Archive for the ‘Meta-Issues, Real Life, Out of Character, Etc.’ Category

15
Apr

Richard Writhen’s “The Angel of the Grave”

   Posted by: amrath

My friend Richard is releasing his newest work today, titled “The Angel of the Grave.”


Here’s a brief description excerpt for your perusal. Give Richard some business, and don’t forget to give him a review!

The Angel of the Grave (The Celestial Ways Saga Book 0)

Out Now

BECOME THE FIRE.

An intelligent little girl encounters a talented witch at the local fair and finds out that it’s all in the family.

Interconnected by dreams, two young orphans embark on the long path to find a bloody revenge.

A wealthy lady travels hundreds of miles to become a baroness, but when she consults a diviner, she finds out that she may be in way over her head.

An excerpt from The Lady Waits (Chapter Three)

Shortly after dawn, the expensive clipper effortlessly cleaved its way through the frothing green waters that lay off of the coast of Corsc. It approached one of the many gray wooden quays there, and its crew began to take down the sails. The ship had been painstakingly crafted by the greatest artisans that the continent of Mestes could offer. Its thick hull was fashioned from a black pine-wood, which had been sanded and then sealed with a mixture of resins. Its hull was painted; some of the segments were a midnight blue in color, and others an olive green. It was almost fifty feet in total length, featuring a towering center mast and three billowing white sails, each painstakingly embroidered with long red lines.

Once it had been secured at the dock, it was almost immediately boarded and searched by several representatives of the Hruutian Guard. That force had been stationed there on the coast in virtual perpetuity, in order to prevent a profusion of illegal substances that had been smuggled into Galgran from neighboring countries. It only took a few minutes for the black-booted soldiers to find that all of the vessel’s papers were in order; then, its passengers were allowed to disembark, filing down the gangway in a steady stream.

One of the very last people to step off the ship, Marissa Seftrey was a fresh-faced young woman of about twenty-one years of age. She had a folded parasol under one of her arms. She was dressed in a light pink dress, with a bonnet to match, her chestnut brown hair falling in cascades from under it. A wide pink bow tried vainly to hold everything in place. Marissa was originally from Caledavor, one of the countries on Mestes, the continent that lay to the south of the Watley Peninsula. She had brought some of her homeland’s artwork with her on the voyage. She was followed closely by a middle-aged woman with somewhat darker brown hair, who was pulling a wheeled chest. This was her maidservant, Neticia de Mont Noir. The two were followed in turn by three male servants of varying ages, who had been hired on the ship, to carry the rest of their luggage.

The procession proceeded to the end of the quay, then stepped onto the continent of Holrud for the first time.  Marissa stopped them all for just a moment, and surveyed the panoramic view of the southern coast that greeted them there. Off in the distance, she could see hills and small villages. Even further, beyond them, there was a great walled city; it was imposing in its size, with a river running through its north-west corner. The minutes went by, as they stood there. Quickly becoming bored, Marissa began to tap one of her leather-shod feet on the cobbled dirt of the road.

She was waiting for someone, her eyes scanning to and fro, up and down the street. She had been corresponding through the mail with a baron of great nobility; her voyage across the sea had been planned for many months. She had come almost due northward from her home city of Bethel in Caledavor, Mestes, and was headed for the estate of Westmere. It was located in the borough of Wallins, in southern Malentan, on Watley Peninsula. She had come all this way to be the baron’s blushing bride. The marriage that had been completely arranged for her by her mother, as her father had passed away when Marissa was still a teenager. She had been informed in the baron’s final letter that he and his men would be waiting to pick her up, at around the time of her arrival on the peninsula. The rest of the journey to the barony of Wallins would be undertaken by coach.

After waiting a few more minutes, the three hired man-servants put down the rest of her bags. She handed them their gratuities, and they said goodbye to her and then began to walk back to the ship, being part of its crew. The two women were left at the end of the dock. After she and Neticia had waited for the better part of fifteen minutes, they were finally approached by a man. Marissa smiled warmly at him and asked, “Baron Wallins?” A wide smile immediately painted itself across his thick, coarse features. “Why, the very same. And you must be my lady?”

“Yes, it’s me. Marissa Seftrey. Pleased to meet you.”

Marissa looked the man over quickly; right off the bat, she was a bit taken aback at his lack of height. He had bushy sideburns, a moustache, and scruffy hair. His clothes were quite unkempt, most notably a thread-bare black cloak which had apparently been mended many times. He also looked to be far older than his mid-twenties, which she knew for a fact to be the baron’s age. She noted that there was an odd glint to his bloodshot eyes, as if with some unknowable intent to it. So, she posed him a careful question. “You look … different from how I had pictured you. Where’s your coach …? And all of your men … ?!”

The man licked his lips quickly before replying, “Oh, the coach? It’s parked just down the street a bit. And I sent the boys off on another errand … for now.” Grinning at the two women, he then offered Marissa his arm, while she had to exchange a quick look with Neticia to bolster her courage, she hesitantly took it. He led her in a stroll down the wide fairway between the buildings of what appeared to be a small town. They were as far south in Corsc as it was possible to go.

In an even tone of voice, Marissa managed to say, “If I may be so bold, sir … you look to be a bit shorter than six-foot-six. I may not have the most trained eye, but I have certainly seen my share of men in my day.” The short man smiled at her again, even wider than before. “Oh, is that what I said in my letters …?!” His rheumy eyes left hers and gravitated downward, to stare pointlessly at the street for a few moments. It began to dawn on her that while they were heading north, he was also leading her, gradually and inexorably, towards an alleyway on their right hand side.

The sloping roof of one of the buildings had covered the aperture between it and the next one over, forming a dimness there that approached the darkness of night. She looked from one side to the other for a few frantic moments, only then noticing an odd odor coming from the man’s proximity. He stopped them, and caught her by the chin. Her chestnut brown eyes focused on his strange black ones.

“No, don’t look about. This is a very dangerous area. Even the slightest appearance of impropriety will arouse suspicion, and you can’t trust anyone. Just follow me, and I will lead you through safely.”

Marissa wrenched her face from his grip roughly, and then began to straighten out her dress, though it needed no real attention. They had gone no more than four paces further when she suddenly felt the front of the man’s body pressed hard against hers. His gloved hand found her mouth and slipped over it. As she dashed to her lady’s aid, Neticia began to scream, vainly swatting at the man’s head as hard as she could with her own closed parasol. He staved off her attacks easily with his other hand, and withdrew moments later, but retained Marissa’s arm. She was so surprised by the sudden reversal that her exclamations trailed off into mere whimpers as the offending hand fell away from her face. She turned about, only to find that her captor was now standing motionless; he was staring down the street at another man, who was striding towards them.

The new man appeared enraged; he was panting and red-faced. He also had a handlebar mustache, and was dressed in a dress jacket, over a buttoned leather vest and a white dress shirt. A red cravat was twirled about his neck and he wore well-shined, black boots. He was closely followed by three burly young men. They were dressed with much less style and opulence than their master, in faded blacks and browns, and torn denim pants. Marissa could sense that her captor was considering a sudden bolt into flight. But before he could do so, the new man pointed directly at him and then yelled, “HEY, YOU, STOP !!!” at the top of his lungs, shattering what little stillness the afternoon seemed to possess. Her captor froze up completely at this, and Marissa found herself completely released. As she was a little off-balance at the time, she fell on her bottom in a most unladylike fashion, but was far too terrified at that point to even care.

Neticia rushed over and helped her back to her feet. When Marissa turned about to look down the alley, she found that any shadowy accomplices that the short man might have had were now long gone.  She could see no trace of life. By then, the new man’s three young thugs had set upon her captor. The first two of them grasped him by the arms and hauled him away from her bodily; then they drew him up, and the third one punched him hard in the gut. Her captor doubled over, his eyes tearing up and strands of saliva drooling from between his liver-colored lips. When his body had gone fully slack, they threw him down into the dust. One of the ones that had previously held his arms ran over to the alleyway, a black sap appearing in one of his hands. The remaining two began to kick him in the sides of his torso, as he rolled pathetically in the dirt into a broken wooden crate that still bore trace of the juices of rotten vegetables.

By the time the other thug had returned, Marissa’s captor had fallen still, his face slack and mouth agape. The man with the sap shook his head once from side-to-side to confirm the lack of any co-conspirators still in the alleyway. The man in the dress jacket had caught up with the others during the short beating. Assessing the situation, the well-dressed man walked over to Marissa, made initial eye contact with her and extended a gloved hand. Still slightly shocked, she reciprocated, and they gently shook. But, she was nearly inarticulate, and was only able to pant out a phrase at a time. “He was ... the alley … people were in there … waiting for-” she managed.

The well-dressed man smiled grimly. “Yes, yes, I know. But tell me … are you quite alright?” At this, Marissa looked down at her pale beige travel dress. It had been torn slightly at one shoulder, and her hair was somewhat mussed, but other than that, she was fully intact. She looked down the alley once more, then back at the new man. “And you …”

“Yes, Marissa. I am the real Baron Wallins. This ‘man’ was an impostor, I’m afraid. It’s become a growing problem along the coast-line nowadays, something of a new form of piracy, I hear. No one ever thinks that it will happen to them, and then …  well, anyways, please forgive me. I am terribly sorry to have been late … the whole affair is my fault, really.”

“No, you mustn’t blame yourself. It’s so good to finally meet you, in person …” she assured him.

So, Marissa allowed the new man, who was ostensibly the real baron, to lead her by the elbow to a coach that had been waiting just a bit further down the street from where the short man had been trying to lead them. She stepped up and got into it gracefully, but wrinkled her nose at the coach’s musty odor, of old leather and horse sweat. Then, the horses were set off, and the baron rested his elbow on the inside of the door, holding his chin in one hand. After a few minutes, he glanced Marissa’s way again and added, “By the way, welcome to the Watley Peninsula.”

Buy Links:

Kindle Edition –

Paperback –

14
Feb

Another delay, but in a good way

   Posted by: amrath

Well, I am announcing yet another delay, but this time for the best of reasons. I have signed with Aethon books to publish the whole series. As part of that deal, I have removed the books from amazon and will be going through them with Aethon’s editor to get them ready for re-launching under their imprint. I hope, by this summer, to see them all available under the new banner!

4
Feb

“The War God’s Will” Update

   Posted by: amrath

Still working on it. I know I keep pushing it out, but it’s just life and not having enough time. The book was ‘finished’ months ago, but the editing wasn’t done until late December, and my day job has kept me busy enough that I haven’t had much time to actually apply the results of the editing pass. It’s in progress, and I expect to finish sometime this month or next, assuming I don’t get another crunch with my day job. It’s just a fact right now that the day job pays the bills, so it has priority.

17
Oct

Esme gave Mad God’s Muse 4 stars!

   Posted by: amrath

If you don’t know who Esme is, she’s the blogger who set herself the epic task last year of reading 100 of SPFBO3’s entries, and subsequently landed a spot as a judge this year. She’s also contributed greatly to the indie community in terms of setting up TBRindr, a service for matching indie authors and reviewers. So support her. She’s awesome.

MGM made her ‘recommended’ numbers and squeaked out a 4 or 5 stars (3.9 rounded up).

I really love how much Esme hates Kariana. I always knew she would be a polarizing character, so it’s great to see different reactions to her.

This pic is from a photographer friend of mine, Sketch Ditty. It wasn’t intended to be Kariana, but I was so struck by it when I saw it that I often show it to people as my visual for the character.

25
Sep

WGW Delay until End of Year

   Posted by: amrath

Sadly, I am looking at not being able to deliver the finale book until the end of the year. My previous editor was unable to complete the project due to a family tragedy, so I had to find another editor to work with, and I am not his only client. We will be going through all three books over the next month or so, and hopefully I can get everything integrated in time for Christmas.

I want to emphasize here: the book is done, at least as far as the story goes. It’s just a matter of polishing it for release, now.

4
Sep

Still waiting on “The War God’s Will”

   Posted by: amrath

Well, it’s September, so I have obviously missed the deadline. The book is done, but it is still in editing. I had expected it back sooner, but the editor is running a little behind, so I am just waiting on that. Hopefully this month!

31
Aug

“The Beyond” was not so good

   Posted by: amrath

Okay, so I watched “The Beyond”, and it kind of sucked. For a while it was tolerable, but the end was just so bad that it ruined the whole experience.

It’s told in a documentary format, so it’s slow paced, but that’s fine. I am not one of those who needs high action, and this movie has basically none. But I AM one who needs his science in science fiction movies to make some sort of sense, and the science in the end is absolutely dreadful.

So is the storytelling. It seems like about ten minutes of footage is simply missing, leading to the climactic moment of the movie not only not making any sense (a threat appears from nowhere, is not explained, and without any leadup whatsoever, though the characters behave as if they have known about it for some time) but never being explained at all, even in retrospect.

And seriously, what is up with the grammar? “Complexing” instead of “perplexing”? (Several times, this word was used, and it caused me pain each instance.) Is that a euro thing, or did they just utterly fail? “Rised” instead of “rose”? Could that have been a character affectation? Living forever is “IMmortal”, not “mortal”, and no way can that one be explained.

Kind of 1st year film student, without the obligatory overdone trope inversions and inappropriate background music, so there were a few positives.

2 of 5 stars.

I am going to admit something very geeky about  myself. I often have these little scenarios play through my head where I wonder what would happen if you pitted one mythical or fictional creature against another. How does a pack of werewolves fare in the zombie apocalypse? Could Conan beat Darth Vader in a sword fight? How would Roland fare against either of them? Yeah, I have precious little free time, and this is what I do with it, folks.

So while it’s not my normal thing by a long shot, “I Was a Teenage Weredeer” by Charles Phipps and Michael Suttkus is a mythical and pop-culture mashup that hit my sense of the strange and humorous right where I needed it. After grueling days of code-slinging and bug fixing, I was really ready for something lighter for a change, and this one fit the bill.

How to describe it? In a mixing bowl, combine equal parts “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “True Blood”, and “Twin Peaks”. Mix thoroughly, and garnish liberally with puns, and you’ll have something a lot like “I Was a Teenage Weredeer.”

Jane Doe (Yes, it starts right in on the puns) has just turned 18. Also, she is a weredeer, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that she identifies as a Baratheon, and her werewolf best friend Emma is team Stark.  Oh, and her brother, who is not a weredeer or were-anything-else, has just been collared for the murder of Emma’s sister.

Thus begins a pun and popculture filled trip into a world where disliking vampires and werewolves is “kinda racist”, and solving mysteries might require a literal trip to Hell and back. Armed with a big mouth and little control over what comes out of it, and the ability to read impressions from objects, Jane is ready for action to prove her brother innocent.

He is innocent, right? As she uncovers the seamy side of what she assumed to be an idyllic refuge for werefolk, she begins to have her doubts, and not just about her brother.

A lot of what makes “Weredeer” really cute are the cameos and tips of the hat to other media, so I’ll not go into that deeply, but lets just say you could make an unwinnable drinking game out of this book.

One caveat. Despite what you might think, this is not really a Young Adult book. It seems like it is, but as I mentioned, there is a fairly seamy side to this tale, so if one is expecting kid-friendly, it ain’t. (Yes, it’s ok to say “ain’t”  when you’re making a point. Tell them I said so.)

5 of 5. I’ll have the cherry pie, please.

 

25
Jul

“War God’s Will” is now in editing

   Posted by: amrath

Sent the manuscript to the editor Monday night.

 

17
Jul

“The War God’s Will” is finished

   Posted by: amrath

I just wrapped up the second pass tonight. I intend to take a third, but I don’t expect it to be much longer than a week, and then I’ll get the manuscript to my editor.

W00t! Arc 1 complete.

 

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