Jake had drifted to Japan without any serious intent, and it was going… okay. He had made friends in the local Salsa community, his Japanese was improving, but for Jake the familiar feeling that had dogged him most of his life—that something special should be happening—had struck again.
Kenneth had been assigned to Japan by the pixie queen years ago, which is just enough time for a pixie to get bored and complacent while keeping tabs on the local talent. Most humans had no magic, and most magical humans didn’t know it was their power that made their food taste better, their paintings more vibrant, or people like them more.
When the two met, the spark in Jake gave Kenneth’s role a new urgency. Jake didn’t just have magic, he had a wild and unpredictable kind seen only once in a generation. How could Kenneth keep Jake’s magic from falling into enemy hands? Kill him? Recruit him? Somehow keep him ignorant?
Jake’s magic had quietly led him to Japan, subtly influencing every choice in his life. That something special Jake had been waiting for was about to happen, ensuring his and Kenneth’s lives would never be boring again.
Kenneth smoothed out the short, red spikes of his hair with one hand as he stood in front of the train’s mirror. He could feel the glances of the other passengers, though he pretended not to notice. He finally had a night to himself. While it had only been three months, it felt like a century had passed. He would know, having lived long enough. The constant grind of finding magical humans, or marks, and handling them rarely left him with any opportunities to enjoy himself. He tried to loosen the stiffness in his shoulders as he thought back over his responsibilities. Over the next few days, he would have to work to increase trust with two marks. And he would need to squeeze in time to reach out to his connections to several others that he had already gotten processed. The life of a pixie was never dull.
For the evening, he had the opportunity to put those concerns to the side. He resisted the urge to smile as he thought about it. A night of dancing was exactly what he needed to feel relaxed and settled. Despite the years of experience, adopting different personas to deal with people still took its toll. A single night of free expression was the perfect fix.
About The Author
Rasta Musick spent the first 12 years of his life in California before moving to Japan with his family. After graduating from college with a Bachelor’s in economics at the age of 16, he spent the years after learning Japanese and working. Having spent more than half his life in Japan, he’s confident that it’s his home.
With many different hobbies, chief of them being Latin dance, he keeps himself physically active as well as mentally active as much as he can. The Latin dance community in Japan is alive and, surprisingly, quite large.
Rasta has lupus and hereditary coproporphyria. Given their complicated nature, he’s had to learn a lot to adapt and manage them. The process also taught him a lot about managing other aspects of his life, and all of this influences his writing.
Deserting his regiment in the aftermath of an injury, Torrent is just trying to get home to his fiancée without being robbed or arrested. Reporting the illegal saltpeter mine he finds on his return might be valuable enough for the army to overlook his truancy, perhaps even grant him a pension. If he’s willing to betray Molly to make that report.
For Molly, chemistry has always been more useful than magic, especially now that supplying the opposing side with gunpowder is the only thing keeping her from being ousted from her own farm. After two years apart, Molly knows it’s foolish to trust Torrent with either the mine or her heart. Unfortunately, Torrent’s not the only one interested in Coriander Hollow.
Between Torrent’s desertion and her own illegal mine, Molly has to decide whose secrets she’s willing to protect and how far she’s willing to go to protect them. And Molly hadn’t counted on Coriander Hollow having secrets of its own…
This is an adult fantasy novel, that might appeal to readers of Genevieve Cogman, Naomi Novik or Katherine Addison. It’s historical fantasy-ish (I describe it as ‘steampunk on a farm’), a little bit Cherie Priest meets Cold Mountain.
About the Author
Mareth Griffith bounces between the Pacific Northwest coast and various warmer locations. She mostly lives in Seward, Alaska, and assures you winters there aren’t as bad as you think. When she’s not writing, she works as a naturalist and wilderness guide, leading adventurous souls on epic quests to seek out glaciers, bears, and whales in the wilds of coastal Alaska. She’s also lived and worked in Scotland, Mexico, New Zealand, and Northern Ireland—where her nearest neighbors included two thousand puffins and the ghost of a spectral black horse. Originally from West Virginia, Mareth attended Smith College in Massachusetts, studying music and theatre. Mareth plays classical violin well and rhythm guitar badly.
A horde of demons from the Abyss. A dread master of the undead. A choice
between saving a single city versus the entire world.
The tower in the mists has been wrested from the Empress of the Damned and
her undead army. Yet demons still hold the tower in the mountains and are
using it to summon more of their kind.
The problem is demons are not your normal monsters. Weapons of great power
are needed to defeat them, demon slaying weapons like those of legend.
At the same time, Penwick has come under attack from the inside. Creatures
of the night have infiltrated the city and people are disappearing at an
alarming rate. Even more terrifying, these vampires might be heralds of the
dread Undead Thrall Master.
With all Arinthar at stake, can the companions protect Penwick and still
find the magic they so sorely need before demons overrun their entire
Other books in the Rise of the Thrall Lord series:
City of Tears
Rise of the Thrall Lord, Book One
A cursed city shrouded in mist. The power to level an army. A deadly race
against demons to find it.
Five hundred years have passed since Naradon, the mad emperor, ruled over
the world of Arinthar. Unknown to all but a few, the emperor left behind a
deadly legacy—seven towers scattered across the globe, each with the
power to lay waste to an army.
Now demons have crawled up from the Abyss and taken one of those towers,
using its power to summon more of their brethren. To make matters worse, a
second tower has been uncovered and the demons want that one, too.
Yet that tower will not be taken easily. Shrouded in mist, the ancient city
surrounding that tower has fallen under a terrible curse. All who once lived
there walk the earth as undead, including the mad emperor’s
Now a small band of heroes must enter the mists and wrest the tower from
the empress of the damned and her undead army. For if they fail, the entire
world is doomed to become hell on earth.
Enter a world of magic and adventure in this exciting tale of heroes in the
making. Perfect for fans of Lord of the Rings and Dungeons &
F.P. Spirit is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan. A Trekkie before it
was cool, F. P. became hooked on fantasy the moment he cracked open his
first copy of Lord of the Rings. When he is not lost roaming the multiverse
of sci-fi and high-fantasy fiction, F. P. is either creating adventures for
his roll-playing friends and family or connecting with his mind and body in
an attempt to reach that inner spark of spirit.
To learn more, you can go to his website (fpspirit.com) or sign up for his
Unrest smolders in a galaxy where most citizens endure the oppressive society of the Northrite corporation.
Run by six masked council members, the Northrite exploit the powers of Elemiscists—those with magical abilities—and keep them as indentured servants. When a nearby sun turns blood red and begins pulsing, people flee their homes, and the millennia-old government is plunged into chaos. Six diverse individuals from across the galaxy become entwined in a struggle for survival and to overthrow the Northrite corporation.
These six share a strange dream: a figure composed only of shadow, holding the pulsing red sun in its palm. Jaycken is an audacious and sarcastic young military recruit who dreams of harnessing Elemiscist powers, and Rynn is a sheltered but perceptive young woman who flees her home planet in search of her missing mother. Nyranna is a cunning Elemiscist slave, seeking to free her people from oppression, and Seeva, an operative and activist, tracks down a branch of the Northrite corporation that funds poachers and decimates endangered creatures for profit. Elion is a morbid bounty hunter, and Cirx is a medieval knight who seeks revenge for the death of his people.
Praise for The Forgotten Sky
“Like nothing you’ve read this year. Layered in story and intrigue and brimming with character.”—J.L. Lux, Team Seeva, author of The Fall of Dalmorall
“… compares favorably to … Dune, and Schultz’s impressive worldbuilding skills are apparent …”—Kirkus Reviews
“R.M. Schultz is a master storyteller, and his effects are spectacular … The Forgotten Sky … is a gorgeous treat not only for fans of science fiction but for any reader who adores superior storytelling.”—Readers’ Favorite
Seeva didn’t expect fresh powder in this frozen tundra, but the brittleness is also odd.
