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

amazonbuybnbuy

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

 

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

amazonbuy

bnbuy

 

 

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

Valjeanne Jeffers & IMMORTAL: Stop #4 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the fourth stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, VALJEANNE JEFFERS and her paranormal erotic romance series, IMMORTAL! Check out the blurb and an excerpt below!

Immortal

valjeannebookpicHer dreams are terrifying. In the year of our One 3075 Tundra has been at peace for 400 years. There is no racism, poverty or war. Karla is a young Indigo woman working as a successful healer. 

Yet she is tormented by lucid and erotic dreams. Dreams in which she is: Immortal. Two men emerge from these phantasms: the first a Copper Shape shifter and the other a demon more dead than alive. But when this creature appears in her apartment Karla realizes that they share a lust that may one day consume her. 

His will unlock a mystery. Joseph always dreamt of becoming an artist, a warrior…and a shape shifter. Now he’s dreaming of a sorceress who commands that he leave his homeland. Togther they will journey to the end of time. To a nightmarish world of revolution and magic. But will they save Tundra or perish in its destruction?

Excerpt from “Immortal”

SHE was in the basement again. It was pitch black, the only illumination a glowing, quarter moon etched into the floor. A burst of light split the darkness, and she moaned low in her throat.

Please, I don’t want to see anymore. . . I don’t want to look.

Yet her feet moved of their own volition, inching toward the mark. . . and the twisted bundle now lying in its center. A man lay curled upon the stone. He wasn’t breathing, and his limbs were tiny and withered. But she knew he wasn’t dead.

He wasn’t human.

The daemon opened his eyes. I’ve been sleeping. But for how long? He could feel his arms and legs, but the sensations were muted as if they’d traveled from a great distance.

Then he remembered. He’d been imprisoned – snatched from his body by the magic that had trapped him here. Even now sleep, like a delicious drug, threatened to overtake him. But he fought it away.

How many centuries would pass while he slept?

A doorway appeared in his mind and just beyond it, a tattered clump of flesh and bone. . .

Karla’s eyes flew open–the scream caught in her throat. It’s just a nightmare. I’m Ok. I’m here now, at home.

The Indigo woman turned her head to look at the bedroom console. Six- thirty glowed on the screen. She scooted out of bed, picked up a remote from the nightstand and turned off the alarm. Karla walked across the wooden floor of her living area into a kitchenette. A press of her fingers on the first sphere of a triangular pod started coffee brewing.

She filled a cup with chicory, walked back into the living area and pushed the second button on her remote, activating a blue panel beside the window. Jazz music filled the apartment. Like her bedroom console the unit kept time, transmitted holographic images and played tapes.

Using the third button, she opened the curtains. Curled upon her futon, the Indigo woman watched as the illuminae changed Topaz’s violet sky into a mellow shade of peach. She thought of the dreams.

For as far back as Karla could remember, she’d had them. Otherworldly, exquisite and always with an unsettling clarity so different from the normal phantasms she read about.

When I eat, I wake up full–and stay that way until lunchtime. If somebody hits me, it hurts like hell. . .

And her dream lover left her limp with satisfaction, even after she awoke, sure he was still beside her.

At night Karla wrote them down, pouring all of her fears and desires into the notebooks. She spent hours in the library, reading stories of reincarnation and demonic possession, searching for answers. She’d found them too–dozens of them. But none could satisfy the yearning that burned inside her.

Every time she closed her eyes to sleep they beckoned, calling to her. Mornings, she awoke like a swimmer who’d been underwater for too long, grasping for the fabric of reality–-moaning with pleasure or trembling with exhilaration.

One night they’re going to swallow me whole. I’ll never wakeup or maybe I’ll just fall through to whatever’s on the other side. . . and this new one, something’s different about it. I know the others but this one–- this one scares me so bad I’m afraid to sleep.

“What time is it?”

The top left knob of her console blinked. “The time is 7:00 am,” a pert, female voice replied.

Seven o’clock! I’d better hustle! Karla gulped down her coffee, and hurried back into the bedroom to dress.

Tehotep watched the tall, slender woman thumb through her closet. He wasn’t invisible, only dim. As long as he stayed in the shadows, she couldn’t see him. But noise couldn’t be cloaked by magic.

The Indigo woman tossed a red knit, shirt and jeans on the bed, slipped off her pajamas and walked into the bathroom. As she stepped into the shower, the nozzle automatically clicked on, spraying her body with water. He followed, standing just beyond the doorway. . .

