind she could find you anywhere on the continent.  What she didn’t know was that her power was limited as any other psionic could potentially block her tracking ability.  She just didn’t know that empaths like her had some natural protection and shielding.

Saraya was one of the worst of the court.  She had no conscience at all and would gladly kill, maim or torture to get what she needed.  Working with her a lot of times was scary for Astucia as she knew that she could easily destroy the vampires secret existence and that couldn’t be allowed.  She knew she could potentially kill her but Saraya was a much better fighter than her but her magic was weaker.

Obsidian spoke with a deep voice that carried with ease up to where she stood.  “We are looking for a pair of our kind from Europe who escaped and disobeyed the orders of the Royals and have come to Canada.  Jamil is the master and he is wanted for crimes he has committed his son is Damon and he is more dangerous.  On the order of my Emporer we are here to bring them to justice.”

SummwrFawn glared at the dark skinned man “I am sorry that your search for Jamil has ended in failure.  He attacked our people here and was out down like the rabid animal he was.”

The lady spoke next almost as if in babyspeak.  “Then we will hunt for Damon and any other of our kind who has strayed to the forbidden world”

The native wasn’t happy with this and glared at both of them “I am sorry but we can’t allow you to stay.  You could ruin our peace that we have cultivated so carefully.  Please do not hunt or track on our land we can’t afford the fallout.”

They glared and wre about to speak when the lady looked directly at Astucia.  She quickly jumped off the balcony and landed smoothly. They looked shocked as they surely must know that she had abandoned her post.  “Colonel.   What are you doing here”

Astucia glared at them “That’s enough you heard what the leader has said.  You need to leave.  I will deal with Damon”

Obsidian flashes a smiled “You left your post my friend.  You know longer can command us.  Our orders stand from the Emporer himself.  We will also take you in as well”

The native looked happy at that.  “You are guests in my home.  She is my family and you have threatened to take her back where she doesn’t wish to go.  You know from the past that we don’t take kindly to that.  You won’t hunt on my land or any of the people’s lands.  You will leave immediately.”

Astucia just looked shocked “Neither one of you can beat Damon alone.  He needs to be handled by someone who knows him.  His defences aren’t like most they are always on and I can deal with him physically but it will take magic to overcome him.  And not just vampire magic, he is susceptible to mind magic.  Neither one of you have anything to be used against him.  I suggest you leave and forget to tell the Royal Court I am here.  Let us handle the mess you guys made”. Astucia turned to walk away but felt a rush from behind her.  A foot before Saraya got to where she was the power of the Native American vampire came into play as a shield so strong blocked her from getting to her.

The shield sparkled with blue and gold dots and surrounded Astucia.  It felt warm as it went around her for protection almost as if she had stepped into the jacuzzi.  A shield that was bring was unheard of with the children of the night.  Who had cast the spell, whoever it was had to be adept class at least.  She could feel the magic flowing even if she couldn’t touch it.

A small lady walked out.  Her hair was white and long done in two braids.  She was holding her hands out.  The power was Holy and she knew if the lady intended it could get the vampires as easily as keep them separated.

This old lady was a shaman that much was clear.  The power radiated out from her that even those that were not gifted with magic would see her power.  She didn’t diminish her strength at all.

“You are not as strong as you think Children”. The old lady smiled, it lit up her eyes when she smiled.  “How dare you try and attack us in our sacred homes.  Have you no manners or have you no shame”

Obsidian bowed “My dear Wise woman” he said knowing from his studies she would likely be that. “Please forgive my colleagues rudeness.  All we want is to find our rogues and return them to where they belong.  They need to face justice”

Astucia came stand by the old lady.  She heard Saraya saying “You won’t find Damon without me.  And you can’t defeat him without help from us.”

Listening to this she knew in her heart that without the help Damon would take years to find and would surface only when he was ready.  With the help they could cut that time down to a few weeks.  She knew Obsidian well and he would never turn her in.  This Saraya she would betray anyone to get ahead.  It’s why even though she could track she seldom kept partners for longer than one mission.

Would the people here trust them to help enough.  With only these two people she could potentially get rid of a problem as well.  Damon was very good and could potentially destroy any one of them.  Maybe Saraya would be gone and then she could stay safe.

She had a plan but it would require trusting the court one more time.  Could she do that, they would need at least one more vampire and she knew who she would need.  The person was Feryn he was a gifted vampire and could use Farsight as well he created gates.  She didn’t know if she could trust him at all since her Sire had made both of them he was also a strong person who wanted to go places.  If he brought her back he would be promoted above many others.

“SummwrFawn I think we should take their help.  Tracking him down would be much easier with her using her powers.  We will need more help though.  I know one who has the necessary talents to get it done.  We need a gate creater as well as we need Farsight.”