Her slender legs aid her in stepping out of the icy sinkholes she creates. Now she wishes her feet were larger, much larger—like snowshoes—so she could scamper across the surface.
Seeva squeezes her pulser gun’s grip within a gloved hand and flexes her fingers. Her glove freezes to the metal and tears as she studies a spotty trail of blood that has thickened over the last kilometer.
This planet … again, but now its remotest region.
Shadows loom ahead. Two silhouettes: trees, crystal trees. They appear as bony hands with gangly, naked fingers, tearing their way from beneath the ice.
Ori—Seeva’s only companion, a flying creature resembling a monkey but covered in black and white feathers—howls, his tone armoring his sorrow. His flapping wings are as silent as his breathing, as silent as the calm of night.
Crunch. The snow sounds like breaking bones beneath her boots.
Seeva hunts the hunter, rushes to protect the defenseless inhabitants of this planet against humans, or humanoids, and their destructive nature.
Ice crystals drift up into the light, the snow dust of the tundra turning softly and twinkling: luminous, midnight blue, violet, carmine, shimmering like miniscule fairies who can only shout in color, the colors of the winter night.
Thirteen moons seem to suspend the sky over Seeva’s head. Glowing spheres or sickles form a vault of pale light; silver and azure shades paint the snow. Floating ice particles create a nimbus around the moons, some of which are as large as suns while others appear like crescent blades that could be carried on her back, waxing blue and waning copper. Another’s lighted surface is pocked by meteoroid strikes.
All Seeva recognizes in this shape is a skull with a depression fracture.
Another strained step, and Seeva’s foot punches through crusty snow. Air almost as thick as ice burns as it claws its way into her throat and then explodes in her lungs like smoke inside a burning building. Even the heated inhalation mask and the coils in her snowsuit barely keep the subzero temperatures out of her lean body.
A cloud of breath plumes from her mask into the night, turning to hoarfrost in the air before being sheared away by a rising wind.
Who the fuck could have done this? Tracked their victims through this region?
A gust of salty wind batters Seeva’s masked cheeks, the smell of blood hanging thick. She sees it: a splatter of black liquid against the restless white haze of hills and jutting mounds.
Her stomach solidifies into a dense ball of tension. Sparse hairs on her arms stick up; her scalp tingles.
Red light falls in a soft curtain, coating the landscape, washing out the moonlight. Seeva glances skyward.
Something is out there, something massive, beyond the moons. It pulses with a red glow like the heart of a god.
Seeva knows anarchy reigns out near the drifters, at the extremity of the galaxy, where unusual planets and peculiar people dwell. Where habitable worlds are sparse and civilizations sparser. Where many become lost. Where beyond the drifters lies the dead zone, an emptiness between galaxies that is always dark. Where no suns and no planets roam, where no one ventures.
A lock of Seeva’s sable hair lashes out from its typical location, clipped around the oak-dark skin of her neck like a scarf. The strand appears like black water, only hungrier, obscuring her vision as the wind skirls around her. She tucks it behind the orange-tinted view of dynamic lenses, projections from her v-rim—a thin silver band stretching from the ends of each eyebrow, a central dip at the bridge of her nose—a viewer for all the information she needs plus a link to the galaxy’s central network.
Seeva marches on, her feet sinking through brittle snow, her breath spewing into brittle air.
She wonders what kind of person could do what she’s worried she will find: the victims, the source of the blood trail. What backward fools with hearts of molten coal treated others like crops?
Seeva recalls a trial and lawsuit her Silvergarde Alliance discovered occurring on the neighboring planets, one hushed up from public scrutiny. The Northrite council, the primary governing agency of the galaxy and the largest corporation, was attempting to obtain mining rights to these planets.