Karla finished bathing, and Tehotep quickly moved back into the shadows – all the while devouring her with his eyes. Her skin, dewy with
moisture, looked like melting chocolate her nipples, blackberries. She toweled off her full breasts and long legs and he licked his lips imagining the things he would do with her-–to her–the endless perversions he’d force her to submit to. Things she’d come to enjoy, when she tried to please him.

The young woman walked into the bedroom. He watched her pull up her panties, hook her bra, slip her arms into the straps. Image after image flooded his mind. Tehotep felt himself harden; a soft groan escaped his lips. . .

Karla froze then stared into the corner facing her bed. It’s only a bunch of dirty clothes, you’re hearing things!

In that instant he appeared: an Indigo man with full lips, slanting onyx eyes and a shaven head. Voluminous garments hung from his muscular frame. Their eyes locked, and she gasped in recognition. The dark man smiled, nodded his head. . .

And vanished.

Karla gazed at the pile of laundry – all that remained of him–-and wondered if she’d lost her mind. With trembling hands she finished dressing her thoughts scurrying about like rats in a maze. It’s him! I didn’t imagine it! He was here, but that’s impossible–!

There was a knock at the door and she jumped. Get it together girl, that’s the twins.

She walked into the living room, picked up her remote and pointed it at the entrance. It slid open and the eight-year-old twins, Carlos Jr. and Ashley, small and brown like their mother, ran inside. Ashley’s shoulder length braids were tied off with ribbons.

“Good morning Karla,” they sang in unison, hugging her.

“Good morning love bugs. What do you want for breakfast?”

“Waffles,” said Ashley.

Carlos Jr. flapped his hand at his sister. “You always want waffles. Make mine French toast.”

When Karla and the twins’ mother had first become friends, Tatiana and Carlos were both working nights, and she’d offered to make breakfast for their children during the week. That was two years ago.

Now Tatiana worked as a beautician, although her mate still worked evening shifts at the metal emporium. But fixing meals for the twins had become a habit Karla didn’t want to break. She was crazy about them, and Topaz’s food prices were next to nothing.

“Coming right up.” The dark woman took milk and breakfast pellets from her cold box, and slid the nuggets into a diamond-shaped oven. In twenty seconds, they expanded with heat.

“Done,” the oven announced. The children sat at the table, just outside the kitchenette.

Karla served them, walked into the living area and took a cipher from the box on the coffee table. She lit it and puffed nervously; with the other hand combing her fingers through her short, wavy hair.

“Smoking is stinky,” Ashley pronounced her mouth full of waffles.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” How did he get in my apartment? Piss on that! How did he get out?

“Mommy’s mad at Daddy ‘cause he ain’t been home in two days!” Carlos Jr. announced, snapping her back to the present.

“Hasn’t, not ain’t and your mother probably wants to tell me about it herself,” Karla scolded gently.

“Yeah,” piped Ashley, “don’t tell family business.”

There was a knock at the door, she opened it and Tatiana strolled in: an Indigo woman with her hair coiled into tiny braids.

“Hey girl.” Tatiana greeted her.

“Hey yourself, want some coffee?”

“Definitely,” the petite woman flopped on the couch, “Kids hurry up; the transport unit will be here in minute.”

After the twins left for school, the women sat on Karla’s futon drinking coffee.

“Carlos hasn’t been home in two days.”

“Your son already told me.” Karla eyed her friend with concern.

“So what are you gonna do?”

“I don’t know.”

“You said the next time he pulled this shit, you were gonna put him out.”

Tatiana stared into her cup. “When he comes back, I’ll talk to him –really talk to him,” she mumbled. “He‘s got to get it together, or find someplace else to stay.”

“Yeah, you said that last time too.”

“Karla he’s a good man and he loves me, he’s just got issues! His daddy used to beat him up. Carlos gets depressed when he thinks about it so he smokes rush. He doesn’t do it every day–”

The dark woman gritted her teeth. “Ti, I don’t wanna hear that shit! He’s a junkie-–if he was serious about dealing with his addiction, he’d check into a clinic!”

Tatiana’s small, oval face narrowed with anger. “I’m not one of your residents so don’t preach to me, Ok? It’s my life and my man!”

“I’m not trying to preach,” Karla said softly. She touched her friend’s hand. “It’s just that you deserve better – better than him. You need a man that’s gonna be there for you all the time. Not somebody who keeps giving you love, and taking it back.”

“Look, I know what you’re saying, up here,” Tatiana tapped the side of her head with her fingertip, “but relationships aren’t simple, they’re tangled like vines. You don’t make up your mind to leave someone you love just like that.” She snapped her fingers for emphasis.

“You ever been in love?”

“Uh-huh, I have.”

“Really, with who? I mean, I’ve never seen you with anybody for more than a few months.”

“With–” a brown face appeared in her mind’s eye. Loved. Cherished. But Karla had never met him – not while she was awake. She looked sheepish. “It’s been a while.”

The Indigo woman furrowed her brow. “So long ago you don’t remember his name? Then you weren’t in love.”

Karla avoided Tatiana’s searching eyes. “I don’t wanna talk about him,” she fumbled for the words to stop her friend’s questions, “it’s too
painful.”

“Oh, it’s like that huh? I understand…Karla, he took my ID
card.”

“Damn! How’re you going to make through the week?”

The petite woman shrugged. “I’ll figure something out.” She set her cup on the table. “Thanks for the coffee.”

“You need some credits?”

“Probably. . .I’ll let you know. You better get going.”

Karla activated the door lock then watched Tatiana slowly climb the steps to her flat. How could Carlos do this to her again?

The elderly woman held the curtain back from her window. She was short with large eyes, a wide nose and full lips a shade lighter than her ebony skin. Her thick salt and pepper hair was twisted into two braids atop her head. Her calico spotted cat, Nutmeg, rubbed against her legs, meowing plaintively, but she ignored him.

Opal watched the tall, Indigo woman descend the stairs and cross the street. Once Karla was out of sight, she opened the door, walked down the hallway to the back exit and followed the brick path into her garden.

There was a pecan and cherry tree, a profusion of roses, lilacs and daises, and the bees were having their breakfast. The garden square was hemmed in by apartment buildings and faced a tool shed. She continued down the end of the path to the shed. This time Nutmeg didn’t follow and he’d ceased to beg for attention. Instead, he sat solemnly on his haunches and watched her pick up a can of oil, and a rag from beside the doorway.

Opal oiled the door hinges and wiped away the excess. She squirted more oil on the cloth and rubbed it into the door. Anyone observing this ritual would see an elderly woman polishing a tool shed. If they looked more closely, they’d notice her whispering to herself and think she was senile. And that was just fine with her.

The old woman stepped back: admiring her handiwork. She strolled up the little path, and took a seat in one of the cushioned lawn chairs beneath her trees. Nutmeg stopped harassing the bees, bounded over and wound himself around her legs.

Opal reached down and stroked his back. The illuminae was beautiful today. Perhaps she’d linger a bit and enjoy it.

Dressed in breeches and sandals, Joie rode through the forest of his ancestors. The illuminae filtered through the trees, sketching filigrees in the mulch below.

The warrior was tall, with reddish brown skin, almond eyes, and high cheekbones. Jet black hair hung loosely about his shoulders. Silver and turquoise rings dangled from his ears and wrists. Joie was half asleep, his muscular thighs loosely gripping the mare’s flanks, for she knew the way to their favorite stream better than he did.

They reached the brook and he dismounted, kneeled and splashed water upon his face and neck, finally cupping a pool in his hands to drink.

“Joseph. . .” He glanced around, instantly wary. The forest was teaming with supernatural life–-and not all of it friendly.

Among the most dangerous were Wood Sprites–forest succubae that took the form of human women to capture men. Their victims slowly starved to death, losing all grasp of time as they languished in their captor’s embrace.

A mahogany shaded woman emerged from the grove of trees to his right…

Buy “Immortal” TODAY!

In PAPERBACK at Valjeanne’s AUTHOR WEBSITE, or at

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About Valjeanne Jeffers

valjeannepicValjeanne is the author of the SF/fantasy novels: ImmortalImmortal II: The Time of LegendImmortal III: Stealer of Souls, and the steampunk novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worldsand The Switch II: Clockwork (includes books 1 and 2).

Her writing has appeared in: The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First FamilyThe Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean SouthDrumvoices Revue 20th Anniversary, and Liberated Muse: How I Freed My Soul Vol. I. She was also semi-finalist for the 2007 Rita Dove Poetry Award and she was interveiwed in 60 Years of Black Women in Horror Fiction.

Valjeanne’s fiction has appeared in Steamfunk!Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction,Griots: A Sword and Soul AnthologyPossibilities31 Days of Steamy Mocha, and Griots II: Sisters of the Spear. She is co-owner of Q & V Affordable editing. Her two latest novels: Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective and Colony: Ascension will be released later this year.

Preview or purchase her novels at: http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com.

CONNECT WITH VALJEANNE AT:

Her BOOK WEBSITE
Her BLOG
Her TWITTER

Milton Davis & AMBER AND THE HIDDEN CITY: Stop #3 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the third stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, MILTON DAVIS and his YA fantasy novel, AMBER AND THE HIDDEN CITY! Check out the blurb and an excerpt below!

Amber and the Hidden City

miltondavisbookThirteen year old Amber Robinson’s life is full of changes. Her parents are sending her to a private school away from her friends, and high school looms before her. But little does she know that her biggest change awaits in a mysterious city hidden from the world for a thousand years. Why? Amber’s grandmother is a princess from this magical kingdom of Marai. She’s been summoned home to use her special abilities to select the new king but she no longer has the gift, and her daughter was never trained for the task. That leaves only one person with the ability to save the city: Amber!

But there are those who are determined that Amber never reaches Marai and they will do anything to stop her. Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure that spans from the Atlanta suburbs to the grasslands of Mali. It’s a story of a girl who discovers her hidden abilities and heritage in a way that surprises and entertains.

Excerpt from “Amber and the Hidden City”

Aisha kicked the garbage can across the alley and screamed. She struck out with her fists, imagining Bissau’s face as the target for her frustration. A sound distracted her; she turned to see a group of people staring at her. She grinned maliciously then before the eyes of her unwanted spectators she transformed into a huge grey hyena. Her maniacal laugh sent them all scurrying away; Aisha transformed back to her true self before exiting the other end of the alley.

She underestimated Amber. Whatever powers she possessed manifested the moment they landed in the motherland. She had been overconfident when she knew better and now the girl and her mother were lost in Dakar. A quick sweep of the local hotels revealed they were not checked in. They were clever; they knew it would be the first place she searched. They weren’t familiar with the city, so they wouldn’t take a chance in seeking a stranger for help. Aisha was dumbfounded. Where would a person begin to look for another in this world? She would have to start with her own knowledge then go from there. In Marai each folk claimed its own section of the city. She would look for the American section of the city, if one existed. That would be where they would most likely go if they didn’t choose a hotel. Aisha spotted a man dressed in a large purple shirt and loose pants striding down the street towards her. There was a smile on his face; Amber smiled backed then approached him.

“Excuse me sir,” she said in her sweetest tone. “Where would I find the American compound?”

The man looked puzzled. “American compound? There is no…oh, you must mean the American Embassy.”

“Yes, that is what I mean.”

The man scratched his chin. “It’s a long way from here. Come, I’m walking to my car. I’ll take you there.”

“Merci, sir! Merci!”

Aisha followed the man to a dusty vehicle. She was used to automobiles now, so she climbed into the passenger side. They pulled away quickly.

“What’s your name?” the man asked.

“Aisha.”

“Well, Aisha, your Momma should have taught you never to get in a car with a stranger.”

The man’s sinister grin was barely on his face when Aisha snatched her wicked dagger  from her clothes and pressed the tip into his neck. It was her turn to grin.

“No, sir. You should be old enough to know not to try to take advantage of pretty young girls. Now take me to this American embassy.”

The man’s fearful eyes drifted down to the blade. “You won’t do it. I’m driving!”

Aisha pressed the knife into his neck just enough to draw blood. The man whimpered.

“The embassy, fool!” she spat.

The man drove to a building that flew a red, white and blue flag decorated with stars. Aisha leaned closed to her reluctant chauffeur then kissed him on the cheek.

“Thank you for the ride,” she whispered.

She nicked his neck with her knife as she exited the car. The man yelled at her and shook his fist. Aisha had already forgotten him.

The military man at the door greeted her with a smile before looking over her shoulder at the irate man.

“Is there a problem, ma’am?” he asked.

“No sir, but you are very kind to ask.”

Aisha glanced over her shoulder as her involuntary ride sped away.

“I hope you can help me, monsieur,” she said. “My friends from America came to visit me today but it seems I lost them at the airport. I think they would come to the embassy if they were lost.”

The guard looked at her skeptically. “There were two Americans that came to the embassy earlier today. You say they are your friends?”

“Yes, monsieur.”

“Yet you miss them at the airport and then come here seeking them?”

“I must make a confession,” she said. “My friends would not know me if they saw me. I was to meet them at the airport to assist them in their travels. They apparently grew impatient.”

“They’ve made other arrangements,” the guard said gruffly. “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

“Please, monsier, I must find them,” Aisha pleaded.

The guard studied her a few moments before answering.

“You can talk with the receptionist,” he said.

“Merci, monsieur. Merci.”

Aisha went to the receptionist. The woman confirmed that Amber and Alake had indeed come to the embassy, but she wasn’t at liberty to say where they were staying.

