Thursday, June 27, 2013

Good Intentions: A DragonEye Novella for The Midnight Diner

I'm thrilled to announce that Good Intentions: A DragonEye Novella, will be published in serial in The NEW Midnight Diner.  (They are currently fundraising via indigogo, which I talked about on Monday.  If you are a fan of Christian spec-fic with a rough, realistic edge, please consider helping them out.  Like all fundraisers, there are prizes, including a chance to be a character in the novella.) 

Good Intentions is one of the serious DragonEye stories, dealing with murder, immigration issues, and racism of a different kind. 

The story opens when Guster Brody, an immigration officer, is found dead by his wife--an obvious suicide.  Or is it?  Guster is a faithful Catholic, and Sister Grace is convinced he would never commit such a terrible sin.  Mrs Brody insists that her husband was troubled.  Grace, however, is not alone in her suspicions.  Brody had helped several Faerie folk gain US citizenship or legal immigrant status, and one of his former clients approaches Vern and Grace with her suspicions.  The next morning, she's found dead.

While the police chalk that up to anti-Faerie gang activity, neither Grace nor Vern--nor the deceased woman's husband--are buying it.  As thier investigations get closer to the truth, the villain gets more desperate, sending a wight to possess Grace and even trying to blow up their car.  Who else must die before Vern and Grace discover the killer.

Hey, for $80, it could be you!

I'm so excited to write this story for The Midnight Diner.  I'm looking forward to the challenge of writing a serial again.  (My first one was World Gathering, which became Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem; and I have some others I've done as fundraisers that I plan to publish as novellas in the future.)  I also think The Midnight Diner will be a terrific quarterly magazine.   Please check out the fundraiser, and in 2014, check out the magazine itself.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Circuit Torture: Technology vs Intuition

Last week, I remarked that Rob got me to use an app called Noom.  It tracks calories and workouts and tells you how much you can eat.  It works terrifically for Rob.  He's lost 6 pounds since starting circuit training and using the Noom program, in only three weeks.  However, the first week I tried it, I gained a pound and two percent body fat.  This despite the fact that I was doing double workouts and walking the dog daily.

Well, last week, I lost my phone.  (It got put in the second shelf of the cat scratcher, where the cat never sits, but which for some reason collects stuff.)  It has been a different kind of week, with a lot less exercise, though the weekday workouts continued.  Without the phone, I was back to guessing what I should eat and basically following my body's signals.  Turns out I lost a pound this week, even considering I had too much pizza and a soda last night.

The lesson for me is that, when I listen, I know my body's needs better than a computer program.  The program was actually encouraging me to overeat, because all my exercise gave me extra calories to consume (and keep in mind that it would only give back part of what I burned in exercise, yet that was still too much for me to process.)

I'm not dissing the program, btw.  It works great for Rob.  It gives him guidelines and discipline he needs, and as he noted, his intuition works far better with externals than listening to his body.  The program is kind of fun, too, if you get into tracking stuff, which I usually do.  In this case, however, I think I'll stick to my weekly measurings and just listen to my body on a daily basis.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The New Midnight Diner Coming Soon, and Will Feature a DragonEye story!

There's nothing quite as exciting to an author as being asked to do a story for a magazine.  I received that honor last month from Lincoln Crisler, new managing editor of The Midnight Diner. I've long been interested in contributing to their annual anthologies, but I never seemed to have a story ready for them, so needless to say, I'm thrilled.

I'm also thrilled to see The Midnight Diner opening for business on a more regular basis.  Here, you'll find some great stories in a Christian-friendly setting that aren't preachy or whitewashed.  Trust me, I know Lincoln:  the man loves realistic, rough-around the edges tales of people who struggle.

In order for them to launch under a new format (and pay their contributors, another joy!), they are having a fundraising campaign.  Lincoln gives the details below, but I have a special surprise as well...  See where it says "Become a character in the serial novella?"  That's a DragonEye story!  You will have the chance to be in a case with Vern and Sister Grace.  (One of two spots has already been claimed!)

Thursday, I'll tell you a little about the story, Good Intentions.  For now, please read what Lincoln has to say, and if you can spare even a dollar or two for a worthy cause, click the link and help out.

Kicking Off The NEW Midnight Diner Fundraiser!

Some of you may be aware that, as of a couple months ago, I became the Managing Editor of The Midnight Diner. Since 2007, The Diner has been released as an annual, print anthology of hardboiled genre fiction with a Christian slant. No restrictions on God, no restrictions on reality. If you're familiar with my CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? anthology, it's pretty much the same take on spirituality as my take on superpowers--as gritty, realistic and non-bullcrap as you can get.

