The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Tag: reading (Page 1 of 2)

Ten Things Making Me Happy

In response to a great deal of awful things from the start of this year, I want to share with you ten things in my personal life that are making me happy.

While Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday, the message of love it conveys is worth spreading.  Rather than keep it to one day designed to generate revenue for florists, chocolatiers and card companies, I think spreading love every day is a fine thing.

10 Things Making me HappyLove begins with the self.  When I love myself, and my life, I can give more love out.  When I am grateful for these things I love, I draw more things to love to me.

This is the Law of Attraction in action.  Consciousness Creates Reality.  The actions we give our thoughts and feelings to will draw good or bad into our lives.

One of the main reasons I write this blog, and post three times a week, is to remind myself about the importance of this.  I desire to manifest some pretty amazing things into my life, and that requires me to be grateful for what I already have.  Sometimes this can be difficult, not because of a lack of gratitude, but more because of outside influences making me feel negative.

Spend any amount of time on Facebook or other social media, and see how positive you can stay.  Read one article about the incredible selfishness of the US President and Congress, and try not to get angry.  When the hobby world I like to spend time in experiences derision, it can be incredible frustrating.

The Ramblings of the Titanium Don, with Positivity on Mondays, Pathwalking on Wednesdays, and Crossing the Bridges on Fridays, is where I can offer up empathy for an all-too-often senseless world.  Thus, I give you some love today.

Ten Things that are making ME happy.

This is in no particular order, fyi.

  1. My friends. I have some of the most incredible friends. They offer me love and support and sounding boards as I walk my crazy paths.  You are incredible people, and you make me very, very happy.
  2. My wife. This might get a tad sappy, and she will probably tell you that this makes her throw-up in her mouth a little. I married an incredible woman.  She is my partner, my equal, my favorite companion.  It never ceases to amaze me how much having someone who understands me like she does matters.  She makes me very, very, happy.
  3. The SCA. The Society for Creative Anachronism has played an integral part of my life for over 26 years now. I have met amazing, talented, wonderful people playing this game, and found my favorite hobby.  Also, the SCA helped get me out of my shell, and I believe is why I am more extrovert than introvert now.
  4. Fencing. While this is a part of the SCA, I need to put it here separately. I have found very few things in life that bring me such joy.  Everything about fencing I love, from the various weapons to the melee combat to the people doing it.  I love teaching fencing to new people almost as much as I love fighting.  If I am having a lousy day, fencing practices ALWAYS make me happy.
  5. Writing. Putting words to the page is joy. I can make words fly and sing in ways that even surprise me from time to time.  Even when I find myself having trouble writing this blog, words on the page make me happy.

Five things that make me happy down, five to go.

  1. Reading. I do not read enough. This isn’t about articles online or social media, this is about books.  Fiction, non-fiction, self-help, whatever…reading is weightlifting for the mind.  No matter how strong I think I am now, reading will make me stronger.  That makes me happy.
  2. Music. As I am writing this, my Writer’s Mix is playing off my old MacBook. This mix is largely movie and TV scores, including the various Star Wars films, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and more.  Also, some classical music and cinematic New-Age by David Arkenstone.  In the car, I usually rock out or play something to sing along to.  Music, however, can alter my mood, and ultimate contribute to being happy.
  3. My cats. We have two cats. They are brats in their own unique way, but when they purr and do adorable things, it’s hard not to feel happy.
  4. My office. We recently moved, and with this I gained a home office. I have created a space that feels akin to a pillow-fort from childhood.  Comfortable, warm, and thoroughly ME.  Every time I come in here, I am home, and that makes me happy.
  5. You. Yes, this is utterly cheesy, but knowing that you have read this, and are reading my blog, makes me incredibly happy. Whether you agree or disagree with the things I write, it makes me happy to know that you read me.  Thank you!

Life can be rough.  We all go through difficult times.  But we can always find things that will make it better.

Hold on to your happy.

When we stressed out, and we feel bad, and the world seems terrible, there is always something we can find that will remind us of happiness.  Nobody can or frankly should be happy all the time.  But even when we are sad, angry, grieving, depressed, or otherwise feeling negative, we can seek out and find things that are happy.  I hope that by sharing some of mine, I can help you find yours.

As always, thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!

 

This is the seventy-first entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series.  My collectively published writing can be found here.

Please take a moment to subscribe to my blog (even if you did so before the blog was reformatted).  Fill in the info and click the submit button below and receive your free eBook.  Thank you!

Seven Sources to Inspire Positivity

Sources to inspire Positivity can be found anywhere.

Some sources of inspiration are easier to come by than others.  Yet knowing we have an endless pool of resources, we can be inspired and find Positivity in all sorts of unexpected places.

It’s important to keep in mind that inspiration doesn’t need to be a grandiose, earth-shattering something.  We can be inspired by surprisingly mundane and uncomplicated things.  Inspiration can be that simple spark that gets you to eat healthy, to go to the gym, to keep a journal, to make a shift for the better.  Sometimes it’s the littlest, straightforward things that can lead to the grandest changes.

What are some examples of simple inspiration?   The following list is by no means complete, but reveals a range of simple sources of inspiration to build positivity.

