Badge of Honour – A Maddison Wood Story

As you may know, instead of publishing the first season of the Collective, as I had intended to do, the plan changed. Quite drastically. I will now be publishing several books in the series, starting in February 2017.

So, to satisfy fans of the Fractured, I wrote a companion story featuring Maddison Wood. Badge of Honour is now available on Amazon. I’ve added a sneak preview below.

badge-of-honour
Cover Art by Alfredo Pachicano. Character Sketch by Rebekah Reece. Title Work by Kathryn Jenkins @MagicalDesigns

When the Fractured descend on the mortal realm, and the Demonic War begins, Maddison Wood is the first to sign up. But when she follows her brother into the enemy camp, things go terribly wrong.

What began as a rescue mission, becomes her worst nightmare. Maddison is forced into slavery and stripped of all her power.
Trapped, she finds strength in the relationship she shares with her brothers, Zachariah and Michael. Together, they form an unbreakable, if unorthodox bond. The witch, the elf, and the vampire; a powerhouse of three.
After months in captivity, Maddison is offered a chance to escape. A chance that, for one of her brothers, comes too late. Michael finds his way out of one prison, only to be locked in another – the hell inside his own mind. Now Maddison faces her toughest challenge yet. She must find a way to bring her brother home, before they lose him forever.
Sneak Preview

 

Maddison felt a swell of anticipation as she followed Kian to the large rock face. He touched his hand to the rough surface and the concealment spell dropped away, revealing an enormous door. Above the carved stone and glass entryway sat the family crest. It shone with the aquamarine and dark juniper shade of the house colours.

She couldn’t dredge up her natural armour, or the prickly barb she used as a shield to deflect deep emotion. So she couldn’t distance herself from the awe that encased her heart. This was Michael’s home, and she felt him everywhere. If she hadn’t already accepted their connection, she might have been afraid. The affection she felt made her almost giddy.

She had a hard time processing the softer side to her nature. Only with her family could she drum up the nice. Well, most of the time.

Oh, she could be reticent, and sometimes a total bitch. She had never been very good at all the touchy-feely crap. The vulnerability that came with sharing her innermost thoughts. And her barb could sting.

But Michael was part of her, too, so he evoked the gentleness that was all but choking her. She would give him that. She would give him anything if he came back to them.

It was easier now that she could feel him. So much easier to shake off the guard that usually had people reaching for the nearest weapon, and relax.

Kian paused when he crossed the threshold, as though anticipating her need. And because she wanted to soak in her surroundings, Maddison stopped too. She let her head fall back onto her shoulders, and took in the way the room went up, up, up. So far, she could barely make out the roof.

She couldn’t see with any detail, but she recognised the material. A mixture of glass and stone, infused with the house colours. They lit the space, flooding onto the levels beneath. Floors that wound around and around the room, before coming to a stop about fifteen feet above her.

Maddison righted her head until she was looking at the elegant staircase. Beneath it, a series of corridors led off from where they stood.

“You have a beautiful home,” she said, glancing at Kian.

He smiled. “There is much to explore. Come.”

Maddison followed him down one of the corridors, and into a room on the left. Two alcoves drew her attention. Carved out of the wall on her right, they held a complex series of multifaceted shapes within the stone.

Then her gaze swept left, to the large circular bed, and to Michael in the centre.

He was lying against sheets of emerald green. A colour that should have complimented his honey toned skin. Instead, they accentuated his grey pallor, and Maddison’s chest tightened. She knew the signs. His organs were failing. Again. The first time they were able to slow the process. This was different, and it made her want to scream.

Without conscious thought, she moved. One minute she was in the doorway, the next she was scrambling across the bed. Somehow, she had the foresight to look at Kian, to prepare him for what he might see. “Whatever happens,” she said, untangling her hair. “I would never hurt him.”

Turning back to her friend, her brother of the heart, she positioned herself next to him. Power was already pulsing along her skin, so she released it. Her hair began to seep across Michael’s body. A dark silken blanket that wrapped him up tight. She didn’t stop until he was completely covered. Only his head was visible above the cocoon she created.

Maddison ignored the startled sound Kian made, and instead focused on Michael’s energy. She reached into his mind, followed the echo of him that wanted to pull her under, and let go.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

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On the Seventh Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, four lightning birds, five gold rings, and six members of the Battalion. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Seven of the Elite.

It took every stubborn cell in his body, but Logan managed to stand in place. He didn’t roll his shoulders, didn’t pace or growl when Blade smirked from the front row. The soldiers crowded into the large tent were looking to him to make decision.

“Hilmore is the perfect place to relocate a community of this size,” Riley pointed out. His cousin was lounging against a table; a strategic placement because it put him beside the food. “It’s an established safe zone.”

“I agree, despite the logistical nightmare of transporting all the wounded. But the community have lost enough. They want to stay, so we need to revise the plan.”

“If I may make a suggestion,” a lyrical voice spoke up from the back.

Logan’s attention snapped to the last row, where the elves crowded together, conferring quietly. They were the relief team, seven members of the Elite who had arrived an hour before.

Apparently, Maddison Wood had friends in high places, because these soldiers had offered their services, even knowing the team they replaced were sleeping off their exhaustion. They had pumped so much power into the earth during the rescue effort, Logan swore he could feel the heat burning the soles of his feet.

“Go ahead,” he said, clearing the gruff from his throat.

“We took the assignment on behalf of the House of Gilliford. With the right help, we could transform the site.”

Logan had a feeling the right help meant one seriously sassy witch.

“Maddison is overseeing outer security, but we can pull her in,” Blade supplied helpfully.

“I suppose you’re volunteering to deliver the news?” Logan shook his head. His brother couldn’t resist getting his flirt on, but when he was in full on avoidance mode, his cat was lethal.

I live to serve.

Logan rolled his eyes. You live to goof off. Get out of here.

Blade rose to his feet. “It’s hell being the fastest one in the room,” he said aloud, wiggling his brows in Zachariah’s direction. “But you know I always pull my weight.” He didn’t wait for a response. The soft whoosh of the tent flaps signalled his exit.

Scratch goofing off. The damn cat lived to torment him, and gloating was one of his favourite ways.

Don’t be a grouch. Blade’s voice in his head only proved his point. And keep me updated.

Relaxing now his brother wasn’t around to get under his skin, Logan met the expectant eyes of his team.

An hour later, he was standing at the edge of the site, his wolf at attention as he watched magic flow in every direction.

The team of elves, an Elite group of seven, were subtle in their use of power. They communed with the earth, manipulating its energies with heads bent and expressions pulled tight in concentration.

In contrast, Maddison Wood was standing in the midst of a storm. Her long, dark locks unravelled and flying around her as she worked with the team to rebuild what was broken.

They weren’t alone. Landon and Lochlan had taken to the sky, their own power a vibrant, sizzling current as it streamed down upon the emerging construction below.

I thought only the gods could wield that level of power.

Even in his head Blade’s voice held a ring of awed disbelief. Yeah. She’s no ordinary witch. That’s for sure. He studied her. The elfin suit, the unmistakable glow of her power that shone a midnight blue through the strands of her hair. Maybe she’s part elf. Why else would her energy blend so seamlessly with theirs?

Beats me. But thank the gods that it does. It’s been a while since I saw anything that cool, man.

Logan didn’t know about cool. The earth was white hot. They’d had to move back several feet to avoid the burn. But he had to admit he was impressed. As the group worked together, several structures began to form; the bricks and mortar bending to their will.

Those structures looked nothing like the houses that had once stood in their place, and yet the aesthetic beauty was undeniable. Not only that, the houses blended with the environment, as though the earth now shaped them. A gift to the community who would thrive once more.

Perhaps the most spectacular thing, was the effect the power surge had on the trees and shrubbery littering the site. In the centre, a sapling that had been crushed under the weight of a falling building now stood erect and tall.

Logan remained in place until the group completed their task. He only moved when Maddison teetered on her feet, but Zachariah got there before him. He caught her, slinging an arm around her shoulders and leading her towards a nearby tent.

He was just about to follow when he heard Riley call his name.

“We have a problem,” his cousin said, though his eyes were following Maddison and Zachariah’s progress.

“What kind of problem?”

Riley turned back to him. “We just received a distress signal. A squad about a mile out.”

They began to head back to the command centre. “Do you want to take a team? “

“I thought we could head out together.” Riley smirked. “You’re looking a little tense there, boss. A little action might be just what you need.”

Logan laughed. He was right. His wolf needed out. Needed to run, to feel free for a while. But then Riley knew all about that. “Sounds good to me.” He nodded. “Let’s go.”

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

 

The Sacrifice – FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #13

Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes

Ronovan’s prompt this week:

  • Word Count of 500. (SUGGESTED)
  • Take your favorite quote from a movie and use it as inspiration for your entry this week. If you want more direction, make it the last sentence in your piece. (REQUIRED)

 

I’ve been unable to participate in Ronovan’s challenge for the last few weeks, and I’ve missed taking part. When I saw the prompt, and given that I wanted to write something for Valentine’s, I decided to go with it. It’s a little rushed, so I apologise for that, and I’m nervous about using the line because I know I didn’t do it justice. Not even a little bit. Still, it was fun.

To say I loved Deadpool is an understatement. It might just be my all time favourite movie, and I think Ryan Reynolds did a wonderful job of bringing Wade Wilson to life. I was tempted to write a story in which I broke the fourth wall, one of my favourite things about Deadpool, but I think I’ll save that until I’m feeling braver!

So, it’s obvious by now, but the line I chose is from Deadpool Enjoy 🙂

The Sacrifice

Sebastian turned away from his partner, who was heaving his breakfast, and possibly everything he’d eaten in the last two days, onto the pavement. Darren was beyond green, the poor kid looked ready to pass out. It wasn’t unusual; crime scenes were never pretty, so when you were human and dealing with a whole heap of supernatural nasty, well, puking went with the territory.

“Shit, man,” one of his officers ground out. “Who called Jeremiah’s posse?”

Sebastian followed the officer’s gaze to the two figures bearing down on them. The one in front, tall, built, and with hair prettier than his sister’s, wore a look Sebastian recognised. Ignatius Steele was an arrogant son of a bitch. Unfortunately, he was also the right person for the job, and they needed him.

“Look out, boys, here comes the elf squad.” Sebastian took in the berry-coloured suit, which shimmered like a second skin. “And they have a new uniform to boot.”

Ignatius gave a bow, immune to the jibe, as always.

“What the hell?” Darren straightened, one hand clamped around his waist as though trying to convince his stomach to stay put. “Did I miss the memo? Or are you wearing that for a bet?”

“How would you like to cough up more than the contents of your stomach?” Isabella snapped, stepping in front of Ignatius.

Darren rolled his eyes, whether to fight nausea or impatience, Sebastian couldn’t be sure. “How the hell did you hear about this so soon?”

Ignatius smiled, turning his distinguished features into the stuff of nightmares. Manic was too tame a word. “It’s Christmas day, and I’m after someone on my naughty list!”

“Actually,” Sebastian cut in. “You’re getting your festivals crossed. It’s Valentine’s, so you dug out the elf suit for nothing. And when I say this, I mean it with all due respect, but you should never wear that thing, not even at Christmas.”

To this, Ignatius reached forward and plucked Sebastian from the ground. Despite his formidable strength, Ignatius didn’t hurt him, except maybe his pride. He crushed Sebastian to his chest as he roared with what could have passed for laughter, though, again with the manic. This wasn’t typical behaviour for the elves, but then, there was nothing typical about Ignatius.

When Sebastian was back on terra firma, he quit with the pleasantries, and got down to business. “What happened in that warehouse is so beyond evil it isn’t funny. No more jokes about holidays because, that in there.” Sebastian pointed over his shoulder. “Is the kind of red you don’t want to see, and there’s nothing left of the poor guy’s heart.”

Ignatius and Isabella stepped forward without another word. They moved into the warehouse, through to the gruesome scene that, even now, was burned into Sebastian’s brain. He looked to Darren, who was back on his knees, cursing everything that had passed his lips, and then followed the pair back into a nightmare.

The moment he crossed the threshold, Sebastian felt the rage leaking from Ignatius like lifeblood. He had his forehead pressed tight against his partner’s, and Isabella was murmuring in a familiar language, Sebastian still found difficult to process.

“We have a problem,” Ignatius said, without looking at him. “You were right about the evil, but you haven’t seen anything yet. This was merely the beginning. A sacrifice and a warning of what is yet to come.”

“Shit.” Sebastian braced himself when he saw Ignatius move. He was glad he did because the elves’ eyes reflected the horror in the room. They were blood red.

“We are going to need the power of a saint,” Ignatius said. “To prevent the birth of a demon.”

Sebastian didn’t even hesitate. “Tell me what to do.”

“Call on Orion. This is a job for the Collective.”

***

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

New Year, New Books, New Adventures

Happy new year, everyone. For those who know me, you’re probably aware I run another blog – Writing Room 101. At the moment, the site is predominantly for spotlighting indie authors. Today, I am shining the light on blogging friend, Charles Yallowitz, who has some crazy, mad skills when it comes to the world of fantasy.

Here’s a sneak peak. Click on the fabulous cover to be redirected to WR101, where you will find a preview of The Mercenary Prince.

 

Now on Amazon for $2.99!
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
THE MERCENARY PRINCE

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Delvin Cunningham has left the champions.

Lost to his tribe in the Yagervan Plains, fear and shame have kept the former Mercenary Prince away from his homeland. With his confidence crumbling, he has decided to return and bring closure to his past. Reuniting with his old friends, Delvin’s timing could not be worse as a deadly campaign is brewing within Yagervan’s borders. Dawn Fangs are on the march and these powerful vampires are determined to turn the entire region into a graveyard.

To protect his family, friends, and two homelands, Delvin will have to push his doubt away and become the cunning Mercenary Prince once again.

Art by Jason Pedersen
Art by Jason Pedersen

Please feel free to put this on your ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads by clicking below:

The Mercenary Prince on Goodreads!

Want to Dive into the Adventure from the Beginning?

Collage by Chris the Storyreading Ape Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Collage by Chris the Storyreading Ape

Find all of these exciting adventures by visiting the Amazon Author Page of Charles E. Yallowitz

So charge up your Kindle and end 2015 with an adventure full of action, humor, old friends, new enemies, grudge matches, tears, ale, and vampires.

author-photoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com


 

I’ll be back on Monday with my contribution to Ronovan’s weekly writing prompt. Have a great weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 6: Fantasy Squad – Elves

EWhen I think of elves, the first thing that springs to mind is the Grimm Brothers, or more specifically, The Elves and the Shoemaker. It was one of my favourite bedtime stories! I loved the magic of it, the symbolism, the pride these magical little creatures took in their work. I remember asking my dad a dozen questions about craftsmanship (all that detailing), about elves and where they came from, about the world in which they lived. And I remember my dad, with his infinite patience, sharing that simple joy.

Later, when I discovered The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I fell in love with a whole new set of characters and the world Tolkien created. I’m sure this is not going to come as a surprise, given my slight obsession with archers, but my favourite elf is Legolas because of his seriously mad archery skills – what he can do with a bow! He could give Hawkeye a run for his money! Though, in my head they would work together 🙂

I used to have a poster, ‘Hans Christian Anderson’ by Anne Grahame Johnstone, and the artwork is quite beautiful – the magic just springs to life. One of Hans Christian Andersons’ most noticeable stories about elves is The Rose Elf.

Elves are mentioned in a variety of folklores, and are associated with magical powers and supernatural beauty. The dark side of the myth associates these creatures with sexual threats; seducing people and causing harm. They have been related to fairies, especially in romantic literature and have even been counted as minor dieties. They are depicted as different sizes, but more recently human-sized and god-like.

Elves by PSlenDy Fan Art / Digital Art / Drawings / Movies & TV©2015 PSlenDy #legolas #thehobbit #thranduil
Elves by PSlenDy
Fan Art / Digital Art / Drawings / Movies & TV©2015 PSlenDy
#legolas #thehobbit #thranduil

Elves in Film and Literature

  • Tolkien’s elves seem to dominate modern fantasy literature, though William Shakespeare’s fairy characters influenced a great many writers. One of Shakespeare’s more notable characters, and one of my favourites, is Puck from Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Elves feature prominently as Jack’s allies in the movie Legend.
  • In The Spiderwick Chronicles, elves appear as one of the species of faery.
  • I have to mention, briefly, Santa’s little helpers, as there have been a number of films representing elves from  the North Pole. Will Ferrell stared in the film Elf in 2003, and entertained us, as only Will can!
  • In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling’s elves were slaves, though I have it on good authority (I haven’t read the series), that they were happy with their lot in life!
  • Elves also play a role in comics – Marvel has Dark Elves, ruled by Malekith the Accursed; featured in Thor: The Dark World. There is also ElfQuest, created by Wendy and Richard Pini.
  • Elves are used in a number of board, roleplaying, and computer games, such as Warhammer 40K, and Dungeons and Dragons (featuring Black Elves known as Drow). There are also a number of board games incorporating the fantasy world, Glorantha, created by Greg Stafford. In Warhammer, Dark elves are known for their aggression, deceit and stealth – brutal by nature.
  • Sir Terry Pratchett created interesting creatures within Discworld, elves who were extra dimensional. Here’s what Sir Terry has to say about elves:

“Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.”

What about you – do you have a favourite? What do you think about elves and the role they play in fantasy literature? I’m sure you can agree, they are definitely worthy of the Fantasy Squad.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

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