When I stepped into the Managing Editor's role, my first order of business was to help Editor-in-Chief Michelle Pendergrass turn the Diner into a paying market. To that end, we decided to make a couple of moves. One was to change the Diner's format from yearly print antho to digital quarterly, and to expand the types of creative efforts we'll encompass. The Diner will now have a poem, two short stories, an essay and a serial novella chapter in each issue, with the potential for an annual print collection at a later date. The other was to develop an operating budget--what it would cost to do the Diner right, for the first year.

In order to raise our first year operating budget, we've set up an Indiegogo fundraiser that will run until August 19th. We're not simply coming to you with our hands out, though. In exchange for the funding we need to pay some small expenses plus a decent chunk of change to our artists and authors, we're giving away some pretty good incentives.
  • FREE Digital Back Issues of the Diner!
  • Yearly Digital Subscriptions to the NEW Diner!
  • Become a Character in our Year One Serial Novella!
  • Edit/Critique of Your Own Written Work by our Editors!
So, check out the fundraiser here, and please consider donating and/or spreading the word to your networks. We have some great things planned, and we'd love for YOU to be a part of it!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Alugiac: the redeemed villain in the Mind Over Trilogy

Last week, a group I'm in started discussing anti-heroes and complex heroes, and it got me thinking about my villain, Alugiac, from the Mind Over trilogy.  I thought I'd share his growth from villain to redeemed hero. 

In Mind Over Mind, Deryl, a psychic human, has been manipulated by an alien called Alugiac.  Alugiac would come to him in his dreams, teach him fighting skills (first with swords, then with his telepathy) and indoctrinate him.  At first, the lessons were a welcome escape from the grief of losing his mother, but eventually they started changing Deryl’s attitudes.  They manifested themselves in the waking world, too, until he psychically stops the heart of a bully who’d tormented him.  (Deryl does CPR and brings the boy back, but this is the last straw, and he’s institutionalized.)  Alugiac leaves him alone for awhile, but comes back to resume training, and Deryl realizes he wants to use him as a long-distance weapon in the fight against another world.  Deryl refuses and managed to fight him off.  This one is out by DragonMoon, BTW.

In the second book, Mind Over Psyche, Deryl teleports to an alien world called Kanaan, where he meets and falls in love with Tasmae, who is psychically linked to her planet.  She can manipulate the weather, even to redirecting earthquakes and quelling volcanoes.  She also has a rare talent: being able to harness the energy of her world and the life on it and use that to repel a planet that periodically comes too close to hers. (They call the planet Barin.) They are at war with Barin, and in the last war, she was nearly killed by one of her people who went insane and turned traitor:  Alugiac.  Alugiac has joined the Barin and is in fact their Great Prophet and the religious leader that united the nations of Barin.  Alugiac catchies Deryl and Tasmae in a psychic netherworld.  He gives Deryl a choice:  Obey him and have everything he wants (including Tasmae) or die and Tasmae with him.  Of course, they fight back, and in the end, Deryl breaks through Alugiac’s insanity. However, they leave Alugiac in the netherworld, struggling to come to terms with all he’s done.  This one comes out in September.

In the final book, Mind Over All (which I’m writing), Alugiac is back, only with a twist.  Deryl is working with him to try to stop the war between Kanaan (where Deryl and Tasmae live) and Barin, where Alugiac is the Great Prophet.  Here’s the fun thing:  Alugiac went insane because he realized that each time someone like Tasmae used her power to repel Barin, they basically cause worldwide disasters.  The Barin live underground because their world is barely habitable most of the year.  They depend on their technology and know that the world is thrown out of orbit every few centuries, but don’t know why.  Alugiac, who was Tasmae’s Godfather, knows why—and he knows that she is the most powerful of her kind.  She won’t just move Barin, with all the horrible repercussions.  She will destroy it, and probably Kanaan as well.  That’s why he was trying to kill her, and unable to do it “in person,” was training Deryl as a psychic assassin. The Barin also realize their planet is doomed, which is why they are planning a full exodus to Kanaan. Deryl, of course, is working toward a better solution, but in the meantime, the strain is pushing Alugiac back toward his insanity from before.  So he’ll be fighting himself as well as the people of Barin, trying to convince them to stand down and trust in God.

