Archive for » July, 2014 «

Angel of the Sands: Part 10

After waiting a few minutes for your servant girl to come back, you give up and encourage your horse forward yourself. You cannot wait in the shadows any longer while danger could be closing in around you. Instead you will meet whatever awaits head on.

The first thing you notice are the charred remains of several tents and women crying over ruined possessions and dead men. Further in from that, many more of the tribesmen are still on their horses and several times you have to steer out of their way as they scurry past. For now everyone ignores you.

Even deeper into the temporary village you find yourself lost. All the canvas homes look the same and everyone nearby continues to scurry around in a busy fashion and ignore you and the horse you ride.

You turn this way and that, trying to find the centre and your own tent, or a rider you recognise, but you just find yourself even more lost. This continues for several minutes until you stop the horse to try and get your bearings or ask someone to direct you to the Khaad.

Once your horse has stopped you try to pinpoint anything that might mark the wealthier part of the tribe but the tents that are still up are being hauled down while you sit and watch. The tribe will be on the move again.

The grip of a hand on your arm makes you jump. One of the men from Temullgei’s dempair has ridden up beside you without you noticing. He doesn’t let go, but mutters something under his breath and reaches over with his other hand to take your reigns.

After tying them to his own horse he leads you away with him, giving you little choice but to hold on and hope he is taking you back to Temullgei and you can ask what has happened.

You were evidently going in the wrong direction because he soon has you turned around and going almost back the way you’d come, but it’s another half an hour before you reach the centre of the large tribe. By then almost all the tents are packed into small piles and carts are laden.

It doesn’t take you long to spot the familiar litter and you are led right up to the mobile sleeping area, where a different servant girl ushers you inside and places a selection of foods and drink around you as if nothing has changed.

No sooner has she gone than you feel the jolt of being lifted and the sway of movement as you’re carried along. You wish you’d been given the opportunity to talk to Temullgei about what happened but resolve to ask him when you next get a chance to. If anything had happened to him, you feel sure that you’d know about it already.

Hours pass while you waited in the litter, but for the first day since you arrived in this strange place you aren’t too hot. The trees form a canopy of coolness over the path the tribe take and keep the litter out of the sun in the hottest part of the day.

Making use of the time, you catch up on the sleep you lost earlier and eat what you wish while you don’t have to give preference to anyone else. It’s hard to get used to the rituals and customs of the people around you when it could be so easy to offend them.

Long before you would normally halt, you start to hear the sounds of people talking and cheering and a few minutes after that your litter is placed down somewhere. You suck in your breath, wondering if you have arrived at the Khaadain, but you have little time to wonder, before the flap is pulled open and Temullgei himself ushers you outside.

You take his hand and allow him to help you to the ground. The second you emerge cheering and yelling erupt around you.

“Smile, Angel,” Temullgei whispers in your ear whilst he leads you towards his horse, which stands waiting in a forest clearing. You do your best to obey and look happy for the people all staring and cheering at you.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” you say as he gives everyone a moment to look at you.

“You were worried?”

“Yes, I had no idea what was happening. It sounded like the tribe was attacked.”

“It was. Another tribe heard that you were with us and came to take you. I sent, Melisha, your servant girl to take you somewhere safe. I’m sorry she failed you, my Angel. I had her beaten for her disobedience.”

“But she did take me somewhere safe.”

“Johef told me he found you lost in the camp.”

“He did…”

“Then she failed at her duty, but you are safe now, my Angel. Come.”

As he did the day before, Temullgei places you on the horse and gets up behind you, holding you steady with his arms and torso. The conversation is evidently over but you feel dreadful. Your earlier decision resulted in someone being punished. You wonder if it might have been wiser to have listened to her and stayed under the trees.

The path continues out the other side of the clearing and you lead the entire tribe through the people lined descent into a tree filled valley.

Along the side of the road at regular intervals are statues, some of great people, others of animals, mostly horses and in between are many women, old men and children, all smiling, waving and whooping in delight at seeing you, but you struggle to smile back.

“I sent riders ahead, to let them know I’d found you,” Temullgei explains in your ear. “Now they can prepare the feast and our wedding before we’re even there.”

You inhale and nod. Things are progressing quicker than you’d ever imagined they would.

It doesn’t take long for the procession to arrive at the centre of the Khaadain and Temullgei stops the horse. You’re in front of a large half outdoor, half canvas covered circle with several large seats at one end and many small circles of cushions and small tables around the edges. Stones, shells and jewels decorate the various parts of the construction and it’s obvious this is a major focal point for these people.

When you’re on solid ground Temullgei takes your hand again and leads you forward. Five chairs sit at the top of the circle and each one has a wizened old woman sitting in them.

As soon as he’s taken you within a few feet he bows. You do the same but laughter erupts around you and he gently nudges you to your feet again.

“Welcome, Angel,” The middle of the women says and stands. “Come.”

She gives you a warm smile and ushers you towards her and the others. As soon as you draw close they all pat you lightly on the arms and encourage you through a curtain to a cushioned room.

“Here, we will get you ready to present to the Khaadain and all the Khaad who arrive in time. Do not fret, the ceremony is very easy for you and I’m sure you will get used to our customs soon. I understand that you have also agreed to marry Khaad Temullgei, and join yourself with his tribe?” she asks when the six of you are alone in the room.

Her words are soft and gentle and it’s evident that her and the women around her understand your language as if it is their own. For the first time since you arrived you are with people sympathetic to your situation and feelings. You also realise that this is likely to be the last time you could change your mind in marrying Temullgei.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is over 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.

Away With The Fairies: A Review

I was given a copy of this story by the author, Jenny Twist, in return for my review.

This isn’t the longest of stories but it is so worth the read. Mostly it’s a portal fantasy and as usual it’s the kids that find out about it, but it gives a wonderful new meaning to the idea of being away with the fairies when day dreaming and I loved the way thhe story progressed and the parents involvement.

On top of enjoying this story as an adult I think this one would be fun to read to some kids, especially with how the fairies are described. Exactly the sort of thing I loved to listen to as a child.

As shorter stories often do, I’ve got a few unanswered questions about the characters and what they know so I’d love to see a sequel that explores it all some more.

Brilliant idea and well told.

Entropia investments

Readers might remember that I posted a while back about an investment within the Entropia Universe gaming system. I posted after a few months, and then again after a year.

After that I promptly forgot about eu and other than logging in once, not long after I moved house to check the game worked on the new set up I let the account slide. Well something triggered my memory and I logged back in recently to see how my little flutter was going. (I spent $100 of in game money I’d built up on a deed that paid out a return).

Turns out in just over 2.5 years I’ve made about almost $60 in payouts and my deed is worth about $120 now. That’s an 80% ROI if I sold out now. At this point I’m kinda wishing I bought more of them, especially given how low bank accounts are paying and many other lower risk investments.

In the last few months there have also been several other deed related announcements. There are now three types of deeds. As well as the original 60,000 calypso land deeds (which have 25% of that planet’s revenue divided amongst them) there are now also 200,000 Arkadia underground deeds. These pay out daily, instead of weekly, are initially being sold for $5 and are having the 5% loot tax for the Arkadia underground area split amongst them. With my $60 profit I grabbed 10 of these.

The other deed is something a little different. Mindark (the people who own the universe and made planet Calypso) are making an app that ties into the taming and monster section of the game. 30% of this apps revenue will be split up between their 200,000 deeds. These deeds are selling for $10 so I nabbed one with the rest of my profit. They won’t be paying out yet and I assume they will be weekly payers rather than daily but I’m sure one won’t hurt to grab.

Now that puts me right back at having no money if the game collapses but considering I made the money from scratch in the game anyway I’m not worried. I also think the game is growing and am pleased to see that there’s still plenty of players.

With all the information I’ve got on payouts and the new deeds that make it easier to reinvest profits and get the rule of 72 working a bit better I’m serioucly considering putting in real cash and investing with some savings. Might start low, but should be a fun experiment.

Alpha: A Review

I was gifted a copy of this ebook by the author, Taylor Hohulin  in return for a review.

This was another one of those gems of an ebook that make me really glad I agreed to be a reviewer. It’s a sort of sci-fi novel and relatively fast paced, moving on from one event to the next with not huge amounts in between but it is a style that suits the length. The main character and good guy pov for the story is Alpha, the robot.

I adored Alpha, just totally adored him and enjoyed the other characters that fleshed out the cast as well. The bad guy was also really nicely thought out and he had proper motives and reasoning for his actions that helped him come to life. Often, if any characters feel less 2d, it’s the bad guy.

The ending was a little sad, but more bittersweet than outright depressing, so there’s a warning there if you insist on your books having a HEA, but I really liked how this handled everything. except for one tiny niggle, that I can’t mention because of plot spoilers, but I’d have liked some more emotion around the sad event that happened near the middle of the story. It was likely to be less emotional because the pov was the robot, but I’d still have liked a bit more emotion as it felt a little glossed over.

Really enjoyed it as a light read though and definitely on my recommended books for the year.

Angel of the Sands: Part 9

As you allow your servant to help you out of the dress and slip into the warm water you realise you’ve been needing something like this all day. With a sigh of relief you settle back in the tub and find it surprisingly more comfortable than it looks. Before you can even consider washing the servant girl comes back with a bar of soap and a wad of material that looks a bit like a towel.

She goes to use the soap and start washing you, but you shake your head and take the bar from her.

“Thank you, but no. I can do this myself,” you say, doubting she’ll understand you but saying it anyway. With a nod she places the towel on a small table, within easy reaching distance and leaves the tent. She understood the sentiment even if she didn’t know the words.

Enjoying the pain relief and feel of the water washing the sweat off you take your time in cleaning yourself. The soap soon has you smelling of the same coconut and spice that the rest of the tribe often give off, but its significantly more pleasant than the odour of sweat so you don’t complain.

When every inch of you has been scrubbed you decide you’ve had enough. So much dirt came off you that you no longer wish to sit in the filthy water but dry and put on fresh clothes. With this thought in mind you stand to reach your towel. Once you have the slightly course material wrapped around you and covering you up you feel a little less exposed, but only slightly. You still don’t know when Temullgei will be back.

You have just begun drying your legs and stepped out onto the mat beside the tub when you hear the familiar swish of the tent material moving back and forth. Panicking you freeze to the spot, only covered by the towel.

Before you can think what to do Temullgei comes around the edge of the screen. His eyes rove from your head to your toes drinking in the sight, and then look around you, searchingly

“Where’s the girl?” he asks.

“Oh, I sent her away, I wanted to bathe by myself.”

He takes a few steps towards you while you stay on the mat dripping and not sure what to do about it.

“As an Angel and even as my Khaadel, you don’t have to do these things yourself,” he says coming closer again, but more slowly. “Here, let me.”

You suck in your breath and hold it as he moves so close he can wrap his arms around you. Gently, while keeping you covered by the towel, he rubs it over your skin to help dry the clinging moisture off. As his hands move closer to your groin you feel your muscles tensing, but he goes past and leaves that part of you.

“You don’t need to fear me, Angel. I keep saying this but you are slow to trust me.”

With that he walks back towards the entrance of the tent.

“Come out and eat when you’re ready.”

You exhale as you find yourself alone once more. Not wasting any time you pull on your clothes and allow your servant, who conveniently reappears when you need her, to tie your fresh dress in place.

It takes the next few minutes for your heart rate to return to normal but as soon as it has you exit the tent and look for Temullegi. You see him sitting with his dempair by a fire and he soon beckons you over to join them.

The meal is very similar to the night before, with one exception. This time Temullgei takes the food before you, confirming your suspicion that within their society your status has been lowered to beneath his.

When it grows late and you yawn with sleepiness. He helps you to your feet and escorts you back into the tent, without saying a word to anyone else. Within seconds your servant has scurried to appear at your side and arranges the bed for you, while you stand with your future husband and wait.

“Tomorrow I will present you to the Khaadain and marry you, so I think it is wise to leave you for tonight. I will let you rest, but I will keep one of my servants nearby in case you wish for me at any point.”

Without waiting for you to reply he places a quick kiss on your cheek and leaves again. Before your servant can encourage you into bed you follow and notice one of the creepier men from his dempair is now standing a few metres from your tent flap. Not wanting him to see you, you retreat back inside and get into bed. Even if you’d wanted to, you couldn’t run from the tribe and your future with them tonight, and the morning would bring your fate.

***

The following morning arrives to your attention with the shaking your servant gives you. Her eyes are full of concern and she places her fingers to her lips to encourage you to be silent.

With a quick nod you push back the covers and get out of bed. She helps you dress much faster than on the previous occasions and takes your hand in hers as soon as you’re decent. As she hurries towards the tent flap she gives you no choice to follow and your mind already races through the many possibilities and scenarios that might make her act like this.

The man from Temullgei’s dempair no longer stands outside your temporary home. Instead the tribe is rushing about in a frenzy of activity, despite the pre-dawn gloom that still hangs in the air. Still holding tightly to your hand the servant glances around and then rushes with you towards a group of horses tied to a nearby tree.

As you exit the tent you notice the smell of burning and more noises of screaming and frantic yelling meet your ears. It sounds like some battle is being waged all around you, but you cannot be sure of anything.

Your servant encourages you to get into the saddle of the nearest horse as soon as you reach them. She then fumbles with the knot holding the horse to the tree and undoes a second one while holding onto the reigns of yours.

Although it feels like minutes while you glance nervously around and listen for signs that danger is coming closer it’s only seconds before she’s on a horse beside you and leading you both off away from the loudest yells and shouts.

You huddle low in the saddle as your servant walks you both past tents and running tribe members and then deeper into the forest. When you are huddled in the gloom under the trees, she hands you back the reigns to your horse and puts her fingers to her lips to remind you to keep quiet. Whatever is happening she intends to keep you safely away from it.

For a few minutes you stay where you are listening as the sounds grow quieter and less chaotic around you. Once the noises can barely be heard the girl turns to look at you.

“En bay,” she says, motioning with her hands for you to stay back. You think she’s trying to tell you to wait there for her but you can’t be sure. After studying the forest towards the camp she urges her horse forward in a slow trot and leaves you behind. For now the early dawn will keep you hidden in shadow and keep you relatively safe from whatever is happening but it won’t be dark for long.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is over 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.

The Journals of Jacob and Hyde: A Review

This is another book where the author, Randall Morris requested I take a read and review.

This isn’t a particularly long book, more of a novella length wise but its as long as the first installment needs to be. I like a lot of the old classics so was eager to read this more modern sort of take on the Jekyll and Hyde sort of dilemma.

The story follows a decendent of Dr Jekyll and does a really good job of being fast paced and full of action while still giving just enough back story to create the right sort of atmosphere and allow those who hadn’t waded through the classic to get the gist of what was going on. It was a blend I found very easy to read.

On top of that I also liked the voice in this story. They style of storytelling and modern, personal feel made it seem like a normal person who happened to get caught up in all the issues and problems surrounding the duality of their personalities.

There’s so much more I could say but I don’t want to plot spoil. Really good story.

The Bitten: An Anthology

I mentioned a few months ago that a really good author friend of mine was facing cancer. To support him with his book sales and help him raise some of the cash towards his medical bills I got a bunch of authors together to write an anthology of shorts based on the genre he writes in.

I would like to present to you, The Bitten. In this anthology are 28 tales of vampires, werewolves and other paranormal encounters, one of which is written by me under my Amelia Price pen name.

Brandon is an amazing guy and even if this isn’t your sort of thing it would be awesome of you to grab a copy of the ebook as all the royalties will be going to Brandon and he really is an amazing guy.

Buy links – Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

 

Dracula: A Review

This is one of those books most people probably don’t expect me to have read. I don’t read horror and don’t tend to enjoy it, but this is a book I’ve just finished reading for the third time! It’s amazing and not really horror in the way we think of horror today. So here’s my thoughts.

This has got to be one of the worst of the many covers Dracula has had over the years but it definitely has a point. You’d be surprised how Christian this book is. Through out the story are references to God, trusting in Him, and defeating the demonic to honour Him and aid in His work. I suppose this stems from the book being written at a time when pretty much everyone went to church and believed that this sort of thing happened, at least in the spiritual realm even if not in the physical.

I also thought it was well written for a classic. A lot of them drag and take a while to get going, but this one plunged right into the action with Jonathan Harker on his way to visit Count Dracula and although it had a few lengthy paragraphs of description here and there (no worse than George R. R. Martin’s like of description) it was still a relatively fast paced read for a classic.

For a horror novel, the accounts of the gruesome side of things are quite tame and few and far between, instead the book relies on making you feel the dread of the characters and their fear of being cut off from God and eternally walking the earth as something that will never honour Him. There was a brilliant quote that summed up the emotion behind that sentiment in a way I can only wish I’d thought of. – ‘But to fail here is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforth become foul things of the night, like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut, for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all, a blot on the face of God’s sunshine, an arrow in the side of Him who died for man.’

In short, I love this novel, partially for not being what’s expected of it, partially for being so honest about the belief system behind it, and partially for being inspiring and encouraging in the face of great fear. This is everything a good horror book should be.

Angel of the Sands: Part 8

You hesitate over your reply, allowing your mind time to think over the offer. So far he has been kind to you and he did save your life. Alone in the desert you would have died.

When you turn back to him, he’s still gazing at you, studying your face, looking for your reaction. After a moment you nod.

“Yes, I’ll marry you,” you say and suck in your breath. You’ve said it now, and as a smile breaks over his face and he gets to his feet you know you are unlikely to be able to take it back.

He yells a short sentence to his people and cheering erupts. Now the tribe knows of your decision as well. A moment later he shouts it again. Another round of whooping and delight comes back from the tribe, this time more join in.

Before you can react to the noise and decide if you want the attention he turns to you and pulls you to your feet. With another yell he lifts you up into the air and sits you on his shoulder like you weigh nothing. Your face flushes as more and more cheering joins his cries of the same phrase, until you can’t hear anything but the constant roaring of the tribe.

Unable to get off from your perch you have no choice but to let him walk you towards his horse, while you cling to one of his hands and his opposite shoulder to help keep your balance. A procession of people follow you and watch as he places you on the horse and gets up behind. After snaking his hands around your waist and gripping the reigns he encourages his horse into a slow walk. You shiver, despite the heat and his arms wrap a little tighter around you, holding your torso against his.

“Do not be afraid, Angel. You’ve made a wise decision. As a member of my tribe and my Khaadel the other Khaad will be forced to respect you.”

“I only know you a little better than others.”

“True, but we will have many years to get to know each other after our wedding. I look forward to it.” He settles one arm against your stomach, gripping the reigns in the other hand and you lapse into silence. As it has seemed since you found yourself in the desert there is little choice but to go along with events and now Temullgei, and his plans for you.

As the tribe gather around you to move towards the Khaadain once more you notice all the riders who rested in the shade with Temullgei position their horses in a circle around him and now you. Between them, they keep watch from all directions and converse with Temullgei in their language.

The sun shines brightly down and the afternoon feels as if it is growing hotter, making you grateful that you’re travelling away from it and his body shields you from the worst of the sweltering sun.

You fidget a little as time goes by, finding the constant movement of the saddle beneath you making you sore. Each time you do the arm across your stomach tenses, but he says nothing and doesn’t slow his horse.

“I’m getting tired,” you say after a few hours.

“We still have time to go before we can stop. It is not good to camp here.” He motions around you and brings the terrain to your attention. Little grows here, just sand and more sand. “We need to reach those trees.”

He lifts an arm and points ahead to the smudge on the horizon. You sigh and fix your eyes on it, hoping to will it closer, but they barely seem to move. Silence fills the air as the rest of the tribe struggles under the same heat, but eventually you find yourself right at the edge of the large expanse of trees.

As soon as Temullgei stops his horse you try to get off but he tightens both hands around your torso.

“Not yet,” he whispers in your ear before getting down and helping you off the horse as well. No one else gets off their horses until he nods and you realise that you almost went against some form of cultural norm.

“You have to dismount first?” you ask in a low tone as he guides you to the shade of the nearest tree.

“Yes, it is our way. The Khaad first, then his Khaadel, then the Dempair, my riders,” he explains. When your servants run up to attend to you and fan you some more he gives them several orders that you don’t understand and they hurry off again. You begin to suspect that in agreeing to be his wife you have lost some of the command you held over the rest of his people. He is now above you, despite his insistence that you are an Angel.

“I would like to take a bath this evening,” you say a moment later when it appears that you are going to stand and wait for your tent to be erected. He raises his eyebrows and stares at you.

“It would help me feel less sore,” you explain when he says nothing in response, feeling a little like you are justifying your actions when you shouldn’t have to.

“As you wish.” He finally shifts his focus from you and says something to the next servant as she comes past. You can only assume that he has passed on your request for you. Unsure what else to do you go to sit but he grabs your hands and stops you before you can fully perch.

“Ooguair,” he snaps. It sounds like he said no, but you can’t be sure. As you frown at him he points to a spot less than a foot from where you were trying to sit. A small scorpion squats in the sunlight on a leaf. You shiver and take a step away from it and towards him. You don’t take your eyes off the creature until Temullgei laughs.

“Our Gerd will be ready soon, my Angel. Until then, stay close.” As if to emphasise his point he puts his arm around you and almost pins you to his side. Awkwardly you tuck your arms around his waist as well and find yourself pressed closer to his bare chest than you’d have liked, but he smiles his satisfaction at the arrangement.

You find your cheeks flushing read again and eagerly follow your servants when they come to let you know the tent is ready for you. Temullgei follows, your hand ensnared in his so you can’t get too far ahead.

The first thing you notice when you enter is a large metal tub sitting near the fire. It’s empty but one of the younger girls brings in a pitcher of water and pours it in while you wait beside. The water steams and brings the first real smile to your face all day.

“We will arrive at the Khaadain tomorrow,” he says as he walks past you. You nod, grateful for the information.

A small screen is erected beside the tub, but it only covers one side and you notice Temullgei lingers where he would be able to see you before sitting down on the cushions nearby. When the girls finish filling your bath with water you also see them checking the height with Temullgei. He nods and sends them away with a flick of his hand. Immediately your main serving girl comes up and holds out her hands to suggest she should start undressing you. Your eyes widen and you take a small step back, glancing between her and the Khaad. They exchange a few sentences that you don’t understand and he chuckles several times, before getting up.

“I will check on my tribe and be back when the food is ready,” he says and walks out. You exhale with relief. For a moment you thought he was going to watch you bathe and his actions all afternoon have kept you similarly on edge. You wonder if you’ve made the right choice, but you’re not sure if you could change your mind now, even if you wanted to. And tomorrow you will be presented to the Khaadain.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is over 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.