The native nodded.  “Do not fear child.  I have a very good person who can do these items though they aren’t vampiric in nature.  His name is Astyn and came to us many years ago.  He is half native from this band and his father was a wanderer wanting to see the wilds.  He can do what you need.”. She didn’t mention that he had four strong powers the two she needed gating and Farsight but he also was one of the strongest telepaths that they have and could reach anywhere in North America.  His fourth and final power was also tricky he was a powerful psi shield to anyone around him.

The only reason he wasn’t a vampire yet is because he had a family.  His triplets were 16 years old and not yet old enough to understand the change that was needed.  Astyn had already agreed that he wanted to wait till they were older to be turned.  She had an idea that Astucia would make a good Sire to him in a few years.  He would be the start of a new type of group in the North.  They were the future while she knew in her heart she was the past.  

Astucia nodded and was glad that her newest friend had someone “We need to start the tracking.  Do you have what you need Saraya?”

The small diminutive lady looked down her nose in a haughty fashion.  “You aren’t in charge here girly.  And yes I have everything that I need. Asking stupid questions is going to make you a hindrance”

Obsidian out his hand on her shoulder.  “That’s enough.  I am sorry for her lack of manners.  She doesn’t play well with others but she is the very best at tracking rogues.  Please bring your Astyn person so we can get ready to start the hunt”

SummerFawn nodded.  “It will be done. I suggest Saraya to learn more about having patience as well to be gracious and honourable in another’s home.  I am tempted to send you home but she has indicated you can do the job that is needed.  However at the end of this mission you will never return to this country.  If you do their will be serious consequences.  Also” she glared at both the vampires “You will not harm Astyn or any of our people that are here. Understood?”

Obsidian nodded and he squeezed his hand onto Saraya’s shoulder so she wouldn’t be inclined to fight with this lady.  It was her land and he could tell that she was ancient and could probably take on and defeat almost anyone in the courts back home.

——-

A few hours later they were sitting in what way referred to as a planning room.  It wasn’t like what anyone was used to it was comfortable chairs and a fireplace that jutted out from the wall.  It was in rich warm brown colours with gold trim.  There were three large rolling white boards.  There was a large stone table that was hexagonal in the centre was a clear quartz crystal that had jagged edges sitting on the table.  

Someone had done some amazing work on this room.  It felt like home and the quartz was resonated with the room.  They must have done research on stones and the magic that it can use.  Knowing what this room was used for it was probably a special room where they did scrying so most likely the place where Astyn spent most of his time.

Astyn was different.  His hair was short and was a dark brown instead of black.  He had frosted tips and it was spiked.  He had hazel eyes that were fairly large looking.  On the back of his neck was a tattoo of an eagle over the sun.  On his hand he had the feather tattoo.  Definitely not what was expected.  He also was a very calming aura about him.  He felt like am old soul in her mind.

He looked at them all.  “Alright so as you guys know I am here to help you and transport you were you need to go.  It won’t be easy with all of us going.  You tracker have already tracked his presence.  From what you have said I know the location and have already seen where we are.  This won’t be easy as he has managed to get himself a little group of followers.  Obsidian you will need to get rid of them while Astucia you will need to get to a place where you can cast your magic from.  Saraya you are a fighter and will need to distract him”

She glared “What will you be doing?”. Her voice was very accusatory.

He smiled at her “I will link us back here with the home base and I will need to conserve my strength so we can get back here.  I am not a fighter and against a vampire I couldn’t hold my own.  Are we ready?”

They all nodded as he spread his hands and started to let his sight to get to the perfect place.  The tendrils of the gate started to form a spiderweb effect.  It stabilized quickly and you could see a silverish pathway made out of spiderweb lines.  “Now”

Entering gate is very unique and can cause serious issues for some.  Many refused to take this form of travel as it was scary.  They all felt the pull of energy and knew that in a few moments they would be there and would need all their wits about them.

As they exited the gate they could see the forested area and a large fort.  Astyn opened his mind and viewed the surroundings.  There are three others here they are vampires.  I can sense nothing about them and they all look confused.

Obsidian smiles and quickly moved over and as the three rushed out he turned his skin into stone.  He could still move and fight so long as his concentration didn’t wane.  The vampires were the muscles type and had spears with them.  As they rushed they tried to skewer Obsidian.  The spears crashed into his stone skin and shattered against his skin.

Astucia rushed in rolling under the arms of Obsidian with a large wooden stake in her hand.  This was a one off move, as she came up the stake impaled the one vampire going through his ribs connecting with his heart.  He turned to ash quickly.

Obsidian let his stone skin leave and he grabbed one of the other two vampires in his strong arms.  He allowed the strength to course through his body as he tore the head off the vampire twisting and pulling at the same time.

Astucia had already moved and went to the building with Saraya as Obsidian staked the final vampire. “Is he in there Saraya”

She nodded.  The plan was in motion it was time to end the threat.  As they went through the doors Astucia broke off and went for the high ground where her spells would work better.  As a master she wasn’t the strongest in this group with magic but she was the one who knew the combat spells that would make him easier to control or to make his mind mush.

Astyn tagged along with Astucia.  “It’s time.  I have been in contact with home base and they are ready to put into motion whatever is necessary to protect the family. “

Damon was a large man and you could see the anger on his face.  He moved over and grabbed his sword.  It would be hard battle but these ones wouldn’t be able to take him.  He was invincible and would not be taken as easily as those poor young bucks.

Saraya moved in removing her short sword from the sheath.  The metal of her sword was red stained that way permanently.  All of the deaths that sword had inflicted left it looking horrid and there were nicks on the blade from past battles.  She charged in and swung with all her might. 

Raising his arm he let the sword strike him.  He could feel the pain as his armour was not strong enough to take a full force blow.  They began trading blows with the sword.  He swung at her neck and he knew it was the end of this bitch now.  As his blade was about to taste her blood a body stepped between them.  The sword hit the chest covered in stone.  

Instead of doing what was normal he soun away and grabbed another sword this one shorter.  Now it was him using a two blade style.  He knew that the stone man the swords wouldn’t penetrate so he quickly spun on his leg and dropped into a leg sweep.  The stone man went down hard.

Obsidian went down hard and his stone skin dropped from his body.  He was winded but he knew he had to get up.  As he was starting to move feebly he saw Saraya dive into the battle.  She was a blur with her blade but even she wasn’t a match for a two bladed style.  He managed to capture her arm that held the sword.

He yanked it hard and fast using his own momental to break the arm.   He smiled evilly and kicked at her leg she went down to one knee.  His swords gleamed and he put both under her neck and as he smiled he amputated her head from her body.  The scream is pain was silenced very quickly and the dust that had been the tracker was floating out in the room.

Damon growled loudly and turned his attention to the other man who had stone skin.  Just then he saw a woman dropping lightly to the ground, hands glowing with the red flare of blood magic.  As she reached over to him he heard words that he couldn’t understand and felt the spell that locked his limbs and made him not able to move.  

“Damon.  Long time no see.”. Astucia said and grabbed a large torch and went to the fire where she set the torch to allow for it to light.  She then pulled it out.  “I am sorry but this is how it has to be.”. She cast a spell where oil appeared and surrounded Damon.  

“No” Obsidian yelled as she through the torch at the oil.  As it lit he rolled far away and could see the form of Damon only for a moment before the fire engulfed his frame.  His body turning into dust as the fire destroyed his eternal life.

He jumped up and grabbed the sand bags and quickly snapped them open suffocating the fire so that it went out.  This wasn’t good they wanted him alive but he didn’t make it.  Saraya dying was the worst thing that could happen in his eyes.  She was powerful and was what the Royal Court needed the most.  There would be hell to pay when he returned to them and he would probably be banished for a while.  He could go back to Africa and start his family again one day to rival the power.

Astucia limped over and he could see a twinkle in her eye.  She was happy this was the best ending for her.  The tracker dead and the only one who could betray her would never do so.  The criminal Damon now gone she would be safe for a time.

He turned to her “This is a sad day for the Cadres.  Saraya was much sought after for her skills and would have been elevated after this mission”

She laughed “She was sought after only for her skills.  She could never work with people more than once because she constantly put others at risk.  In fact she wasn’t going to be elevated she was staying where she was.  The reports before I left showed they wanted more control over her and we’re going to force bond her to someone stronger.”

He glared “You knew and you trusted her with this mission”

She shrugged “I had no choice in this as you guys wouldn’t let me handle this by myself.  She pushed and it was what got her killed.  She was overconfident that she could outright him.  She should have known better.”

Astyn came through.  “So Saraya has went to her final death.  We must leave soon as you Sir Obsidian must get away from this part of the world.  Remember what you were told don’t come here again.”

He opened the gate and they stepped through back to the Fort and what was Astucia was beginning to feel as a second home to her.

——–

It had been three days since the death of Damon and of Saraya.  Obsidian had returned home with the help of Astyn.  It had been days of restless sleeping for Astucia, she had a lot of thoughts running through her head.  

She felt guilty that Saraya was dead but she also felt relief at this as she wouldn’t be able to be tracked again.  None of the other trackers had ever been around her so the Royal Court wouldn’t be able to find her that easily.