  1. Music. I think we often forget just how amazingly powerful music is.  We can listen to a slow, melancholy tune and reflect on the past, or get pumped to take a run by a heavy beat.  Music can be an incredible source of inspiration.
  2. Light. Sometimes a brightly lit room or a sunny sky can totally inspire your feelings.  There is something about light that can inspire emotions like nothing else.
  3. Dark. There is something to be said for the void that is dark.  When you take away one of your senses, you often heighten others.  When we are in darkness we can see less, which in turn opens imagination in possibly unexpected and inspirational ways.
  4. Color. Color can change our mood, it can make us feel warm or cold, it can be a source of inspiration to awaken all sorts of desire for change.
  5. People. Just spending time with other people can open you up to inspiration.  Maybe someone you know is doing something pretty amazing.  Or maybe you have people to work with to learn new ideas.
  6. Meditation. When you manage to pause and still your mind, you open yourself to all sorts of possibilities.  That’s one of the cool things about meditation – you open yourself up to communicate with Universal Energy, and since that is the source of everything, anything is possible.
  7. Reading. I think everyone I know has had a moment where they read something that opened up channels in their mind they were not expecting.  They found an idea they had not considered, and that inspired something that may not have occurred to them otherwise.

These seven sources are extremely common, are generally encountered every single day, and frequently are just in the background of our lives.  Yet they still have the power to inspire us to change, to try new things, to experience a fuller, more positive life.

You can never have too many sources for inspiration to create more positivity.

Finding positivity is not hard, but it does require action.  Knowing that we have endless resources to source out inspiration, we can also see that we have numerous options to generate positivity.  When we get inspired we learn, we grow, we change, we become energized and we empower ourselves.  When we feel empowered, we often spread that feeling to others around us, and as such can build more positive feelings in the collective consciousness.  We can use the positive feelings this generates to dissolve negative feelings.  When we take away negative feelings, we open up space to let in positive feelings, and that is something we can be grateful for.  Gratitude leads to happiness.  Happiness is the ultimate positive attitude.  Positive attitude begets positive energy, and that is always a good thing.

 

This is the one hundred seventy-seventh entry of my Positivity series.  It is my hope these weekly messages might help spread positive energies for everyone.  Feel free to share, re-blog and spread the positivity.

Please take a moment to subscribe to this blog, and receive your bonus content!

Five_Easy_Steps_to_C_Cover_for_Kindle(1)

Thoughts on my Writing

Writing is my passion.

While my favorite things to write are fantasy, sci-fi and Steampunk, I enjoy writing EVERYTHING.  Give me a topic, tell me how many words you want and I will write!

I totally need and want more paid writing gigs.  But I digress.

Over the years I’ve written brochures, blogs, text for websites and many other business-centric pieces.  For a time I even had my own company for this purpose, though its focus was a bit broader.

For the longest time I thought myself a pretend writer.  I had only a couple small works published, I was full of uncertainty.  But now I see that I have always been a writer, and always will be.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Rum_Cover

First there were my short stories, A Treacherous Stone, published by Dragon Moon Press in the anthology Rum and Runestones; and then The Vapor Rogues, published again by Dragon Moon Press in the anthology Spells and Swashbucklers.  Both of these anthologies, if you have not read them, are full of stories all about pirates and magic by some pretty awesome authors!

SPELLS_COVER-front

After these two short stories had been published, I decided to try my hand at self-publishing.  I began with Pathwalking – A 21st Century Philosophy.  This is the first year of my Pathwalking blog, along with some additional bits.  I have been blogging Pathwalking every Wednesday for over 4.5 years, and still going! I am currently exploring offering classes on the topic, and creating a workbook of a sort to go with it.

Pathwalking_Cover_for_Kindle

I began the fantasy series The Source Chronicles back in 1998.  Along the way I had, for a time, an agent, though this was not his normal line of publishing.  Then the first book – Seeker – was professionally edited.  I continued to seek an agent or publisher, until I decided, nope, time to go this on my own.  I published Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I at the end of 2014.

BookCoverImage

A year later, after completing editing, I published Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II.  Still not sure everyone who purchased Seeker realizes its sequel is available, and I have yet to see any reviews on Amazon.

Finder_Cover_for_Kindle

The third book in The Source ChroniclesHarbinger – is complete, but unedited.  My current plan is to have THAT one out in 2017.

Over the course of several years, I have participated in National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo).  I have, as such, completed 4 novelettes.  On more than one occasion I ventured out of my usual comfort zone and wrote something different from my regular genres.  One such story was Vortex Pilgrimage.  Influenced highly by the works of Paulo Coelho, I decided in July 2015 to edit and publish it.

Vortex Pilgrimage CoverImage

After some things posted to social media over a couple particularly dark days, an idea came to me.  Back into the realm of non-fiction, I wrote a short self-help/holistic short book called Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.  I have this fairly simple idea I felt the need to express and share.

Five_Easy_Steps_to_C_Cover_for_Kindle(1)

Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better also was my first foray into using Smashwords to spread my work to a broader audience.

