vampires

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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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?

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

Guest Post by Louise Findlay

I have a special treat for you today, a short-story written by Louise Findlay. If you would like to know more about Louise and her work, I featured her on my author blog during the Fantasy Solstice Tour. For further details, click here.

Vicious Vines by Louise Findlay

I so hated this world. The clogging smell of petrol and dust. I could feel the air on my skin, all contaminated like a stain on my soul. I wasn’t wasteful like the humans. Clothes weren’t a necessity for me. I could just weave vines into makeshift garments, to stave off the cold. It was a waste making clothes from cloth and linen. It harmed plants and if they suffered, I suffered.

I always thought my unusual green eyes were a mark of my connection to the environment. The plants thought so. Their piercing shade certainly stood out from my auburn hair.

I was scared that my skin was taking on a greenish hue. I didn’t think I would change, but I didn’t really know what was happening to me; that was the worrying thing. The plants were happy though. As I accessed my powers I was becoming more like them by the day.

Everything hurt more and more, and I could hear the plants’ cries in my head. It was agonising; the constant screaming plaguing my mind. Humans destroyed everything they touched. They were responsible for the death and destruction of all this wildlife. I didn’t count myself among their number.

I made a last ditch attempt to free myself from this burden. Humans didn’t listen to reason, they only cared about what benefited them.  They would pay for laying waste to the forests. They would pay for driving animals out of their homes. They would pay for uprooting plants from their habitat.

It was all the humans fault. Their industrial revolution; building things at the expense of others. It would come back to haunt them. I would make sure of it.

I didn’t have full control over my plant powers, but I knew I could rely on them to do what I wanted. To bring vengeance down upon the human menace.

I might have been content to leave them alone if I didn’t hear the constant screaming inside my head day and night; in my every waking moment and in my dreams as well. It was like having a drill constantly mining away at my brain.

CRACK! It was an agonising shift in my fingers whenever I called the vines to me. Every time I felt the change grow stronger. I didn’t know how to both keep my power, and halt the change. Part of me welcomed it, though the other part just wanted to stay the same.

I would do to the humans what was slowly happening to me. Yes, poetic justice. I’d infect them with plant genes. Then I would watch them trying to survive in their urban metropolis. It would take a lot of strength, but it would be worth it. I forced myself to create balls of swirling energy. The downside was that it was a bit too obvious. Humans ran and fought against anything they didn’t understand. They might escape my curse. Just as my muscles were about to give out, I condensed the energy to vapour. That would do. A swirling mist to encase and infect them.

Hahahaha. I walked for miles to the nearest town and watched the chaos unfold. It worked better than I’d ever imagined. I heard them crying out as they struggled to walk, could hear the conversion in my mind. Their thoughts were being simplified into matters which only concerned plants: food, water, sunlight and procreation. The newly converted plants were weak willed. I knew I could control them if I so desired. Why was I doing this? It was part vengeance; I felt the plants’ pain and wanted the cause of it to pay. But it was also to stop the pain. I couldn’t live with it any longer. It was slowly killing me.

Kathryx

Damn. I was going to kill whoever cursed me to this existence. No one harmed me and got away with it. No one harmed Kathryx without consequences. I had survived unspeakable torments.

As soon as I saw the eerie green mist I knew it was malevolent. I knew my body was changing. I could feel the crippling pain that accompanied it. Arrgh. It was like my body was being torn in two, and only half of me wanted to resist. But the other part, the part which was already damned, did not. I would find whoever did this, and they would pay. On my life they would pay.

The sunlight. It was like a blinding inferno of heavenly day. It nourished the vines that were slowly creeping up my face, but it burned my eyes. I was torn between sacred night and heavenly fire. As a vampire, daylight was my enemy. As a plant, it was quickly becoming my friend.

I suppose my vampiric nature was the reason I wasn’t like the humans. It didn’t matter now anyway. I was dead, whether man or woman or vampire. Plants didn’t bleed. My entire food source had been wiped out in one fell swoop. I had no desire to turn into a piece of shrubbery, but my wishes were of no concern. My body was fighting the battle for me. No sword or spear or arrow could fix this; no weapon could. But rendering the person who did this limb from limb, would make me the happiest creature alive.

I tried to resist the overwhelming urge to claw the vines off my face. They would only grow back again. I had tried that already, which resulted in a mauled face. All I could smell was the infestation of plants. When this was all over, if I was still myself, I was going to set fire to them all. Then I spotted it. Food. Human food. If the person wasn’t greenified yet it meant they had something to do with this.

Everything was slowing down. My feet were dragging. I just couldn’t maintain my speed. Once I was but a blip in the eyes of humans, and now I was struggling to walk. I had to find this person before I became rooted to the spot.

There she was. The red haired menace who started all this. I could see it in her eyes. That spark of violence I saw so often in my own kind. Oh, she was going to the feel the wrath of the last vampire alive.

I had my throwing knives out and began to slice the vines off her body as I charged straight at her with red in my eyes. The vines grew back as soon as I severed them.

“Stop it, please. You’re hurting them,” the menace pleaded.

Hurt plants? Oh, I’d show her hurt. She didn’t even know the meaning of pain. Try being left to starve underground, and trying to claw your way to the surface after having acid thrown on your decaying body.

“You change me back now before I decide your corpse is more useful to me,” I commanded.

She was scared. I could see the tears rolling down her face and hear the palpitations of her heart. This little snip of a girl thought she could destroy everything on the planet and not suffer the consequences? Naïve.

I suppose I should have been worried when I saw that glint in her eyes. But what could a human teenager do to me a vampire? Really?

Ugh. The vines were constricting around my body. I could feel the pressure round my neck. I held my breath, but I knew I didn’t have long before suffocation became a real concern.

“Look who’s in control now,” the human taunted.

No human was going to best me. I was the predator, not the prey. I just had to move my arms. The vines. If I ripped them off I might have enough time to kill her before they regrew. It would hurt though; tear my face. The regrowth would take a decade, even with my healing abilities. Disfigurement was better than death by strangulation, and by a human no less.

I tore my razor sharp nails across my face, screaming even as I took one of my knives from the floor and plunged it into her chest.

Instantly, the vines released me. As I stood panting, the human was breathing her last breath. I could feel the infection slowly retract from my body. The plant life began to wither as I watched her pained struggles.

I was free though. Free at last. Before I collapsed from the strain, I heard the human’s last words.

“Vira. My name is Vira” she said, and then promptly died.


http://louisefindlaybooks.com

Read my print books http://lulu.com/spotlight/angel7090695001

Read my eBooks http://smashwords.com/profile/view/angel7090695001


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 25: Fantasy Squad – Vampires

VThe origins of the vampire myth are difficult to pinpoint, but certainly vampires have been around for centuries. There is a belief that vampires were born of sorcery in ancient Egypt – the summoning of a demon into our world. The Chinese jiangshi are wrathful dieties who attack people to drain their life essence. They appear in a variety of works, such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Vampire by KaloqnStoqnov Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Illustrations / Conceptual©2007-2015 KaloqnStoqnov

Vampire by KaloqnStoqnov
Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Illustrations / Conceptual©2007-2015 KaloqnStoqnov

There are many elements of the lore people associate with vampires, but interpretations vary considerably. Some consider them shape shifters, able to turn into bats or wolves. In some tales they have a reflection, in others they don’t – a fact which helps to identify their true nature. There are differing views and depictions on sunlight, and holy water, and the ways in which people defend against the creatures are also many and varied.

There is no doubt that writers enjoy to play with the rules, as it were. The one reoccurring theme, which is rarely deviated from, is that vampires drain a body of its life energy – normally blood. The idea that you become a vampire by being bitten is a one of the modern interpretations. Earlier beliefs relate to a vampire being identified at birth.

Superstition clearly plays a role in the creation of vampires, especially in their association with death. The most famous vampire is perhaps the character created by Bram Stoker. This interpretation could be based on the Romanian prince Vlad Tepes, who is actually viewed by some, not as a blood sucking monster, but as a hero who defended his people.

Besides Stoker, vampires were also used in the Penny Dreadful serial publication. Vampires play an important part in classic horror films, including Nosferatu and the 1931 film Dracula, staring Bela Lugosi.

There are a multitude of references in film, literature, gaming and television. Rather than listing them, I’d prefer hear from you. What’s your favourite depiction? Let’s talk vampires!

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

Mel

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