I’m just about to the really fun scenes, where Deryl goes to Barin to try to save that world.  He’s known there (thanks to Alugiac the Prophet) as God’s Wrath, which was supposed to be used against Kanaan.  Deryl’s best friend from Earth, Joshua, is going with him.  He’ll be known as God’s Mercy.  I’m still not sure how it will work out, but I do know that in the end, Alugiac will sacrifice himself to overcome his dark side, but not before he nearly kills Tasmae.

When I started writing the first book, I had no idea this was where it would lead.  Alugiac was supposed to stay the villain, but he's far more interesting as a redeemed one.

What do you think of redeemed villains?  Who's your favorite and why?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Real World Weight Loss, Month Five

Time again for the monthly update. This was a rougher month because Rob was home (hooray!) but that meant we didn't eat as well.  Also, he got me using this app called Noom to count calories.  Well, it only works so far.  If I had "extra calories" that day, I'd treat myself.  I discovered (after gaining weight despite extra workouts and staying under my calorie count) that, at least for my body, it does matter the kind of calories I consume, not just the amount. 

Here are the photos.  I have to admit; I don't see that much difference in them.  However, I know from measuring that I've lost 25 inches and 16 pounds overall, and I am feeling a major difference in my clothes.  Stuff that hasn't fit comfortably for years now is a little loose.

Here are the measurements:

15-Jan 14-Jun
total loss

weight 169 152.2
16.8 lb dec
body fat 38.5 33
5.5 dec
chest 38.7 34.6
4.1 dec
bust 41.1 38
3.1 dec
waist 39 32.9
6.1 dec
hips 42.8 38.2
4.6 dec
abs 42 36
6.0 dec
thigh 22 21.8
.2 dec
calf 15 14.9
.1 dec
bicep 11.6 11.8
.2 inc
forearm 10 9.5
.5 dec
neck 15 13.9
1.1 dec
Total loss

25.6 inches

Monday, June 17, 2013

Late post, so I'm babbling.

I could say this blog is late because it was a crazy weekend, but that would be lying.  I slept a lot, read a funny book (review later), watched reruns of Primeval, and generally enjoyed a lazy weekend.  I'm sleeping a lot lately.  I'm not sure if it's allergies or recovering from ten months without Rob (and the subsequent restless nights, which were exacerbated by a cat who seemed to miss him even more than I did.)

They say working out is supposed to fill you with energy, but I do not find this is the case.  How about you?  BTW, sorry about missing last Wednesday.  No excuses, just got lazy. Speaking of sleep and exercise, Rob has added a new dimension to Circuit Torture:  Early Mornings!  Yes, we night owls go to bed around midnight, but since he has to be at work by 0800, we are doing the 6 am circuit training classes now.  Know what else that means?  Breakfast at 7:15, and it's only 10:15, and I'm ready for lunch! Did you know Mimi's Mediterranean fettuccine has 1222 calories?  That's more than my day's allowance!

Since Rob's come home, I've let a lot of stuff slack off, and last night, I could not get to sleep for all the things in my head, so I wrote a meta list of things to do before vacation and things to do after and before retirement/house selling etc.  It's a huge list, but it's got me moving, anyway.  Now, to get kidlets moving, too. 

Post some random thoughts in the comments today, and let's get a convo going!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

DragonEye Stories in Loose Chronological Order

Folks have asked me where Greater Treasures fits in the "Vern canon."  (It makes me laugh that no matter how I try to identify this as DragonEye, folks call them "Vern stories") Here are all the stories to date, published and unpublished, in a loose order as Vern has lived them.  If they are available to purchase or read, I've included the link.

“Of Slings and Feeling Vexed” in 10Flash
“Siren Spell”

“DragonEye, PI” in Firestorm of Dragons:

“It’s Petty Pace” in 10Flash

“A La Mode”

“Sins of the Brother” in Weird Noir:

“Pandarus’ Valentine’s Day Massacre”

“Beautification Claws” in Bards and Sages Quarterly:

“Brother Silence” in Residential Aliens:

“Mishmash” in Book of Tentacles

“Christmas Spirits”

“Pandarus Returns”

“Amateurs” in The Sword Review:

“Royal Scam”

“Home Improvements” in Residential Aliens:

“Coyote Fires”

“Fern Gullible”

“Thief Whisperer” in The Prairie Dawg:

“Los Lagos Heat” in Manifesto: UF



Monday, June 10, 2013

Mini-Review: Maximilian Kolbe: Saint of Auschwitz by Elaine Murray Stone

Summary:  Based on first-hand information. Here is the first English biography for middle graders on Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish Franciscan who, at Auschwitz, offered himself in exchange for the life of a man with two children. The biography covers Kolbe's early life, his work as a journalist, and his founding of Niepokalanow, the world's largest friary. Kolbe's act of love and faith teaches young readers important lessons that Christianity means more than just going to church, that the Holocaust actually happened, and that saints can be as real and modern as the person standing next to you in line. For first-hand research, the author traveled to Poland to visit where Kolbe lived and to interview people who actually knew him, including his cousin, his secretary, and one of his students. In addition, the foreword is by Ted Wojtkowski, a fellow camp prisoner and now a well-known Polish American who was standing close to Kolbe when he made his offer of self-sacrifice. Kolbe's story is ideal for children of Polish descent, parochial schools, parish libraries, classes in cultural diversity, and classes on World War II or the Holocaust. And, while written simply enough for children, this book will move all readers showing just how much the human spirit can achieve.

Mini-Review:  Love, love, love this book.  I bought it when I was researching Kolbe, not only becuse it has first person accounts, but it was written for young adults/middle grade readers, so I figured I'd get a quick overview of the life of the saint.  Fuggedaboutit!  Stone easily matches any adult level biography for information and outshines most for writing skill.  Highly recommended for religious education teachers or for anyone wanting to know more about this remarkable man.

Get it on Amazon:

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Congratulations, Amber!

My girl graduates today!

Ready for new adventures, with her trusty sidekick, Beau the Incredible Galumphing Basset.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Circuit Torture, et Training: Feel the Burn

I was going to take photos this week, but something happened.  I'll do it next week, promise.  In the meantime, check out these lovely knees!

I slipped on the treadmill Thursday.  (It's Friday morning as I write this.)  Not sure what happened.  I was getting off and must have gotten my foot half on the moving tread and it slipped out from under me.  Of course, that was not the bad part.  I was still hanging on, so my feet were flying, people were running to me, and I was trying to figure out how to hit the emergency stop without letting go,

Here's the irony:  I accidentally smack that emergency stop key on a regular basis, but the one time I needed it, I could not reach the dern thing.  Even worse, I know how it works--you hit it, the treads SLOW to a stop.  That's an important detail.

So Ryion and Kelly are running to me, others are asking if I'm ok, and I finally realize I can contort down and rub off the stop key with my chin.  I do so.

And then the idjit in me thinks, "Phew! I can let go now!"  Whereupon the treads  sweep me away until my heels bang the back wall, which is close to the end of the treadmill.  I grab the sides to push up, but my knees are stuck  against the slowing-but-still-moving tread, so for a few seconds, it's pain, pain, pain, baby, feel the burn!

I'm fine.  Didn't do any spectacular flips, no broken bones.  Just REALLY scraped, bruised  knees.

But, hey, let's find a little humor in the situation.  leave me your best applicable pun in the comments below.  If I get more than five different people commenting, I'll pick the funniest and give you a free e-copy of one of my books!

After all, we kneed to laugh at things like this.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Thief: Book One in the Sevy Series by Sarah-Jane Lehoux

Today, I'm touring my cover artist and friend, Sarah-Jane Lehoux, for her Sevy book series as part of her blog tour.  Read on, and leave a comment for her for a chance to win a copy of Thief!

 Synopsis: Happily Ever After Doesn't Come Without a Price
In the crumbling city of Eloria, there are two indisputable facts. First, everyone has a dream. Secret, seemingly unattainable, altogether irresistible, it is the kind of dream that aches and, at times, burns. For most, it will forever remain a teasing enigma, but there are those for whom dreams grow into obsession. Which brings us to the second indisputable fact: everyone has a price. Protestations of morality have little meaning when confronted with the all-consuming passion of the soul. Better judgment is pushed aside for the chance to obtain the unobtainable. The only question remaining is just how much a person is willing to sacrifice in order to get what they want.


“A wooden sword?”

“Safer this way. You don’t get a real one until I’m sure you can handle it,” Revik replied.

“What do you take me for? I can handle the real thing.” She threw the sword onto the ground and kicked some dirt over it for good measure.

“Pick it up, princess, and let’s get started. If it makes you feel any better I’m using a wooden one too.”

Sevy pouted. After days of hounding Jarro, reminding him of his promise, he finally asked Revik to train her. And now this? As soon as it looked as though they were going to start taking her seriously, they went and gave her a toy? A dozen curses deluged her mind and she was about to tell Revik exactly what she thought about him and his stupid sword.

