Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century

BRAVENEWSOULS LOGO DVDAs a part of the running theme of #WeNeedDiverseBooks month, I’m delighted to present an eye-opening documentary about the amazing and arduous journeys of successful Black creators through the comic, publishing, tv, and film industries. The documentary is called “Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century”.

The producer and filmmaker, Brandon Easton, thought it was about time to shed light on how creators of colors are actively building a counter-narrative against the presiding stereotypes that African Americans do not read, write, or create works within a sci-fi and fantasy context.

Check out the BRAVE NEW SOULS documentary today, and have your world expanded!

About the “Brave New Souls” Documentary

BraveNewSoulsDVDcoverThis documentary explores the thoughts, goals and inspirations of a new generation of Black creators in graphic novels, television, cinema, literature and digital media. Producer / director Brandon M. Easton wanted to shine much-needed light on new Black writers whose contributions and market awareness have been buried under the onslaught of the myriad of entertainment options in the 21st century.

Brandon also wanted to provide a window into their creative process and expose both aspiring writers and potential fans to incredibly imaginative, witty and sophisticated storytelling that challenges your perception of reality.

Brave New Souls explores the various creative industries and their spearheads through 8 compelling chapters:

Chapter 1: Inspiration — 2:46
Chapter 2: Breaking In — 7:01
Chapter 3: The Politics of Being a Black Creator — 10:14
Chapter 4: Starting a Business — 17:48
Chapter 5: Where Are the Fans? — 24:30
Chapter 6: The Industry — 33:01
Chapter 7: Writing for Rookies — 48:05
Chapter 8: The Future of Black Speculative Fiction — 54:30

Check Out the Awesome Trailer for Brave New Souls!

BUY Brave New Souls TODAY!

Get your copy for just $7.99 at GumRoad by clicking the logo below:

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And it’s also coming soon on Amazon Instant Video!

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About Brandon

BrandonEastonprofileBrandon M. Easton is a professional writer, screenwriter, and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Easton is a graduate of Ithaca College and Boston University’s prestigious Screenwriting program. With over fifteen years of experience, Brandon has penned articles for the Boston Herald, Crashpad Magazine, and a variety of other publications. After teaching in NYC public schools for six years, he decided to go for his screenwriting dreams in Hollywood and eventually scored a writing gig on Warner Bros. newThunderCats TV series and Hasbro’s new show Transformers: Rescue Bots.

Brandon produces a popular podcast titled Writing for Rookies – the only show dedicated to comic book and Hollywood scriptwriters. His published work includes Arkanium and Transformers: Armada for Dreamwave Productions, a column for Blacksci-fi.com, and Shadowlaw, his newest major project that was released in January 2012 to much acclaim and an immediate sell-out from Arcana/Platinum Studios.

Shadowlaw garnered coverage in publications/outlets like USA Today, Wired, Forbes and Ain’t It Cool News. Easton has been named the new writer of the international franchise Armarauders as well as a guest writer for the new Watson and Holmes comic series. In 2012, Easton signed a multi-graphic novel writing deal with LION FORGE COMICS, a new transmedia company debuting in April, 2013.

Easton recently won the 2013 GLYPH AWARD for BEST WRITER because of his work on the Shadowlaw graphic novel.

In 2014, Easton was nominated for five GLYPH AWARDS for his work on the WATSON AND HOLMES comic book series as well as the MILES AWAY original graphic novel. In May 2014, Easton won three Glyph Awards: STORY OF THE YEAR, BEST WRITER and the FAN AWARD.

He was also nominated for an EISNER AWARD for his work on Watson and Holmes issue #6 for BEST SINGLE ISSUE in 2014.

CONNECT WITH BRANDON AT:

His TWITTER
His BLOG
His IMDB Page

Check out this HOT Erotic Paranormal Romance Series, ONE WARLOCK’S LOVE STORY!

Ready for a revolution in paranormal romance? Then check out the One Warlock’s Love Story series, where warlocks, conspiracies, vampires, and bisexual shape shifters take us on a wild ride into a world of intrigue and magic!

All Knight Long: One Warlock’s Love Story

ShadWalkerbook1In a world where shape shifters are openly bisexual, vampires have insatiable sex drives, and warlocks emit pheromones, warlock Zander Knight struggles to make sense of his own strict upbringing. Everything in Zander’s world changes the night he decides to break the rules and meet his on-line chat buddy, Giovanni Nugent, at an underground supernatural nightclub called Club Arcane. Suddenly, he finds himself face to face with a magical conspiracy, a huge family secret, and the most handsome man he’s ever seen.

Zander’s night of drinking and partying comes to a screeching halt when the club is attacked and several magicals are abducted and murdered. Zander is catapulted into the middle of a quest to find who or what is killing supernaturals, while sorting through his feelings for a fearsome shape shifter prince named Tau Long.

Born into a conservative magical family, Zander decides not to tell them he’s gay. Unfortunately, Zander isn’t the only one in his family keeping secrets. This is more than just one warlock’s love story — this is a supernatural adventure.

Check Out “All Knight Long’s” Sexy Book Trailer!

Interested? Here’s a sultry excerpt!

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The club was huge, and every inch seemed packed with writhing and wiggling bodies. Zander’s heart rate increased as the ruby went white hot against his skin.   It was so hot, in fact, that he took it off and stuffed it into his pocket. Men were dancing with men, women were dancing with women, vampires were dancing with shifters, and shifters were dancing with witches. Zander noticed that the dances that they were doing were nothing like the ones that he and his mortal friends did back at his old high school dances.   Someone howled behind them, and Zander jumped.

“Let’s go get a drink! Maybe that will loosen you up,” Giovanni laughed. Zander could barely hear him over the club music. Giovanni grabbed Zander’s hand and pulled him through the thrashing crowd toward the bar. Hands grabbed at every part of Zander’s body as they made their way through. He kept checking to make sure that his necklace, ID, and cash were still in his pocket.

The bar was at the other end of the club, furthest away from the DJ and dance floor, so it was just a little bit easier for Zander to hear.

“This shit is crazy!” Giovanni yelled.

“That is an understatement,” Zander sighed. The bar, like the rest of the club, was crowded, but Giovanni wasn’t shy about shoving his way up toward the front. A young, warlock bartender with shoulder length, blond hair immediately noticed them.

“Love and light,” he said, acknowledging Zander and Giovanni with the traditional warlocks’ greeting. They both responded with, “Blessed be.”

“My name is Milo. What are two little ripe warlocks like yourselves doing in a place like this?”

“Milo, my name is Giovanni, and this is Zander. We are here celebrating my friend’s eighteenth birthday,” Giovanni said. Zander smiled.

“No wonder you are so ripe. You just turned eighteen. You two had better not stand in one place for too long. You might get felt up in here,” Milo teased.

“Where does the line start?” Giovanni asked, and Milo laughed. Just then, the tall, slim, Asian vampire from the line slid up behind Giovanni.

“Bartender, these drinks are on me,” he said, pointing to Giovanni and Zander.

“We don’t know you,” Giovanni said, coyly.

“You don’t know me yet,” the vampire corrected. He looked to be around twenty-five in human years. He had a model’s swagger, a swimmer’s build, and he oozed of sensuality.

“I’m Giovanni and this is my friend, Zander.   It’s his birthday,” Giovanni announced again.   The vampire gave Zander a polite look and moved closer to Giovanni.

“My name is Hung,” he said.

“Really?” Giovanni raised an eyebrow.

“Hung is Vietnamese for spirit of a hero,” he explained.

“Oh, I thought it was vampire for you have a big dick,” Giovanni said.

“That, too.” Hung smiled, staring at the pulsing jugular in Giovanni’s neck.

“What are you having?” Milo interrupted, from behind the bar.

“I’ll have a Bloody Mary — type O,” Hung said.

“Give us Hennessy and hemlock,” Giovanni said. Hung paid, and Milo poured the drinks and slammed them on the counter. Giovanni gulped down his drink before Zander could properly thank Hung. Hung whispered something in Giovanni’s ear, and Giovanni turned to Zander.

“I’m going to go dance with Hung. Stay here. I’ll be right back,” Giovanni assured him. He was gone before Zander could object. Zander turned toward Milo, who was giving him a sympathetic smile.

“I’ll watch you until your friend gets back. Your next drink is on me since it’s your birthday,” Milo winked. Zander couldn’t tell if it was pity or flirting, but it didn’t matter. He would take either at this point.   Zander reached into his pocket to find that the stone was even hotter. So hot, in fact, that it was starting to burn his leg. He reached up to the bar, grabbed a few napkins, wrapped the ruby necklace several times, and stuffed it back in his pocket.

Zander could see Giovanni grinding his fat little ass on Hung’s dick in the center of the dance floor. It was a good thing that no one had asked him to dance because he wasn’t sure that he could move that seductively without some practice and a few more drinks. He took a sip of his cocktail and was pleasantly surprised at how the smooth potion warmed him up and lowered his inhibitions. He’d tasted alcohol before but had never had his own drink – and certainly not one with hemlock in it. He stood with his back to the bar, occasionally smiling at admirers and trying to make sense of Club Arcane.

shadwalkerpostpicThe DJ booth was perched up on a crow’s nest on the opposite end of the club behind a dark, smoky glass. Zander couldn’t see the DJ, but he could tell from the music that whoever was in there knew how to stir a crowd. The dance floor was shaped like a large square with pairs of male and female strippers dancing in cages in each of the four corners. Several platforms at different heights peppered the floor for dancers who wanted to see and be seen. To the left was the black curtain through which they had entered, and to the right was a series of numbered doors that were being patrolled by other security guards dressed like Ooba. The music changed into something with more of a reggae feel. Zander looked back toward the dance floor to find Giovanni and Hung now up on one of the platforms swinging and swaying to the beat.

Zander swallowed his entire drink and allowed the warm feeling to ease through his body.

“Not too fast, young warlock,” Milo said, as he slid another glass of Hennessy and hemlock toward Zander.

“Okay,” Zander agreed. He grabbed the second drink and took a small sip before turning his attention back toward Giovanni, Hung, and the undulating crowd. He could feel the Hennessy and hemlock opening him up. Zander wasn’t a bad dancer. He just wasn’t familiar with these particular dances. He studied Giovanni and imagined himself doing those same moves. Zander took the second drink and gulped it down.

“If you take it slow, then it might not hurt so much in the morning,” a voice said from behind Zander. He turned to find himself staring into a very broad and well-formed chest.   Zander looked up into a pair of light brown eyes and was speechless.

Buy the first two novels in the “One Warlock’s Love Story” series TODAY!

 ShadWalkerbook1 shadwalkerbook2

BUY NOW AT:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

TORQUERE PRESS

BOOKSTRAND

SMASHWORDS

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

AND check out the THIRD novel in the OWL series, “Last Goode Knight” coming JUNE 4th!

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About the Author

Shadrach Octavio Walker, a.k.a. Shad O. Walker, has always been an avid fan of all things science fiction, fantasy and paranormal.  It wasn’t until he realized that there were no significant paranormal series featuring GBLT characters of color that he decided to create One Warlock’s Love Story. This epic tale features main character Zander Borealis Knight and spans several installments with villainous vampires, sexy shape shifters, wild warlocks, fierce fairies, great sex, and the kind of drama only found in the very best urban literature.

Armed with his passion for literature and his grandmother’s dictionary, Shad remains as elusive as the vampires in his series’ House of Aleph with writing as powerful as the shifters in its Alpha pack.   Supported by a coven of loyal readers, Shad is sure to take the literary world by storm.

Inspired by the creativity of Octavia Butler, storytelling of James Baldwin, and passion of E. Lynn Harris, Shad is at the forefront of an entirely new expression of paranormal romance and fantasy.  What started out as a desire to create and share a new kind of tale turned into a dream come true with the release of the first installment of the series through Torquere Press.  Today, Shad enjoys “shadowalking” into the hearts and minds of his beloved readers, the OWLS.

GET IN TOUCH WITH SHAD AT:

His WEBSITE
His TWITTER
His FACEBOOK Profile

Balogun Ojetade & FIST OF AFRIKA: Stop #16 (and LAST STOP) on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

And closing out April as well as the last day of the Butler-Banks Black Sci-fi Book & Blog tour is another visit with BALOGUN OJETADE and his upcoming novel, FIST OF AFRICA! Check out the blurb, an excerpt, and a word from the author below!

Fist of Afrika

fistofafrika2Nigeria 2004 … Nicholas ‘New Breed’ Steed, a tough teen from the mean streets of Chicago, is sent to his mother’s homeland – a tiny village in Nigeria – to avoid trouble with the law. Unknown to Nick, the tiny village is actually a compound where some of the best fighters in the world are trained.   Nick is teased, bullied and subjected to torturous training in a culture so very different from the world where he grew up.

Atlanta 2014 … After a decade of training in Nigeria, a tragedy brings Nick back to America. Believing the disaffected youth in his home town sorely need the same self-discipline and strength of character training in the African martial arts gave him, Nick opens an Academy. While the kids are disinterested in the fighting style of the cultural heritage Nick offers, they are enamored with mixed martial arts. Nick decides to enter the world of mixed martial arts to make the world aware of the effectiveness and efficiency of the martial arts of Africa.

Pursuing a professional career in MMA, Nick moves to Atlanta, Georgia, where he runs into his old nemesis – Rico Stokes, the organized crime boss who once employed Nick’s father, wants Nick to replace his father in the Stokes’ protection racket. Will New Breed Steed claim the Light Heavyweight title … Or will the streets of Atlanta claim him?

I really enjoyed writing this book because I have always wanted to share with the world the fierceness, efficiency and effectiveness of the indigenous African martial arts for self-defense, as well as their transformative powers in the building of men and women with self-discipline, courage and good character.  Fist of Africa  is a perfect outlet for my unique brand of Fight Fiction, which I am sure you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

In Fist of Africa, readers will experience jaw-dropping action on the mean streets of Chicago, in the sand pits of Nigeria and in cages in the “Dirty South” (Atlanta), as well as a bit of romance.

Excerpt from “Fist of Afrika”

ROUND SIX

Vee-Vee’s was packed. The line of men and women spilled out of the Nigerian restaurant and onto the hot sidewalk as the lunch crowd eagerly awaited the mouth-watering, sweet fried plantains, egusi soup with pounded yam and coconut rice.

Standing in the line, Nick and Baba Yemi still had two customers ahead of them before they were in the door. Nick rubbed his hands in excitement.

Baba Yemi raised an eyebrow. “Is the food really that good, Nicholas? You look … eager.”

“You just don’t know, grandfather,” Nick replied. “I haven’t had Vee-Vee’s in over ten years.

“You’ve had Nigerian food in Nigeria,” Baba Yemi said. “What’s so special about Vee-Vee’s?”

“It’s Vee-Vee’s,” Nick responded with a shrug.

Baba Yemi shook his head.

“Excuse me, you just jumped ahead of me,” a woman’s voice said.

Nick peered over his shoulder. A rotund woman addressed three young men who stood in front of her in the line.

“Look, lady, we just want to get some plantains up out of here,” one of the young men – a lanky teen with jeans hanging halfway off his butt – said. “You look like you’re about to order the whole damned menu.”

The young men laughed heartily and exchanged high fives.

“Teens today have no respect,” the woman said. “If you are the future, we’re in big trouble.”

“Shut up, pendeja!” Another young man spat. “That’s moron, in case you don’t know … pendeja!”

More laughter from the young men.

“Hold my place in the queue,” Baba Yemi whispered.

“Grandfather, don’t …” Nick muttered.

Baba Yemi approached the young men, stopping a few inches behind them. “You are being very rude. This young woman deserves an apology.”

The teens turned to face Baba Yemi. The largest of the trio, a tall, athletically built young man, who had not yet spoken, looked Baba Yemi up and down.

“Push on, old man, before you get yourself hurt,” he said.

Baba Yemi smiled and tapped the young man on his muscular chest. “Hurt? How?”

The lanky young man with the sagging pants placed a firm hand on Baba Yemi’s shoulder. “Get gone, old dude, before we kick your …”

The young man hit the pavement with a dull thump.

“My hand!” He screamed, clutching at his wrist and writhing in agony.

The Spanish-speaking young man launched an awkward-looking kick toward Baba Yemi’s belly.

The old wrestler side-stepped to his left, bringing his right arm up to scoop the young man’s leg. Baba Yemi shifted toward the trapped leg, grabbing it with both arms in a tight grip. He ducked under the leg, lifting his arms over his head at the same time.

The young man’s knee twisted at a sickening angle. He landed next to his friend with the dislocated wrist, who joined him in a chorus of cries, whimpers and yelps.

Baba Yemi exploded toward the remaining member of the trio.

The young man stumbled backward, then whirled on his heels and sprinted off.

The teen with the sagging pants and damaged wrist helped the young man with the dislocated knee to his feet. “Sorry, ma’am,” they said in unison.

Baba Yemi laid a hand on the shoulder of the young man with the sagging pants. The young man jerked in fear.

“Relax,” Baba Yemi said. “Let me fix it.”

The young man cautiously gave Baba Yemi his damaged hand. The old man grabbed the teen’s fingers and yanked hard. The teen winced at the pain of his wrist sliding back into its correct position.

“Thank you,” the young man said. “And I … I’m sorry.”

“What about my knee, sir?” The Spanish-speaking young man inquired, still gasping in pain.

“That is going to require more treatment than I can do here,” Baba Yemi answered. “Do either of you have a car?”

“Yes, sir, I do,” the Spanish-speaking youth said.

“What’s your name, boy?” Baba Yemi asked.

“Hector, sir,” the young man said.

“And yours?” Baba Yemi asked the young man with the sagging trousers.

“Miles,” he answered.

“Miles, take Hector to the hospital,” Baba Yemi said. “They’ll put the joint back in proper position, then you bring him to me and I’ll really heal him. Talk to my grandson over there. He’ll give you the address.”

“Yes, sir,” Miles said, approaching Nick.

“Thank you, sir,” Hector said.

Vee-Vee’s waitress, who had come outside to see what the commotion was all about, handed Nick an ink pen and an order slip. Nick wrote the address to his parent’s house on the slip.

The two young men shambled off, Hector’s arm wrapped around Miles’ shoulder for support.

“Thank you!” The pudgy woman shouted. She wrapped her arms around Baba Yemi’s torso and held him in a warm hug.

The people in line applauded as Baba Yemi returned to his place in line.

“We’re running a compound for young thugs out of my parents’ house now?” Nick said, shaking his head.

“You weren’t so different when you first came to me, Nicholas,” Baba Yemi said.

“True,” Nick said.

“So, I ask again,” Baba Yemi said. “What now?”

A Word from the Author

balogunauthorpic2For those who know me, I am a writer.

For those who don’t know me, I am a writer.

I write speculative fiction – mainly Steamfunk, Dieselfunk, Rococoa and Sword & Soul.

Recently, I have expanded my writing into the Fight Fiction – aka Action / Adventure, aka Pulp – genre, which was pretty much inevitable because my novels contain lots of exciting action and fight scenes.

What, exactly, is Fight Fiction. You ask?

Fight Fiction is comprised of tales in which the fighting – whether it happens in a temple in Thailand, a boxing ring in Las Vegas, a cage in Atlanta, or in a bar in New York City – is not merely in the story to make it more exciting; or to add a different spin to it. The fighting must be an integral part of both the story and its resolution. Take the fighting out and you no longer have a story. Think Fight ClubRockyBlood and BoneKung-Fu HustleMillion Dollar Baby; and Tai Chi Zero.

Writing fight scenes has always been something I enjoy and that I believe I do fairly well. This is probably due to the fact that I have been a student of indigenous African martial arts for over forty years and I have been an instructor of those same martial arts for nearly thirty years. I am also a lifelong fan of martial arts, boxing and Luchador films.

Recently, I joined a team of stellar authors, who all write under the pen name Jack Tunney (for e-book versions only; paperback versions are in the authors’ names), as part of the Fight Card Project.

The books in the Fight Card series are monthly 25,000 word novelettes, designed to be read in one or two sittings, and are inspired by the fight pulps of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Fight Stories Magazine and Robert E. Howard’s two-fisted boxing tales featuring Sailor Steve Costigan.

In 2013, the Fight Card series published twenty-four incredible tales of pugilistic pandemonium from some of the best New Pulp authors in the business. I am writing under the Fight Card MMA brand with my book, Fist of Africa.

Buy “Fist of Africa” TODAY!

Buy it in Paperback on Balogun’s Website, OR at,

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About Balogun Ojetade

balogunauthorpicBalogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link and Rite of Passage: Initiation.

He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or  steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at Chronicles of Harriet.

He is author of six novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic,Once Upon A Time In Afrika, two Fight Fiction, Action-Adventure novellas – A Single Link and Fist of Afrika and the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk.

Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis.

CONNECT WITH BALOGUN AT:

His WEBSITE
His FACEBOOK Fan Page

His TWITTER Handle
His TUMBLR Page

Crystal Connor & IN THE FOOTHILLS OF MT. EMPYREAL: Stop #15 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

The fifteenth stop on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-fi Book tour, Crystal Connor brings us something slightly different than what we’ve seen before.

She’s working on a special two-writer project with some interesting results! Check her out along with a book blurb, an author interview, and book trailer for her upcoming horror novel, IN THE FOOTHILLS OF MT. EMPYREAL!

In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal: The End is Now

crystalbookpicTHE END IS COMING! Maias 26:14

Two writers, tell two very different stories detailing the same event.

Griot. Raconteur. Bard. Jongleur. Skop. Spinner of yarns. Rabbi. Named by a thousand words, storytellers and those who crave them know one thing as true: that every truth has two sides.

This is a simple truth that has not been denied.

In a world with two realities the imaginations of author’s Crystal Connor and Lori Titus are unleashed upon the unsuspecting people living in the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal and the fate of all the world hangs in the balance.

Who will save you now?

COMING IN MAY 2014!

Check out the Book Trailer for “In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal”

Early Review for “In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal”!

“One catastrophe. One Town. One story told two different ways by two different authors…What started in the foothills of Mt. Empyreal could be the end of all of us.”

The dynamic duo known as Connor Titus have merged together to create a story that will chill you to the bone. Each adds a dark and distinctive quality to this compelling read and it’s almost impossible to favor one over the other as the ink bleeds upon the page for everyone to witness.

Connor’s interpretation is fierce and grabs readers by the throat as they gasp for breath once Old Man Winter strolls in and they’re left powerless. She allows you to visualize the characters movements and endure their emotions without flaw. The highly descriptive settings throughout will make one feel as if they’re part of the story which makes her rendition realistic and absolutely terrifying.

Titus’ version captivates one by taking hold of their mind first before they even know what hit them. Then the emotional setback follows. Her gifted storytelling ability will have you thinking you’re reading just a novel, but your brain may tell you something different as you actually may experience bouts of terror or feel perspiration at your brow.

Each author singularly has the ability to lure you into the book quickly, but as a pair it may feel as if they’ll never let you leave.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Mt. Empyreal.

-Jaime A. Geraldi, RT Book Review Magazine

A Story from Crystal on How “In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal” Was Made!

An entire year ago, I swore an oath of secrecy when I agreed to co-write a book with paranormal-romance author Lori Titus under the penname of Connor Titus. The reason, in the beginning, for the vow of silence was simply for the sake of peace.

Now this is in no way meant to be a complaint, but my fans take their jobs seriously. It takes about a year for me to write a book, but just a month or two after announcing a new WIP that’s all my fans talk to me about, and writing is crystalpic2all they want me to do.

I know some of you remember me posting in ‘Walgreens incident.’ Two weeks after the release of Book II: Artificial Light I was standing in line in Walgreen and asked the woman in front of me where she got her drop dead gorgeous shoes. When she turned to tell me, I was recognized, and she demanded to know why I wasn’t at home writing. Sadly she didn’t tell me where she got her shoes.

If my fans had found out that I had teamed up with Lori their excitement would have been too much especially because at the time we where both working on our own books which of course held more priority than a joint project, so we didn’t even know when this book would be finished.

About a 3rd of the way into the project, the fact that mum was the word literally became a life saver, because we started to realize that we were going to be writing two books. And at that moment it stopped being about peace and immediately became a trade secret.

“One catastrophe. One Town. One story told two different ways.” 

We co-wrote, two, stand alone books about the same thing.

We’d never heard of anyone doing that before and because it’s such an insanely original idea or had been done which such infrequency that the concept isn’t widely known we didn’t want anyone finding out what we were doing and beat us to the punch.

Once the decision was made that this story was going to be told from two different points of views, we also made the decision to not only stop working together, but to also not to talk to each other about what was written from that moment forth. I mean we went into complete radio silence, we didn’t even see each other’s cover until they were revealed earlier this month as part of our blog tour. We did this because we didn’t want to influence each and judging by the reviews that turned out to be a really good move.

After our books were shipped off to the editor Lori and I decided to interview each other for our own blogs. Those interviews turned out to be a blast and that’s what I am going to share with you today.

Interview with Crystal Connor’s Writing Partner, Lori Titus!

connor&loriauthorpicThe Wordsmith: Ok, 1st off I need to get something off my chest. I heard through the grapevine that you prefer Pepsi over Coca~Cola. Is that true?

Lori: Yes, I’m a Pepsi drinker,

The Wordsmith: Oh hell no, this is a crime against the Crown. This interview is over, we’re not friends anymore. Lol I’m just kidding.

Lori: LOL! But I drink Coke if I’m at a place and that’s what they’re selling. I still get the specific craving for Coca Cola now and again.

The Wordsmith: Oh, okay …good save cuz I was about to send you straight to the gallows. I write straight up horror with a service of science fiction and dark fantasy on the side. As a rising star in paranormal romance what was it that made you want to be a part of the Mt. Empyreal project?

crystalbookpic2Lori: I think of dark fiction as being one genre, whether it includes romance or science fiction. I love anything that challenges the characters with something greater than themselves, and that was definitely the obstacle our characters faced in the Keep. Since I’m a huge romantic, something of that always comes through. I couldn’t write you a cookbook without some reference to romance in there.

The Wordsmith: OMG that’s so true! I knew from the beginning that the story would have elements of romance but you do it really well so I wasn’t worried. That’s one of the things that interested me in co-authoring with you is seeing how we would build off each other’s strength. You also co-authored the novel Harmony’s Prophecy, with Angel Brown Kemph, which is now out of print, was it the same kind of writing process or was it totally different and if so why/how?

Lori: The book with Angel was very different. She was the primary author. I worked on editing with her, and we had some sessions where we tossed around story building ideas, but it is her book. I was really pleased and surprised that she felt my efforts earned a co-author credit.

crystalbookpicThe Wordsmith: Dude, how in the hell did we end up co-writing two books? Who does that?

Lori: I think only we do, ha! It was a great idea that you came up with. We both got to have complete creative free reign. Whenever I read about authors who co-wrote together, I always hear about the constrictions placed upon the authors, and how one person ends up being the leader with the other being the follower. We were able to build our foundation for the stories together, and then throw the proverbial paint against the wall to see what would stick.

The Wordsmith: I like that concept, that we both had creative free reign. The constrictions was something I knew I wanted to overcome before either of us wrote word one. It didn’t take long to see that we had two very different ideas of how this story should be told but I didn’t want to sacrifice one idea for the other and that’s what made me start thinking about doing something completely different.

The funny thing is, I didn’t start researching ‘how to co-write a book’ until we we’re nearly done. Otherwise I don’t think I would have done it. LOL, speaking of horror stories about co-writing, what was the hardest part about working with me? (Tell the truth).

crystalauthorpicLori: The hardest part was figuring out where we needed to split! I was enjoying watching the story unfold, and I was so curious as to where you were going to take it. Once we did split, it took a week for me to get back into the story properly, because I missed being able to see what you had written and talk about our ideas together.

The Wordsmith: OMG I was the exact same way. I was starting to think that splitting up wasn’t going to be a good idea. Thank God we didn’t chicken out of that decision lol. Was there anything that worried you about Mt. Empyreal?

Lori: Yes! I was really concerned about which characters were going to make it, and who wasn’t. With a story like this one, there is a balance between making things so hard that it’s impossible for your characters to triumph, and making it too easy. You don’t want to make it so easy that the readers roll their eyes at how neatly things work out. That’s often a concern I have when I’m writing. Real life is messy, and I tend to like stories that reflect complexities in character and outcome.

The Wordsmith: I know one of the things I was worried about and brought up often was I felt like I had unfairly taken charge and all the ideas were mine. I didn’t mean for it to be that way, I was just having so much fun that my excitement got the best of me. This was my 1st co authored book, so I guess my question would be, is this just the way things work when co-writing a book or was it really not an issue for you?

crystalpicLori: It’s part of the beast – someone has to start, (The Wordsmith nods head) and you wrote a beginning that was so unique and chilling that I wanted to let you run with it. Once our start was firmly in place, I was able to see what I wanted to elaborate on and where I wanted things to go. That said, I don’t think that our writing partnership is like anyone else’s. While you were in the driver’s seat I was already planning.

The Wordsmith: LOL, that’s the Virgo in you, I was thinking ahead when you were the one with the pen too. Which of the characters that we created together do you think will totally blow my mind?

Lori: I always say Emerson; I love that character in ways that I could never have expected. We have talked about Khrystle before, and that she surprised you with some of the things she did in our shared copy of the book(s). Jerrod is also going to be a big surprise to you. Just you wait until you read it!

The Wordsmith: I can’t wait to read it either, you have no idea how hard it’s been not to open the ARC copy you sent me to send to my reviewers.

Wait…I don’t think I mentioned this, ok so the reason Lori said she can’t wait until I read her book is because once we stopped working together we promised each other that we would not read each other’s books until our editor signed off on both books. And we didn’t even see each other’s covers until the 18th of April. Dudes, its been brutal.

So far our reviews have been really good but every time a review for yours comes in it just amplifies my excitement. That’s it, I’m changing the subject! You have another book coming out soon, can you tell us a little more about that?

Lori: lol. Bell House is a ghost story about a modern southern family with many skeletons in their past. At the forefront of the story are two half-sisters, Jenna and Diana, who share a contentious relationship. They were raised by different mothers, and most of what they believe about each other comes from things that they have been told by others, some of which may not be entirely true. After a tragedy in the family, Diana moves into a house willed to her by her father, and all sorts of trouble ensues.

The Wordsmith: Just for fun. If you got the funding to take a year off to write where in the world would you live for that year and why?

Lori: It could be Hawaii or Bora Bora, but I want to live somewhere on the ocean. I think it would be great to wake up every day with the ocean right outside, and take my laptop out onto the patio and write while I enjoyed my coffee. And of course I’d want a great big house where I could invite my friends to come out and stay for as long as they want. That would be great.

The Wordsmith: Dude for as long as they want, by the beach, in Bora Bora? And you expect to actually get any work done? Yeah ok.

(With laughter in the background fade to black)

About Crystal Connor

Crystal grew up telling spooky little campfire-style stories at slumber parties. Living on a steady literary Crystal Connordiet of Stephen King, Robin Cook, Dean R. Koontz and healthy doses of cinema masterpieces such as The BirdsFriday the 13thHellraiserThe Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone; along with writing short stories specializing in the Science Fiction & Horror genres since before Jr. high School, it surprised no one that she ended up writing horror novels!

She now lives in Seattle, WA, where she is a member of the Dark Fiction Guild, and belongs to both the Authors Anonymous and The Seattle Women’s writing groups and she is also an active member of The Critters Workshop.

The Darkness, is her first full-length novel, followed by And They All Lived Happily Ever After and Artificial Lightthe sequel to The Darkness.

Check her out at http://www.wordsmithcrystalconnor.blogspot.com/.

If you would like to see the interview of Lori interviewing me here is the link: http://loribeth215.wordpress.com

And to follow us on our blog tour as we promote both books, please click here. If you follow us be sure to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of both books, a promo T from each of us plus a signed copy of The Darkness along with a signed copy of Ryder: http://junipergrovebooksolutions.com/foothills-mt-empyreal-connor-titus/

CONNECT WITH CRYSTAL AT:

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Zig Zag Claybourne & HISTORICAL INACCURACIES: Stop #14 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the fourteenth stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, Zig Zag Claybourne and his short story anthology HISTORICAL INACCURACIES! Check out the blurb, an excerpt, and a word from the author below!

Historical Inaccuracies

zigzagbookpicKnow your history, because the story you think you’re telling is never the one that’s being told. 13 bold stories of dream factories afraid of the dark, charlatans, inquisitors, barbarian Smurfs, the reincarnation of lazy Americans, British devil babies, the power of loneliness, the usefulness of boy bands to time travelers, and more… 

Historical Inaccuracies. Pop quiz: Are you sure?

HISTORICAL INACCURACIES contains several science/speculative fiction selections, including the pile-driver “Revolver,” praised by Lois Tilton of Locus Online as “harrowing” and one that delivers. These are stories meant to disturb the dust, call forth the spirits, and sit with you a while.

A Word from the Author

I love fiction. Period. Worlds imagined, worlds altered, whether simply reshaped or irrevocably twisted. Anything that fires the imagination is a gift from the gods. I grew up on Star Trek, the Twilight Zone, Sir Graves Ghastly’s Saturday Matinee Movies (for us Motown folks), and the other-realm lives of a bunch of kids ganged up against one named Charlie Brown. Peanuts was “Village of the Damned” minus the world domination, mixed with a psychic dog trying its best to be human.

Which is to say all fiction is speculative fiction. That’s what the spirit of the Butler/Banks tour celebrates, because how else can you get away with writing things like this (from Historical Inaccuracies):

An Excerpt from “Historical Inaccuracies”

“The only evidence I need of Intelligent Design,” said Senator Bloodaxe, unsheathing his crusted blade and laying it before the security dogs for evidence of illegal killing, “is what I have seen with my own eyes.”

“But, Senator,” someone said from the throng of pelt-clad reporters, “isn’t it true you were once a staunch supporter of the scientific prin—”

“Who said that!” Bloodaxe raged, grabbing up the sword that had sent scores of unbelievers to undeserved glory and swinging it round.

The news crews were used to his rages and smoothly raised shields. The senator calmed.

“Senator, it’s been rumored,” came a crisp, female voice from beneath the turtle’s back of shields, “that you yourself have killed angels and that this conversion is purely political.”

Bloodaxe grinned at their fear. “Face Bloodaxe, wench,” he said, eyes scanning. “Taste congressional steel.”

Movement issued from the rear. Reporters parted until she stood before Bloodaxe (R) from Indiana. The huge man’s eyes narrowed.

“I am Kurok, daughter’s daughter of Couric,” which sucked balls because politicians hated a reporter with something to prove.

“Bring it, wench.”

Kurok approached. “Today is a good day to cry…”

Buy “Historical Inaccuracies” TODAY in Paperback and E-book!

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About Zig Zag Claybourne

zigzagauthorpicAs Clarence Young, I write humor and drama. As Zig Zag Claybourne I wish I’d grown up with the powers of either Gary Mitchell or Charlie X but without the Kirk confrontations. My fiction and poetry, ranging from science fiction to street-lit satire to magic realism, have appeared in The Wayne Review, Flashshot, Reverie Journal, Stupendous Stories, and numerous online attractions. The books Neon Lights, By All Our Violent Guides, and Historical Inaccuracies are all independently-published.

You can find me scribbling like a mad man at my author site www.Writeonrighton.com, Amazon author page Zig Zag Claybourne, tweeting or squawking at: @zzclaybourne, while having silly fun at www.thingsididatworktoday.blogspot.com. And look out for the sci fi adventure THE BROTHERS JETSTREAM: LEVIATHAN, coming to save the world summer 2014!

CONNECT WITH ZIG ZAG AT:

His AUTHOR SITE
His AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
His BLOG
His TWITTER

DaVaun Sanders & THE SEEDBEARING PRINCE: Stop #13 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the thirteenth stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, Davaun Sanders and his fantasy novel THE SEEDBEARING PRINCE! Check out the blurbs, an excerpt, and a word from the author below!

The Seedbearing Prince: Part I

davaunbookpic2Dayn Ro’Halan is a farmer’s son sworn to a life of plowing on his homeworld, Shard. After finding a lost artifact called a Seed, he’s thrust into an ancient conflict between voidwalkers of the hated world Thar’Kur, and Defenders from a floating fortress called the Ring.

Dayn must become a Seedbearer and learn to use the Seed’s power to shape worlds before the entire World Belt is lost.

The Seedbearing Prince: Part II

Disaster strikes when the young Seedbearer destined to save the World Beltdavaunbookpic is captured by voidwalkers. Certain that all is lost if Dayn Ro’Halan is killed, the Ringmen Lurec and Nassir set out to rescue him.

If he’s to escape and defeat the voidwalkers for good, Dayn must accept the Belt’s most terrible secret—before the voidwalker leader Raaluwos succeeds in twisting Dayn’s own power against him.

Excerpt from “The Seedbearing Prince”

The Seedbearing Prince, Part I: Prologue

The torrent shifted again, and a thousand shards of onyx flashed to fire as Corian swept through a roiling field of ice and stone. The sheath on his worn black armor held, but would not last much longer. The stream of rock in the space between the worlds drifted slower here, and boasted several floating mountains large enough to hold a layer of air. Green ferns covered the surface of the nearest, providing plenty of cover. Corian was tempted to stop and rest, but crater wolves likely roamed in such thick foliage. The entire World Belt hung on the message he bore to the Ring, and he could rest after his task was done.

A field of red granite stretched in the space above him like the bizarre clouds of some nightmare, the individual boulders careening off each other by the hundreds. Only the hardest minerals and metals endured the endless pounding of the rock flow, and only the most foolish men would brave such a swath of torrent. They were moving the direction he needed to go, into the flow where the rock moved fastest. In the torrent, speed kills, he reminded himself. He was the best courser among the Ring’s Guardians, but the rock never cared.

Corian deftly attached a new talon to what remained of his silver wingline, then heaved it. The metal hook took hold, his wingline snapped taut, and the boulder yanked Corian into the flow. He repeated the process, each time roping a boulder moving faster, until his last guide rock pulled him along at hundreds of spans a second. A layer of white frost appeared on his armor and mask in a blink. He reeled himself in and clung to the red surface, like a flea riding a river bison in the middle of a stampeding herd. He watched every direction at once from his perch, digging his gauntlets into the crumbling surface. The boulder was actually some ancient rusted metal, not granite as he first thought. The torrent here was so thick he could barely see the stars, and it filled his ears with a distant roar.

He sped along this way for some time, until he spied a pockmarked mass of stone and iron, large as a dwarf moon. A cleft right down the middle threatened to split the entire thing in half. A tower in the northern axis had seen more than its fair share of rust, but the light strobing from it pulsed regularly, illuminating the smaller rocks orbiting around it. As a whole, the wayfinder was ugly and old, but the mass of rock was the most blessed sight Corian could imagine after a week of surviving the torrent’s attempts to grind him to powder.

His next wingline took him closer. If the wayfinder was powered as well as he suspected, he could use the array inside it to find out where he was in the torrent, and see how close the Ring lay. He might even find food and water, if peace favored him. A fellow Guardian must stop here often for such an old wayfinder to be this well preserved, he thought.

Smaller debris pelted the wayfinder’s old crust, disintegrating in flashes of light. The surface shone with hundreds of impacts, large and small. Corian chose a crater near the old tower, perhaps seventy spans deep with high walls that would offer good angles to slow himself as he approached.

As he prepared to throw out another talon, dark shapes poured from the wayfinder’s cleft. He stared for a moment, incredulous. There could be no crater wolves on a wayfinder, with no game to hunt, unless they were marooned after striking some other erratic in the torrent. No, those shapes moved with a military precision, more lethal than the deadliest pack. He could see them clearly now, massive men covered in black. “No. Not here!” Corian barely recognized his own weary voice.

The voidwalkers had seen him. A pinprick of light shone on the wayfinder’s surface, brighter than the tower’s regular strobe. He eyed it mistrustfully as he searched for a place to throw his next wingline and change his momentum. He spotted a tumbling boulder half covered with ice, moving away from the wayfinder too fast.

The light near the voidwalkers flashed. A beam of energy rushed into Corian’s path, hot as molten steel. A lifetime of coursing experience kicked in, and he curled his legs up until his knees touched his ears, rolling forward. The strange fire passed underneath him by less than a span. He could feel the heat of it through his protective layer of sheath. The beam burned past, and slammed into a rock fifty spans away. The tumbling boulder barely even slowed in its course, but the spot where the weapon struck—for there was no question that is what it was—glowed red hot at the edges. The glistening center had cooled quick as glass.

Another pinprick of light. He twisted around in the weightlessness of the void to point his feet back toward the wayfinder and make himself a smaller target. It did no good. The beam rushed straight at him, and his world turned red with pain.

An impact jarred him awake. Another. Corian opened his eyes. I’m much too cold. The voidwalker weapon had burned away his sheath. Layers of his black armor were peeling away from the metal plates like paper curled in a fire. He had been caught in a tangle of purple-rooted vines intertwined in a mile long cluster of the floating rock, what Jendini coursers called a knotted forest. The roots were nearly hard as stone in places. Dusty old bones from animals Corian did not even recognize littered the tangles. Debris from the torrent stretched around the forest in every direction, and errant stones pelted the mass of vines, which he immediately recognized. Courser’s nap, the whole forest is covered with it.

Corian reached into a compartment on his armored belt and removed his last flask of sheath. He applied the clear liquid to his ruined armor in quick, smooth motions, not leaving one inch exposed. The sheath locked together in small patches of light, and his body’s heat immediately began to warm the interior of the invisible, protective barrier. Once the sheath was gone, his armor would not prevent the smallest pebble from killing him, if one struck him moving fast enough. For the first time, Corian considered that he may not survive.

This was to be his last circuit as a Guardian for the Ring, and he held the hope that he would look into his grandchildren’s eyes back on Jendini now that his service was finished. Yet his duty hung over him, heavier than ever. In the distance he could see the world of Shard, verdant and green just beyond the torrent’s chaos. His resolve hardened.

He slipped a speechcaster into his mouth and began to speak as he worked himself free of the tangled vines. The small wafer could hold his words in secret for a few days, should things go badly here.

“I am Corian Nightsong, a Guardian of the Ring. There are Thar’Kuri warriors on the world of Nemoc. The voidwalkers have built a device that allows them to…teleport themselves at will through the Belt. They are gathering in numbers, preparing for an attack. There are captives from all over the worlds imprisoned on Nemoc. The voidwalkers have weapons unlike anything known from the Ring. They use energy and can attack over great distances. They must have been made in the age before the Breach.

 If you knew where to look for this message, you must deliver it with all haste to Force Lord Adazia on the Ring. The worlds all depend on you, for I have failed them.” The admission filled Corian with bitterness, but he forced a strength he no longer felt into his words. “My sons and daughters live in Denkstone, on Jendini. Tell them…their father served well.”

One of the vines tangled around his torso began to quiver. Corian looked down, fearing a leaf, but instead he saw a voidwalker, climbing toward him. Corian was tall, but the hulking brute easily overtopped him by a head. His glistening black armor looked as if it were melted to his frame, and covered him from head to toe save two dark slits for his eyes. The vines broke like dried mud in the voidwalker’s grasp.

Corian began to climb, scrambling further into the vines. He did not bother to draw his sword, the voidwalker would overpower him in moments if they were to fight.

“So afraid of an old courser?” Corian shouted. He pulled at every vine in his path as he fled, but most of them were stiff and gray. Living vines of the courser’s nap were purple and sticky, but the true danger lay with the leaves.

The voidwalker’s gravelly voice called to Corian, cold as an orphan’s gravestone. “Come to me, degenerate.”

Corian drew his sword, and began slashing his way through the vines. They sparked as his blade struck, but gave way. He leapt through an open space nearly ten spans across. The voidwalker followed without hesitation. So strong. Corian knew the brute meant to take him alive. He could not allow that.

He landed on a solid gray swath, fleshy beneath his feet. He rolled and lunged just as the leaf stirred. A row of spikes slipped out of the edges, thick as Corian’s leg and sharp enough to cleave a horse in two. Corian barely cleared them. The voidwalker was not so lucky. His momentum carried him right into the center of the carnivorous plant, which enveloped him with a twist of blue-veined leaf. Steam issued from the folds near the plant’s edges as it fed.

More pods of the courser’s nap were coming to life, enlivened by the voidwalker’s screams. Corian avoided the leaves wherever they stirred. He climbed and lunged and dived through the vines, soon pulling himself to the edge of the knotted forest. Pure torrent lay before him, an endless landscape of chaotic rock. There was no clear flow in any direction, the individual boulders in the skyscape crashed into each other in a hundred shattering impacts. I’ll leap blind and pray that my sheath holds.

Another voidwalker tore himself out of the vines a few spans away. Peace, but look at the size of him! The voidwalker’s armor looked as chewed up as the oldest rocks of the torrent, endless dents and scratches plastered the black surface.

“I’ve enjoyed hunting you, degenerate.”

Another courser’s leaf reared up behind the voidwalker as he lumbered toward Corian. The leaf lunged and took the voidwalker up, curling round and round as the folds of leaf tightened. Corian allowed himself a moment of elation, but it was short lived. A pale hand appeared on the side of the courser’s nap, and bright green fluid poured out. The leaf whipped back and forth, emitting a piercing shriek as the voidwalker pulled it apart piece by piece from the inside. Corian needed to see no more. He leaped, and prayed the torrent would show him mercy.

Download the Seedbearing Prince, Part I for FREE!

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BUY the Seedbearing Prince, Part II!

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A Word & Free Gifts from the Author!

Thanks for checking out the work of all the authors participating in The 2014 Butler/Banks Book Tour. This is a huge year for many of us, and we couldn’t do what we love without the support of YOU, our readers! I hope you’ve been exposed to your next favorite author and encourage you to leave honest reviews of our work wherever you purchased it! Your feedback to other readers who share your interest is pure gold for indy authors.

Please enjoy the excerpt from my first novel, The Seedbearing Prince: Part I posted below. You can download it for FREE on Amazon for a limited time! The Seedbearing Prince: Part II is also available—click here!

Dayn Ro’Halan’s adventures will continue in The Course of Blades, to be released this summer—the third of six total books in the World Breach series. I’m really excited about this novel, it’s going to be the best one yet.

That being said…let’s do a giveaway!

Rules are simple: send me a picture of yourself READING a novel by ANY AUTHOR on The Butler/Banks Book Tour. You use an e-reader? Great.  Reading in costume, or upside down? Even better! Go crazy—just keep it SFW please! Share with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I’ll post your pictures to my Facebook and happily send you a FREE ebook of The Seedbearing Prince: Part II OR “The Course of Blades” when it is released this summer. We’ll all pretty much be famous together. It’s all so clear to me.

Let the photobomb commence, because this giveaway ends with the last day of the Butler/Banks Book Tour, April 30th!

About DaVaun Sanders

DavaunpicIf imagination was a mutant power, DaVaun Sanders could have enrolled at 1407 Graymalkin Lane. Instead, he went the safe route and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2002. After two fulfilling service terms with AmeriCorps in Phoenix, he eventually acquiesced to the student loan gods and returned to architecture. Yet his passion for the field faded as he spent more free time writing and performing spoken word poetry.

The Seedbearing Prince began as a dream vivid enough to play like a movie trailer. Deciding to write his debut novel took some time, as it wasn’t part of “The Plan,” but the housing market collapse forced DaVaun’s small design firm under in 2008. He decided to plunge into writing full-time, and is loving every minute of it. When the keyboard cramps his fingers, DaVaun gets lost in the great outdoors of Arizona or attends open mic spots in the Valley. DaVaun is currently hard at work editing The Course of Blades, the third book in his World Breach series. Follow him on Twitter @davaunwrites and like on Facebook (facebook.com/davaunsanders) for updates and giveaways!

CONNECT WITH DAVAUN AT:

His FACEBOOK Profile
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His INSTRAGRAM

Milton Davis & GRIOTS, SISTERS OF THE SPEAR: Stop #11 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the eleventh stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, a revisit to MILTON DAVIS, but with a kickass Sword and Soul anthology, GRIOTS: SISTERS OF THE SPEAR! Check out the blurb and an excerpt from the foreword below!

Griots, Sisters of the Spear

miltongriotsbookpicGriots: Sisters of the Spear picks up where the ground breaking Griots Anthology leaves off. Charles R. Saunders and Milton J. Davis present seventeen original and exciting Sword and Soul tales focusing on black women.

Just as the Griots Anthology broke ground as the first Sword and Soul Anthology, Griots: Sisters of the Spear pays homage to the spirit, bravery and compassion of women of color.  Seventeen authors and eight artists combine their skills to tell stories of bravery, love, danger and hope. The griots have returned to sing new songs, and what wonderful songs they are!

Excerpt from “Griots, Sisters of the Spear”

miltonbookpic2The woman in Andrea Rushing’s evocative painting that graces the cover of Griots: Sisters of the Spear symbolizes the essence of the anthology. Although the painting is not a direct depiction of any of the characters in the stories, the spirit of this woman imbues all of them. She is a teller of truth, and a slayer of stereotypes.

As is the case with black men, black women have been subjected to invidious stereotyping for centuries in real life and fiction alike. For the most part, these characterizations have ranged from the condescending to the downright hostile – from the faithful “Mammy” of Gone with the Wind to the scornful “Sapphire” of Amos ‘n’ Andy to the degraded “Ho” made infamous in all-too-many rap-music lyrics. The fantasy-fiction genre is no exception. Until recently, black women have been either non-existent, or portrayed in ways that made absence the preferable alternative.

Real life defies the stereotypes. Throughout history, there has been no dearth of strong and courageous black women who have stood alongside – and sometimes in front of – their men and children during the course of a 500-year-long struggle against oppression in Africa, and the places in the rest of the world to which Africans were taken against their will to fuel economies with their forced labor.

A few examples: The Candace, or queen, of Kush defied the legions of ancient Rome. Queen Nzinga of Ndongo in central Africa fought to protect her people from the depredations of European slavers. Harriet Tubman risked her life to lead slaves to freedom in the years before the U.S. Civil War. Fannie Lou Hamer endured vicious physical abuse from the authorities in her non-violent quest to win basic civil rights for black Americans. Women such as these – and many more like them – stand as living contradictions to the misrepresentations that persist to this day.

miltonbookpic3So do the women in Sisters of the Spear. When Milton Davis came up with the idea of a woman-themed sequel to our first anthology, Griots, I co-signed immediately. Like Griots, Sisters of the Spear presents an opportunity to bring more black representation to a genre that’s still in need of more color. Thanks to Griots, we knew there were more than a few writers and artists of all racial persuasions who would embrace our theme of powerful black womanhood and create stories and illustrations that would be excellent by any standard.

Our expectations have been more than fulfilled. Our modern-day griots came through with – not to belabor the point – flying colors. The fictional warrior-women and sorceresses you will meet in the following pages can hold their own and then some against the barbarians and power-mad monarchs and magic-users of both genders who swing swords and cast spells in the mostly European-derived settings of modern fantasy and sword-and-sorcery. The reach of sword-and soul has expanded greatly with Sisters of the Spear.

It’s time now to allow the woman on the cover serve as your guide through the anthology. The light she carries will illuminate the truth that is always inherent in the best of fiction. And her spear will slay the stereotypes.

Buy “Griots, Sisters of the Spear” TODAY!

In Paperback at MV MEDIA, OR at

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About Milton Davis

miltonpicMilton Davis is owner of MVmedia, LLC , a micro publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Soul. MVmedia’s mission is to provide speculative fiction books that represent people of color in a positive manner. Milton is the author of eight novels; his most recent The Woman of the Woods and Amber and the Hidden City. He is co-editor of four anthologies; GriotsA Sword and Soul Anthology and Griot: Sisters of the Spear, with Charles R. Saunders; The Ki Khanga Anthology with Balogun Ojetade and the Steamfunk! Anthology, also with Balogun Ojetade.  MVmedia has also published Once Upon A Time in Afrika by Balogun Ojetade.

Milton resides in Metro Atlanta with his wife Vickie and his children Brandon and Alana.

CONNECT WITH MILTON AT:

His WEBSITE

 

K. Ceres Wright & COG: Stop #10 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the tenth stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, K. CERES WRIGHT, and her sci-fi thriller novel, COG! Check out the blurb, an excerpt, and an audio clip below!

Cog

kcereswrightbookpicIn a futuristic world where personalities can be downloaded at will, who’s a girl to trust? 

The Ryder family is at the top of the corporate elite. Father Geren Ryder heads up a global wireless hologram company with his son, Wills Ryder, a capable second, while daughter, Nicholle, is curator at an art museum. But when a dark stranger shows up, it sets off a chain reaction that puts Geren into a mysterious coma while Wills disappears with $50 billion from the family business. Worse, Geren’s will specifies that he be taken off life support after fi ve days. Just as Nicholle is trying to pick up the pieces, she becomes the target of an assassin and has to go on the run. 

With only a few days to save her father and keep the company from going under, Nicholle reaches back into the darkest part of her history, to the only person who could possibly help her. But the price is steep. Once she goes back, can she escape her past a second time?

Excerpt from “Cog”

Perim Nestor stood watch over Arlington from a curved window office in the American Hologram building. A scrim of clouds obscured most of the evening sky as commuters headed home, yet a roseate sunset tinged the underside of the grey, offering hope of a sunny tomorrow. Reflections from the streets below, clotted with the red of brake lights, danced merrily on nearby buildings.

Perim abandoned his watch and took up residence against a credenza along the opposite wall, arms folded, jaw clenched, waiting for the coming storm. He did not have to wait long.

“You’re joking, right?”

William Ryder stretched the skin between his eyebrows with his thumb and index finger, then formed a fist and slammed it on the table in front of him. He stood up, hunching over the edge of his father’s cherry wood desk. The owner sat on the opposite side, glaring. Light from a squat, burnished pewter lamp threw up blurry shadows on the metal paneling.

“Right?”

“Wills, sit down!” The stentorian voice of Geren Ryder echoed in the large office. The bones of his face set like ice, holdovers of the Last Glacial Maximum. Salt-and-pepper hair framed a mahogany canvas.

His son was a mirror image, only more muscular, with a coloring of polished sepia.

Perim Nestor remained silent. However spartan the office, it reflected more than the green and brown décor. It reflected the multi-trillion-dollar company that Geren Ryder had built from scratch. And he was used to being listened to.

Wills sat down, but the tenseness remained. He hovered on the edge of the chair, ready to spring. Geren continued, his voice now measured and calm.

“I didn’t know Perim was my son until last week. After I confirmed it, I’ve been…coming to grips with the implications.”

“Confirmed?” Wills said. “So it’s been confirmed that you whored around on my mother. As if I hadn’t already known. And what do you expect me to do? Jump up and say, ‘I’ve always wanted a brother’? Shed heartfelt tears and give him a slap on the back?”

Silence. The ether froze, like hanging mist on a December morning. Perim drew up his lips and met the flinty stare Wills leveled at him. He couldn’t blame the man. Heir apparent to a wireless hologram empire and presto change-o…a long-lost older brother appears.

“Does Nicholle know?” Wills said, eyes still riveted on Perim.

“No. She’s busy recreating the Prado in Anacostia. I didn’t want to distract her. It’s her first full-scale exhibit,” Geren said.

Wills relaxed somewhat, straightening and placing his arm on the desk. Mrs. Arthur Knowles and her Two Sons looked on the proceedings from the wall behind Geren. In the painting, Mrs. Knowles was sitting on a couch, one son clinging to her as his hand rested on a book. The other son lay wrong-way on the couch, barefoot, his hand on his chin, as if contemplating some mischief.

“I don’t want anything material…no money, no stock. I just want acknowledgment,” Perim said.

“Acknowledgment!” Wills sprang from his seat. “And why do I have a hard time believing that? On the eve of my father announcing his retirement from American Hologram, you just happen to show up.”

Wills approached Perim, jabbing a finger in the air between them.

“I’ve dealt with drug dealers, pimps, and CEOs, and I know bullshit when I hear it. It’s all the same. You want something. Something like American Hologram.”

Perim straightened. “I head my own accounting firm. What would I need with your company?”

“Why settle for a little power, when you can have a lot?”

“Is that your life’s motto?” Perim stole a glance at Geren. “In that case, you’d better watch your back, Father.”

Too late Perim noticed the oncoming blur of flesh, the carpet rising to meet the side of his face. His next view was of a sideways Potomac River through the curve of the picture window. The reflection of neon pinks and blues undulated in the invisible waves and careened like a slow-motion merry-go-round. Wills’ feet left his field of vision. Wind chimes whispered as he exited through the magfield.

“I should have told you he boxed in college,” Geren said, matter-of-factly.

“No shit,” Perim said, only it came out sounding like, “Oh ih.” His head spun, mental function a whirlpool. He edged up on one elbow, then leaned against the credenza and slid upright. The room slowed.

“You’ll come to work for me. I’ll make you a vice president, but you’ll have to prove your mettle,” Geren said. “Especially to Wills. He can be a hothead, but he respects skill.”

“I have my own—”

“Company, yes. That has a quick ratio of point seven eight. How long do you expect to stay in business running those numbers?” Geren arose and began packing a briefcase that lay open on the desk.

Perim pulled himself to standing, gripping the credenza. “We just scored a large contract with the defense department.” He rubbed his jaw, hoping there would be no bruise.

Geren guffawed. “If you call forty million a large contract. Look, it’s settled. I just sent in the approval. Let your second run the company and you report here first thing in the morning. But…we will wait on the acknowledgement until after I announce my retirement.” He closed the case and hefted it off the desk. “Come prepared to learn. See you tomorrow.”

Wind chimes echoed again as Geren disappeared through the doorway. Perim smiled to himself. This is going better than expected.

Check out an Author Interview from K. Ceres!

Buy “Cog” Today!

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About K. Ceres Wright

kcereswrightpicMs. Wright has been watching science fiction (SF) since she was three years old. As she grew, she became less and less satisfied with the limited role minorities played in many SF books, shows, and movies, and decided to write SF that better reflected the diversity of the real world. Her first novel, Cog, was published by Raw Dog Screaming Press in July 2013.

Her other work has appeared in <i>Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction; Hazard Yet Forward; Many Genres, One Craft; The 2008 Rhysling Anthology; Far Worlds Anthology; and the upcoming Diner Stories Anthology.

CONTACT K. CERES AT:

Her AUTHOR PAGE
Her BLOG

Milton Davis & WOMAN OF THE WOODS: Stop #9 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the ninth stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, a revisit to MILTON DAVIS, but with a new novel, his Sword & Soul epic, WOMAN OF THE WOODS! Check out the blurb and an excerpt below!

Woman of the Woods

miltonbookpicwoodsThe latest Sword and Soul novel by Milton Davis returns to the land of Meji, the amazing world of Uhuru. It tells the story of  Sadatina, a  girl on the brink of becoming a woman living with her family in Adamusola, the land beyond the Old Men Mountains. But tragic events transpire that change her life forever, revealing a hidden past that leads her into the midst of a war between her people and those that would see them destroyed, the Mosele. Armed with a spiritual weapon and her feline ‘sisters,’ Sadatina becomes a Shosa, a warrior trained to fight the terrible nyokas, demon-like creatures that aid the Mosele in their war against her people.

Woman of the Woods is an action filled, emotionally charged adventure that expands the scope of the world of Uhuru and introduces another unforgettable character to its heroic legends.

Excerpt from “Woman of the Woods”

The Shosa followed Teshome through the village and out into the countryside. The journey was slow; Teshome walked before the Shosa, refusing to mount a horse with them. From morning to noon they traveled though farmland; after a brief rest they journeyed until they reached the fallow fields beyond the farmland. They camped in the shadow of the mounds, the Shosa posting guards to patrol the camp in shifts. They broke camp early next day and continued their march, reaching the river that separated the hills from the fields by late afternoon. Hazeeta and Teshome strolled to the river’s edge, the two of them gazing at the verdant and ominous knolls.

“How long have you known the woman of the woods?” Hazeeta asked.

“Sadatina,” he said.

“What?” Hazeeta’s heart jumped. It was her! Her daughter was alive! She looked at Asli and her sister smiled.

Teshome looked at her and smiled. “Her name is Sadatina. I knew her before she became a hunter. I saw her one day when she and her mother came to Wubet. I met her when I worked on her baba’s farm during the harvest season.”

“How did she become a hunter?”

Teshome looked away. “You will have to ask her. If she wants you to know, she will tell you.”

His reply angered her. “Does our presence bother you? You didn’t have to lead us here.”

Teshome squatted and pulled a blade of grass. “No, you are fine. I’m happy you have come. She needs help. I…we cannot fight the nyokas. We try, but they always kill more of us than we kill of them. If it weren’t for Sadatina, you would have found what you expected.”

Teshome stood and smiled at Hazeeta. “We will have to go slow, though. Sadatina only trusts her sisters and me.”

“Since you won’t tell me about Sadatina, can you at least tell of the other women?”

Teshome looked confused. “Other women?”

Hazeeta rolled her eyes. “Her sisters!”

Teshome smiled. “It is hard to explain. You will see.” If Teshome knew anything else he was reluctant to provide it.

“When will she arrive?” Hazeeta asked.

Teshome stuck the grass blade between his teeth. “Soon.”

Hazeeta and Teshome spent most of the day beside the river, staring into the foliage. The sun began its descent behind the hills when the silence was broken by the faint roar of a shumba. Teshome suddenly stood. “She is coming,” he whispered. He waded into the river, Hazeeta close behind. Asli ran to her side. Hazeeta turned and signaled for the other Shosa to stay back.

Teshome halted a few yards away from the forest edge. Hazeeta and Asli were approaching when he waved them back. “Wait. I will tell you when to come,” he shouted.

Hazeeta heard the shumba roar again. It was coming closer. The foliage before Teshome jostled and Sadatina emerged.

It took everything in Hazeeta to keep from shouting for joy. There was no doubt in her mind that the woman emerging from the woods was her daughter. She was her father’s daughter, from the intense eyes to the confident walk. The Wubetu nyoka hunter sauntered from the trees, a confident look on her young face. She was barely dressed, a leather top covering her breasts and a kanga resting low on her swaying hips. A sword hilt peeked over her shoulder; she carried a lance punctuated by an ornate broad leaf blade in her left hand. But what caught Hazeeta’s attention was the ginanga head Sadatina held by its coarse hair in her right hand.

Another sight stunned the Shosa leader as well. Two female shumbas followed Sadatina, their snouts stained with nyoka blood. They trotted past her to Teshome, snuggling their heads against his legs and humming like docile pets.

Sadatina’s tough demeanor fell away as she neared Teshome. A childlike smile graced her face as she dropped the lance and nyoka head carelessly and threw her arms around his neck. They kissed long and Hazeeta smiled. She couldn’t remember the last time a man had kissed her that way.

Sadatina pulled away from Teshome and peered over his shoulder. Her smile faded. The shumbas took notice as well and their backs stiffened. Asli raised her lance.

“No,” Hazeeta ordered. “No threatening moves. We’ll let Teshome handle this.”

Words passed between Teshome and the huntress. Sadatina marched up to them, the shumbas beside her. She stopped a lance thrust away. The shumbas kept their distance as they circled the duo.

“You are Shosa?” Sadatina asked. Her voice sounded as young as she looked. “Why have you come?”

Hazeeta wanted to reach out and hug Sadatina but she maintained her composure. Now was not the time. “We came to survey this valley and protect it if needed,” Hazeeta answered.

“We need no protection,” Sadatina replied.

“I see,” Hazeeta agreed. “But we are curious about you.”

“Why?”

“The ability to kill nyokas is not a common thing,” Hazeeta answered. “We Shosa train years to acquire the skill and still we need talismans, gris-gris, Cha’s strength and each other. Yet you hunt alone…”

Sadatina looked to the shumbas. “I have my sisters.”

“Yes you do, which is another mystery. It is now obvious to me why Cha sent us here. He sent us here to find you.”

“You have found me. Now you can go.”

“Wait!” Hazeeta stepped toward Sadatina and the shumbas leaped between them. They crouched and roared. Asli rushed to Hazeeta’s side, her lance leveled at the cats. The other Shosas advanced toward them, bows loaded and aimed. Sadatina turned her head and again Hazeeta was impressed. The young slayer was not intimidated by the Shosas’ threat. If anything, she looked annoyed.

“Stand down!” Hazeeta shouted. Asli lowered her lance and raised an open hand, her signal reinforcing Hazeeta’s words. Their sisters lowered their bows.

“Come, sisters,” Sadatina said. The shumbas roared and trotted to Sadatina. She smirked at Hazeeta and returned to Teshome’s side.

“She’s fearless,” Asli commented. “She is your daughter.”

“Yes she is,” Hazeeta replied. She patted Asli’s shoulder. “Come, let’s leave those two alone. We’ll set up camp a few yards away. I’ll try to talk to her again tomorrow.”

The Shosa set up camp. While her sisters tended to their needs, Hazeeta sat by her tent, watching Sadatina, Teshome and the shumbas. The child she had left behind thirteen years ago had followed in her footsteps despite not knowing anything about her. It was surely Cha’s will she survived. Any lingering doubt of her decision to have her was washed away by the sight before her. Her daughter was meant to live.

It fascinated her at how completely the girl’s hard countenance melted away when she was with the young man. The two of them cavorted as if the danger just across the river was nonexistent. The shumbas joined in the carousing, batting at the two of them like cubs rather than the fierce predators they were. It was a strange scene of innocence that went on most of the afternoon until Sadatina and Teshome went to the river. They stripped naked and plunged into the clear waters, no modesty between them as they bathed. They began to play again, but this time the play was more suggestive of things to come. As the sun settled behind the hills they retired to their tent. The shumbas moved before the entrance, their eyes and ears suddenly attentive.

“Hazeeta?”

Asli’s voice startled her. She held a plate of food out to her. “Here, eat something.”

Hazeeta accepted the plate and ate absently. “Did you see them?”

Asli rolled her eyes. “Who couldn’t? Your child is not very modest.”

“We’re leaving her here,” Hazeeta decided.

Asli stepped into Hazeeta’s view, her shocked expression plain.

“We can’t! She may be the one Cha has summoned.”

“Then let Cha call her,” Hazeeta retorted. “She is happy here, far happier than she would be if we took her back to Wangara.”

“How long can she continue to fight the nyokas alone without Cha’s guidance? You know what is coming. You know what Nana has seen.”

“I know, but I cannot do this to her. If I were in her place I wouldn’t want to go, either. Here she has companionship and love. In Wangara…”

Asli frowned. “You let your personal feelings get in the way of your duty.”

Hazeeta dropped her plate. “Don’t lecture me! I am in command here and if I say we leave her be then we leave her be. Do you understand?”

Asli looked more hurt than angry. “I understand.”

She spun to walk away but Hazeeta grabbed her arm. “I’m sorry, my friend.”

Asli grasped her hand. “I understand. I am your sister, remember? We will leave in the morning as you ordered. I will talk to the others. No one will speak of this upon our return.”

“Thank you, sister.”

Asli looked away from Hazeeta. “Nana will find out eventually.”

Hazeeta nodded. “I know, but at least I’ll have no guilt when she finally comes to Wangara. At least I can say it was not my doing.”

Hazeeta slept easy that night, assured she’d made the right choice and happy that her sisters agreed. She knew she would have to deal with her choice in the future, but that was then. Her daughter was alive. Tonight she was at peace.

That peace was shattered with a familiar sick feeling in her stomach. The ground shook beneath her as she clambered from her cot, a strange rhythmic cadence that heralded a solitary approach. She donned her leather and chain mail and draped her gris-gris about herself. When she exited her tent, her sisters were in motion as well, mounting their horses and arming themselves. Hazeeta didn’t look to them. Her attention went to the solitary tent closest to the river’s edge. Sadatina stood with her sisters, their faces turned toward the wooded hills. Teshome stood behind them. She looked so vulnerable, her only protection her swords and her shumbas.

Asli brought her horse. “What is this?” she asked. “This does not feel right.”

“We’ll find out soon,” Hazeeta said grimly. “Come, we must hurry.”

A garbled cry burst from the darkness, spooking the horses and sending a chill through Hazeeta. This was something different, she was sure; the confidence forged by her earlier experience against Karan’s creations diminished with the realization. The Shosa gathered at the riverbank.

“Start a fire,” Hazeeta ordered.

The sisters hurried to gather wood from the nearby forest and started a healthy blaze. Hazeeta did not need to give the next command. Her best archers went to the flames with arrows dipped in flammable oil, lighting the missiles in unison and loading their bows.

“Fire!” She commanded. Her sisters responded seconds later, blazing bolts streaking overhead like falling stars and peppering both sides of the bank. Another bellow shook the night and their adversary emerged from the woods. It was huge, much larger that the biggest washaka, a grotesque amalgamation of beasts built by malicious hands. Its massive body suggested the mountain primates but its stance was more human than beast. A jackal-like snout protruded from its face, its head crowned by a pair of thick, curved horns. Hazeeta had no idea about the meaning behind the beast’s demeanor, but its size alone signaled caution. A volley of poison arrows followed by a gris lance charge would have been her command, but she had no time to call out the orders. Sadatina and her shumbas leaped through the flames no sooner than the arrows illuminated their way. The larger shumba leaped onto the beast’s shoulder, digging in with teeth and claws. As the beast cried out and reached for her, the other shumba lunged at its left leg, biting into its hamstring. Sadatina ran at the beast and leaped into the air, her sword raised over her head.

But the beast was swifter that its size suggested. It grasped the shumba at its leg, ripped it free and threw it away like debris. The shumba crashed into Sadatina and they both tumbled into the river. It grasped the other feline with both hands and pulled it away, but before it could fling it free the shumba gripped the hand and bit into the wrist. A piercing howl caused Hazeeta and her sisters to cringe as they reached the flaming perimeter. The Shosa raised their bows ready to fire but Hazeeta stopped them.

Sadatina and the other shumba emerged from the river and renewed their attack. As her companion worried the beast’s arms, the other climbed its torso. Sadatina worked her way behind it and hacked at its hamstrings like a woodsman, gritty determination warping her face. Again the creature managed to free itself. It twisted, throwing both shumbas from its body. Sadatina barely dodged a swipe from its clawed hand, jumping away to join her returning cohorts.

“Now!” Hazeeta shouted. A volley of bolts sprang from the Shosa bows. The beast crouched and they sailed over it, peppering the trees across the river.

“Reload!” she shouted. “Lancers advance!” The sisters split into two groups. Half replenished their bows and gathered behind Asli. The others slung their bows on their backs and freed their gris lances, the double tipped spears laced with gris-gris. They lined up behind Hazeeta. She raised her saber, preparing to signal the charge when a horrifying sight stopped her. Sadatina leaped before the creature again. She sliced at its neck but the creature ducked. It raised its head, slamming its crown into her. The girl warrior sailed backwards through the flame barrier, landing hard on her back.

Teshome ran toward her, a machete in his hand. “Sadatina!” he yelled as he approached the flame.

“Teshome, no!” Sadatina yelled back. “Get away!”

“Shossssa!” the creature hissed.

Hazeeta jerked with morbid shock. “It speaks?”

The creature charged through the fire on all fours. Teshome stood before it like a statue. Hazeeta had seen this scenario too many times before. A warrior too terrified to flee bolted in place by indecision.

The creature turned its head to the right and jerked it left. The left horn impaled Teshome’s chest. For a brief moment he rode the horn until he slipped away and tumbled from the nyoka’s path. Sadatina scrambled to her feet and ran to him. Hazeeta followed her with her eyes until she was clear. It was time for her sisters to act.

“Fire!” she yelled. Arrows swarmed the creature’s face like bees, some penetrating into its head while others caromed off its horns. The creature collapsed, grabbing at the poison bolts protruding from its bleeding face.

“Second volley, fire!” Asli shouted. The second volley struck with such impact the nyoka staggered back, its arms flung wide. The second volley was no random fusillade; each sister aimed her shot at a point on the beast where the veins should be close, thus speeding the entry of the poison into its blood. The creature continued to stagger, though with the amount of poison coursing through its bulk it should have been dead.

Hazeeta said nothing to instigate the charge. She lifted her lance, spurred her horse and galloped forward, lowering the weapon as she neared the wounded beast. Her sisters spread out beside her, keeping pace as they neared the nyoka. It tottered, absently pulling at the projectiles in its flesh. The Shosa could have waited for the poison to take effect but Hazeeta would not let this thing die a peaceful death. She raised her lance to her shoulder and flung it with all her strength. The double edged projectile hit the nyoka full in its throat. It grabbed the lance’s shaft and tugged at it weakly. Her sisters threw their lances as well, peppering the beast’s body. The beast shuddered, falling onto its back.

Hazeeta veered away while her sisters drew their sabers and advanced on the dying beast. She searched the darkness and found what she was looking for. Sadatina knelt beside Teshome, cradling his head in her lap. She rocked back and forth, her sobbing loud in Hazeeta’s ears. An old pain resurfaced in the Shosa’s heart and her own eyes began to water. By the time she reined her horse and dismounted she was crying as well.

“Why, Teshome? Why?” Sadatina said between sobs.

Hazeeta approached slowly, wary of the shumbas which paced nervously, occasionally looking at Sadatina and the lifeless Teshome. When she reached Sadatina’s side, she knelt beside her but said nothing.

“You always wanted to protect me,” Sadatina said. “I didn’t need your protection. All I needed was your love.”

Hazeeta reached out and gingerly touched Sadatina’s shoulder. When she was sure Sadatina wouldn’t reject her she moved closer, holding her within her arms. This was not a time for words.

“Hazeeta?” Asli came up beside her, her face grim.

“Harvest the body for gris-gris and burn the rest,” Hazeeta said automatically.

Asli lingered, glancing at Hazeeta and back to her sisters. Hazeeta looked at her again, her face stern. “Go. I’ll be here with Sadatina.”

Buy “Woman of the Woods” TODAY!

In Paperback at MV MEDIA, OR at

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About Milton Davis

miltonpicMilton Davis is owner of MVmedia, LLC , a micro publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Soul. MVmedia’s mission is to provide speculative fiction books that represent people of color in a positive manner. Milton is the author of eight novels; his most recent The Woman of the Woods and Amber and the Hidden City. He is co-editor of four anthologies; GriotsA Sword and Soul Anthology and Griot: Sisters of the Spear, with Charles R. Saunders; The Ki Khanga Anthology with Balogun Ojetade and the Steamfunk! Anthology, also with Balogun Ojetade.  MVmedia has also published Once Upon A Time in Afrika by Balogun Ojetade.

Milton resides in Metro Atlanta with his wife Vickie and his children Brandon and Alana.

CONNECT WITH MILTON AT:

His WEBSITE

Kai Leakes & THE SIN EATERS SAGA: Stop #8 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the eighth stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, KAI LEAKES and both of her fantasy novels, SIN EATERS: DEVOTION BOOKS ONE & TWO! Check out the blurbs, excerpt, and cool pics below!

Sin Eaters, Devotion Book One

kaileakesbookpic1Khamun Cross was born to do one thing, and that was to watch Sanna Steele, a woman so unique and special he would risk his all to have her. So what, that in his job of watching her, he happens to prowl the streets, hunting the very things that go bump in the night. Even monsters or everyday looking people that steal humans’ souls become Khamun’s victims, and he brings with him a power, a vampirism, that would send one straight to the dark.

Khamun craves the darkness in his victims as if it were his own personal dinner, but not as much as he craves the very woman he has been ordained to watch over as her Guardian Angel. Sanna Steele is just your average twenty-seven year old, with your everyday hopes, dreams and insecurities. She is clueless about the war that is secretly raging around her in the streets of St. Louis. A war she will soon become a part of. But what is so special about Sanna that the very things that go bump in the night, seeks to snatch her from her very existence in life?

Excerpt from “Sin Eaters: Devotion Book One”

Today…

Metallic, sweet and mind intense flavor filled the air.   The quiet that floated around made the hairs on passerby’s in the night to stand up as if the already chill filled wind wasn’t enough to have them shivering. Rich, black ebon swallowed the alleyway keeping the individuals who occupied it secured and sequestered away from all who dared peek down the tight tunnel.   Water idly sliding down the asphalted street, mixed with oil and idle trash skating against the cracked surface, cushioned midnight colored Timberland’s as the flash of twinkling light cascaded in a flash like a pulse near the booted body.

Inhaling even shallow breaths, the individual listened as all sound seemed to be absorbed away as if in a tornado.   This silence triggered the timed attack, which had the anticipation in the individual’s body expand with power, sineaterspic2velocity, speed and well checked strength.

If one was to be one of the many idle flies which hovered in the nearby dumpster, they would be amazed at the sight of the super human individual running in an almost flying position and landing on the second hulking form in the alley.

The rise of a scent that had cats meowing and arched in defense on the railings of a window and under a parked car filled the air again as the crisp white flash of light slashed in the night air, landing against the second balked individual as the attacker hissed.

In a fraction of a blink, claws the size of an oversized lion slashed in the air as tentacles dipped out near the blind spot of the attacker, making the being jump in the air. Bringing down a flashing light of metal unto the second balked former human looking being but now entity of horrendous looks, the precise slash against the entities flesh caused the now familiar smell to fill the air once more.

The attacker crouched low in a resting battle position, taking in shallow calm breaths as the thing turn to attack again, running full speed.   Its Italian leather wing tipped shoes creating a rhythm of tapping song on the alleyway floor, causing the attacker to hum, throwing the entity off its thoughts.

A light sheen of perspiration kissed the attacker’s forehead with each calm inhale.   The attacker lived for this, loved it and desired the hunt of creatures such as this.

sineaterspicStrategizing the next move, the attacker thought back to how this prey was hunted.   A quiet smile flashed across the attackers lips.   It wasn’t hard to get to the sick bastard, the attacker posed as the entities preferred targets, an angry teenager, who wanted nothing but to get away from their parent.   It made the attacker clutch the blade that nestled comfortably against his palm, in anger at the obscene and pornographic discussions that would occur with the demon.

It made it even easier to identify that this monster wasn’t the shrewd Italian entrepreneur he portrayed to be, but was in fact a succubae level soul polluter demon.   These breed of evil were the most degenerate of demons, they enjoyed feasting off the pain of the victims through lewd sexual means, physical decapitating torture and flesh eating.

Knowing this, it silently pleased the attacker to stalk and mentally threaten the demon’s territory by baiting it, since these demons were known for their territorial nature.

Allowing the demon to believe they were to meet up outside of a popular artist’s concert, the attacker led the demon to the alleyway through simple mind manipulation and the rest is history.   Shuddering with a lethal dose of pleasure and battle tactics, the attacker’s body tightened with the wait as the breeze in the alley lightly brushed against skin.

Side stepping within the low crouch, the attacker pivoted and flipped forward with the lithe agility of a panther kaileakesbookpic3producing a silver gun.   Suddenly as if time stopped, bullets exploded in the air as the glimmering and glowing objects penetrated the thrown back body of the beast, causing it to howl in pain.

The attacker ran full speed, watching the bullets hit each expertly calculated point on the beast’s body. Landing a blow to the entities ribcage; the muscles in the attacker’s bicep tightening with the impact of breaking bones and tearing flesh.

Seething in anger, contempt, disbelief and hate, the monster attempted to slash at the attacker with its claws, its teeth dripping with a mixture of its own blood and a liquid miasma.   The beast successfully slammed the attacker into the side of a building, breaking bricks and creating a crater in the wall, rushing like a bull to launch another attack of teeth and claws.   Pivoting out of the way with a deep guttural grunt, the attacker let another round of bullets to release and absorb into the slashing and bleeding beast, watching him fall.

High pitched human screams burst from the beast as it lay on the cold glistening wet pavement, its twisted and contorted body writhing as the attacker casually walked over it kneeling down and grabbing it by its neck.

Watching slowly as the entity howled, hissing and fighting back, its eyes begged to be left alone as its tentacles and claws melted away into a very human hand.   As the once beastly thing revealed itself during its cries, a disheveled looking handsome muscular man, dressed in an Italian designed straight from the runway suit, coughed up spewing blood and wheezed in agony.   The clawing man, murmured in unintelligible sentences, his sun kissed olive skin, slowly fading into a murky grey.

Wrinkles of decay and diseases, emitting from his once handsome frame, seemed to slosh away with every scream of pain and anger.   Flowing oak colored hair, drifted away as if it was dust in the wind. The man reached out attempting to tear at the attacker’s throat as flashes of the demon’s past life of darkness flowed into his vision through the eyes and briefly flashed smile of the attacker’s photogenic face.

Hunching over in a swift movement that would rival and shame a snake, if a snake could be shamed, the attacker hissed, claw palmed the man in the chest clutching at his engorged heart to pull it to its surface, beating against rapidly thinning skin, as the man screamed in garbled terror.

“Ashes to ashes…”, was whispered in the air as the attacker pulled the heart from the man’s cavity and ferociously bit into the side of the screaming man’s neck tearing and cavernously biting until the attacker’s mouth seemed to fuse with the writhing man’s jugular, as rivers of blood fluidly glided everywhere.

Sin Eaters: Retribution, Devotion Book Two

kaileakesbookpic2Darkness is swallowing the streets of Chicago, and a key may have been found. Khamun and Sanna’s epic journey together has led them to this, their mission to save Nephilim Society from themselves. Still trying to open the secrets of the first book, Khamun and Sanna’s fight has resulted in a travesty that may change their lives. Now with Khamun at the cusp of a life and death decision, it’s up to his team to close ranks and protect their Oracle.

Calvin Freeman is surrounded by death. Not only has his cousin fallen in battle, but he’s now being stalked by ghosts from his past lives and a familiar lethal foe, The Medusa. What is deathly has become alluring, and what is toxic has become bittersweet. His dreams are betraying him, and war is coming as society turns a blind eye. It’s up to him and his family to bring their retribution, and it’s up to him to find out why the woman known for bringing nightmares has suddenly knocked at his door.

Take a final walk in the chilling world of Kai Leakes in Sin Eaters 2: Retribution Devotion Book Two.

Excerpt from “Sin Eaters: Retribution, Devotion Book Two”

PRELUDE

The past . . .

“Where are you going to go, boy? You’re surrounded!”

Like hell, woulda ever let ya take me down, boss, rushed into his mind as he ran. More like sprinted through the thick, grasping trees that surrounded him. Rigged branches reached out to him as if they had a mind of their own. Their thick almost-black rooted stems twisted in their uprooting from the bowels of the earth to make him trip, but he was smarter than the trees. He leaped and veered out of their menacing way and his arms jolted outward to part through bushes.

kaileakesbookpic4With all of the trees that surrounded him, he would not have believed that he was back in Harlem, had he known any better; but for those who don’t know it by that name, New York was where he was. The bustling city lights covered the sky like fireflies splashed across the sky’s black canvas. The noisy zipping of various buckets and hacks driving carelessly pass tourists and city folk gave him a sense of how close he exactly was to civilization. It also gave him a sense of purpose.

Twigs snapped suddenly and the rustling of leaves tussling against each other let him know they were still hot on his trail. His mind was racing as he looked for an out. All of this was too familiar to him. Beady red eyes flickered at him in the darkness of the wilderness—no, of the park. He was in Central Park. He should have realized that. Those piercing eyes stared at him in delight, ready to seize the opportunity to hogtie him so that he could be their little plaything but he would not give them that satisfaction. Not yet.

Beads of midnight dew kissed his face the moment he stepped through the thicket. His wingtip shoes abruptly skidded as they made contact with wet, slick grass. He jumped. Then he lifted in the air, almost floating for a mere second. Both of his large feet clacked against pebbled stone the moment they met the ground.

He could hear the enemy. He could feel them breathing against the back of his neck. Each hair on his body stood in salute, coming alive in electric awareness. In this life at least, he knew he could die on his terms and die giving them a fight. In seven minutes, his time would be up soon anyway, so what could he really do about not being bumped off?

Seven . . .

A whizzing sound sizzled past his ear and he felt the hot trickle of blood mixing with his sweat and the quick pop of the gun after the fact. They wanted to play dirty. They wanted to make him appear to be a patsy and a hood. He had to laugh; he was better than a hood. Sure, at one time, he had to fill that slot but now he was his own man, a bruno to a well-known trouble boy who protected the meek of Harlem. They worked together with his gang to find those who were kidnapped or were bumping gums to the wrong people. They worked to regain money lost in predatory loans and schemes and wrongful repositions. They worked to build up their people and to protect all who walked the streets of Harlem from the highbinders that made it their mission to tear down the community. But these men who were after him, the very scum and thugs themselves, were no normal men.

Corrupted monsters in the flesh of coppers more like it. Oh, what he wouldn’t give to go out between the gams of a looker for a change.

Six . . .

The menacing snarl of dogs in the distance made him grimly chuckle before closing his eyes with the feel of his body vibrating with his gift. His gift allowed him to use the sound waves around him to channel it into music. With a slight part of his lips, he let out a low hum. Whistling he changed the pitched and dropped into a low crouch. Both hands extended outward and he observed his skin lighting up in swirling patterns against its burnished surface. That was his clue to project that vibrating power out in waves toward the hunting dogs. A change in his vision instantly allowed him to see through their glittering eyes. He then knew where to run next. With a quick shift of the pitch of his song, he caused the dogs to halt their barks, whimper, and then stopped in their tracks to turn. Attack, was his simple mental command and he watched the dogs attack their owners before sprinting away in retreat.

His sweat dripped down his face like rain on the ground before him. His ragged breath came out in sharp bursts and he pushed up to start his run again. They wouldn’t get what he had been given a vision to find. That he was sure he had hidden well; he had taken something priceless, something rare, and something they wanted destroyed but couldn’t. Something they had to hide from his people because he had learned it could kill the leader of their kind.

Five . . .

(Find out what the countdown is about when Sin Eaters 2: Retribution drops June 24th 2014!)

BUY & PRE-ORDER The Sin Eaters Saga TODAY!

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About Kai Leakes

kaileakesauthorpicFrom Iowa, but later relocating to Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was a multifaceted Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. Sharing stories with her cousins as a teen, writing books didn’t seem like something she would pursue until one day in college. Storytelling continues to be a major part of her very DNA, with the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world.

In her spare time, she likes to cook, dabble in photography, and assists with an internet/social networking group online. Loving to feed her book addiction, romance, fantasy and fiction novels are her world. Reading those particular genres help guide her as she finds the time to write and study for school.

Kai is the author of Sineaters: Devotion book one and the soon-to-be-released Sin Eaters: Retribution: Devotion book two, coming in June.

“The Light Will Always Prevail, but when the Light and Dark are at war, sometimes the Grey can only be your salvation.”  ~ Kai Leakes

CONNECT WITH KAI AT:

Her WEBSITE
Her FACEBOOK Author Page!
Her TWITTER (Also join her at #Teamsineaters !)
Her TUMBLR