I recently detailed the intricacies of the Shadow Ops magic system over at Fantasy Faction. In that post, I hinted that there was more to magic than the basic authorized and Probe school system I laid out in Control Point.
In this article, I’ve decided to gives a glimpse into the more esoteric, one might even say singular, magical categories, arcane arts so rare, so unique, that they can only be channeled by the writing style of a particular person.
Sam Sykes — Author of The Skybound Sea
A special sub-species of Hydromancy. Sykes has the ability to cause any person to find themselves suddenly moving across the surface of the ocean, where they shall remain for at least 150 pages.… Read the rest
For the last fourteen days this blog has been turned over to ten of the best debut authors 2011 (and one 2012) had to offer. I was honored to have them here, not only because I didn’t have to write a post myself for two weeks, but because I believe supporting debut writers is the only sure pathway to continued growth in the field. Promoting and buying debut authors is how readers signal to publishers that they should continue to take risks on the unknown. I hope this event has been productive in that regard.
It’s also been an enlightening experience. Too often, as a reader, it’s easy to forget the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the creating works that are often devoured in a few days time. When a novel’s done, it flows so effortlessly it becomes hard to imagine it any other way. I think Douglas Hulick’s post illustrated that even authors fall into the trap of believing that’s how it should always be.… Read the rest
THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS
by Anne Lyle
Mal leant over the ship’s rail, scanning the shore for any sign of a wreck. The mistral had swept the sky bare, leaving the coast etched in hard lines by the cold clear light of a January morn.
“There,” he said at last, pointing to a dark shape on the beach.
Coby joined him at the rail. “Are you sure it’s the skrayling carrack, sir? Those timbers could belong to any ship.”
“You still don’t believe me.”
“I—‘ Her head drooped, expression hidden by the hood of her cloak. “It’s been more than a year, sir. I thought…I thought all that was over.”
It’ll never be over, he wanted to tell her. Not whilst I have this thing inside me.
The ship tacked westwards, closer to the white sands. A rocky headland loomed to their left, the prevailing winds threatening to dash them onto its rocks as it had the ship they sought.… Read the rest
THE STRAITS OF GALAHESH
By Bradley P. Beaulieu
The akhoz galloped more than ran, their long limbs loping over the ground faster than it appeared they could. Their lips were drawn back, their dark tongues hidden behind blackened teeth, making them appear vengeful and ravenous.
Nasim’s sandals scraped over the ancient stone. His nerves willed him to flee. But he would not. This girl, this very girl, was the first of the akhoz. There was little that remained of Yadhan, but he recognized her by the shape and tilt of her head, her delicate features, and the small scar at the nape of her neck.
And he’d also felt in his memories that a connection had been made to each of the akhoz that Khamal had created. In the nights that followed, Khamal had gone on to perform the ritual again and again, sacrificing more and more children to the grisly fate that awaited them.… Read the rest
By Mazarkis Williams
Thrashing churned the water, white foam, tinged brown with river mud. Grada knelt on a broad stone bedded in the shoreline, her arms elbow deep, wringing as she had wrung out the robes of the wealthy many times before.
Muscles bunched across her shoulders. Jenna had always said she was strong. Ox-strong, head-strong.
Further out the river slid past, green-brown, placid. Somewhere a widderil called out its three-note song with all its heart.
They had come from the thickness of the pomegranate grove, two of them sticky with sweat, laying down their pruning hooks as they saw her. Both of them old enough for wives, young enough for wickedness, stripped to loincloth and sandals, white-orange blossom from the second crop clinging to their chests and arms. The men had angled Grada’s way as she walked in the shade at the margins, where trees gave way to the river road.… Read the rest
I’m not a talented writer; the words don’t gush from my mind onto the page. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can handle, so I wind up crafting my novels relentlessly, reading them, re-reading them, shaving a word here and adding a scene there.
The chapter that Justin is going to post here at Staffer’s Book Review is much like Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel in that it’s been through many incarnations. The chapter may have a few left to go before The Garden sees publication. I’m okay with that.
You’re going to meet Guillermo at the start of his journey. Portions of the chapter are graphic and there is profanity.
You’ve been warned.
Welcome to the Garden …
By Teresa Frohock
The Iberian Peninsula, Épila, Aragón, July 21, 1348
“Hush,” she said. “It’s the moon.”
Cloaked in a haze of smoke and dust, the sun went down on the city of Épila.
… Read the rest
AND BLUE SKIES FROM PAIN
By Stina Leicht
“Keep your hands where I can see them,” Ned McCoy said, pulling a pistol from his pocket. Something in his voice said he almost regretted the request.
Liam left his hands on the steering wheel of the idling RS, and attempted to hide his nerves behind his balaclava. He wasn’t sure how successful he was. However, he supposed a certain amount of anxiety would be expected in anyone facing the business end of a gun. “Am thinking of having a cig. Is that all right with you?”
Liam didn’t move to fish the cigarettes Frankie had given him from the jacket’s inside pocket, not yet. “Will you have one?”
Ned paused. “I will at that.”
Reaching inside Conor’s jacket, Liam grabbed the cigarettes and offered one to Ned. Afterward, Liam glanced at the watch he wore turned so he could see the face on the inside of his wrist.
… Read the rest
THE TAINTED CITY
I wedged my fingers higher in the crack snaking up the boulder’s overhanging face. A push of a foot, a twist of my body, and the overhang’s lip was nearly within reach. Good thing, since I had to finish this little warm-up climb fast, or risk a whipping if the shift bell rang before I got to the mine. Dawn’s light already streaked the gorge rim far above me with gold, though it’d be mid-morning before the sun rose high enough to touch the reedy mudflats here in the gorge’s depths. Beyond my boulder, clumps of men in grime-streaked coveralls trudged toward the yawning black mouth at the base of the cliffs. Lights bobbed in jerky rhythms within the tunnel as the night haulers hurried to finish sacking their quota of coal.
“Spend one instant longer crawling up that rock instead of joining your crew, boy, and I’ll choke you blind.”
The torc around my neck heated in warning as overseer Gedavar spoke.… Read the rest
By Elspeth Cooper
It was almost Ninth when Sorchal ambled along the covered walk at the side of the practice yard, his coat over his shoulder and his shirt untucked. Gair turned from first position and propped his sword point-down in the dust in front of him, leaning on the pommel. This was the third time this week the Elethrainian had let him down.
‘Good afternoon,’ he said dryly.
Grinning, Sorchal swept him a florid bow. ‘Good morrow, sir Knight! Goddess’s blessings to you on this fine morning.’ He staggered as he straightened up, which rather spoiled the effect.
‘Are you still drunk?’
Gair sighed. ‘I thought we were practising at half-Prime today.’
‘Ah, yes, about that.’ This time Sorchal looked genuinely contrite, ducking his head and scrubbing his fingers through his uncombed hair. A shadow of beard on cheeks and chin said he’d been out all night.… Read the rest
By Kameron Hurley
“Then We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall We ever be with the Lord.” Bible, Thessalonians 4:16-17
“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily, to them will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.” Quran, Chapter 16, Verse 97
Every time Nyx thought she’d gotten out of the business of killing boys, she shot another one.
He lay bleeding at her feet as the spectators for the weekly fights streamed past, muddying the dusty street with his blood. She had not meant to shoot him, but she was drunk, a common condition during her exile. The boy had grabbed clumsily at the knot of her dhoti where she kept her currency.… Read the rest