Aisha thanked her then left  the embassy. So the duo had taken refuge in a local home. It would seem to be a good move, but there were few homes in Dakar that could provide two lodgers the comfort of a hotel. Her search would not be as difficult as Amber had surmised. She had no doubt she would see them very soon. She found another alley, ran then leaped into the air, her arms spread wide. She transformed into a falcon, a cry of joy escaping her mouth. Of all the creatures she could be, the birds of prey were her favorite. Their powerful bodies’ combines with their keen sight and ultimate mobility fascinated her. If there was any creature she could remain for the rest of her life, it would be such a beast.

She beat her wings, climbing higher over Dakar. It did not take her long to find the city section she sought. A line of mansions rimmed the ocean side, houses resembling the lineage of Marai. She circled, seeking obvious sign of where Amber and the others would be but there was none. They were smarter than that, but still even the most intelligent person can make mistakes, as Bissau proved in Paris. She descended and found a perch on a nearby office building. The midday heat did not bother her; she was a child of the desert and the falcon she chose to be was well adapted to the high heat. Now was time for patience. She felt sure she was in the right place. She would soon have what she wanted.

It was dusk when she saw it. A mystical flash rose from a sector of town south of her. She jumped from her perch, flying as fast as she could to the source before it waned. Someone used nganga nearby and she was sure she knew who. Despite her speed by the time she reached the source of the flash it had dissipated. Two homes filled her view, both splendid compared to the other homes in Dakar. There was only one way she could find which house was which. She transformed into her human female form, this time wearing the clothes of a local. She waited until darkness settled on the city before walking to the door of the first home. She knocked for a long while before giving up and proceeding to the next house. Aisha knocked then took on a sad expression. The door swung wide and was filled by a large man with a disapproving face.

“What do you want?” he barked.

“Something to eat,” she replied.

“No beggars here,” he said. “Now go before I call the police.”

“Just a little something,” she persisted.

The man grabbed her shirt. “Didn’t you hear me? Be gone. You’ll disturb Miss Josephine and her guests!”

Aisha’s eyes narrowed and she smiled. “Of course I will.”

Aisha’s foot sank into the man’s stomach. He dropped her and she landed on her feet. She stepped over the groaning man into the house.

“Bundu, who is it at such a late hour?”

Aisha saw a light appear on her left. Another light appeared on her right. She looked right and a saw a woman she did not recognize walking toward her as she tied her house robe belt.

“Who are you, child?” The woman demanded. “What is the meaning of…Bundu!”

The second door opened. A woman stepped out, a woman whose face was very familiar. The woman saw Aisha and her hands flew to her mouth.

A third door flew open at the top of the stairs. Bissau rushed out, his face twisted in anger. He jumped from the top of the stairs. Aisha grinned.

She waited until Bissau was almost on the floor when she transformed back into the falcon and flew by him to the room. When she transformed she stood before Amber.

“You’re journey is over,” Aisha announced.

Amber stumbled back. The necklace about her neck glowed with a strange light.

“That necklace will be mine once I’m done with you!”

She struck at Amber’s neck and was shocked when the girl blocked her blow. Her foot flashed out and Amber blocked it as well. She almost laughed when Amber punched at her face until she realized the punch was a feint. She barely avoided the swinging elbow meant for her jaw.

“You have some wrestling skills,” Aisha said. “Your Grandma taught you well.”

Aisha glanced behind her; Bissau and Aisha’s grandmother were running up the stairs.

“Time to end this!”

Aisha reached for her pouch. Amber kicked her elbow and her arm fell limp.

“Damn you, girl. I’ll…”

Bright light filled her vision as Amber’s elbow crashed against her head then everything went dark. When she opened her eyes the back of her head throbbed and Bissau, Amber and her grandmother were entering the mirror inside the room.

“No you don’t!” Aisha yelled.

She jumped at the mirror. Bissau reemerged and slammed into her, knocking her to the floor. She tried to stand but Bissau pulled her back down.

“We have unfinished business, shape shifter!” he snarled.

“Then it will remain unfinished!” Aisha reached for her pouch again. Bissau dodged her and ran toward the mirror. Aisha smiled; as soon as he opened his portal she would follow him. He did no such thing. Instead he picked up a nearby chair and smashed the mirror. Aisha screamed then fell onto Bissau, pummeling him with hands, feet, elbows and knees.

“Up the stairs!” she heard a female voice yell. “They’re up the stairs!”

Aisha halted her assault on Bissau. He lay unconscious at her feet, his beautiful face beginning to swell. She ran to the edge of the stairs and saw four uniformed men climbing up to her followed by the woman and her butler. She hissed in anger; she was back to where she started. But at least this time she had a lead. She hurried over to Bissau, grasping his arms with her hands. What she was about to do would weaken her, but she needed him, at least until she could locate Amber and her grandmother again. The transformation took longer than normal; once she was done she was a falcon again and Bissau was a mouse in her talons. She flew upward as the uniformed men reached the top of the stairs then glided out of the door into the humid night.

Buy “Amber and the Hidden City” 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; Griots: A 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

Balogun Ojetade & THE SCYTHE: Stop #2 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the second stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, BALOGUN OJETADE and his dieselfunk novel, THE SCYTHE! Check out the blurb and an excerpt below!

The Scythe

balogunbookpicHe has been given a second chance at life. A second chance at revenge. He is the bridge between the Quick and the Dead. He is…THE SCYTHE!

Out of the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, a two-fisted hero rises from the grave!

Inspired by the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, a tale of action, adventure, thrills and chills await fans of Dieselpunk, die-hard pulp fans and readers who just love a gritty story that packs a mean punch.

Enter a world in which Gangsters, Flappers, vampires, robots and the Ku Klux Klan all roam the same dark back streets; a world of grit, grime and grease; a world of hardboiled gumshoe detectives and mad scientists; a world where magic and technology compete for rule over the world.

Dieselfunk has emerged in The Scythe…and the Roaring Twenties will never seem the same!

Excerpt from “The Scythe”

“He who sleeps with an itching anus wakes up with smelly fingers.”

Ikukulu opened his eyes. Anesusu stood over him smiling. A horde of Agu stood behind him.

“Only a madman would go to sleep with his roof on fire,” Ikukulu replied, hopping to his feet.

“This is the sigil, then?” Anesusu inquired, pointing at the carving on the kuka tree.

Ikukulu nodded. “It is. It will require all of our blood to activate it.”

“Let’s get to it, then,” Anesusu said, drawing his knife.

Anesusu held his obsidian blade high above his head.

Hundreds of similar obsidian knives, with gazelle antler handles, were thrust into the air.

Ikukulu drew his coral knife. He slid the blade across his palm, rending his flesh and then pressed the leaking gash to the sigil for a few moments.

Anesusu followed him and then each warrior from amongst the Agu did the same until the sigil was covered in gore.

“The sigil is now activated and well-fed,” Anesusu said to his brethren. “The Jugu will be upon us in a few hours and we will send them to their doom. So drink; make love – preferably not with your own wife or husband, for you married warriors – and rest up…for at midday, we usher in a new era…a new world!”

A cheer erupted from the army of Agu.

Ikukulu turned away and sauntered toward the river. The ways of the Agu disgusted him, but the refusal of his own brothers and sisters to work with the Agu had forced him to ally with them alone – a dangerous undertaking, indeed, but one most necessary. He prayed that his punishment would not be too harsh and that the Abo would one day come to realize his level of sacrifice.

###

Ikukulu and Anesusu stood at the edge of the Ogun River with three hundred armored Agu behind them.

The dawn air was cool; crisp; and carried the scent of sulfur and putrid flesh.

“The Jugu are close,” Ikukulu shouted, drawing his knife.

“Swords!” Anesusu commanded.

The Agu drew their knives and pointed them skyward. A white energy, like a bolt of lightning, coursed through the obsidian blades, from base to point. A moment later, the knives expanded into broadswords.

Ikukulu knelt, slamming the pommel of his knife into the soft earth. The knife twisted; shifted; stretched. Ikukulu stood, a razor sharp, coral scythe now gripped tightly between his fists.

A muddy, marsh- green mass thundered toward them.

Ikukulu charged toward the mass, his scythe, held low, cutting a swath in the red dirt behind him.

“Forward!” Anesusu ordered, pointing his sword toward the fast approaching mass.

The army of Agu followed their leader, keeping pace with his loping gait.

As Ikukulu came closer to the mass, the monstrous forms of the Jugu became clear. Their brawny, grey-green bodies stood upon seven foot tall frames and their thick skin was scaled and ridged like that of a crocodile. Their facial features were human, but their mouths were extended, tapering into a ‘v’, like the maw of a crocodile.

The creatures roared in unison, exposing their dagger-like teeth. They raised their arms shoulder-high, baring their razor-sharp claws.

The Jugu had no one leading them, for their Mistress, Kielgek, commanded her warriors – with whom she was psychically linked – from the Abysmal Plane.

Ikukulu leapt into the fray, his scythe slashing furiously. The coral blade met scale-armored flesh and Jugu fell.

With each death of a Jugu, Kielgek cried out in agony upon her dark throne.

However, with each death of an Agu, of which there were many, she roared in ecstasy. Her warriors fighting on the Terrestrial Plane roared with her.

“Fall back!” Anesusu bellowed, turning on his heels.

The army of Agu about-faced and retreated from the battle, sprinting along the edge of the Ogun River.

Ikukulu whirled about and took off, running closely behind Anesusu.

Ikukulu could hear the Jugu galloping behind him, hot on his heels. He felt their foul breath on the back of his neck.

The Agu ran a few yards past the tree bearing the sigil and then turned to face their enemy.

Ikukulu dived forward, rolling past the tree.

The Jugu stampeded toward Ikukulu and the Agu.

Suddenly, as if the air had devoured them, the Jugu vanished.

Ikukulu turned toward the Agu. “The Jugu have been sucked back into their abhorrent world. You have done well, warriors! Now, quickly, we must fell the tree to seal the portal forever. Anesusu and I will beat back any Jugu who try to pass through until you bring the tree down.”

“Work swiftly, my brothers and sisters!” Anesusu ordered.

Ikukulu stood a few feet in front of the tree. Anesusu stood beside him.

A vertical sliver of darkness rent the air. A scaly, grey-green head emerged from it, roaring.

Ikukulu severed the Jugu’s head with an upward slash of his scythe.

Something slammed into Ikukulu’s back with the force of a battering ram. He stumbled forward, his left arm, which held his scythe, disappearing into the black sliver. Something on the other side of the sliver grabbed a hold of him, piercing the skin of his forearm in several places.

“They have my arm,” Ikukulu gasped. Cut it off, Anesusu!”

“I promised you that no harm would come to the Abo from the Agu, my friend,” Anesusu said. “I must honor the truce.”

“If you don’t sever my arm, the Jugu will pull me into their world!” Ikukulu shouted.

“I keep my promises, Ikukulu,” Anesusu replied. “I will not do you any harm.”

A strong yank pulled Ikukulu’s shoulder and half of his face into the darkness.

“You have betrayed me!” Ikukulu spat.

“To betray, you must first belong,” Anesusu snickered. “You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Goodbye, Ikukulu.”

Ikukulu vanished from the Terrestrial World and the foul world of the Jugu welcomed him.

Buy “The Scythe” TODAY!

Get it at Roaring Lions Productions, or at

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About Balogun Ojetade

balogunpic2Balogun 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 FACEBOOK Fan Page
His TWITTER Handle
His TUMBLR Page

Alan D. Jones & SACRIFICES: Stop #1 on the Butler-Banks Black Sci-Fi Book Tour!

Here’s the first stop on our Afrofuturistic journey, ALAN D. JONES and his inaugural sci-fi novel, SACRIFICES! Check out the blurb, reviews, and an excerpt below!

Alan D Jone Sacrifices -In SACRIFICES, a prequel to Alan’s first book, To Wrestle with Darkness, we meet Cil, Deborah, Ruth and Sarah. They are four sisters descended from the coupling of angels and humans.

And as such they’ve been embodied with fantastical abilities which they use to defend the world from those who would harm it, be they flesh or spirit. In Sacrifices, they find themselves tested, as they must contest the forces of darkness who are intent on ending all of creation. If they are to prevail, there will certainly be sacrifices.

 

Reviews

“From slavery to sacrifices to victory — a journey worth taking” –Ruth DeJauregui

“This fascinating prequel to “To Wrestle With Darkness”, Sacrifices, which is book two of the trilogy, follows the four sisters — Cil, Deborah, Ruth and Sarah have a destiny to fulfill. I’m not usually a fan of stories that leap back and forth in time, from the 1700s to the present, but in this case, Jones did a masterful job in not only keeping the story on-track through the centuries, but as the book drew to a close, it all became clear. The story really was in sequence, although at first it didn’t look that way at all.”

“From slavery to sacrifices to victory, the story of the family and their journey from the past to the future is deeply imbedded in not just Christianity, but also ancient mythology, Sacrifices tells us of both Faith and the consequences of actions and reactions, whether well-meant or knowingly stepping off the path of righteousness.”

“I not only thoroughly enjoyed this book, I’d read it again, and again. There’s depths to the story that will only reveal themselves on rereading, and I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Excerpt from “Sacrifices”

One by one, four black horses, exploded out of nothingness into the white pristine snowfall of a Scandinavian winter night. Each horse ran hard through the woods of fresh powder. Atop each horse, rode a daughter of Hosea draped in black. Each rider rode with such purpose that no words were needed. Each knew her destination. On the way, they encountered a time walker dressed in white by the name of Akina. Cil pulled on the reins of her steed and her sisters followed suit. “Akina, all is as expected?” she asked.

Akina pulled back her fur lined hood to reply, “Yes, Auntie, all is as expected. But, you know that. Don’t you?”

Cil said nothing but smiled before she kicked her heels into her horse and rode off into the darkness. One by one, each of her sisters proceeded past Akina. First was Deborah, who had, as Akina would later describe, a wide-eyed, overly-excited look on her face. It was almost a bloodlust. Next came Ruth Ann, with a thousand miles away stare on her face. Bringing up the rear was Sarah, with her ever-present sunglasses firmly in place. She rode past Akina flashing her trademark irrepressible smile. Sarah’s opponents hated that smile and longed to wipe it off her face. The sisters followed Cil through the woods and towards the castle on the northern bay. They rode hard and fast through the woods as a winter’s full moon illuminated their path.

As the sisters broke through the tree line, a castle and the wall that surrounded it were plainly in sight. They rode toward the guard tower along the outer wall. Nordic soldiers lined the top of the wall in a heightened state of readiness. As the sisters approached, a gate in the wall swung open and they passed through on their shiny black horses. Aunt Cil led them up the central corridor toward the castle beyond. Residents in the courtyard gasped as the four hooded riders proceeded, escorted by several guards on horseback.

The ladies quickly dismounted in front of the castle and walked briskly towards the large wooden front doors. One of the guards barked out a command and once again a set of doors swung open before the women this time opening into a grand hall. The king and his court were sitting in their assigned places at the other end of the hall. It was clear that the Aunties were expected.

The members of the court were adorned in their finest coats and pelts. A feast for four was laid out on the great dining table, but the sisters paid it no mind. It was an offering of sorts, but Cil and her sisters had no time for such things.
They stood before the court and removed their hoods. This action froze the crowd more than the weather outside ever could. The sight of the four black women standing shoulder to shoulder left their mouths agape.

Deborah leaned over to Ruth and whispered, “They’re looking at our hair.”

Ruth rolled her eyes.

Cil motioned for Deborah to step forward. Deborah did so and began to speak to the king and his court in their native tongue. Deborah had the gift of speaking in the tongue of many languages. She could even speak languages that she’d never heard before. So, she translated between the parties.

“King Helwig, Queen Helwig, and members of the royal court as our herald undoubtedly communicated to you, we are here to rid your realm of the terror currently approaching your gates.”

King Helwig stood up, “We saw what your herald can do but what can you do that would warrant us putting our faith in you to resolve this matter?” He pointed at the Aunties as he made this last point.

Cil nodded to Sarah. She removed her shades which immediately revealed her glowing eyes. Then, she gazed upon a large urn of water and unleashed a red hot beam from those eyes that split the urn in half spilling the water it contained onto the stone floor.

Next, Ruth Ann stepped forward. She raised her hands, and in a single scooping motion projected a blue shell which scooped the remains of the broken and still smoldering urn into the air. The sphere hovered in the air spinning slightly before launching upwards bursting through the ceiling and into the night sky. The entire court could see the blue ball accelerate towards the great beyond and out of sight.

Then, when all eyes landed on Deborah, she simply vanished. From the spot on the floor where she had stood, a spring sprung up spouting water thirty feet into the air. The geyser began to rage and quickly filled the hall with water. Suddenly, water began to flow into the hall from everywhere. Water flowed from every opening including the windows, the cracks in the walls, and the new hole in the ceiling. Members of the court scurried up the king’s landing and to the throne to escape the rising waters. Just as her audience began to panic, the water disappeared and Deborah reappeared right where she had been when the phenomena began as though nothing happened.

Finally, Cil raised her staff but before she could demonstrate anything, the king motioned towards her vigorously shaking his head. There was little need for Deborah to translate.

Deborah glanced towards Cil and then said to the king, “About our fee…”

###

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About Alan D. Jones

AlanDJonesFormer columnist for the Atlanta Tribune, Alan Jones has worked most of his adult life as a Business/IT consultant, working all across America from Los Angeles to Wall Street. Born in Atlanta, Alan attended GA-Tech and GA State, obtaining his MBA from Georgia State University’s Robinson School of Business. In addition, Alan was a feature writer for the student newspapers at both schools. Alan also served on the board of the Atlanta chapter of the National Black MBA association.

Alan, is the author of the Science Fiction novels, To Wrestle with Darkness and its prequel, Sacrifices.

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