She already had spoken to SummerFawn and the Fort that she could have easily destroyed was now hers.  The fort had a name and it was Fort Spruce.  She would make a life for herself in this New World as they called it.  She had safety for now.

My Journey part 2

Being a blogger and reviewer was scary at first when I started out but as I got more into it I found that I loved it.

Now it took a long time to improve my reviews to a point where I find that they work well. It’s a fine line writing a review versus what is a critique. Reviews you don’t want to give too much away as it can spoil a story for someone else. A critique is more for schools where you need to give more information and will definitely have spoilers.

At this point I am writing my own stories and I find that it is very therapeutic. Allows me to relieve stress from a hard day’s work. It also allows me to have a creative outlet.

One story I launched got feedback on and was able to improve the story. The story went from 2200 words to just over 4000 words. I always pictured a rewrite would be making it less words giving more with less. Instead it made it longer and so much better.

Writing the second story for this character I know where it is headed but am nervous since this is departing a bit from what I have placed before for others to read.

It will end with the aftermath of a fight scene which I will be excited to write as I always loved writing those scenes more than others.

I still feel the impostor syndrome as I know that I have a long way to go and that I may never feel like a proper writer. I am really hoping as time goes on the feelings will go away and let me just enjoy every part of the writing.

Author Interview With Jay Nadal

Author Bio:
I’ve always had a strong passion for whodunnits, crime series, and books. The more I immersed myself in it, the stronger the fascination grew.
In my spare time, you’ll find me in the gym, reading, binge watching Netflix or taking walks in the forest.
Oh, and I’m an avid people watcher, I just love to watch people, their mannerisms, and their way of expressing their thoughts… weird I know. It’s great, because watching people often gives me insights and inspiration for describing human interaction in my books.
Fun facts:
My favourite, bestest place ever on earth? Any of the Florida theme parks.
Weird fact:
Spending an afternoon in a mortuary to bring my books to life. Oops! poor choice of words there!

What inspired you to become an author?

I wanted a lifestyle change. I’d been a mindset coach for over 12 years and started to write self help books. However, because I’d always loved crime related films, dramas and books, I found myself migrating across from non-fiction to fiction. I also found that becoming an author meant I’d have the chance to get a better balance in life, be my own boss and challenge my brain in different ways. Now I spend all my time thinking about how to kill people in the most horrific ways.

If you could choose one actor to play the role of one of you characters who would it be and why?

Michael Fassbender was the actor I modelled DI Scott Baker on. Fassbender is tall, rugged, well dressed, with a charismatic smile. I wanted Scott to have all those traits.

If you could choose one person to read on an audible book who would it be and why?

That’s a tough one. It would probably be Daniel Craig. A brilliant actor with a great, commanding and self-assured voice.

Have you ever taken something that has happened in your life whether it be good or bad and used that as the plot of a novel you have wrote?

A couple of things.

Firstly, in my youth I spent a lot of time growing up around some very unsavoury characters (let’s just say that the police were always turning up on dawn raids to cart them away. I remember one such morning when officers took ‘G’ away in handcuffs at 6am. He was only dressed in a pair of jeans, no top, socks or shoes. His charge? Attempted murder after stabbing a love rival multiple times whilst he lay asleep).

But generally, these were guys who spent time going in and out of prison and used violence and/or intimidation to settle scores. I used my experiences to create some of the characters in my books, like the Connell family in the DI Karen Heath Crime series, who closely mirrored people I knew more recently in a crime family and a major OCG. The encrypted phones, clandestine meetings on yachts off the Puerto Banus coast, £50k cars brought for cash, cases of drugs exchanged in pub cark parks, shipping lines from Belgium, dawn raids where officers rammed the gates of gated homes in Essex etc, were VERY VERY realistic, need I say more?

The underground nightlife in Brighton, the turf wars for control of the drugs trade and establishments, and the violence that went along with it is something I witnessed first-hand. That was threaded into the DI Scott Baker books.

On the subject of DI Scott Baker losing his family. I pictured myself visiting the imaginary grave of my young daughter (morbid I know, but I wanted to inject as much realism as possible into those scenes), and thought to myself that if it happened to me, how would I act at her grave? What would I say? Etc. Writing those left me in tears every time.

You have options in publishing going self-published vs standard publishers. I am sure both have benefits. What did you start with? What do you prefer?

I started out self-published and intend on sticking to that. It gives me greater control and freedom to advertise how I want to, create stories that interest me and earn more. Yes it’s harder work, but I want to be in control of my career.

Do you do your own designs for the cover?

No, I’m not talented enough, nor do I have experience. It makes sense to leave it to the professionals whilst I focus on what I know I can do. All I do is give my designers a steer on the images, layout, mood etc. They do the rest.

Tell me about your writing process

Lots of writers start in different ways. Some start with the ending, others start in the middle and work both ways. What I tend to do is come up with an idea and let it percolate in my mind for a few weeks until it starts to gather shape. I then plot out each chapter with a few bullet points. It makes sense to me to review the flow and direction by reviewing each of those chapter summaries. Look at it from that angle allows me to spot any plot holes or loose ends that need tying up, for example, findings from forensics reports, the result of door-to-door enquiries, the searches into someone’s background.

Only when I’m happy with it, will I start to write. The fact that I’ve already got a bullet pointed outline for each chapter means that my writing flows easier. What I also do is picture each seen in my mind before I write it. Almost as if I’m watching a short movie clip. I then write what I pictured in my mind.

Tell me about why you chose to write your novels

It’s a form of escapism for both me and my readers. We all love a good story, whether real or imagined. I’d like to think that I’m able to give my readers an opportunity to forget what’s happening in their daily lives.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to an aspiring author?

Take your time and don’t rush. Don’t hop from one genre to another. It takes time to build up a readership, so be patient. Study your sub-genre and read the top 10 to 15 books in your sub-genre that are consistent bestsellers over a long period of time (not the ones that have shot to the top of the bestsellers list because an author has thrown a ton of money on advertising to get it there. I’m talking about bestsellers who remain at the top of the charts month after month.)

Astucia’s Flight Rewrite

With some wonderful feedback I have done a rewrite on my story of Astucia’s Flight. I am shocked to be honest as I went from a little over 2200 words and now it is over 4000. From the feedback I received I am overwhelmed and I can see it improved my writing. So here is the updated version of the story

Astucia was new to this part of Asia as she seldom had a need to travel here. She was here to meet with one of her contacts. She looked up and saw the huge dark castle. The stones that were used to build this monstrosity were black. The black rocks were interspersed with obsidian. Each of these precious stones was imbued with a magical power. She could feel it as she approached a tingling sensation down her arms. She could even sense what these stones were made for. Shielding plain and simple, you would need an adept class mage to even come close to cracking the spells that were inlaid. How had Alenna managed to get the strong spells going she wasn’t a mage before her change.

As she approached the castle she saw the gates, in the center was a a dragon in the Chinese style. The lines of the dragon were not even oe clean almost as if it had be brought here from somewhere else. How she longed to touch the metal of the dragon and see what it would tell. Something was very familiar with it and hoped she would get the chance to really learn from it.

She knew that the lady had designed this castle to intimidate and keep the locals away. She touched the wall and felt the shields start to activate. She opened her mind and could see the construction of the castle. She started to lose herself as the mist that came with these visions started to overtake her. Quickly she pulled her hand back as if the stones burned her. The visions of the past faded.

This was not wise for her to open herself like this especially when out in the open. She was vulnerable when she opened herself up to her special power. Where was Alenna she had said she would be here. Had her friend the one that caused this mess for her been captured. No that couldn’t be as she could escape anything and was one of the strongest fighters that the Cadres had ever had.

As she got the gate it creaked open. The sound was like fingernails on blackboards. How she hated that sound. She walked through the gate and felt spiderweb like tendrils testing her. It definitely was not what she expected.

There was a note left in magical writing that was in Portuguese. All it said was library I guess that means that was where she was to go.

She entered the castle and could see bright warm colours in the building. It was nothing like the outside as the place was homey and inviting while the outside instilled fear and showed that you weren’t welcome.

There were paintings lining the walls and as you walked past rooms each one seemed to have a form of fireplace. No wood was around and she knew that her people feared fire but you needed to heat a place such as this. She assumed servants or maids would be the ones taking care of the castle and ensuring it was as Alenna wanted it.

As she approached a large rounded room she looked around and there were large paintings of an African lady that had braids that were designed to stick up at different angles. She almost reminded you of the mythological Greek creature called Medusa. The only thing was he face was very attractive but she wasn’t smiling she was growling. She read the plaque on the wall and it said Library of Luryna. Under the paintings it said loving sister, loving mother, gone to soon.

So this was the vampire known as Luryna the sister of Alenna and one that had been killed centuries before and what had started this wretched mess that had her fleeing for her life.

She opened the large double doors and saw a fireplace on a far wall. The library went up three stories. There were ladders that would slide around the room so that you could get to the books on the higher levels. Each of the levels had small little alcoves almost like a balcony which had a chair so you could sit down. Her eyes were good enough that she could see that they were very large and had a huge pillow so that it would be comfortable. This looked to the the main place in the castle.

She tiptoed in as she didn’t want to disturb the ambience of the room. She could see leather bound tomes near the fireplace. The spines all looked blank to the naked eye but when she viewed with her magic there were sygils that glowed showing that they were all books on magic.

Near the fire there was a seating area that had three chairs and a small couch. There were little tables beside each of the seats and on each table were antique silver lamps. They were beautiful with intricate dragon designs carved into them. There were designs on tapestries next to the fire which had lions on them. She knew that Alenna originally hailed from Rwanda and her family sign was the lion. She knew that the lion had become extinct there in 1990s. Still a sore point for them as they are some regal features and many vampires tried to mimic the prides with there families.

Sitting in the library of Castle Alenna. The library was of warm colouring very welcoming with tomes that were so old that they had to use magic to keep them from being damaged further. The times all were original and leatherbound books and each of them was lovingly cared for. Many had the leather oiled on a regular basis to keep it from cracking. She could smell the oil and the pages she could smell as well from the books as the inks were all different some including silver and others blood.

Astucia had been missing in action from her job now for 3 weeks. She had seen posts coming that she was MIA and that a reward was being offered for any information that would lead to her being found either dead or alive. She had never been off work since she was taken in by the Council. Quickly she had become an investigator with the courts and that is what lead her to her latest obstacle and why she was fleeing.

Of course Castle Alenna they would never think she would go there as she had afterall just been investigating her for killing her Queen. It happened happened so long ago but everytime new information came to light it brought with it more investigations and more deaths.

Three weeks was a long time for one of the top investigators to go missing. She had been hiding in Asia at the castle for a little over two weeks now. In that time she had spent most of her time in conference with the staff or even with Alenna herself. She feared opening up here as she could never feel comfortable in this place. It was nothing like her home when she was living in Portugal or even what the Council had given to her which was a small house with a large wooded area.

She had also taken to spending time contacting her friend and confidante Ashtaya and to trying to figure out what her next steps were. She had been an investigator for almost 350 years. Now she didn’t know what she was as she had fled that line of work to keep things safe.

Ashtaya was very powerful but using magic to communicate over great distance was very tiring. Most used water as a way to create a sending or mirrors as they were another way to connect.

She had ideas of a message being sent that they had found proof of her death which would allow her family to be free and that the Vampire Royal Court wouldn’t be trying to assimilate them into the vampire cadres.

Alenna had been gracious to allow her to stay for now at her home. It was hidden and the cadres had no clue about it so she was safe for now. She was waiting for Ashtaya to get here but who knew when that would be.

It was interesting living in this old castle it had so much depth. The armoury was her favourite the weapons there were imbued with magic and had so many amazing stories to tell.

The armoury was a huge space that had room for two practice rings. It had many weapons in it. There was a staff made out of a dark wood that felt like iron. That was her favourite and she had used it a couple of times for practice. Her powers had shown it was used by one of the finest warrior in the vampires named Wei Kan. He had trained Alenna in the arts of fighting and when he was retiring after 3000 years he had gave her all the weapons.

More than that there was Bolas as well as glaives and swords and daggers. Philippino fighting sticks that had iron bands around the tips. They were used to make the weapon strike harder and altered it’s weight. You had to know how to adjust and fight properly.

Many of the weapons are Asian descent and which Astucia really had no clue what all of them were. She knew that if trained properly with each one of them you could take out opponents quickly. To learn the use of each weapon could take a lifetime. She didn’t think she would have time to learn them all or even one.

The fire was crackling as the warmth penetrated her hands. She feared the fire and was sitting back from it. She knew one stray spark and she would go to her final death. As she watched the fire crackle she sipped some warmed mulled cider. She wasn’t normally a person who drank but after what had been a horrific few weeks for her she was using it to relax.

The longer Astucia had been here the more relaxed she felt. She knew something was coming and she could see her see her friend standing beside her coming out of a puff of smoke.

Ashtaya quickly moved over and embraced the person that felt like her daughter. “Well we have gotten into some trouble I can see. Your mind is all in a jumble and I can feel that you are holding onto something that you have you seen.

She nodded to her stepmother “Yes. I know something that if it comes out will be used to destroy all of the Cadres and especially the Royals as well as many individuals that are innocents. I have to go into hiding away from the craziness that will be my life. No, I don’t want final death but the way things are going to keep this secret they will have to kill me.”

The powerful psi looked at her daughter with sad eyes “It will happen one of these days however I also don’t want your death to come. What did you find out as you know I am not anywhere to be found by the court”

She looked upset at this knowing she would die but she wasn’t happy either at the fact that she could be destroyed because of what she found out. “Queen Ma you know has been sent to her final death. Her Dutchess Alenna was the one who killed her. I was sent as investigator with orders that she was not guilty. I had to find out the truth so I touch read the past and found out that she really was innocent but what I found out was the Evacateurs were attacked by the cadre. If this is found out they will be destroyed and the cadres will be a thing of the past. It’s why I have to hide as my touch reading is what will ruin the day for our people.”

As soon as Ashtaya heard the colour drained from her face which was hard as she didn’t have much to begin with. The attack on the Evacateurs was something that was common knowledge but noone knew who was behind it. Could her daughter really have found out that the Cadres were behind it.

From what she could guess is that it was one Cadre that had attacked and of course if it was found out they would assume that all were involved. To attack that stronghold would have been almost impossible and anyone who survived would have had to have been very lucky or gifted. She knew only one mage who survived that attack and that would be a secret she kept to her final death. Siobhan the daughter of the chief Evacateur was alive and would probably never be able to come out of hiding. Now her own daughter was involved. She would need to contact Siobhan maybe she could give more information.

She nodded showing concern on her face “Astucia you are resourceful and are able to do a lot to escape. There have always been rumours which you have confirmed for me now about what happens in the Justiciary. I have some ideas but they could take weeks to pan out. Your home they know it but do you have a hiding spot. If not I have a small villa that they believe is haunted. I keep it looking like that and we use the basement rooms only. The dungeons like that. It’s called Villa de la Morte. It’s in France.”

Astucia hates France in all of her travels as investigator she had went there most often and held the worst memories due to Alexandre her Sire. She didn’t really want to go to France she had thought it would be better to go to the New World as the oldest claimed.

The Americas were supposed to be a place where the Royal Court had no sway as of yet. They didn’t have castles or villas but she could get a mansion or something maybe even a bomb shelter and she could improve it with her magic. She also knew that the magic in North America was more shaman style and even the council of magic barely touched the Americas.

From her studies she had learned that Shaman magic was like that of priestly magic and could be detrimental to vampires as it dealt with faith. Faith was not what vampires wanted to be near to. Most had lost religion a long time before they were turned so the.magic hurt them most.

“My darling daughter what would you say about going someplace where the Royal Court hasn’t had much success. The vampires there don’t have a cadre system and don’t follow what the courts say. I have been there and the only law the vampire’s have is who is the strongest and they call them generals. I have met a few of them and they don’t hold with the court and even the Emporer is scared of them. They are more militant then our cadres and for the most part I wouldn’t want to fight them. You would fit in well there Astucia, your training would make you a great friend to many of the Generals. Your magic would also help, many of them only know the magic of the earth such as the shamans that we have in Africa. You would fit like glove to a hand.”

Her friend really was a witch and could read the thoughts from anyone. Had she used her psionic powers to gain the information from her head or were they just thinking along the same lines. I mean Ashtaya had been the person who had trained her and taught her about the cadres. They had changed and things weren’t as they should have been. She also knew how powerful her touch reading power was. One of the few who knew she was also a very minor empath which is why she how she quite often knew the truth without opening herself up to her most powerful gift.

“If I take the chance and move there I will need a place that will be hard to penetrate. Is there any mage that you trust to cast a spell that will prevent scrying?” Astucia asked hoping someone would be able to help her.

She nodded “Not so much a mage but a powerful Shaman and the chief of his people. He is a Native American and can do whatever is needed. He also has links back to the vampires from North America. He can point you who might fit well with you and your talents.”

Smiling she knew that she would need to take this chance. It was going to be hard for her as she would need to be able to afford a great place to hide as well as to keep up with her practice. Also she would need to replace what she had lost when she fled as her home would be under constant guard. She had squirrelled away money for rainy days which was hidden under an alias. She could easily set herself up and be able to keep herself at a high quality of life for a few years at least.

“How can we do this travelling to the Americas is going to be almost impossible. Flying won’t work, boats don’t really work.”

Just then Alenna appeared around the corner. “Won’t be an issue. I can get you there. I also have a contact with SummerFawn a native vampire there that has so many talents and could use your skills. She is in charge of a band of native vampires and has some shamanistic skills. I would suggest go to the Northwest Territories it is very wild and you can create your home base and hide away if that is what you wish. It’s also were the strongest shamans are located as well as the strongest vampires. Mostly they shun the standard lives that we have here in Europe as they keep away from the cities as much as possible. “

She was shocked that a person who had been a Dutchess and still was would have connections to any people outside of the European or Asian centres. It was hard to get contacts even in Russia or Africa because of the way things happened. Alenna was one of the few who still had connections to her home in Rwanda and their vampires. It was seen as a sign of disrespect to follow your home country instead of the Royal Court or the family you were brought into.

“If you choose to accept the three of us can shimmer to the fort and be able to speak to SummerFawn. She will be glad to meet you and she has all that you will need including a hidden fort which she can give you. It can be upgraded to what you need including getting you satellite phone and internet. It will allow you to do what you can and track. What say you Astucia?”