Back to fiction, I decided after all the world building that I did for The Vapor Rogues short story, I needed to create more.  So I began a new novel series.  I had completed the first book, and determined to get it edited.  That completed, just in time for the Steampunk World’s Fair I published Clouds of Authority – A Vapor Rogues Novel.  Yes, it’s Steampunk, but it is also full of elements of both sci-fi and fantasy.

Clouds_of_Authority_Cover_for_Kindle

The next book in that series, Clouds of Destiny, is complete, I just need to edit it.

So I have now published a total of six different works, covering several genres.  I blog twice weekly, Positivity on Mondays and Pathwalking on Wednesdays.  I have 2 more complete novels, both in need of editing.

What am I working on now?

Currently I have one editing project and one writing project underway.

IMG_2511

Editing: The first successful NaNoWriMo piece I wrote was a narrative of my experience following the reason why this blog is called The Ramblings of a Titanium Don.  As I mention from time to time, in November of 1999 I was struck by a car while crossing a street (which resulted in my having titanium plates put into my right shoulder).  I wrote about my recovery and my life over the next few years after the accident.  It is fairly humorous, and also a true recounting from my perspective of that time.  It is one of the most personal things I have EVER written, and over the years numerous people have told me THIS is the story I should be publishing.

Well, after years of resisting, I am moving forward with editing The Journey of a Thousand Miles…Begins with a Trip to the Post Office.  The names have been changed to protect people, and rereading this has been an interesting experience for me.  I am unsure just when I will be publishing this, but keep watching.

Writing: For some time now I have been itching to go back to my favorite genre, sci-fi.  I just wasn’t coming up with an idea.  Then, in September of last year, something popped into my head.  Since then I have been writing this epic sci-fi space opera, creating new worlds, alien races, and using several non-traditional characters as well as playing around with some of the standard tropes of sci-fi stories.  I am creating a rich universe with a diverse cast of characters, and it has been a LOT of fun to work on.

treacherous stone inside

I still have no title for the story, but it’s probably so far on the order of about 350 pages and counting.  Not sure when this will be completed and shared with the world, but keep an eye out for it.

Once I complete editing The Journey of a Thousand Miles…I will either start editing Clouds of Destiny or Harbinger.  Additionally, I need to soon pick up where I left off in Guardians, the 4th book in The Source Chronicles.

So, dear reader, I have two requests of you.  If you have enjoyed any of my works, PLEASE share the links with friends!  Please, if you’ve not done so, take a moment to review on Amazon.  Word-of-mouth is STILL my best marketing tool, and more readers means more people buying my work, which in turn means I can spend more of my time writing, editing and publishing.  As I began, writing is my passion!

THANK YOU!  Thank you for your encouragement, and all your support and inspiration.  THANK YOU!

Available Now: Clouds of Authority – A Vapor Rogues Novel

I am absolutely delighted to announce that my Steampunk novel is available for purchase!

Clouds_of_Authority_Cover_for_Kindle

Clouds of Authority – A Vapor Rogues Novel can be acquired for your Kindle or in paperback.

I am really excited about this series.  While it is primarily Steampunk, I have also worked in elements of sci-fi, Cyberpunk and even fantasy.

This weekend I will be attending the Steampunk Worlds Fair.  On Sunday , May 15, I will be reading a selection from the novel at 10:00am.  I will also be selling and signing copies of the novel as well.

I really think this unique series will speak to a wide audience.  Please read and enjoy – and please review on Amazon if you like it.

Thank you for your continued support!

 

Argent Hedgehog Logo

New book – Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better

I have an idea.

What would happen if we decided to think before we speak more frequently? Further, this being the 21st century and all, what if we decided to think before we post?

Why? To change the discourse of our society for the better.

Five_Easy_Steps_to_C_Cover_for_Kindle(1)

All too often we are inundated with anger, with hate, with negativity. What’s more, we tend to spread it out further by talking about these terrible things and posting about them online.

What if instead we change the conversation to more constructive things? What if we don’t spread our anger across the internet, but instead spread messages of encouragement and hope and love?

That is the entire premise of Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better. This short book I have created explores just that – taking five easy steps to think before we speak and post in order to change the course of our world.

Please check it out in Kindle and print format. My hope is that this simple idea can spread and improve things for everyone.

Argent Hedgehog Logo

Musings on writing projects and getting readers

How do I draw in more readers?

I have now published four books. It began with the first year’s worth of Pathwalking, including some extra bits (which largely came from this blog).

The second was Seeker: The Source Chronicles Book I. First in the fantasy series I’ve been working on now since 1998. Due to the nature of the story I targeted it not just to lovers of Fantasy, but to young adults. It is certainly no more violent than many other works for YA out there.

Finder_Cover_for_Kindle

A little more than a year later I published Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II. I continue the story of The Seeker of the Source, new location and many new characters. Expanding upon a world I’ve been writing in for nearly eighteen years now.

In the middle of these I published Vortex Pilgrimage. Not my normal style, an homage to Paulo Coelho’s style and the notion at least is based on many of my life experiences.

Come May, I intend to publish my 5th book. The first novel to follow the short story I wrote for Spells and Swashbucklers called The Vapor Rogues. This is more time in my Steampunk world, and I am hoping that I will be bringing the book to The Steampunk Worlds’ Fair. This composition will be called Clouds of Authority – A Vapor Rogues Novel.

Beyond these five I still blog every week here – Mondays I present Positivity, on Wednesdays its Pathwalking. All of the writing I do covers a fairly wide range of topics.

Me with vortex pilgrimage close

I have more finished books. Harbinger: The Source Chronicles Book III is in fact complete, but unedited. Clouds of Destiny – A Vapor Rogues Novel is also complete but unedited. As I strive to write regularly my main focus has been on a wholly new sci-fi epic, though I am not quite halfway through Guardians: The Source Chronicles Book IV.

Writing. I write. Fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk, other fiction, self-help or philosophy or New-Age or whatever you’d call my blog posts. I love to work at a job that utilizes me for either business writing or SEO blog and site writing or working on press releases and manuals and anything else that lets me write stuff.

I have the books, now the question is getting them out to a wider audience. I need to figure out how I can spread the word about all of my completed work, and increase my sales. I would love nothing more than to be able to write my novels full time.

Stampunkfinal-MW

This returns me to my original inquiry – How do I draw more readers? There are book promotion sites out there I can utilize, but they are not free. I can send messages across social media to all of my friends and to the circles beyond. I can use PPC tools with Amazon and Kindle and Facebook to spread the word and draw more sales. It’s not a lack of options as much as picking and choosing where to spend money and convincing my friends to spread the word for me to try to increase my sales.

This is the downside to going the non-traditional route. I am my own publisher, I am my own marketing department. I get to put it all together, and I get to sink or swim based solely on the effort I put forth to make this what I want it to be.

This is the path I want to walk. This is the thing I want to give most of my time to, this is the thing I most want for my life. I want to have a broader audience read and enjoy my work, and I want to be able to spend more time writing and producing those works.

Argent Hedgehog Logo

If you have not done so, please explore my work. Further, if you do, please leave reviews – more reviews become tremendously useful when it comes to Amazon’s metrics. And if you enjoy what I do – please share with YOUR friends, so that I can spread the joy and give my heart and soul to the craft.

Thank you for your continued support!

Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II

Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I was published by my Argent Hedgehog Press in November of 2014.

It is my pleasure to announce – Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II is here!  The sequel to Seeker is live for purchase.

Finder_Cover_for_Kindle

Five thousand years ago, a comet was on a collision course with t’Thera. To stop it from destroying life across the planet, all of the wizards and fully realized sorcerers and sorceresses combined their power to arrest its descent, destroying themselves in the process. With their passing, no wizards would rise again, and no sorcerer would ever claim the strength of those lost in The Falling of The Skies.

The Seeker has endured a number of trials, from which he has emerged stronger. Three years after he took part in pivotal events in the Kingdom of Sharron, he has resumed his quest to resolve the prophecy that drives him. The Seeker knows that his destiny is swiftly coming upon him.

In the nation of Vilcarr, The Seeker encounters the last Order of Sorcerers, as well as new allies and new opponents as he feels his destiny drawing him to find the long lost Source. Whatever it may be, The Seeker knows it will change not only sorcery, but the course of all the world. If Order is to overcome Chaos, The Seeker must succeed in his quest and become the Finder of the Source.

Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II is available for Kindle now.  It will be available on book form and for wider distribution soon!

Thank you for all of your support!  Please share with your fantasy loving friends, and please review on Amazon after you read it!

Finder is suitable for Young Adults age 15 and up.

New year, new book. Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II

Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I was published by my Argent Hedgehog Press.  I know a lot of people enjoyed the book, and have been patiently waiting for it’s sequel.

BookCoverImage

The time has come – Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II is nearly here!  I will be publishing Finder next weekend.  You can start off your new year with a good new read.

From the back cover:

Five thousand years ago, a comet was on a collision course with t’Thera. To stop it from destroying life across the planet, all of the wizards and fully realized sorcerers and sorceresses combined their power to arrest its descent, destroying themselves in the process. With their passing, no wizards would rise again, and no sorcerer would ever claim the strength of those lost in The Falling of The Skies.

The Seeker has endured a number of trials, from which he has emerged stronger. Three years after he took part in pivotal events in the Kingdom of Sharron, he has resumed his quest to resolve the prophecy that drives him. The Seeker knows that his destiny is swiftly coming upon him.

In the nation of Vilcarr, The Seeker encounters the last Order of Sorcerers, as well as new allies and new opponents as he feels his destiny drawing him to find the long lost Source. Whatever it may be, The Seeker knows it will change not only sorcery, but the course of all the world. If Order is to overcome Chaos, The Seeker must succeed in his quest and become the Finder of the Source.

Finder_Cover_for_Kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II will be available on January 2, 2016. Keep watching for more information!

 

Thank you for all of your support!

Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II – Coming soon!

Despite my best efforts, the release of Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II has been slightly delayed.

BookCoverImage

There is a very good reason for this delay. My editor took longer than expected with his edits, and I have to go through them before I release my work into the wild. My goal is to offer a quality product to you, my dear readers.

I don’t want to under or over-estimate how much time I will need, but I do hope I might put Finder out before the end of the year.

In the meantime – this being the holiday season and all – you might want to acquire a copy of Seeker: The Source Chronicles Book I for the reader(s) in your life.

 

Not to leave you with nothing – I am offering here a special sneak preview of Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II. If you ccroll down – you can enjoy Chapter 1!

 

Stay tuned for the completed novel soon!

 

THANK YOU!!

 

 

Argent Hedgehog Logo

 

Spoilers ahead – Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II Chapter 1!

 

 

 

Have you finished Seeker?

 

 

 

 

Ok, you have been duly warned.

 

 

Finder: The Source Chronicles Book II

Chapter 1

“Is there something I can do for you, m’lord?” he asked calmly, turning in his chair.

He had become acutely aware of the presence of the men from a few tables over, standing behind him now.

The burly man in the lead was huge, all chest and shoulders, over six feet tall. He had a round face, and nearly no hair atop his head. He looked hardened, was covered in grey dust from stonecutting, and wore a stupid grin on his lips. He was obviously drunk as he laughed raucously, and his friends joined him.

They took a step closer.

He continued to sit where he was, making no move at all.

“You’re a stranger to these parts, eh, friend?” asked the burly man, his speech only slightly slurred.

“That would be true enough. Just passing through.”

The man gestured to the sword belted at his side. “That’s a fancy piece of steel yer wearing, friend. Worth a pretty penny, eh?”

“It was a gift,” he remarked in an offhanded manner.

The big man laughed, and his friends joined him again. It was a wicked laugh, meant to cause discomfort.

“A fine ‘gift’ it is, friend,” remarked the burly man. “You a fighter of some sort? One of those pansy swordsmen? I bet you never knew a lick of hard work in yer life, huh?”

He reached for his tankard, affecting a complete lack of concern. “I’ve done my share of laborious work, m’lord. As pleasant as this conversation has been, why don’t you return to the table with your friends, and I’ll buy you all another round?”

With unexpected speed, the burly man knocked the tankard out of his hand. The stranger stood up quickly, turning and facing the much larger man.

“That was unnecessary, m’lord,” he stated calmly.

“And just what do you care to do about it, little man?” asked his assailant, squaring his shoulders.

He didn’t miss the man’s attempt to intimidate him.

“Burke, leave off!” interjected a woman’s voice.

Burke and his friends turned to look, as did he.

She reminded him immediately of one of his closest friends, with her bearing and commanding voice. Her hair was curly ringlets, dark brown, and pulled back into a thick pony tail that hung just below her shoulder blades. Her eyes were brown as well, and the skirt she wore was divided for riding.

He immediately thought her a bit out of place here.

“Stay out of this, Shiara, it doesn’t concern you,” remarked Burke.

She took a step forward. “I do not think you want Valdan banning you from the tavern once more, do you? Additionally, I’m sure Master Arnock does not want to hear about this sort of belligerence again, either.”

Burke growled, “If you weren’t a woman, I’d show you what for!”

“Go ahead, Burke. Care to beat me like you beat your wife, before she left?”

As Burke made to advanced on her, the stranger quickly put himself between them.

“It’s not very nice to assail a lady, m’lord Burke,” he said calmly, putting some menace in his tone.

Glancing back over his shoulder, the stranger noted that she had been preparing to grab a dagger from her belt. “Besides, I don’t think you want her gutting you in front of your friends.”

Burke glared at him. “You think I should be afraid of a woman? Do you plan to be her protector?”

The stranger turned his head and looked at the woman called Shiara, her arms crossed, head tilted just slightly to the left, looking between them. “I do not believe that any woman should be spoken to in that manner, m’lord. You should probably go now.”

“Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is, stranger?”

“Do you have some sort of wager in mind?” he asked, his tone even.

Burke chuckled evilly. “No wager. Fight me.”

“You don’t approve of swords,” he remarked.

The burly man threw back his head and laughed. “Real weapons, friend. Staffs.”

“I have a walking stick I suppose will do,” the stranger said, putting a note of discomfort into his voice.

Burke gestured with his head. “Outside. Now.”

“Alright, then. If that’s the way you want it.”

Burke laughed drunkenly once again and called to his friends, who went out the door with him.

The woman, Shiara, approached the stranger. “My lord, I do not think you know what you are in for. Burke has been regional quarterstaff champion in the New Year’s Planting Games for ten years. And he is a real killer.”

He looked to her, and noted her sincere concern. “I’ll have to be careful, then.”

Lord Valdan, a short, thin man with a well trimmed beard and brown hair was the owner of the King’s Highway Tavern and Alehouse. Lord Valdan wore a scowl on his face as he passed the six foot long walking staff to the stranger.

The stranger went out the door, Shiara at his side.

It was early in the spring, a few weeks into the new year. The grass around the tavern and the rolling fields was a light green, and coming back to life. The scant trees that were visible from time to time along the roadside were just beginning to return to bloom.

Burke and his friends waited. Burke’s staff was eight feet long, as opposed to his six footer.

Burke spun his quarterstaff lazily, as the stranger leaned upon his own walking stick affecting discomfort.

“You’re up for a beating, I hope,” remarked Burke. His friends burst into laughter.

The stranger made a show of removing his scabbard and blade, and offered them to Shiara. “My lady, if you would do me the honor of holding onto my sword?”

She accepted, but wore a concerned look. “Careful, my lord. He is very drunk. He is vicious when he is drunk.”

The stranger nodded his head in response, and stepped over towards his opponent, taking up what appeared to be an unpracticed stance.

The patrons and staff of the tavern joined them, watching uneasily. Burke was laughing as though he had not a care in the world, spinning his staff, making ready to assail his opponent.

“Are you prepared to fight, stranger?” the burly man asked, mocking.

“Aye,” he replied uneasily, making it clear that he was uncomfortable.

Burke put on a serious look, and took up a stance.

It was then that the stranger decided it was time to stop playing, and altered his own stance, obviously appearing far more competent and confident.

Burke didn’t miss this, and looked uneasy, but advanced with a growl, swinging.

The stranger ducked, and in a blur of motion, butted the end of his staff into the larger man’s gut.

As Burke grunted, the stranger smacked him in the side of the head with first one end of the staff, then came around and hit the other side. Finally, he spun his staff, butting it with deliberate force into Burke’s nose.

The big man’s eyes teared, rolled up into his head, and like a mighty tree he collapsed backwards onto the ground.

The stranger spun his staff easily, then paused in a ready stance, making certain the man did not stand again.

The patrons and the employees of the tavern cheered as he planted an end of his pole into the ground, and eyed Burke’s friends.

“Anyone else?” he asked.

Burke’s companions grunted, grumbling and shifting uneasily in his gaze.

“Why don’t you take your friend here, and give him a hand? He’s going to be very sore when he comes to, his nose is certainly broken, and the hangover he will awaken with will be rather awful.”

They advanced to pick up Burke, and as they reached him, the stranger took a step closer, thumping his staff on the ground to get their attention again.

“Tell your friend he should stop assailing travelers. You never know just what you’re up against…appearances can be deceiving.”

They nodded their heads and lifted Burke, carrying him to a cart beside the tavern. The burly man was already moaning as he was jostled.

The stranger watched them go, then went over to Shiara.

She still looked surprised, as he grinned at her. “Could I have my sword back, please, my lady?”

She nodded her head, handing back his weapon to him.

“My lord, I think you taught him a much-needed lesson in humility Burke will not soon forget. You were magnificent.”

“Thank you, my lady.”

She bowed her head formally to him. “So, stranger, you’ve had quite the afternoon. You have defended my honor, but I did not catch your name.”

He bowed slightly at his waist to her, as he’d been shown. For some reason, he decided to be formal. “I am Lord Cam Murtallan, my lady. And you are?”

“Lady Shiara Bornull.”

Cam took her hand, and gently kissed it.

“A pleasure to meet you, my lady,” he said.

She smiled again, blushing slightly. Cam was pleased to note he had indeed learned a thing or two over the past several years living and working among nobles.

“I think I should like to finish my meal,” he continued. “Would you care to join me?”

“I’d be delighted,” she replied.

Remembering the manners he had been taught, Cam offered her his arm, which she took. Together, they walked back into the tavern.

“My Lord Cam, my apologies,” stated Lord Valdan, bowing his head ashamedly. “I am so sorry you had to do that. I do not approve of those ruffians behavior, and I never know from day to day…”

“It’s alright, my lord,” replied Cam, interrupting him. “The exercise has only reinvigorated my appetite. Please, bring Lady Shiara here whatever she would like, and I’ll complete my meal. Hopefully, Burke and his friends have learned a lesson, and will be less trouble during their next visit.”

Lord Valdan uttered his thanks, and took Cam’s staff. Valdan nodded his head towards Shiara before departing. Cam noted the intense respect the innkeeper had for the lady as he led her back to his table.

They talked for hours, after Irvarra, the serving girl, brought Cam a new hot plate of food, a look of awe never leaving her face. Clearly, no one had been capable of putting the bully in his place until now.

The conversation was very simple, as Cam told of the political happenings on the next continent, often omitting details that were too personal, or that he was directly involved in.

Shiara was telling him about the local Duchy, and the political system of the nation of Vilcarr.

“The Duke, hereabouts, is inactive. He and his family were exiled here, after he plotted along with his son and another Duke to embezzle moneys from the royal treasury of King Arion,” she paused and took a drink of the ale she had before her. “As punishment, he was spared his life, but banished to the countryside.”

Her narrative took on another tone. “It was a stupid plot, that would never have worked, and he was a part of it based on bad advice from another Duke, who was executed for his part in the plan. No titles were stripped, but the Duke’s family could only tithe what they needed to survive.”

“Interesting,” remarked Cam, not missing the grief in her tone. He decided to broaden the scope of the topic. “A lot of intrigue in the court of King Arion?”

She shrugged. “From what I hear, no more than in any other royal presence, and all that was over ten years ago. Nowadays, he’s got far better control. He’d only been on the throne a few years at that time. He has made a lot of changes from the rule of his predecessor, his uncle.”

Cam nodded his head, making mental notes. He looked out the nearest window, and observed that night had come as they’d supped. “It’s getting late. I should offer to arrange to put you up here for the night, or at least escort you home.”

She grimaced a moment, but it turned into a grateful smile swiftly. “My home is not too far. I would be delighted to have an escort. That’s very gentlemanly of you to offer.”

Cam laughed, his mind flashing back only a few years. He gestured the tavern keeper over.

“I’d like to settle my bill, Lord Valdan.”

The innkeeper looked at Shiara a moment, and waved Cam off. “No, my lord, ‘tis on the house. You did me a service today by dealing with Burke and his companions. It’s the least I can do.”

Cam nodded his head gratefully. “I could not let a lady be so insulted, but I thank you Lord Valdan.” He placed down several silver pieces. “For your excellent service, and that of Irvarra.”

Lord Valdan bowed to Cam, then to Shiara. Cam retrieved his staff, and followed Shiara out.

They went towards the hitching post, and she unhitched a strong looking stallion. The night air was crisp, but not chill. The stars shone brightly.

“Where is your mount, Lord Cam?”

“I have none,” he replied. “I am in no hurry, and prefer my own feet.”

“Truly? Well, I do not think Fleetfoot here will mind if we walk,” Shiara concluded, gesturing to her horse.

“Very well,” replied Cam.

They set off down the road, Cam’s staff over his shoulder. The moons were giving off enough light to make visible the road immediately before them. They were silent, for a while. Cam cleared his throat.

“So. You’ve been exiled out here ten years, eh?”

She stopped abruptly, and turned. “What makes you think I am related to the Duke?”

Cam grinned slyly. “My Lady, one of my closest friends is a Queen. You carry yourself in a way that screams nobility. Am I mistaken?”

She sighed, then laughed lightly. “No. I should not have thought I would be able to keep it from you. Besides, you would have become suspicious when we reached the estate.”

“Too late to pass yourself off as a mere servant,” Cam concurred.

“Without a doubt,” remarked Shiara crisply.

“The Inn is a part of your Duchy, then?”

Shiara sighed. “Aye. Lord Valdan is a good man. Probably our finest tenant, really. He owns the inn, we own the land. His rent is terribly low. Part of the King’s orders, along with our exile.”

“Your father was exiled…but what about you?”

She sighed again, and Cam found the tone almost musical. “My father wanted his family together. So we were sent with him. The King was sympathetic to him, because I was twelve, my brother seventeen. My mother had died a year earlier, which devastated my father. Certainly the main reason he took such bad advice. She handled the finances – she was the brains of the family. My brother…well, he is another story.”

She shook her head, silent a moment longer. “My father died two years ago. He drank himself to death. My brother, by default, became the acting Duke. But he had fallen in with a crooked merchant, made some ludicrous and repugnant choices, and has been on the run ever since. So I remain here, managing my family affairs.”

Shiara looked at Cam. “So, you know who I am. You mentioned the political situation in Sharron and Medaelia, your association with the royalty there, but not your part in it. I know you have held back. So, tell me, how did you get involved in it all?”

Cam paused, collecting his thoughts. Perhaps the most valuable lesson he’d learned over the past several years was discretion. “It’s…complicated. I need to go back a ways to explain.”

Cam began his narrative. “When I was a boy, I watched the Medaelians invade Anaria. My father was killed in his field, my mother raped and beaten. We went to the capital in search of her family, but they, too, had been killed in the invasion. My mother died soon after, and I grew up alone on the streets of Aldara. There I learned to fight with a staff, to survive.”

Shiara chimed in. “Explains why Burke did not fare well against you. He had no chance.”

Cam grinned slyly. “I wasn’t worried, no.”

“So, you grew up an orphan in a war-torn land? How did you get out?”

Cam paused a moment. “I…became fascinated with tales of ancient cities, from before the Falling. I learned to read, and studied all kinds of books. I traveled all over the continent, for years, looking for artifacts and treasures. I made a mistake when I reached Sharron, and was imprisoned for it.”

“What kind of mistake?” Shiara asked.

“That is a lengthy story, for another time.” He let that hang a moment, then continued. “Meanwhile, Princess Lyrra-Sharron, over a misunderstanding, was leading a rebellion against her father. She and her rebels, to make a statement King Varlock-Sharron could not ignore, saved me from the noose. I joined them, for a time, recovering my strength until I figured out the truth of the misunderstanding…and sought out the King.”

“After he had sentenced you to death? That is bold. If not somewhat foolish,” remarked Shiara.

Cam laughed. “Aye. But the civil war would’ve let Wilnar-Medira tear Sharron apart. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. Not after what he did to my country.”

Cam paused, then continued. “I managed to convince Varlock-Sharron that he could end Lyrra-Sharron’s rebellion without further bloodshed. I went with the King to confront the princess…as it turned out, he was able to turn her from her course, and send her to Penkira, to deal with Wilnar-Medira personally.”