Soft laughter interrupted her tirade before it could begin. Jarro and Irea were seated across the courtyard under the shade of the lone tree, sharing a bottle of wine. He purred into her ear and from Irea’s giggles, she obviously liked what she heard.

Sevy narrowed her eyes and scooped the sword up, pointing it at Revik. “Let’s go.”
Revik bowed. “Attack.”

With a yell, Sevy charged, swinging vertically, aiming for his head. Revik blocked her attack. She slashed at him again, but he parried her strike and then thrust his sword forward. The tip touched her stomach.

“Now you’re dead,” he said, smirking. “Attack.”

This time, she tried to come at him from the side. Once again he parried the blow then swung down. The edge of his sword glanced against her left thigh.

“And now you have no legs.”

“This is stupid!”

“No, you’re stupid.”

She scoffed then took a swipe at him when she thought he wasn’t looking. He clamped onto her wrist with one hand and, with the other, bashed his sword right smack on the top of her head. “Nobody likes a sneak, my dear.”

“Revik,” Jarro called. “Play nice!”

“Yes, Mother. Fine. We’ll start with the basics. This, Sevy, is a sword. You use it to kill things.”

“Can we just get on with this?” Sevy sighed.

“In a hurry, are you? Have someplace you’d rather be? I can certainly think of a few places I’d rather be, and let me assure you they involve a lot less moaning, and a lot more wine and topless women. Well, maybe a little moaning. But stop trying to distract me with all your talk of moaning, naked women. You’re the one who wanted to learn how to fight after all.”

“You are the strangest man I’ve ever met.”

“First things first. Your posture is horrible. Stand like so. Back straight. But not rigid. No, no, no!”

It took a while before Sevy positioned herself the way Revik was, and even longer before she held the sword as he wanted her to. Then he started on footwork.

“Step step forward. Step step back. Like this. See?”

“Are we fighting or dancing? Can’t we just skip to the part where I stab you?”

He laughed. “Here, let’s try this. Hold your sword like so.” He repositioned her with both hands on the hilt of her sword so that she held it parallel to her body. “Now if I thrust forward like this, simply push my blade away. Perfect. Let’s try that again.”

Slowly, Revik went through various blocking methods, and Sevy thought she was catching on quickly. It was much easier than learning how to read, that was for sure. And despite his teasing, Revik was an excellent teacher and he didn’t mind having to repeat himself whenever she started to struggle. Her biggest problem, he told her, was her impatience, which would lead to fatal mistakes in a real battle.

“Don’t just look for the easy win.” He gave her a whack to her side that left her breathless. “You’re leaving yourself wide open. Come on now. Don’t just stand there like an idiot.”

“Well, that hurt!”

“Good. It’s supposed to.”

Which was worse: Jarro’s sympathetic chuckle or Irea’s mocking laughter? It was hard to tell.

With a sigh, she thrust at him half-heartedly. He parried, but she was able to block his counter attack. A bit amazed with herself, she thrust again with more force.

“Nice! Now faster.”

She nodded and came at him again, her movements becoming more fluid with each pass. Revik taunted her, calling her a sissy and a milksop until she was goaded enough to call him names back. That helped to liven things up and Sevy relaxed into the rhythm of the fight.

“Looking good, sweetheart!” Jarro said, and she grinned over at him, but was humbled when Revik took advantage of her distraction.

The white sun of summer crowned the sky and focused its rays on the combatants below. The sweat and the heat only heightened Sevy’s exhilaration as though she were siphoning energy from the sun itself. She stripped to her undershirt, no longer shamed by her body. It wasn’t skinny or childlike. It was lean and wiry. Powerful. The bruises spreading from Revik’s hits were marks of valour.

She was ecstatic that Jarro was watching her, cheering her on and shouting out warnings, instead of paying that snooty elf more undeserved compliments. When Revik called a time out to get a ladle of water from the well, Sevy ran to Jarro for more direct encouragement. “How am I doing?”

“Fantastic!” He handed her his glass of wine. “You’re a natural.”

“Not bad, girl, but don’t get too cocky. Revik’s going easy on you.” Irea leaned her head to rest on Jarro’s chest. She lifted her hand and twirled her fingers through his hair. Sevy was suddenly reminded of the sewer troll possessively guarding its food.

And just like that, she was once again an awkward child, her confidence secreted away like the sun behind the clouds. She turned from them, grumbling.

“Hurry up,” Revik said. “Let’s go again.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

He laughed. “Try not to sound too eager. I’m going to attack. Defend yourself.”

He swung horizontally to cut her across the waist; she countered with difficulty. They went back and forth for a while, but the fun was gone. Revik grew impatient with her lackluster swings and doubled his insults, which did help rally her spirits somewhat. She pressed forward, backing Revik up. For a moment, Sevy actually thought she was winning. But, as Irea had said, he was just going easy on her, and as soon as he grew bored with her advances, he parried her strike and deftly leapt over her head, landing behind her. Before she could face him, he kicked her in the back and sent her sprawling onto the ground.

Irea’s boisterous laugh crackled off the courtyard walls like the sound of ice breaking in the spring thaw.

“No fair,” Sevy groaned, spitting the dirt out of her mouth.

“Nothing in the rules against it.”

“Not so rough, Revik,” Jarro called at the same time Irea shouted, “Good one!” Sevy cursed her under her breath.

“I heard that,” Revik said, not attempting to hide his merriment. He leaned in and whispered, “And I agree.”

Sevy couldn’t help but slip a smile. At least her nerves weren’t the only ones that Irea gnawed upon. She’d seen Irea and Revik butt heads on more than one occasion, usually instigated by one of Irea’s snide, borderline bigoted comments, always said out of Jarro’s earshot, of course. Sevy dusted her clothes off and picked up her sword.

“That’s the spirit, Sevy. Show ‘em what a stubborn little beastie you are!”

“Is that supposed to be a compliment?”

He came at her. She deflected his blow and then swung her sword low. He countered and thrust forward. She was expecting this and instead of trying to parry, she jumped to the side then grabbed his arm, pulling him off balance. As he stumbled, she swung and he just barely avoided her blow.

“Well done.”

She smiled and looked to Jarro for acknowledgment. Her face fell when she saw that, at that moment in time, there was nothing in Jarro’s world but soft red hair and full red lips. Irea winked at Sevy before deepening the kiss, practically climbing on top of him right then and there.

“Hey! Pay attention!” Revik yelled.

She may not have been a dark elf, but Sevy’s eyes flashed with fire just as brightly as any of theirs. Anger boiled over inside of her and she rushed at Revik with a roar.

Their blades clashed together. They were face to face, Sevy straining to force Revik’s sword away, Revik laughing at the abrupt change in her demeanor. “Well, aren’t you just a little hellion?”

“Go bugger yourself!” she snarled, though the remark wasn’t really directed at him.

Revik shifted his weight forward onto his left leg and, with his right, kicked Sevy in the shin, causing her to falter. She crashed to the ground and managed to roll away just before his sword came down upon her. Eyes narrowed, she rushed up at him, butting her head into his side. He fell back a few steps then pushed her off. 

“I guess you’re the type who has to learn the hard way, huh? You really think you can get one up on me on your first day?”

“Shut up and fight!”

“Sure. Whatever you say.”

Three seconds. That’s how long it took for Revik to knock the sword from her hands and strike her not one, but five times, each hit more brutal than the last. Finally, he struck across her legs, rendering them useless. She lay broken on the ground, panting into her arms, waiting for the stinging to subside.

Revik sat down beside her and patted her back. “Good job today.”


“No, really. A valiant effort for a beginner. But tomorrow, what say we go somewhere the witch can’t watch? The stench of her dirty gash was distracting. Hey, Jarro,” he said, raising his voice. “Didn’t our little girl do wonderful today?”

Jarro was suddenly beside her, helping her to her feet as she wheezed with laughter and pain.

“Extremely. I’m impressed. I honestly thought Revik would have crippled you by now.”

“I think this deserves a celebration, don’t you? Booze at the Heart. Wait, no. Let’s go across the river and get you one of those fancy drinks all the sophisticated ladies rave about. Jarro’s buying.”


“Don’t play the miser now, my friend, this was…”

Sevy ignored their teasing exchange as she glanced over to the tree where Irea still sat, lips pursed in a sour pucker. Sevy blew her a kiss before threading one arm through Jarro’s and the other through Revik’s. While the three of them strolled off together, Irea was left alone, forgotten and muttering.
Good excerpt, huh?  Love a well-written fight!

If you enjoyed it, too and want to win a free book.  Leave a comment or question for Sarah.  We'll take comments until 5 pm tomorrow, then I'll pick a winner.

If you don't want to take the chance, you can purchase the book here: