Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oct short story contest

The Return
Soft winds played a haunting melody as they blew through the cracks in the house. The aged wooden planks were missing paint and warped. An old rocking chair swayed back and forth on the porch. Beside it sat an empty flower pot with a broken lantern leaning against it. Cobwebs flickered from the supports of the chair. In the distance, unseen in the night, echoed the baleful hoot of a great horned owl. Night had settled in, blanketing the world in tender embrace as the weary were granted respite from the trials of the day. All that is but one.
The old man eased onto the porch. His tired eyes scanned the rolling hills and lightly forested fields. Wisps of stark white hair clung to his head, speckled by liver spots and fading freckles. His once sharp blue eyes were tired now, past their prime. He felt old. His body was thinner, fragile. With a heavy sigh he took his usual seat and just watched. He hoped this night would finally be different.
He’d lost track of how many years he came out to sit on his porch with that broken lantern in his lap. Decades at least. His very life seemed defined by it. He was bitter, angry at the heavens for a perceived injustice oh so long ago. The lantern was a constant reminder of his failure to protect his wife. A mockery of what could have been. An old promise said it would light when the time was right. He’d been waiting every night for so long and never so much as a flicker.
The old man sighed and began his nightly vigil. It wasn’t long before he began to nod off. The nights were longer these days and it was all he could do to try and stay awake. Autumn was here. A faint chill clung to the old house. Leaves of red, yellow and orange drifted past on the wind. Then he heard it. The subtle chime echoed over the hills and through the valleys. The old man snapped alert, his gaze automatically lowering to the lantern. His eyes widened. A spark. Small, intense but full of life.
“Have you ever given up hope?” a voice asked.
The old man started. There, standing at the bottom of the steps was a tall figure shrouded in a cloak of blinding colors. His heart quivered. “You’ve come back!”
The figure took a step closer. “I have never left. Every step you’ve taken, every breath you’ve taken I have been right behind you, catching you when you lacked the strength to continue.”
Tears welled. His strength threatened to abandon him. “I’ve missed you so much. All these years, I never dared to dream.”
The other’s voice softened, turning melodious. “Yet you still sat vigil, waiting for the chime. You were always a good man, Daniel.”
“How could I not? You said you’d come back to me, Sara. I’ve been so lonely.”
Sara reached up and lowered her hood. Her face was angelic, glowing with radiance that had been stolen during life. She was almost translucent and hovered just above the tickle of grass. “My dear Daniel, my illness was never your burden to bear. I was called away to a better place. This is not the life you were meant to live.”
“It’s the life I chose,” he defended. “I need you, Sara. Always have.”
She smiled, sad and warm. “Daniel, it’s time to let me go. You still have a life to live and there is much work to be done before you can join me.”
No. His heart stammered. Coldness spread through his veins. “But I…”
Sara reached up and gently touched his weathered cheek. “Daniel, this is how it must be. Let me go. Live your life. We will be together soon, once your task is complete.”
“Do you promise?”
She smiled again. “Always.”
He closed his eyes, relishing her touch. When he opened them again she was gone, leaving him filled with new purpose and filled with warmth. The lantern flickered once and extinguished, blown out by a kiss of wind. Daniel stood on the edge of his porch staring at the spot his wife had been and for the first time in a very long time felt free.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Been so long I almost forgot.

Got convinced to do a short story competition. Not really into small stories but this was my attempt. Opinions?


Wyllym stalked through the forest with the grace of a jungle cat and enough fear to keep him wary. Every shadow was a bandit; every sound an enemy about to attack. His heart beat so loudly he was sure the gods could hear. His skin was clammy, sweaty. Barely out of his teens, Wy...
llym was no great warrior. He was born to poor parents and only taken in by Sir Theklis as charity. Tonight he was determined to prove his worth.
The wind blew through his hair, echoing the words of the old, blind man that had given him the aged parchment in his hands. Once again Wyllym looked down at the crude drawing. The old man’s words haunted his footsteps. “All of the answers you seek await you at the end of this path. Your fears, dreams and desires are all there waiting for you to claim them, but you can only have one. Choose the correct door and unending bliss will be yours. Choose wrongly and certain doom will claim you.”
Wyllym frowned, suddenly afraid. He’d overlooked the blind man’s warnings, so eager to become the man he deserved to be. Now, so close to the end, he began to regret his hasty choices. The haunting echo of the moon showered down, illuminating the forest floor. Shadows from clouds pockmarked the land. Treetops swayed gently, their branches scraping against each other in an angry symphony. The call of a giant owl warned all trespassers beware.
Wyllym glanced at the map again. Using the roughly drawn terrain features as a guide, he scanned the surrounding forest and was surprised to find himself standing at the edge of a perfect circle cut into the foliage. A faint red glow clung to the ground. Wyllym froze. What little courage he had faltered and it was all he could do not to turn and run. There was a supernatural air about the circle and he was right to fear. Places like this shouldn’t exist. Crows ringed the trees, watching his every move, judging. Taking a deep breath, Wyllym stepped into the circle.
Flares of electricity surged through his body. His muscles twitched. Tears streaked down his face. A small trickle of blood crept from his nostril. Wyllym shook off the effects and walked to the center of the circle where three aged, wooden doors stood. The choices, he breathed. His heart began to beat faster. Questions came to life. What do I really want? He glanced up at the ring of crows.
“I can be anything. I can be rich, happy, powerful. A king!” he shouted.
The crows stared down in silence. Reaching out, Wyllym tentatively wrapped his hand around the doorknob on the right. An unspeakable foulness vibrated from the door, beckoning him with wicked temptations. Wyllym’s heart churned. He was suddenly ashamed of his thoughts. His hand dropped and he stepped back.
Wyllym studied the doors, more conscious of his decision. Was greed the doom the blind man spoke of? Possibly, at least it made sense. Wyllym searched his heart for answers, fearful of what his mind might produce. He closed his eyes and let Fate decide. Wyllym reached out again and felt his hand encircle another doorknob. Turning, he gave the door a quick push. A rush of air nearly knocked him to the ground. The crows burst into flight, black feathers drifting down in a hail of caws as the mighty birds sped away.
Wyllym reluctantly opened his eyes and saw his own reflection staring back at him from a full sized silver mirror. The reflection was different somehow. He studied the lines, the angles. It was more mature, stronger and exuding confidence. It was the man he desperately wanted to become. The image smiled them and slowly changed into a golden light. Wyllym stared wide eyed as the light melted into a small beam and plunged into his chest, rendering him unconscious.
When he awoke he felt different. Wyllym slowly got to his feet and looked back at the mirror. This time the image he saw was his own reflection. He wanted to laugh or cry. All of this time and he had finally found the one thing that he’d lacked: courage. Wyllym turned and headed back towards the village, a new man capable of overcoming anything life threw against him. So it was he failed to see the blind man leaning against a nearby tree, smiling.

Monday, April 23, 2012


So, I realize it's been a bit since I bothered to regale anyone with my thoughts and whims. I recently finished editing my version of Hammers in the Wind and put it up for sake on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Please check it out. In the meantime I read that the head of Disney's movie studio stepped down over the John Carter of Mars debacle. While Disney was forced to eat 200 million dollars I can't help but wonder what happened?
The movie, in my opinion, was great. It followed the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels almost faithfully and was visually rewarding to watch. I felt engaged and entertained with almost no bored moments. Disney admittedly did a horrible job of marketing this film. No sequel for you! Boom. This suggests one critical thing: arrogance. The recent success of the Pirates of the Carribbean series and High School Muscial has lulled the Disney corporation into a false sense of security. They took us for granted and decided to let the Disney name do all the marketing for iit. Such a shame.

This isn't the first time Disney has sucked the egg, so to speak. The Chronicles of Narnia started out as a blockbuster series that quickly wilted. Disney wound up selling the franchise to Hallmark by the end of the second movie because they didn't like the downturn in profits. Understandable but it raises the question of what's the point?

I think part of the problem is that the newer generations don't know who CS Lewis or EGB were. I grew up reading these stories but that was in the 70 and early 80s. We've become a world of drones, slaves to the internet and the gods of technology. There is little room left in the world for wonder or magic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


April is here and I am feeling it. With a little luck I will be able to throw about five more titles up on Nook and Kindle within the next 60 days and I will have this train rolling. Volume is a big deal. So to celebrate I have decided to give you a little taste of my next novel: Hammers in the Wind. Enjoy-or not- and let me know what you think.


High pitched screams pierced the wood and stone halls of Chadra Keep. Badron, the liege lord of Delranan, sprang from his ancient throne at the council table he and his captains were in meeting at. His pale blue eyes boiled from shock to feral rage. The voice drove his actions. His very family was under attack in what was supposed to be the most secure place in his kingdom. More screams and blood choked cries went up from the halls. Badron snarled grimly. The house guard was locked in brutal struggle somewhere deep within the wooden halls of the Keep. Those men fighting and dying would need to fend for themselves. His own blood was more important than any in the kingdom.
Badron drew his sword, trusted and battle tested. The most senior lords and captains of Delranan followed him. Eight in all, they comprised a most lethal band of warriors. Their deeds had forged the kingdom from a pack of warring tribes and clans into a singular monarchy that quickly became the strongest of the northern kingdoms. They wordlessly chased at the wolf skin cloak of their king as he charged into the royal sleeping chambers.
Badron appeared an unstoppable force. Long red hair, now streaked through with gray, flowed angrily down broad shoulders. His normally pale blue eyes seethed red with rage. Wrath commanded him, wrath so strong it could threaten the foundations of the world and make the old gods of Malweir tremble in fear. Muscles bunched under his jerkin. His bulk nearly filled the doorway. Badron felt the old energy flow into him. His was a warrior’s life and this night but an extension of it. The sound of glass breaking drew his attention. Badron bellowed and charged, heedless of any lurking dangers.
Fleeting visions of battle appeared through the flickering torchlight. The flash of a sword. A spray of blood. The ruins of a body lay in the middle of the hall, a crumpled mass of flesh. Badron knelt beside the corpse. The smell of blood kissed the stagnant air. Deep cuts and gashes immolated the young guard. Badron tried to close the eyes, if no other reason than to avoid staring down into the pure agony, but rigor mortis had already begun to set in. A feathered spear broken at the hilt was embedded in the lad’s throat.
“Pell Darga,” growled Jarrik. He rubbed his bald head and spat.
The king brought his gaze up to his friend and captain. “Rouse whatever watch remains, Jarrik. I want these monsters run down and skinned alive. The rest of you with me.”
Badron led them further into the keep. The inner doors to the royal chambers were smashed to ruins. One lay in splinters across the hall while what was left of the second hung in shreds by a single hinge. Smoke curled up from the ceiling. Blood stained the floor and walls in ragged patterns. Bodies lay here too. He grimaced. From the looks of it all of his private guard had been caught unawares and slain. Their furs and spiked helms lay stained in growing pools of blood. Badron splashed his way past.
At last they came unto the king’s chambers. The doors were similarly smashed, leaving a gaping maw, dark and inviting. Sinister shadows leaked into the hall. Unknown fears danced around the men and threatened to weaken their resolve. Preparing his mind for the worst possibility, Badron bunched his shoulders and surged forward. Nothing in this world meant so much to him as the memory of his late wife Rialla and the children he’d sired.
Rough hands snatched at his collar and jerked him back. “No my lord, we cannot afford to lose you,” Argis whispered harshly.
He gestured with his head and two of the largest guards crept forward to flank the doors. Satisfied the king wasn’t going to do anything rash, Argis released him and tossed his torch to the nearest man. Inion snatched it and stared at his battle brother. A hint of smile, no more than the slight curve of his lips, caressed his face. Long had it been since they’d last gone to war. Inion hefted his tulwar and threw the torch into the bedchamber. He charged in after, Argis immediately following with a litany of battle cries. Berserker strength churned inside them.
Badron impatiently waited. Sounds came back to him, making the hairs on his neck stand. The breaking of furniture. A crash in the dark. He forced himself to stand by and wait while others rushed to defend his honor. The idea pained him, but he must be king before warrior. That was the price for the gift he’d usurped from his brother long ago. Inion reappeared a heartbeat later. Disbelief stained his naturally dark eyes. He mouthed words that were incoherent babble.
Badron pushed forward, forgetting all restraint. “Speak man, what of my family?’
The stunned captain could only point back at the broken door.
“Is she?” he whispered.
Inion could not bear to look his king and friend in the eye. “I don’t know, sire. There are traces of blood but no bodies. It is clear that there was a struggle.”
Emotions collided with a wall of confusion. Badron was beyond enraged and on the verge of breaking down. He’d never truthfully cared much for his daughter. In fact he constantly blamed her for the childbirth death of his precious Rialla. But Maleela was still his flesh and blood.  He punched a massive fist into the nearest wall.
“Find my daughter or I’ll have your heads on pikes by dawn. No one sleeps until the Pell Darga are found and killed. And bring me my son.”

Saturday, March 31, 2012

America or American't?

When did we become a nation that settled for a step above the worst? has our society declined so much we have lost the national identity that once made us strong? I argue yes. Medicricy is the currency of the day. My favortite example is in sports. Take a football team that absolutely crushes another team by at least 30 points. The winning coach is going to come to the interview and say the other team 'is a great team'...blah blah blah. If they were so great why did you win by so much?

Schools teach our children that finishing last is ok. Bull! There is no reason on God's green earth why anyone should want or accept their child finishing last in anything. Current generations of Americans are a poor representation of what made this country great. Take away what happened to the Indian tribes- because that happened everywhere in the world- men and women came here and MADE this a country. They took what the wanted and didn't settle for anything less than total freedom. The British learned this lesson from us twice the hard way.

And our children are taught how wrong it was to do what we did. How wrong it was for slavery to happen, how we still have to feel like we need to atone for the sins of the fathers. Guess what, slavery has existed since the beginning of time. Why doesn't anyone else get persecuted for it? Don't get me wrong, the act of slavery is abhorrable and a stain on humanity, but it doesn't solely belong to America.

Everything today is I can't. My children don't even try to do their homework before I hear I can't. They don't even try to make their own beds before I hear I can't. The media punishes successful men and women who just happen to be more successful than others. How is that a crime? The beauty of this nation is that every single person has the ability to try to make a name for themselves. The only thing keeping them back is laziness and sloath.

We're not Americans anymore, we are American'ts. Disgusting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Excitement and the let down

Have you ever picked up a book and thought, this is going to be good. I mean it has to be because the cover is so great, right? Wrong. I am finishing reading Peter Orullian's The Unremembered. It is a new take on an old story, most closely reminiscent of Terry Brooks original Sword of Shananra. The book moves swiftly with a few dull spots. Let's face it, we all find characters that don't interest us in most books. But what I find lacking is a sense of action.

Purpose is hidden behind forked tongues and half answers, which is a wonderful way to continue the plot and engage the reader, but there is so little action I wonder what the author was thinking when he penned almost 900 pages. If good and evil are heading for a long awaited reckoning shouldn't there be some sort of battle involving a host of armies from both sides?

Instead of gripping the reader at the precise moment and letting him/her see the full fury of the world he created, the author leaves a sense of unfinished business. I realize that sequels are the big deal these days. Please go read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. But what enticement is there to get me to read a 2nd book?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Humanity is Doomed

What is wrong with our society? I can sum it up in two words: Kim Kardashian. Seriously, what talent or ability does she give to the world? Has she written a piece of literary genius, cured a disease, said anything intellectual at all? Ummm, no. But she did get naked for Playboy and let a homemade sex tape out. So why is this hugely untalented woman gracing our television sets, magazine covers, even the evening news? Because we have lowered our standards so far there is nothing else to do.

I blame the internet and technology. Anyone who knows me knows I still enjoy writing a book with a pen and paper. I would rather read a book than watch tv. Technology has dumbed us down to the point where useless people become living martyrs. Not one member of the Kardahian family is worth the sweat or effort of a single US Soldier, but they are reveled by millions of people aching to see wht happens next.

Amercia needs to wake up! Is this the future you want for your children? I say no. My daughter has a Nook, laptop, notebook and a cell phone (All against my wishes) and I have taken almost every one of them away from her. They are detrimental to children and reduce adults to mindless drones who have to have their fix....

When is enough enough?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Part two

Sorry for the delay between postings. Here is part two of An Hour of Wolves. Enjoy:
Harsh winds terrorized the plains. Lightning stabbed down from the purple-black sky across the distant mountaintops with wicked intent. A brief glance made the mountains look like jagged teeth from great beast about to swallow the world. Three moons hung at odd intervals across the sky. Eight men stood huddled beside a dead tree, the polished branches offered only the illusion of protection. Each wore the standard gray field uniform of the Inquisition. Heavy hoods and breather masks protected their face and head from the harsh elements of planet Keltoo. Their gunship was in low orbit; watching, waiting. One of the men intensely consulted the data box in his hands.
“There is nothing alive in the general vicinity,” he announced. His voice came out metallic, strained from the breather mask.
Tolde Breed glanced up at the tree. The branches reminded him of fingers reaching out to grab him in the night. He snorted. Childhood dreams his mother used to spook him into behaving revisited him. The only thing missing was the horrible screech as the fingers clawed at his bedroom window. Older, wiser to the universe, Tolde took no comfort in his childhood. The memories were just that. Reality made him a harsh man. As an Inquisitor, his was a life spent reaching into shadows. Life was bitter. He couldn’t remember the last time he stopped to enjoy a sunrise; the smell of newly bloomed flowers.
Of course there is nothing left alive. Tolde scanned the near horizon. Keltoo was a barren world filled with endless plains of dying trees, scrub brush and patches of grass. Yet still men came to settle here; a prison colony to be precise. Some of the cruelest criminals in the known universe were incarcerated here. Keltoo offered them the end of their natural lives. This was the one prison where there was no possibility of parole and no death sentence. Once condemned here, you stayed until you died. It was a tidy secret the Conclave turned their head away from.
“How far away is the main compound?” he asked.
The Conclave. Tolde had little need for the body of head cardinals that comprised the actual rulers of the universe. He knew the mythology well enough. Every child was taught this from the moment they learned how to read. He could recite it verbatim without effort. Long ago the gods went to war. A great explosion occurred, destroying their physical forms and sending shards of their essences to every planet in the universe. Those planets evolved in the worship of that specific god. It was a convoluted system, but the elected head cardinal of each religion gathered on the central planet of Vau Prime.
“Less than a kilometer, Inquisitor.”
Tolde Breed rolled his shoulders, stretching against the weight of his pack. Inquisitor. The rank, the title, the authority of it was humbling. The Inquisition was the most powerful force in the universe. Hardened men and women who stepped forward to ensure that the essences of the gods remained asleep. The term was juvenile and did not belay the importance of the matter. After the explosion the gods were reduced to essence and those remained in a dormant state. The Inquisition and the Conclave believed that should one god awaken that god would have total domination over all life.
“We move in a five meter spread. Keep your optics on. There is every chance that He is still in the area,” Tolde said.
They fanned out and moved. His men were all battle tested veterans; the very best the Inquisition had to offer. They needed little direction. Each knew their jobs. The point man, Sergeant Matthias, gestured and his men began the tactical march. Tolde was impressed. Inquisitors were a special breed, but the Prekhauten Guard was daunting. Matthias and Tolde had worked together on numerous missions. Both trusted the other to do the right thing and bring each other home alive.
Matthias came across the first corpse less than two hundred meters from the entry bunker. He instinctively help up a fist and dropped to a knee. His men drew up in a loose semi-circle, weapons facing outward. Tolde continued to march. His gut told him that Amongeratix was long gone. Keltoo was a dead world all but forgotten by the Conclave. Matthias scowled behind his breather as the Inquisitor slipped by him and knelt by the body.
“Secure the Inquisitor, full perimeter,” Matthias growled to his men.
Tolde barely passed them a glance. He could already see the disapproving glare on his sergeant’s face. The thought was oddly comforting. Another figure moved closer. The Inquisitor nodded. Every team was manned with a Phallalian Surgeon, the best trained in the universe. Demin was one of the best so far as Tolde was concerned. He moved aside to let the man examine the body.
“This man was killed by radiation exposure,” the doctor announced.
Keltoo was chosen to house the worst criminals in the universe for that reason. With an orbit that took it too close to the Belkin gas nebula, the planet was saturated with radiation. Rumors whispered of escaped prisoners that mutated, though aside from that nothing lived on the barren surface. The ground was scarred black and grey, in a comparative state of nuclear winter.
“There must be some other wound. Amongeratix would not be so careless as to leave survivors,” Tolde ventured.
Demin used the biometric scanner built into his mask. “I see nothing. Look here; do you see how the gums are drawn back, almost shrunk? That is from a side effect of the nebula. This man died from exposure.”
The Inquisitor reluctantly stared down as Demin drew open the body’s mouth. “I don’t see how. He is only a few hundred meters from the front door. Radiation doesn’t kill that quickly.”
“This is prolonged. Perhaps from being stationed on Keltoo for too long,” Demin replied as he busied with the examination.
“I don’t like it.” Tolde looked around, hungry for any signs of struggle.
Matthias slung his rifle and moved beside the Inquisitor. “Sir, we are exposed here. I suggest we move on, find some cover just in case.”
“Agreed. Move your people out, sergeant.”
A stiff wind picked up, driving into the soldiers with released aggression. Dust and debris slashed into them. Matthias scowled behind his mask. His mind worked through the task at hand. Tolde Breed’s words continued to haunt him, and had done so since he accepted this mission. “The universe will burn if we do not catch him”. A daunting prospect but one he was up for. The Three were myths to the normal population. Rumors of a time long ago. He personally had never run in to one before, though there were whispers of teams who did back at the training academy.
The Conclave prison was an ugly building. Onyx black and grey, it was entirely too angular and oppressive. There were no windows; no exits or entrances save for the simple concrete bunker that should have been heavily guarded. A field of motion sensors implanted a few inches beneath the surface prevented anyone from getting too close or too far away. An aerial view showed the prison was a rude square shape, most of it underground. The Conclave took extra care for the undesirables. The safety of the universe was at stake after all.
His chiseled jaw clenched as they approached the gaping hole where the prison entrance used to be. Matthias ran a comprehensive scan of the blast marks and was surprised to find that they came from the outside in. His hazel eyes narrowed to slits. You’d figure a man escaping would do it from the inside out, not the other way around. He passed a glance over his shoulder and nodded. Matthias was the first one in.
The building was all but destroyed. Ceiling panels hung by a hinge. Gaping holes pock marked the walls. Burn marks intermittently traced the floor. Matthias absorbed the scene dispassionately. A battle. He’d seen this before, only not in a Conclave prison facility.  He knew the common legends surrounding the Three, they all did. Only the most senior members of the Inquisition and the Conclave knew the actual truth. The truth that the Three had nearly destroyed the universe in an all out war thousands of years ago. That secret was the most closely guarded in all of the Conclave’s history.
Matthias took point and clung to the right wall. The rest of the squad filed in, leaving only Demin and Tolde outside. Amongeratix was likely long gone but this was not the situation in which to take unnecessary chances. They found three more bodies in the entrance bunker. Unlike their counterpart outside, these men had been murdered. Tolde Breed felt his anger rising. Matthias inched forward until he secured the first hallway.
“It is clear,” he whispered over his helmet intercom.
Inquisitor Breed stalked in. He’d drawn his side arm in the event of an ambush. The weapon was small, standard for his rank, but packed enough of a punch to incapacitate an opponent long enough for him to be apprehended. Sleek and metallic silver, the barrel was stubbed with a tiny flash suppressor on the end. Only Tolde could fire it; the sensor in the trigger well was coded to his DNA. It was a standard issue ion pistol for the Inquisition, capable of firing blue-white bolts of ion fire that generally burned the enemy and used an electrical charge that stopped their hearts. He idly wondered if it would be enough to contain one of the Three. A ceiling light burst part way down the hall, showering the area with sparks and then darkness.
“How many personnel were assigned here?” he asked.
“Fifty-seven guards and a hundred plus inmates,” Matthias answered.
Damn. “Is there any sign of life?”
Demin checked his biometric scanner and shook his head. Tolde ordered them in deeper. There had to be some clue to Amongeratix’s whereabouts. People did not just disappear after a massacre like this, not even one of the Three. It was a game. A great hunt that could easily define his career. Matthias clenched his rifle a little tighter and struggled to contain the adrenalin raging in his blood. The single beam of light attached to the underside of the barrel pierced the intermittent gloom enough to make him wary.
They found the first body in a broken doorway. Dried blood caked the face around the eyes, suggesting the man had died horribly. His body lay in a ruined, twisted mass of flesh and broken bones. Tolde tried not to stare at the agony in the man’s lifeless eyes; the pain and horror frozen over with a dull glaze. He had seen death before though the violence of it remained elusive to him.
“I have movement,” Private Sarle all but shouted.
Matthias was beside him practically before he finished saying it. “Where?”
“Twenty-five meters due west of here. It looks like the operations center.”
Matthias glanced at Inquisitor Breed. It was more of a “this is where we are going” then a request for permission. Tolde had no issues with the Prekhauten Guard doing their jobs. He recognized and appreciated their expertise and was more than willing to let Sgt. Matthias take over this aspect. The squad moved.
More bodies littered the halls at odd angles and places. It was evident that all had been trying to escape some great evil. A part of Tolde had always doubted the validity of the Three as major players. Too much of them revolved around myth and legend. He’d never dreamed that one day his path would cross with one. He wondered what lies had been told to the prison staff about Amongeratix, for surely none would have volunteered to stay if they had known. The very thought of a rampaging demi-god charging through the hallways and killing everything he came across chilled Tolde’s blood.
The operations center door was a ruined piece of metal. Tolde wasn’t sure, but it almost looked melted. Matthias breached the door first, immediately shifting right to cover the near corner. Sarle entered second and did the same with the opposite side. Professionals, the guardsmen spent countless hours training on proper room clearing procedures. It took months for the right team to gel to the point where they could read each other’s mind and actions.
Bodies. Bodies lay strewn in every corner; over every console. Matthias heard one of his men choke back his vomit. Red mist clung to the air amidst piles of entrails and drying pools of blood. Another soldier cursed softly.
“Maintain your focus, gentlemen,” Matthias soothed. “The room is clear, Inquisitor. You may enter. Sarle, where is the life sign coming from?”
Sarle swept the room. A singular blip on the screen showed what he needed to know. Dropping the scanner, he raised the barrel of his rifle. “Here, under this pile of corpses.”
“Tor, Jamison, move the bodies. The rest of you provide cover. Sarle, take the back door. I don’t want anything sneaking up on us.”
Demin and Tolde casually entered, the Inquisitor suddenly doubting his resolve upon seeing this massacre. The violence of action necessary to commit such a crime escaped him. Worse, he felt hatred in the air. Tolde wasn’t sure how such was possible, but there was an unmistakable taint of malice hovering over the dead.
Demin spotted the survivor first and raced between the two soldiers. It was the prison warden, or so his identity chip read when Demin scanned him. What little life was left in him threatened to escape. Demin shrugged his medical kit from his shoulders and did his best to save the man’s life.
Tolde bent down, worried not so much about the warden’s inevitable fate but for the information he might possess being lost forever. “Tell me, where did the man who did this go?”
The warden looked up with his one good eye. His voice cracked and was hardly understandable when he spoke one word. “Occanum.”
His body shook in a final rattle as he died.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Since I have officially signed my first contract to have Armies of the Silver Mage published and am riding a wave of euphoria I would like to begin presenting bits of another story to entice you all. I would like to thank each of you for taking the time to follow my rantings and I encourage feedback from you. It is the only way I can get any better.

Here is the opening to a story I call: AN HOUR OF WOLVES

3160 A.G. (After Gods)
Boots. Heavy footsteps marching down the marbled hall echoed from the walls. Men and women slipped aside. A petrified glare froze on his face. He bumped into a clerk, carelessly knocking a stack of documents into the air. Papers fell in his wake, but he had no time for niceties. The worst possible scenario he could imagine had just happened. He had to tell the Inquisitor General.
Armed guards blocked the ornately carved metal doors to the Inquisitor General’s private office of state.  Black uniforms immaculate in the halogen lights, the guards tensed, but did not move. They viewed the aide impassively despite his hurried appearance.
“Let me pass, I must speak with the Inquisitor General,” he demanded. His breath came in ragged gasps.
The guard on the right looked down on the smaller man, disdain in his eyes. “The Inquisitor General is occupied. He does not wish to be disturbed, clerk.”
“He will once he learns what news I have to tell.”
The aide’s cheeks flashed crimson. The burning ran down his neck.
“I said no,” the guard reemphasized.
Undaunted, the aide said quietly, “this is about the Three.”
The guards passed a worried glance to each other and slowly opened the door. Each member of the Inquisition knew the standing order regarding news of the Three. The aide passed an angered glare and slipped past. He found the outer office of the ranking member of the Inquisition austere. Spartan furnishings hardly interrupted the solid steel grey of the walls. A singular round wooden table from the first Inquisition held a vase with a single rose. The petals were blood red and tinged with blue. Blood to remember the dark times. Blue for the promise of the future. Incense filled the air, a thin cloud clinging to the cathedral ceilings. The polished white marble floor was streaked through with gold. The aide bowed as the Inquisitor General entered the antechamber.
Farius Graeme was an older man of more than one hundred. He had close cropped silver hair and a pencil thin moustache accenting his drawn cheeks and pinched nose. A gaunt man, Farius wore the white robes of office. He was tall, much taller than most in the order. Hardly noticeable wrinkles edged his striking blue eyes.  He looked up from his morning reports, surprised to find his adjutant.
“Good morning, Alain. What brings you into my office so early?” he asked. His voice was gentle yet stern.
Alain stood and met his commander’s piercing eyes. “My apologies for interrupting you, Lord Inquisitor, but we have a problem.”
“There are always problems, Alain. This is a complicated universe,” Farius replied with in a mirthless tone.
Alain swallowed hard. “My lord, it concerns the Three.”
Silence assaulted the room. The Inquisitor General felt as if his stomach had been wrenched out. The Three was the most volatile and hushed secret in the known universe. For generations the Inquisition had kept knowledge of their existence from the general population. They became faceless whispers of a far more brutal time, lost to the ages and struck from history. Only the few in the Inquisition knew their dark secrets. Farius Graeme had dedicated his life to maintaining order in an otherwise unruly age. The sudden reemergence of the Three threatened to shred his life’s work.
He struggled to find strength in his voice. “Which one?”
The Inquisitor General stumbled back a step before recovering. He used the diversion to clasp his hands behind his back as he moved to the massive bank of bay windows. The dawn was brighter than usual today. Sunlight glistened from the tops of the rain soaked buildings of Krenz, principle city of both the Inquisition and the Holy Orders that ruled the galaxy. The combination of rain and sun made the spiraling columns and rounded rooftops appear almost majestic in the early morning.
“Amongeratix hasn’t made a move in over five hundred years. What has he done?”
“Preliminary reports say that he was recently spotted on planet Plom.”
Farius cast a stern gaze back over his shoulder. “You didn’t answer my question, Alain.”
Alain felt the blood leave his face. “My lord, he was seen murdering over one hundred people, to include the local Inquisitor.”
 So this is how it begins. Farius Graeme remained silent for a time. Part of him refused to acknowledge the statement. Five hundred years of peace wiped out in the blink of an eye. Amongeratix was the worst of the Three. The Order had failed. Inspired dread choked him, paralyzed him.
“I never thought in all of my days to bear witness to this,” he whispered. “Do you know why the Inquisition exists, Alain?”
“To maintain the status. We are protectors of the universe. It is our charge to ensure that none of the gods are awakened before the rest,” he dutifully rattled off. Every inductee to the Order went through a rigorous training period before earning the badge of the rose.
“A fanciful dream, but nothing more. No, the Inquisition exists because if one of the Three manages to remember who they are the universe will burn. I have dreaded this moment from the instant I took the oath of office. Where is he now?”
Alain rechecked his data pad. “The murders were on planet Keltoo and he was last spotted boarding a spacecraft on Plom. We have had no word since then.”
“We must move quickly. Amongeratix is the very worst in men. He alone has the ability to destroy what we know,” Farius ground out. “I want a team of Inquisitors assembled before noon. We must stop him now or there is no point.”
“Inquisitor Breed has just returned from Tharnis,” Alain offered.
Farius considered the name. Breed was an anomaly amongst his peers. Young, barely thirty years old, Tolde Breed represented what Inquisitors of lore used to be. He refused to rely on technology, preferring to use his wit and ancient tools that modern society frowned upon. Tolde Breed was the perfect man for the job. Amongeratix represented the very worst in men; millennia of pain and suffering waiting patiently in the dark places of life for the right moment. Farius prayed that Tolde had the strength to stand up to the night.
“See to it. Ensure he has everything he needs. There can be no failure, Alain,” he said in a stark, measured tone.
“At once, my Lord. Shall I have him report to you?”
“No. I must go inform the Cardinal Seniorus. The Conclave must be told.”
Alain bowed sharply and backed away. His eyes stared at the single rose on the way out and he wondered what would become of them all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fact versus Fiction

Why do I write fantasy and sci-fi? Easy, there isn't that much that I need to research in order to make a compelling story. No one can say that a certain alien doesn't look like that or a world can't be like this. Oh sure, there are scientists and people who spend too many hours in the basement of a forgotten building wasting their lives theorizing what aliens might look like or what another planet might be like, but guess what...they're just guessing too.

Here's the reason for my rant. I picked up a book at Barnes and Noble a week ago or so. It looked good. It's called the Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher. He writes a more tame version of Robert Ludlum or Dan Brown. It's not the best, certainly not the most engaging, but its entertaining I guess. My problem is that within the first 20 pages I found 3 significant errors, no make that 4, that should have been researched better.

The first was he claims that the 3 Infantry Division captured Hitler's home in the Alps, Berchesgarten. Ummm nope. Anyone who doesn't know history and actually watched Band of Brothers should know this one. The 101st Airborne did the deed. 3 ID was nowhere near there.

The next 3 revovle around everyday life at West Point (I know right? Just when I think I break free of that place it sucks me back in.) He has the cadets wearing blue shirts, TAPS is at 10 PM and when the professor steps out of Bartlet Hall he is immediately facing the bleachers on the Plain.

This is why I stick to fantasy. This guy, who the cover claims is a NY Times bestselling author, did not do his research and made too many mistakes. I suppose the common person reading it won't know any better but for those of us who it is a major turn off. If you can't get the facts right, what makes me want to read more??????

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Have you ever been excited to see a movie, read a book or watch a new show coming on and been left feeling utterly disappointed? I went and watched Red Tails tonight. Absolutely wonderful true story of men who dared to stand up in the face of multiple adversities and win the respect of their fellow soldiers. The only problem was George Lucas made the movie. The plot was thin and the acting was atrocious.

If you are chronicling the history of a group of pioneer men and the mark they left on society, civilian and military, you owe it to make the best possible product you can. Don't try and dazzle us with bright lights and oohs and ahhs (like the last 3 Star Wars movies- again, good story, great special effects but can anyone really say that Anakin Skywalker and Padme had any chemistry whatsoever???? And they were supposed to be in love? Ha!)

Terrence Howard was the only man that consistently performed to his capabilities. Even Cuba Gooding was less than stellar. And then, in the middle of a war they dumb it down with a love story? I was insulted. I can't recall seeing any love stories in Saving Private Ryan or Black hawk Down. So why waste our time ruining the testament of the Tuskeegee Airmen?

I am insulted.......but the special effects were AWESOME.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Old becomes new

I recently watched the AMC show Hell on Wheels. Just when I thought the Western was dead as a genre AMC brings it back with an in your face, no punches pulled action-drama. All of the characters are flawed and believable. The scenery is authentic and it makes me so glad that I had nothing to do with building the transcontinental railroad. Life is hard enough with so many amenities as it is.

A few months ago I did some thinking and decided to put my wartime experiences into words. I began undertaking what I had envisioned as a simple endeavor. Things quickly got out of control and I find myself mired in too many details and a lack of direction. The outline is comprehensive but my thoughts aren't.

Now I know why I stick to fiction. Making things up is so much easier than trying to figure out what is still classified or not. Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Once again

So it is time again. The Walking Dead returns tonight and I am stoked. I don't normally go for the whole zombie thing. I mean really, how many different ways can zombies be made and what new can they do? Ummm, not that many and again, not that much. George Romero has made a fortune on undead people eating brains but it is time for a change of pace. The Walking Dead appeals to me because it is not about the zombies. We didn't spend half of the first season watching how the zombie thing happened. It is about the characters, from the reluctant hero to the best friend who left another to die so that he could live.

The Walking Dead appeals because the characters have flaws. That is a rare thing to find in movies and television these days. Humphrey Bogart was a cutthroat PI in the Maltese Falcon and the Big Chill and he had plenty of flaws. Unfortuntely Hollywood expects the leading men and women to be super heroes that everyone likes and always do the right thing. So what would happen if we were all faced with an apocalyptic event like zombies? Would any of us be the people we think we are????

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wasted Time

What is wrong with television today? How many doctors and lwayers shows can we possibly stomach before it becomes humdrum lame-o? Oh wait, we are already there. I don't care how many cities CSI has, there are only so many ways to kill someone and to find the evidence. Yawn.

The River was a refreshing change to the norm. While not original, entirely, it provided a believable cast who each have motives for their actions and a terrifying sett. The Amazon is a great place to get lost in and find the true face of fear. I delighted in watching the supernatural unfold over those two hours, pausing to give several "oh sh*!" comments along the way.

Shows like that give me hope to be better, more creative, to explore new worlds and the nightmares and hopes within. I can take a sense of pleasure in being able to find solace and inspiration in such a simple terror as the River.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Turn of the worm

There is a saying, the worm has turned for you. I guess I can feel it now. In a matter of two weeks, after years (ok decades) of frustration I find myself with a signed contract for my first book- Aimee please ensure I do not forget to mention you in the acknowledgements since you helped with some of the ideas all those years ago in Afghanistan- and another publisher interested in my children's book. Making matters even better, I have been introduced to Bob Ostrum, a great illustrator of children's books who just so happens to live in the next town over.

You could say the worm has turned and I am soaking it up. Naturally this does not mean I can sit back and rest on the meager accomplishments I have made thus far. It only means more word, more effort and (fingers crossed) more results. Life is good sometimes, even when my seven year old son asks me "why are so many people who play basketball brown?'

and cut...........

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It may be a brand new year but people don't change. I was with my wife at Red Lobster for lunch a few weeks ago and looked across the room to a family of four. Both parents were obscenely overweight and their teenage son had lime green hair. Seriously? Who in their right mind would let their child have green hair? We are not on Mars, not in some fancy comic book where people can look like fools and its fine. How did that conversation even go? Mom? Yes son? Would it be cool if I dyed my hair green? Of course son. I think you would look wonderful like that.

I'm not one to judge others, but when is enough enough? Our children are dumber, slower and fatter than most other countries and we do nothing to improve the situation. God help me if my children come asking a silly question like this.