“How do you have any contacts in that region? You know that they would put you to final death without hesitation if they knew you had contacts elsewhere. Especially in the new world since they have no presence there”

She laughed her long braided hair moving ever so slightly. “I have been around more than most. When I was learning my power I travelled all over the place. When the Americas were colonized I went over on a scouting mission for the court to see if we could set up shop over there. As it happens I met the most powerful vampires they could take the court down easily enough should they have chosen to. The vampire I was with Altiarra was able to figure out powers and there was only one vampire she had scanned that was as powerful. Unfortunately she was killed by the most powerful group in a display of power. I swore I would escape and eventually I was able to make friends there and help the people who were most hurt by the British and French Colonization.”

She nodded she had known the family for centuries and had no clue that Alenna was that travelled or had made friends from other groups around the world. The tribes of the African areas plus the band’s of the Americas. How had she not realized how far away from traditional teachings Alenna had strayed. This was the best option that she would ever have to escape the clutches of the Royal Court and away from the hunters that would be sure to be after her soon. This was the best she could hope for and she would take whatever help that she could get one way or the other.

“Yes I will take your help Alenna. I think this is my only real chance to keep away from the hunters who are much more powerful than I am. How soon can this be arranged?”

Alenna smiled “Within 2 weeks I can have you there. I will start the transfer process. You will be in a fort that has extensive underground dungeons and shelters. Ashtaya you are also more than welcome to come as well. “

Ashtaya smiled “I will join you at least for a bit as I would love to see the special areas of the far north. Perfect for us to hide for a bit while we work out fully what we will do.”

Alenna smiled “Good. This will work wonderfully for you and I will get you as much information as I can about the people of the area. Good day”. And with that she spun around and left so that she could start the contacts.

She got to her room and split her hand open to allow for the blood to drain a bit then flung it into the fire.

SummerFawn visage appeared long hair with a braid and feathers beaded into it. She looks traditionally attired which was a good sign “You called me my dear friend Alenna.”

She nodded “They have agreed the circle is about to be closed. We will be there within 2 weeks.”

She nodded and brought out the knife “Your will be done. Everything will be ready and we will have your special place prepared as well for your eventual rise to Band Elder.”

———

Astucia was fearful of what she was doing. Moving to a new country was one thing but to a place that had none of the standards that she was used to. Structure had been the key to her life.

Her life with Alexandre was scary as he wasn’t easy but when her bond to him was broke by the Royal Court and she was transferred out it was a new joy for her.

What could one person do was the question asked. She had made it so that everything was in her power. She had risen to be one of the highest ranked investigators and that’s when her life went bad. She was trustworthy and they out her to knowing just what was what. She had many secrets and that would mean her death.

She had heard the name SummerFawn and it have her chills. It was a name she had heard only once before and it was not good. A small group is vampires had went to North America and began attacking many groups including normals. From what she had heard the bands had sent SummerFawn who had destroyed them all not even breaking a sweat.

This move could be the best for her or the worst for her. The Native American vampire bands were very strong and this lady would probably want some form of link. Could she force the bond on someone that was as powerful as herself. She knew how hard it was to break a bond and the Royal Court the bonds were not always to the top people. It took her only ten years to be able to break her bond bit she definitely didn’t want to be linked again.

The bond was going to cause her many sleepless nights. It was the thing that nightmares were made of.

The end

Rewrites

Having never written with the intention of being published you never really know just what authors go through.

For me it seems strange as of course they are short stories but after getting feedback I am going back to incorporate the suggestions as part of my work.

Had no clue that rewrites take longer to write than the original story. I don’t know how authors go through this multiple times for a novel. I am impressed as you have to have lots of patience to do it

My journey for weightloss

It is never easy to really talk about the journey that I am trying to undertake albeit fairly unsuccessfully.

A bit about me I am a former gymnast and was training in Tae Kwon Do. Due to all of my training I have been injured quite a bit.

In 2006 I tore out my meniscus and had my first surgery. With the surgery my knee has never felt the same as before. Running is so painful that it’s hard to really do much. I still pushed through.

In 2014 my second surgery was completed on the same knee for a torn meniscus and a cyst. Again being off my game for the time to heal and not really getting back to active status sooner has really made it hard.

Again with these surgeries it hasn’t helped as being active is so very painful. Also getting older hasn’t helped me as my metabolism has really changed.

I. On my mid fourties and less than active. I have back issues and wrist issues at times and it makes it very difficult.

I have really pushed to walk more and try and healthier but it is very hard. I am trying and being much better at my diet than I have been. I also try to walk a lot.

So far I have lost about 8lbs but it’s a constant struggle

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