“As reward for my actions in ending the rebellion without bloodshed, I was raised to the nobility of both Sharron and Medaelia. I served as an advisor to both monarchs…until they felt the need to send me here, as an ambassador. Besides, I discovered things in their libraries that have led me to believe I may find some artifacts here.”

Shiara made an indelicate sound. “Doubtful, Lord Cam. When Pallantir overtook the Nortamian continent, he looted it most thoroughly, creating quite the private collection, rumored to be somewhere on the Estarian continent…if the scholars of Afpar’s universities are to be believed. There is little here, I suspect, for you to find.”

Cam nodded his head. “Perhaps. But much was lost after The Falling. Time will tell.”

They were silent a while, as they walked over a low hill, and began to approach a large and impressive estate before them.

The architecture was slightly different from what Cam was used to in Gara-Sharron, Penkira, and the towns and villages of Medaelia and Sharron. An estate such as this would normally be two or three stories tall, and almost certainly fenced in. By-and-large, it would also be constructed of wood and stone.

Shiara’s mansion had no fence, except near the stables, and was only a single story, though it covered a large expanse of land. Cam was also not used to seeing so much brick and stone, and so little wood in the construction. He still found it to be an impressive building.

They walked to the stables, where Shiara gave her horse to a handler waiting there. They continued together to the doors at the side of the home, where light poured out.

“Well, then, my lady, I have brought you home safely,” remarked Cam. He found he was feeling strangely unsure of himself.

“Indeed, Lord Cam.” She paused a moment, before continuing. “I do hope you will not take this the wrong way, but would you accept my hospitality, and spend the night here? There are plenty of spare bedrooms, and I can have the servants prepare one forthwith.”

Cam looked up at the stars. It would be a cold night, and they had traveled nearly a mile off the main road. Still, he was feeling awkward, but did his best not to let that show. “I would be glad to accept, my lady. In fact, I’d be a cad to refuse such an offer.”

She smiled, and gestured for Cam to follow her in.

Cam decided he had made his first friend in this foreign land. His personal mission would continue once his business with the King was complete.

*****

In a cave lit by an eerie blue light, they sat.

They were gathered in a circle, all wearing dark cloaks with hoods drawn up. Before them, a giant shimmering blue orb gave off a ghostly glow.

The twelve looked into the orb. Each had given of their power to create it. Each saw something different within the shimmering glow.

Sorcerers. Allowed to practice openly, they gathered together here, to share what knowledge they had, and to observe what they could. They lived apart from the rest of mankind. They lived, to their minds, above the rest.

Every one of these twelve felt a disturbance. Something was not right. Things across the world seemed amiss. Something unexplainable was afoot.

It all began over three years ago, when they sensed a shift in the energies that drove their powers.

Something of great consequence was at hand. Something was about to shake the very foundations of the world. And the sense of this was only growing stronger by the day.

The number assembled did not matter. Sometimes more, sometimes less, they came here. They would come to ponder, to observe, together, apart from those beneath them, who could not nor would not understand, the world around them.

They watched now, knowing something was happening. What it was, and how it would affect them, they could not be sure. But no one doubted that life on t’Thera was about to change.

 

Coming soon: Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II

A year ago I decided that I had waited long enough; it was time to publish my fantasy series.

Seeker – The Source Chronicles Book I was begun in 1998. After several reworks and a professional editor, I tried to find representation for many many years.

BookCoverImage

Welcome to the 21st century. I determined it was time to self-publish. Thus I created Argent Hedgehog Press, and I formatted the book and Seeker was released into the wild.

The Source Chronicles began as a quartet of books, until book three, Harbinger, became far larger than anticipated. So The Source Chronicles is to be five books (Seeker, Finder, Harbinger, Guardians, Healers).

When I published Seeker last year, I promised that I would be publishing Finder this year. Well, it has taken a tad longer than I had wanted it to, but Finder is currently being edited!

I am still planning to publish Finder before the end of November.

Thank you everyone for your patience, and for your wonderful reviews! I hope that you will enjoy Finder as much as you enjoyed Seeker.

If you have not yet read Seeker, by all means, please go get a copy and read! If you have, and you are eagerly awaiting Finder, let me give you a little teaser preview…

sourcemapwebsm

 

 

Here there may be spoilers if you did not read Seeker…be forewarned…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am pretty sure that there might be spoilers if you didn’t read Seeker. This is your second to last warning…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, you have been duly warned.

 

 

 

 

Three years have passed since Cam Murtallan helped to bring about peace and stability between Sharron and Medaelia. In the interveneing years he served both King Varlock-Sharron Anduin of Sharron and Queen Lyrra-Sharron Anduin of Medaelia as a companion and advisor. He studied from their libraries all that he could, and discovered clues that set him back on his path as Seeker to uncover the mystery that is The Source.

Cam has left his companions and journeyed across the sea to the continent of Nortamia and the nation of Vilcarr. Cam once more takes up his prophetic role as The Seeker, as he works to discover The Source.

Cam will make new friends and allies, and for the first time encounter other sorcerers. He is drawn to meet his destiny, but that will not happen without new challenges, perils and more!

Finder – The Source Chronicles Book II will be available soon. Keep watching for more information!

 

Thank you for all of your support!

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén