Tuesday, November 10, 2020

#NewRelease from @ScottTheWriter - The Children of the Seventh Son #HistoricalFantasy

I'm excited to share with you a dark excerpt from The Children of the Seventh Son, Book 2 in author Scott Bury's The Dark Age trilogy. Scott's new book is available on November 13, 2020 - pre-order on Amazon for the special price of 99 cents US to ensure delivery to your favorite reading device!

Scott is an incredibly versatile author, publishing books in multiple genres and for all ages. From books for kids to a memoir in novel form about his father-in-law's experiences in World Word II, to mysteries set in lush Hawaii and California's romantic wine country, to his historical fantasy trilogy, Scott offers something for everyone. Check out the excerpt from The Children of the Seventh Son below, and you'll discover why Scott is an author worth reading.



A conspiracy in victorious Rome

    What they saw, first, was a glorious troop of legionnaires bearing long spears, their armour shining, bristles on their helmets tall and proud, their scarlet cloaks bouncing in time with their steps.
    Behind them, the prisoners: dirty men in ragged, torn clothes, chained at the wrists and ankles, shoulders slumped, heads hanging, exhausted and defeated.
    “The Gepids,” Malleus said. “It is said that Priscus defeated them in four consecutive battles, killing thirty thousand, and bringing back eighteen thousand prisoners.”
    Javor’s mind whirled at the numbers. Thirty thousand dead? He tried to imagine thirty thousand dead bodies on a field, then pushed away the horrifying image. He concentrated on watching the parade of misery and pride. 
    Malleus leaned his head on Javor’s shoulder. His voice was low, soft, his words quick. “I am walking a very narrow path, my friend. The emperor understands how vital the Order’s support will be. And I mean the Order, the secret Gnostic Order, not the Order of St. Mary of Chalkoprateia.”
    Javor kept his eyes on the endless parade of ragged, chained men. 
    “That means that now, secrecy is more important than ever,” Malleus continued. No one else could hear them. Javor concentrated to make certain that he did not miss a word. 

    “That is because we must be seen to be working closely with the Church and the Patriarch in resisting, and defeating the enemies of Rome. But the position of the Orthodox Church of Rome has hardened against perceived heretics, outsiders and especially Gnostics.”
    “Then why work with them?” Javor asked, keeping his voice as low as Malleus’.
    “Because protecting civilization will require more than the Order and the Empire itself. Remember that Rome faces many enemies. The Sassanians. The Avars. The various barbarians that shattered the Western Empire. All civilizations, Roman and Sassanid, even the barbarians, must learn to resist the chthonic forces together, or we are lost. And I fear we will not find unity.”
    Prisoners continued to stream past, many stumbling, moving again only when whipped by the Legionnaires who marched, shining and proud along the edges of the Mese. Javor thought about Malleus’ words. “What about Gracian?”
    “Especially Gracian. Gracian comes from the Church. He is a believer in the decisions of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. Which means he fervently rejects any deviation from the Orthodox doctrines.”
    “Then why have you made him your second-in-command?”
    “The Patriarch insisted. That is what I mean by a narrow path. I must be able to mobilize the full strength of the secret Order—such as you, Javor—in secret, without the knowledge of the Church, yet in coordination with it.
    “That means, Javor, that you and I will have to limit our direct communication. And you must never, never mention anything about the Order, Gnostic knowledge or anything about our true nature in Gracian’s presence. Do you understand?” 
    Javor nodded, feeling a tingle in his spine and a weight in his gut.

About this book

The Children of the Seventh Son is the second novel in the Dark Age series, which began with The Bones of the Earth.
The year 600 of the Christian Era is the darkest time of the Dark Age. Young Javor the Sklavene has settled in Constantinople, the last bastion of civilization against dark forces that have shattered the Western Roman Empire. 
Wielding two special weapons made from the Bones of the Earth, Javor has become the favourite monster-killer of the secret Gnostic Order. As his young family grows, he is sent to distant, exotic lands to eliminate threats and learn more about why the earth is intent on destroying humanity.
Every mission seems to bring more questions than answers—until he finds the greatest danger comes not from forces from beneath the surface of the world, but from the very civilization he has been defending.
Read more about The Dark Age series.

About the author

Scott Bury can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. Sam, the Strawb Part, a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, Dark Clouds.

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He's written several mysteries and thrillers, including Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes and Wildfire.

Scott’s articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

He has two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Learn more about Scott on his:
•    Website
•    Blog
•    Facebook
•    Twitter

Sunday, September 6, 2020

To Cliffhang or Not to Cliffhang. That is the Question.

I'll fess up: my first book, THE DEVIL OF LIGHT, ends with one heck of a cliffhanger. A character's life hangs in the balance, another character's professional future is uncertain, some of the minor baddies scatter, and the big baddies escape unscathed.

Reviewers love it or hate it, regardless of the star-rating they give the book. I still love it, but I know what happens in book two, and I kind of know what's coming down the pike in future books and how the story weaves together.

