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Newsletter Dated: 7/21/2003 7:38:36 AM
Subject: Gracies Gazette – Vol. 3 Issue #4 (July 20, 2003)
© 2003 Gracie C. McKeever
In This Issue:
The Pen Is Mightier
New Review: Desert Dreams
Flashback! Review: Flames Past
Awe-Struck E-Books' New Spice Is Nice Page
NBI Introduces Twofers!
This Issue's Author in the Spotlight
Making The Rounds
What I'm Reading/Recommended Reads
This Issue's Short Story – "Flame Angel" by Steve Lazarowitz
This Issue's Newsletter Contest
Giveaways/Good Deals/Shameless Promotions
Odds and Ends
Hope you're all enjoying a healthy and safe summer so far!
Caught "The Hulk" (fan of the Bill Bixby starring version that aired on Friday nights when the character changed from Bruce Banner to David Bruce Banner; can sing along with the cartoon's theme too…I think. You know the memories not what it used to be. But I can definitely sing along with the Spider Man theme, although that's another story…). Movie version of "The Hulk" was very big on character background and flashbacks to the trauma that created the platform for Bruce Banner's rage. Tragic love story at the center. Nick Nolte is villainously over-the-top in the mad scientist/homicidal father role. Newcomer Eric Bana reminds me of Superman (Christopher Reeves) in his hey day. A little slow in spots (felt my teenage niece fidgeting in her seat…Okay, fine, I fidgeted in MY seat). Caught "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" 4th of July Eve. This installment is well-done, great special effects, chase scenes and the usual explosions and one-liners ("I'm Back"). The ending left an opening for future T's (T4 , T5, and who knows…?). I think that T2 is still my favorite, at least 1 and 2 each had more heart and soul, more menace and urgency, more audience sympathy for the characters. T3 was still great in and of itself (guess I just miss Sarah Connor). Another actor (besides Arnold) from the original two briefly returns for a humorous scene and a piece of nostalgia. Overall, a perfect summer movie. (Have two movies to go from my "must see" list of 2003: "The Matrix: Revolution", and "Lord of The Rings: Return of the King" (I know, you can say it with me…I need to get a life )…. >. For a change of pace – from the adventure/sci-fi/Marvel Comic cinematic diet I've been Oding on – caught "Finding Nemo" with the niece and nephews. And, between you and I…I was close to tears watching some of the scenes. Excellent family movie. Funny, sweet, poignant, and just plain FUN. I highly recommend it to all! (Small word of advice: Don't get to the theater TOO early, or the kiddies will bleed you dry at the video game machines in the lobby…Whoa boy!)
On the writing front, the agent/publisher search continues for ETERNAL DESIGNS and BETWEEN DARKNESS AND DAYLIGHT…cross your fingers for me. And I've started work on another paranormal (reincarnation/ghost).
And on that note, enjoy this issue of the newsletter and see you next issue!
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THE PEN IS MIGHTIER:
Has been on hiatus due to uncontrollable circumstances, but look for its return and new postings in the future! In the meantime, take this opportunity to catch up on reviews and short stories that you might have previously missed. Check out my review of Elaine Hopper's "Secrets" under COLUMNS. But don't stop here. There are other book reviews, movie reviews, short stories, novel excerpts, poetry and much more from the other talented authors and staff members at The Pen!
Of DESERT DREAMS "Rare Find, 4 Stars…will cast its magical spell over all whom uncork this genie's bottle.
Cultures clash when old world meets new, or precisely when centuries-old Djinni Kane meets his new 'mawla', modern career woman, Therese…
I loved I DREAM OF JEANNIE and thus adore stories featuring fun and mystical genies. This is a refreshing twist on the beloved romance between a genie and master, both that the heroine is the master, and that the master is such a strong character who is not easily manipulated despite her genie's mystical powers. Ms. McKeever's a master at characterization and dialogue, possessing one of the strongest voices in romance today in which I take pure delight." Reviewer: Elaine Hopper (www.elainehopper.com) for Word Museum http://www.wordmuseum.com/romance-paranormal.html
DESERT DREAMS by Gracie C. McKeever — ISBN (e) 1-931696-10-1 (p) 1-931696-89-6 — Paranormal Djinni Romance available in download (pdf or html) and print (trade paperback), and can be purchased direct from NovelBooks, Inc. at http://www.novelbooksinc.com for $1 off the Retail Price at $14.95 (paperback); $5.50 (download). Also Available from Booksurge.com, Amazon, B&N (brick-and-mortar stores by "special order" through Bowkers, just give the ISBN), Books-A-Million, Walmart.com, and distributed internationally through other major online booksellers.
Of FLAMES PAST: "The strength of this book lies in the well-developed, multi-dimensional character of Echo. In spite of her flaws -- and she has many -- we understand her actions and motivations. The mother and son relationship is emotionally strong. Gracie C. McKeever has a distinctive, darkly humorous voice that adds spice to the natural dialogue and smooth narration in this novel. Although I was expecting a bit more suspense from the paranormal element, I found this an interesting and entertaining read." Reviewed by Mayra Calvani for eBook Reviews Weekly <3/27/02> http://www.ebooksnbytes.com/
Check out some of my recent reviews/reprints, courtesy of ParaNormal Romance Reviews:
WILDERNESS – "Compelling werewolf tale of acceptance and love"
CIRCUIT OF HEAVEN – "Plot twists and suspense while exploring gamut of emotions and ultimately love" http://pnr.thebestreviews.com/review12131
VIRTUAL HEART – "Story intertwined science and paranormal fantasy with an engaging romance"
ENCHANTED COTTAGE – "Gripping tale of the healing power of love"
DREAMS OF YOU – "A sensual and sensitive romantic suspense"
AD: Meet the authors that make Awe-Struck tick, read the interviews, the articles, the inspirational stories behind the books, and find out what Awe-Struck Awe-thors are up to. But most of all, sign up for the Awe-Struck Flash, Official Newsletter of Awe-Struck E-Books http://www.awe-struck.net, and get Awed! If you'd like to become a subscriber (and since it only comes out every other month, why not?), send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org
NBI INTRODUCES TWOFERS
Just in time for Summer Reading, NovelBooks, Inc.
offers "Twofers!" (2 books 4 $2.00)
Some of NBI's best selling and award-winning books can be yours for just 2 for $2.00! Each month we will be offering a different selection, which means you can get some fantastic reading done for a fraction of the regular price! That's good news for readers in this economically tough time.
Click on over to NBI http://www.novelbooksinc.com today and pick up some wonderful stories. You'll be glad you did!
AWE-STRUCK E-BOOKS' NEW SPICE IS NICE ROMANCES
http://www.awe-struck.net/SPICE/spice_titles.html – Are you ready for a bit of harmless "SIN"? Try Awe-Struck's (S)pice (I)s (N)ice titles. Here you'll find links that will take you directly to the description and preview pages. These are great romances...And the authors added a bit of spice in the bedroom, on the beach, or any other place you might make love. The page features those romances that have VERY descriptive bedroom scenes. It doesn't matter if the romance is contemporary or historical or sci fi. What's important is that the love scenes are...well...spicy! FLAMES PAST is there. Check out the page to see what other of your favorite Awe-Struck titles are there.
FLAMES PAST by Gracie C. McKeever — ISBN (e) 1-58749-121-4 (p) 1-58749-257-7 — Contemporary Paranormal Romance available and can be purchased from Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc. http://www.awe-struck.net in download and diskette: html, pdf, Palmpilot, REB 1100, Softbook, Hiebook, eBookman, Distributed internationally through online booksellers…Now Available in Trade Paperback! Visit Earthling Press http://www.earthling-press.com Awe-Struck's print subsidiary for titles in PRINT. Also available at Booksurge.com, B&N, Powells, eBookad.com, Fictionwise.com… Price: $4.50 Usual, non-sale price (download) $8.75 (disk, price includes S&H), $13.95 (trade paperback) – RT 2002 Award Nominee – Best Small Press Paranormal
MIND LIKE WATER E-Book Directory: eBooks:">http://www.mindlikewater.com">eBooks: free ebook directory and marketing
"Death is only the beginning when a psychotherapist is reincarnated as a client's estranged and murdered husband…ETERNAL DESIGNS is the result" by Gracie C. McKeever
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THIS ISSUE'S AUTHOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT: http://www.marytaffs.com Site of multi-award nominee and finalist romance author Mary Taffs. I've only recently discovered this author's work (she has several titles out with Awe-Struck) after reading her latest two fantasy/paranormal romances MAGICK and MORE THAN MAGICK. And let me tell you, I am now an official fan and anxiously awaiting the third book in this series. I think you will be too (a fan and eagerly waiting for the release of Ms. Taff's titles). Visit Mary at her site, check out her work and enter the ongoing contests.
DANCING IN THE DARK by Gracie C. McKeever — ISBN –1-928670-76-8 — Contemporary Romance available from Awe-Struck's Ennoble Line and can be purchased from http://www.awe-struck.net in download and diskette: html, pdf, Palmpilot, REB 1100, Softbook, Hiebook, eBookman, Distributed internationally through online booksellers. Price: $4.50 Usual, non-sale price (download) $8.75 (disk, price includes S&H)
MAKING THE ROUNDS: "A man who wants to save the world one child at a time…a young teen looking for acceptance and a savior wherever he can find them…and a woman who wants only to save them both. Somewhere between darkness and daylight they will all find and save each other." BETWEEN DARKNESS AND DAYLIGHT by Gracie C. McKeever … The agent search continues… Submitted THE SYMBIOTIC INVITATION (short story) to Mundania Press http://www.mundania.com for (one of) their upcoming paranormal anthologies.
WORK-IN-PROGRESS: "Two women who shouldn't have died, but did. Both women now on the trail of their murderers. Each will have her revenge but at what expense?" That's the short blurb/log line (one of 3) that I've come up with so far for my latest. I've got a premise, and the characters are taking shape from the background information I've accumulated. Can you say it with me? My newest work (paranormal, of course, specifically reincarnation, a near-and-dear subject) is under way with a bounty hunter heroine and a hero who's one half of twins (his counterpart is a "bad boy" and his polar opposite). Working title: IN PLAIN SIGHT (not very original, I know, but it fits with the premise so far, but might change.). Will keep you posted…
WHAT I'M READING/RECOMMENDED READS:
In the mood for shapeshifters, time travels, ghost stories, and paranormal tales? Then you're in the mood for this issue's selections. I enjoyed them all, and hope you do too:
BLACKWIND, by Charlotte Boyett-Compo: This is the first title I've read from this prolific author of the WindLegends saga, and I wasn't disappointed. Shapeshifters, tragic tortured heroes, and other mythical creatures steeped in rich Celtic history but firmly planted in a contemporary setting, inhabit this fast-paced and entertaining SF/F/P story of impossible love and soul mates. Check this book out at its current publisher Amber Quill Press http://www.amberquill.com or your local bookstore.
BEAUDRY'S GHOST, by Carolan Ivey: Another award-winning DU title on my tbr pile for a few years now. Finally dug in and, again, it was well-worth the wait. Imaginative plot, engaging characters, well-researched and well-written. The ending was unexpected, and left me wanting a sequel just to find out what happened to a couple of the characters. If you're in the market for a good ghost story, civil war romance and time travel tale, then BG is for you. Check it out at its current publisher http://www.ltdbooks.com
DESTINY'S MAGICK, by Rae Morgan: The subject matter of this one is one near in dear to my heart, as it deals with wiccans and magick. Drake Morgan is a powerful mage and wiccan in his own right and leader of the Coven of the Wolf. He is opposed by a power-hungry, egomaniacal witch who practices Chaos magick and wants to claim the Coven of the Wolf as his own. He'll have to get past Drake and his newly-discovered soul mate Rhea first and once this pair bonds and combines their formidable powers, claiming the Coven will not be an easy task. Engaging characters, fast-paced story…did I mention hot ? Check out this paranormal/erotica romance at its publisher http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com (an imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing).
REPLAY, by Ken Grimwood: I love discovering new authors and new books, and heard about this one on one of my paranormal listserves. Purchased it on the premise alone, and wasn't disappointed. What would you do if you could live your life over again? And again? And again? Jeff Winston gets a chance to do just this and more in this creative time travel adventure. Insightful, well-written, with a sympathetic protagonist you don't mind following through all his replays and incarnations. Check this one out at Amazon.com or your local bookstore.
Recommended Read: THE LOVELY BONES, by Alice Sebold: Heard a lot of great things about this one, and finally broke down to buy it. Very interesting premise – a 14yo girl, murdered by a serial-killing pedophile, is the protagonist and, from heaven, follows her family's and friends' trials and tribulations on earth in the aftermath of her death. Author voice is gripping, very well-written story, engaging characters. Though the details of Susie's murder are graphic and gruesome, the descriptions are integral to the story, and help the reader get into the mindset of the protagonist and her killer. This one is well-worth checking out at Amazon.com or your local bookstore.
More interesting titles for you next issue!
AD: NovelBooks Inc. features one of its authors every week, and that author provides a short story or novel excerpt which is then offered free to readers. Check out the site EVERY WEEK for a new story (and a different featured author) http://www.novelbooksinc.com NBI – "Surprisingly New – Always Unique"
nyc and a borough's sweet spot at dawn in spring
© 1997 by Gracie C. McKeever
60 minutes before the alarm
when pure sleep
is nine dreams
have exhausted the airwaves
with unneighborly sounds
gangsta rap and
wails of city-owned
at their helms
hound dogs a-howlin'
traffic copters a-hoverin'
iron horse a-pullin'
over beside below outside
Richter scale serenade
rainfall pattering panes
right cerebellum crying out
full bladder screaming
thieves in the night
even the blackout
shades can't stop
the dawn invasion
LOOK FOR STEVE LAZAROWITZ'S POWERFUL NEW POEM "You'll Never Have What it Takes to be Mine", IN SEPTEMBER'S ISSUE OF GRACIE'S GAZETTE! But for now, we have a great short story in this issue for your reading pleasure. Don't miss it!
MILES TO GO by Gracie C. McKeever — ISBN 1-58749-025-0 — a Byte^Me teen novel available from Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc. http://www.awe-struck.net in download and diskette: html, pdf, Palmpilot, REB 1100, Softbook, Hiebook, eBookman, Distributed internationally through online booksellers. Price: $4.50 Usual, non-sale price (download) $8.75 (disk, price includes S&H)
THIS ISSUE'S SHORT STORY: "FLAME ANGEL", by Steve Lazarowitz
That the room was well furnished could not be denied, whether you approved of the unorthodox combinations of styles or not. On one wall hung a painting of a dragon, either rendered by elves or an excellent imitation. Below it, on a stone table that was clearly of minotaur design, was a dagger that could only have been crafted by a pixie. On the floor next to it was a vase made of water, but frozen into position by magic. Emerging from its open top was a staff that seemed to be made from silver, crested by an opal large enough to look fake. No matter where one looked, some unlikely object was next to another that was even more impressive.
If visitors found the presentation of the artifacts lacking, no one could gainsay their value. Few could afford such a collection. The richest of merchants perhaps, or one of the nobly born. A miner that had made a lucky strike or a great mage. Or, as in this case, a successful mercenary, who had managed to survive long enough to cash out.
I looked at him then, the adventurer. Though he was no longer young, his eyes still possessed the mischievous gleam so often associated with youth. This is how I like to remember him; sitting in his study behind his desk, surrounded by the many items he'd culled from long years of employ. It was the only place that his handicap was not evident.
There I would sit for hours, listening to the stories he told and retold with never waning enthusiasm. Even had I been bored by the tales, which I assure you was not the case, I would have sat with him anyway. He had taken many names over the years, though his given name was Jack and his friends all called him Edge. I called him Father.
As my brothers were always busy, I was often his sole audience. Even my mother did not sit with him as she once did; thus the task had fallen to me. I do not resent my siblings for their neglect, though I often wish they would show more respect for the man that sired them. Then, again, what can you expect from men?
I'd heard each story so many times, I could repeat them from memory, word for word. The only story he never shared and consequently, the one in which I was most interested, was an account of how he'd obtained his injury.
I had no doubt it was a sore point, but my curiosity knew no bounds. Though I pestered him relentlessly, he never gave in. He might have had harsher words for one of my brothers, but perhaps because I was the only girl, he was always pleasant enough about it.
Then one day, a friend of my father's paid us a visit. It was not often we had guests. I suppose he didn't make many friends in his line of work and more than a percentage of his colleagues had died on the job. Like my father, Kerik was a successful mercenary. The two had shared many an adventure. I was most excited when I learned he would be staying with us for a short while. If I could get him alone, I might be able to finally find out the story behind my father's injury.
Getting him alone was no easy matter. My brothers were with him much of the time and when they weren't, he and my father sat in the study drinking and reminiscing. During some of that time I sat with them, but the incident in question never arose.
Finally on the third night of his stay, I could take it no longer. Soon after the house was asleep, I made my way to his room and quietly let myself in. He was lying in bed, his breathing steady. I approached slowly, wondering how to go about waking him. I needn't have worried.
"If you're here to kill me, know now that many have tried."
At first, I was so surprised, I didn't answer. Finally, I found my voice. "No, Sir. I just wanted to talk to you."
His grunt was one of surprise. He sat up, spoke a word and the room grew bright. In his hand, he held a small glass box, the source of the illumination. I had never seen one, but there were many magical artifacts of which I was ignorant. I stared at it, fascinated.
"Now what would you be doing sneaking into my room, girl? If you're here for a little fun, you can just turn yourself around and go back to bed. Jack would kill me, if I laid a hand on you."
I almost giggled at the insinuation, but managed to keep a straight face. After all, I wanted information and couldn't afford to insult the man. "No, Sir. I just wanted to talk."
"I have heard almost all of my father's exploits, with perhaps a single omission."
"The Flame Angel."
"Flame Angel. He rarely tells the story. Doesn't like to dwell on how he was crippled, I would think."
"If he won't tell you, why should I?"
I thought for a moment. It was a good question. "Because if you don't, I'll tell him that you did and then refuse to bring it up again. He'll believe me too."
Kerik grinned. "You are your father's daughter."
He paused for a bit, while he thought it over. "Very well. It's not like I would be breaking a confidence. I'll tell you under one condition. Your father must never find out you know." He looked at me sternly, to make certain I understood the importance of his request. "Deal?"
I returned his gaze unflinchingly. "Deal."
Kerik rose, pulled on a robe and made his way to a chair by the bed. Only then, for the first time, did I realize that though he was healthy, like my father, he was getting on in his years. I watched as he lowered himself carefully into the seat. Then he motioned for me to sit on the bed. When I complied, his eyes took on a far away look and he started to speak.
"Jack was always on the wrong side of trouble, but that's to be expected, when you're in our kind of work. Like everyone else, I called him Edge. Partly because he had the sharpest blade of anyone I've ever known, but also because of his rapier wit, which caused him more than his share of problems.
Jack was like the rest of us. Bit of a lover, bit of a fighter. Never turned down a job, if he could make a killing, no matter how dangerous. Now most of the time, when an adventure is over, it's over, but that's not always the case.
On one of his outings, he befriended a man named Thomas. I'm certain you've heard the story before. Thomas hung around for a while. Long enough to earn your father's trust, which was not an easy thing to do. One fateful night, Thomas betrayed him. And Edge wasn't a man that took betrayal lightly.
There was a terrible brawl from which Thomas never got up. According to your father, the unfortunate fellow struck his head on a rock. No one really believed the story, but there were no witnesses and therefore no one to say otherwise. And that was the proverbial that. At least, it should have been.
Unfortunately, Thomas had a brother who was a world-class wizard. Marcus was his name. He had a reputation for being as nasty as any mage alive. Once Marcus learned of his brother's death, he went looking for old Edge. Your father, mind you, was not one to run from a fight. Suicide, of course, is another thing entirely. Once he found out that Marcus had taken an interest in him, Edge fled faster and harder than he'd ever done in his life. I can't say as I blame him. I'd have done the same.
Now, there are few things harder than hiding from a wizard. Winning an argument with a woman is one; slaying a dragon with a wooden spoon is another. I'm sure there are others, but none come to mind at the moment. Your father would move from one great city to another, attempting to lose himself in the crowds. Then Marcus would make an appearance and he'd be forced to flee. Eventually, Edge gave up on cities.
Next he tried finding anonymity in small villages. Some of these were no more than a collection of huts, but it didn't matter. Whatever the size or the distance from the rest of civilization, Marcus would always track him down.
After he'd been on the run for more than two years, Edge's fortune finally turned. Witchpoint had once been a mining town, but the area had run dry years ago. What was once a thriving city, had deteriorated into something more akin to a ruin. Mainly populated by outlaws, Witchpoint was a dangerous place, though an obscure one, to be sure.
Edge had a run of good luck playing dagger-jack. He always was good at the game. When his opponent finally ran out of money, he put up a ring, which he claimed was magical. Edge was experienced enough to know a magic ring when he saw one, so he snatched it up in a hurry, before the fellow changed his mind.
"What did it do?" I asked.
Kerik looked up startled, as if he'd forgotten that I was there. "It was supposed to summon a Flame Angel."
I looked at him blankly and he continued. "Nasty, fiery demonlings, that's what they really are. I don't really know why they're called angels."
"Perhaps it makes them more acceptable, if you happen to mention one in front of a priest," I suggested.
He looked at me. "Anyway, these demons are a handy bit of protection for the ring bearer. You see, once summoned, the Flame Angel must take a life. And it can't go home until it does."
"I take it they don't like it here."
He smiled at me. "Quite correct, young lady."
"What's to stop them from killing the one who summoned them?"
"The ring will protect the wearer for a time, as long as there's another target present. Now, if you're quite through, may I get back to the story?"
The man taught Edge the incantation that went with the ring, which he practiced until he had it memorized. Now at least, if that pesky mage showed up, he'd have a weapon. Not that he was certain that a Flame Angel would be up to the task, but it would certainly have a better chance than he, against an opponent of Marcus' caliber.
Sure enough, the next day Marcus arrived and once again Edge was forced to flee. Your father made straight for the Gray Mountains. I'm still not certain why he chose the route or why he didn't use the ring back in town. I suppose he'd just grown used to running.
The Gray Mountains are tall, dreary looking and extremely dangerous to climb, but Edge was desperate. Being the dexterous fellow he was, he left the path and climbed a cliff, hoping that doing so would throw off his pursuer. He should have known better.
Once he pulled himself over the ledge, he was quite surprised to find himself standing before the entrance of a long abandoned mine. He was aware, of course, that dangerous creatures live in the dark passages of the world, but he didn't think any of them could match an angry wizard. At least, he hoped that was the case. Stopping only to light a lantern, he entered, all too aware that Marcus was not far behind.
Edge ran deep into those seemingly endless stone corridors, certain that no matter which way he went, the wizard would somehow be able to follow him. He was most upset when the passage he traversed ended suddenly, blocked by fallen rubble. He was trying to catch his breath, before turning and backtracking to the nearest intersection, when Marcus called out to him and he knew it was too late.
"Why don't you wait for me, warrior? When you meet your Maker, you don't want him to think you a coward, do you?"
Edge ignored the jibe and started the incantation, glad he'd taken the time to memorize it. It took great effort to ignore the wizard's approach and concentrate properly. Fortunately, Edge was an experienced adventurer and this was not the first time he'd had to perform under pressure. As soon as he uttered the last syllable, the air before him shimmered and a fiery creature, somewhat larger than the average man, began to form.
Edge stared at the thing in amazement. It was like a bonfire that had decided to get up and go for a walk. As it moved, it changed shape. One moment, just a flame, the next it looked like some kind of creature from hell. Edge willed the creature forward and it moved. He could feel its struggle as it tried to resist the power of the ring, but as he suspected, he was safe, at least for the time being.
He didn't have to walk far, before he reached Marcus. The wizard held a silver staff, topped by a huge opal that bathed the area in a soft blue glow. He wore on his face a smile that made Edge's skin crawl. No one should be that confident in the face of a demon. Edge smiled back with more confidence than he felt. "Kill the wizard," he commanded.
The creature shifted and twisted as if looking back at him, then it slid forward. Edge held his breath as he watched the demon advance. Not far away, Marcus stood his ground. Then suddenly the Flame Angel stopped.
"It can't reach me," said the mage softly.
"Flame Angels can't cross water. I took the liberty of spreading the contents of a couple of flasks across the corridor, while you were busy summoning it."
"But how did you even know I had it?"
Marcus laughed. As he stood there, his face seemed to melt away, only to reform into a different set of features.
"I let you win at dagger-jack. I gave you the ring. And now, it is only a matter of time before you can no longer control the beast. I shall stand here and watch, until your control wavers. I will watch the fires of hell consume your soul. Only then will my brother rest in peace."
"Your brother betrayed me."
Marcus nodded, knowingly. "Yes, he was a twisted little man, but he was my brother. You understand, don't you?" The mage was mocking him.
Edge thought furiously, trying to find a way out. He could walk across the water himself, but he wasn't certain the Flame Angel would pose any more of a threat than the wizard.
"Your control is slipping already, can't you feel it?"
"Shut up," snapped Edge. Tension and fear were beginning to mount.
The Flame Angel retreated from the edge of the water and began to approach. Edge watched for a moment, too scared to act. This was not the first time he'd looked death in the face, but it was certainly one of the most frustrating. Then, without warning, he lurched into action.
He ran forward and slammed his lantern onto the puddle with all his considerable strength. The frame burst asunder, sending a film of oil across the surface of the water. By the time Marcus realized what had happened, the demon raced across the oil and leapt at him. I don't know much about wizards, but I do know it's awful hard to cast a spell while on fire.
The wizard's staff fell to the ground as he fought to defend himself. Edge didn't wait to see the outcome. Stopping only to retrieve the staff, he ran as fast as he could back toward the cavern entrance. When the ground began to shake, your father realized that Marcus must have found a way to cast spells. He still had a way to go when the ceiling began to collapse. Somehow, he made it outside without sustaining injury. It was one of the most remarkable escapes of your father's illustrious career.
Kerik stopped talking and looked at me, the tale apparently over.
"But you said he escaped unscathed."
"So I did."
I looked at him sternly. "Then how does that explain his current condition?"
"After the incident, your father lowered himself over the cliff's edge, ready to begin his descent. Just as he was about to start climbing, a nearby movement distracted him. His immediate thought was that Marcus must have survived the battle. Your father tried to dodge. He lost his grip and fell some thirty feet to the bottom. Crushed his foot in the fall. When he looked up, a mountain goat stuck his head over the cliff and looked down at him."
I almost choked. "A goat!"
I finally knew why my father would never tell the story.
Kerik tried valiantly to hold back his laughter, but it wasn't long before he failed. "That's what I said, child. Old Edge survived his long career and took out a master wizard before he retired, but in the end, it was a goat that did him in."
Kerik began to laugh, a deep hearty sound that was infectious. At first, I wasn't certain whether to laugh or cry, so I compromised. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. It was a long time before I finally regained some semblance of control. Then I stood and thanked the old warrior. When I left, he was still chuckling.
Afterward, there were many times I wanted to tell my father that I knew and it was okay. The fact that he fell and injured himself did nothing to detract from his long and successful career. I kept my word however, and my own counsel. As far as my father was concerned, his secret was safe.
My father passed away two years later. On that day, I went to the temple and sacrificed a goat in his memory. Perhaps it was my way of avenging his injury or maybe I was trying to tell him that I knew what had happened and in spite of it, I still respected him.
I never did rearrange his study. I left it exactly as it was, a shrine to a most memorable man.
To this day, whenever I miss him, I go there and sit on the floor, as I had on so many prior occasions. Sometimes I bring my children with me and I tell them all about their grandfather's exploits. Though they've heard each a dozen times or more, they can't seem to get enough of them. When I look at them, I can perhaps see a reflection of my own wonder in each of their little faces.
Just yesterday, my oldest boy turned to me. "Mom, how did Grandpa hurt his foot?"
I have never lied to my son, but on that one occasion, I chose to mislead him. "Your grandpa never said."
I could tell from the look in his eyes it was an answer he'd never accept.
BIO: Steve Lazarowitz is an award winning, multi-published author, best known for his online short stories and serials. His work has appeared in numerous online zines including Twilight Times, Planet Relish, E2K, Another Realm and Jackhammer. You can find his three e-books at http://www.twilighttimes.com. Steve Lazarowitz now resides in Moonah, Tasmania. Dream Sequence, his newest (and oldest) anthology will soon be available from Double Dragon Publishing. You can also link to my webpage at http://www.dream-sequence.net
NEW LIFE INCOGNITA by Gracie C. McKeever — ISBN (disk) 1-55316-061-4 (Rocket) 1-55316-939-5 — New Age Paranormal Urban Romance available and can be purchased from LTDBooks http://www.ltdbooks.com in download and diskette: Palmpilot, Rocket eBook, Gemstar REB 1100 and 1200 and Franklin eBookman. Price: $5.00 (download) $6.00 (disk). Also Available from Amazon and distributed internationally through other major online booksellers.
THIS ISSUE'S NEWSLETTER CONTEST:
This issue get your D.U.E. in my Dreams Unlimited Extravaganza contest as I'm offering eight original
e-book titles (3.5 disks – PDF and RTF format) from the now-defunct publisher: BEAUDRY'S GHOST, by Carolyn Ivey, BORN OF FIRE, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, CAPTIVE HEARTS, by Lissa Michaels, ONE WITH THE HUNGER, J.C. Wilder, SNOWBOUND, by Lois Bonde, TIME AND TIME AGAIN, by Katriena Knights, TIME RIDER, by Rickey Mallory, and WALKING ON THE MOON, by Susan Sizemore. You know the drill, but just in case you don't. To enter for your chance to win, just send an e-mail with your name, address and e-mail address to email@example.com with "Dreams Unlimited Extravaganza Contest" in the subject line. Contest runs until August 20, 2003. One entry per e-mail address, and per person. Refer a friend, however, (who e-mails me with his/her request to subscribe and naming you as their referral) to the newsletter before the deadline, and you get an additional entry. The more friends you refer, the more times you're entered. (Referred friend will automatically be entered in the current newsletter contest). Winner will be notified by e-mail, and mailing address will be confirmed. In the event chosen contestant does not respond within seven (7) days, another name will be drawn. I reserve the right to publish winner's name on my webpage(s) and in my newsletter.
May/June's 2003 Newsletter Heart Contest Winner of one copy (disk) "Virtual Heart", and one copy (paperback) "In a Heartbeat": Annette Taylor, Albion, IL.
Congrats, Annette, and hope you enjoy your prizes!
GIVEAWAYS/GOOD DEALS/SHAMELESS PROMOTIONS:
FREE BOOK offers from Road to Romance: http://roadtoromance.dhs.org/freestories.htm
The Free Stories Feature has been updated and given it's own page. It used to be on the contest page. These are author stories and are linked to their sites, where you can either download them or read them online. Lot's of free reading here! Follow the links offered with each.
"SHADOW OF LOVE" Paranormal Romance – FREE Novel Download from Awe-Struck E-Books
"Read SHROUDED HEARTS by Cass Andre at NO CHARGE!
Bestselling, award-winning author, Cass Andre, has just released SHROUDED HEARTS, the sequel to VEILED HEARTS. If you thought Luke had woman troubles, wait until you see what Reed has put up with! Download SHROUDED HEARTS at www.booksbycass.com/shrouded.html
(formats available: doc, rtf, lit, html, kml, rb, pdf and a printable file)"
Do you like to read a chapter of a book before you buy it? Stop by Readers Read™ http://www.readersread.com/excerpts/ to read excerpts and first chapters from the newest books. Check back frequently.
Visit NovelBooks, Inc. Cyber Shops at http://www.cafepress.com/nbi where you'll find your favorite NBI cover (yes, Virginia, even Desert Dreams!) on a slew of different products—from tees and totes, to mousepads and mugs. You can also choose to purchase official NBI gear perfect for showing off to your friends or wearing out and about. Keep an eye out for new products and specials. And if you haven't so far been lucky enough to win one of the "Desert Dreams" prizes up for grabs in my previous contests, well then you might have to break down and BUY the gear. Did I mention, affordable gifts, just in time for…ANY time?
If you haven't checked it out yet, zip on over to Earthling Press http://www.earthling-press.com, your source of fine books in print. EP is an imprint of Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc. and brings to you the same great stories—and great giveaways and sales—from your favorite Awe-Struck Awe-thors…only in print! "Earthling Press—books from your home planet."
Stay informed about lots of your favorite writers in one monthly newsletter, and consider subscribing to Writerspace-News, where you'll be kept up-to-date on Janelle Denison, Jayne Ann Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell, Stella Cameron, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Geralyn Dawson, Susan Wiggs, Diana Palmer, Marilyn Pappano and more. To subscribe, visit http://www.writerspace.com/news.html
Want to find out: What Science Fiction Romance is, anyway, and why does Science Fiction Romance deserve its own newsletter and website? Wellllll…you guessed it, another newsletter. But, if you're really into the genre and want to keep abreast of what's coming out and going on with your favorite sfr authors, then this newsletter IS a must (I know, that's what they all say).
The newsletter, which hosts the yearly SAPPHIRE AWARDS for the best works in the genre, has been in publication since 1993/1994 and has had an active website since 1996. They publish monthly in both email and paper formats. For subscriptions to the email newsletter, simply visit the site http://www.sfronline.com/
enter your email address where indicated. For subscriptions by mail, SASEs are required, so contact the editor, Jody Wallace, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And along the same lines, try THE DREAM WEAVER – "For those who believe in the magic of dreams".
It's easier than ever to read the Dream Weaver online! www.earthlycharms.com/dreamweaver.htm
Or send a blank email: DreamWeaverNewsletteremail@example.com to subscribe and be automatically entered in the bi-monthly drawings.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Visit Gracie's Gallery http://hometown.aol.com/gwiz10/myhomepage/index.html and learn a little more about Gracie C. McKeever and her books. Peruse the links of interest for writers and readers. Enjoy the available articles, poems, short stories, novelettes and free book excerpts, and…Happy Reading!
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Two rules for life:
1) Don’t' tell people everything you know