Reviewers who hate it say I left too much hanging. That the book can't stand on its own. The mystery isn't completely solved. That you have to read the second book to get closure. Er, yep, you do. 'Cause this is a series and that's what I intended.

Is that a bad thing? Since this is a series, I don't think so. (But I would think that way, wouldn't I?)

I love to read books in a series, and I don't mind at all when characters and conflicts hang over from one book to the next. In fact I love it when a portion of a character's history takes several books to unravel, as in the DI Lynley novels by Elizabeth George. I don't remember how many books in the series I read before George told me that the limp afflicting one of the minor characters was caused by a careless moment by Thomas Lynley. Or that the wife of Lynley's best friend was once in love with Lynley. George hints at these aspects of backstory for several books, and her hinting makes me crave the information, keeps me reading.

But we're talking cliffhangers here. Books where the author leaves key elements of the plot unfinished. Think HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J.K. Rowling or Harlan Coben's TELL NO ONE. Both have terrific cliffhanger endings, and I love them both.

But I'm curious to hear other voices. What do you think? To cliffhang or not to cliffhang? What is your preference?


photo credit: State Library Victoria Collections The Pinnacle, Grampians via photopin (license)

photo credit: byronv2 The Reader via photopin (license)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Cass Elliot #Crime Novels are #FREE and 50% off during the #SmashwordsSummerSale through July 31

Ahh, a holiday. What could be better than diving into a new book? Settle in for some great summer reading during the Smashwords Summer Sale! You'll find loads of books on sale - many for free, including the first book in the Cass Elliot Crime Series.

Grab a few books (on sale!) for your vacation and find new authors to love!

The first book in the Cass Elliot Crime Series, THE DEVIL OF LIGHT, is FREE! Books two and three, AVENGERS OF BLOOD and A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES, are 50% off!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Lost #Art of Listening #amwriting

Confession time: I'm an eavesdropper. Even worse? I'm shameless about adapting what I hear for use in a novel. The truth is, if you're in earshot, your conversation is fair game.

Listening is a rare skill these days. Life has always been full of distractions, but the advent of perpetually-available rich technology has made us even more easily distractable.

I'm as guilty as anyone else of the sin of distraction. Of cocking half an ear while trying to carry on a text conversation or answer an email. Multi-tasking doesn't work. Not for me, anyway. But I've found a wonderful cure for these modern day distractions: putting that dang technology away. It's so beautiful because anyone can do it.

If you've read my posts, you'll know that my dad had Alzheimer's and was in a nursing home. Every night, my brothers and I took turns being there around supper time to feed him. Convincing him to eat, watching to make sure he swallowed, giving him small sips of thickened liquids worked wonders for my listening skills, mostly because I couldn't feed my dad and scan BBC news or Facebook updates at the same time. (Not that I didn't try.) My dad's willingness and ability to speak deteriorated quickly, which meant we had to listen really hard when he did talk. Visiting with him and with others in that nursing home opened my heart and honed my listening abilities; that ninety-three year old man who used to be a preacher doesn't have many years left to talk, so I took time to listen while I could.

My dad was in that nursing home for almost three years, and you know what I've realized? Listening is a choice, pure and simple. I have to choose to shut up, choose to put the phone or tablet down, choose to focus on the speaker. This actually gives me hope for myself and everybody else who spends too much time hooked to technology.

 It also, selfishly perhaps, reminded me of how much life the elderly have lived, and how many amazing stories they have to share - and the stories they live on a daily basis! From tales of the Memory Care residents who go crazy with the full moon, crawling under tables looking for something that only they can see and starting pillow fights, to stories from a former constable about the crimes he helped solve back in the day - all were pure magic and full of life.

One resident offered a finder's fee if I'd help her locate a man who likes money and sex. I figured that would be easy money, but I must confess, I didn't try too hard. We had a great time talking about her future beau; her continent-hopping dad and thanks to him, all the places she'd experienced as a child; and all the lovely scarves and hats her grandchildren brought her (and that she proudly wore - purple was her favorite).

Their antics and memories are priceless on a heart level, but also in terms of the richness they've added to my life and my writing.

What about you? What tips do you have for finding ways to listen with intention? Where are some of your favorite places for listening?

photo credit: Vincents Ear via photopin (license)
photo credit: ruifo Moon (20:59) via photopin (license)
photo credit: .through my eyes. time. via photopin (license)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Cass Elliot #CrimeNovels are a Bargain during #Smashwords #AuthorsGiveBack Sale!

For many of us, some of the best escapes are found in books - this is definitely true for me!

During this bizarre time in our world, take a break from all the Coronavirus news and stress and escape into a Cass Elliot Crime Novel - on sale now until April 20, 2020 during Smashwords' Authors Give Back Sale!

The first book in the series, THE DEVIL OF LIGHT, is FREE! Books two and three, AVENGERS OF BLOOD and A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES, are 60% off!