She also recently heard of a newly discovered planet blanketed by a liquid sea—instead of clouds—the water suspended in its atmosphere by the gravity of its thousand moons and tensile troposphere. Only in the past year had people discovered land below, and then found native humans already living there, living in medieval conditions on a continent isolated from the rest of the galaxy.
Consciously aware humanoids have been venturing out from their planets of origin, dispersing throughout the galaxy and between solar systems, since the first age. Before Elemiscists discovered Striding, traveling so many light years could take families generations to reach another planet in their own galaxy, even traveling at the speed of light … generations … unless the occupants were placed in cryosleep. Slowly, over tens of thousands of years, the mixing of peoples and humanoids is now commonplace. And humans, as if by divine design or grievous error, have spread throughout the galaxy like the most adept colonizing virus.
Seeva is too similar to them all for her liking, even with her short stature of one of the ancient races, one dating back before the time of the communicating galaxy, before the time of even the written word. The small women of old, the ancient, dark-skinned sirens. But she’s not special: no magic, no enigma, no fading into fog.
The pulsing red light radiating from the heavens grows brighter, pulling Seeva back to reality.
“What the fuck’s causing this and what does it mean?” She points the muzzle of her pulser gun skyward.
“Time to leave,” Ori seems to say with only his pink and emerald eyes as his head rotates fully around his body. He’s wary of hidden spirits in this desolate place, wary of memories, of emotions. Ori’s native planet. She knew he’d be affected coming back here.
Seeva recalls a recent dream: a sound like wind shuffling leaves, a shadowy figure concealing something in their palm, something red and beating. Coincidence?
She strides forward.
Hunter, I know your path. I feel your presence. This trick with the light will not stop me.
Ori’s wings beat against the wind without a whisper.
A tower of a mountain soars upward in the distance, dark against the flashing red and pewter sky. A range of sharpened cliffs—which appear as black flames frozen in their fury—run before her, jagged peaks of petrified fire roasting the belly of the night.
Seeva follows the blood trail, climbing in lunges and bursts. Her feet crunch and slip on icy stairs of rock as minutes wear out and fall away, the flashing red overhead the fiery breath of a monster kindling her anxiety.
Beyond the crest of a white mound, a ravine of snow emerges. Massive forms lie scattered about, limbs stiff and stretching toward the moons.
As Seeva approaches, a shape becomes more distinct. An enormous animal. Purple hide as tough as leather wrought with iron. Stocky body and legs. Clubbed feet. Spike-like horns should have protruded in dense rows across its body, but only blunted stumps remain. Black liquid has pooled around the carcass, staining the snow with a macabre, amorphous shape resembling a distorted man.
The innocent and the weakest are always the first victims, in times long past and in the present. Only the perpetrator—this butcher—and their master and how to find the two of them changes. But this … this pointless slaughter.
Something inside her lashes out in anger, through the cold in her heart, with tongues of flame.
About The Author
R.M. Schultz lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, daughter, and many pets. He enjoys the outdoors, playing the guitar, and reading and writing across genres but always includes fantasy or science fiction elements in his work. He founded and heads the North Seattle Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Group.
Publisher: NewLink Publishing (an imprint of Mystic Publishers)
The year is 1799, and a woodblock engraved with a mysterious message is unearthed near a Korean temple. A novice monk, Kyetsu, is sent north by the abbot on a mission to deliver it to the king. On the journey he meets a great warrior, the leader of a secret society called White Lotus. Kyetsu will need all the help he can get, as there are powerful forces working against him. He must learn the deadly martial arts style practiced by the White Lotus and must look for help in unlikely places. The fate of the kingdom is at stake.
“I am traveling north,” Kyetsu said.
“North? Where?” The man looked out into the bleak night.
Habit made Kyetsu pause but something told him he could trust these people. “To Hanseong.”
“Hanseong!” The man shook his head in disbelief. “That is some way from here. Tell me then, which way is north?”
Kyetsu looked in every direction before his shoulders slumped.
“I’m not sure.” Chui might have been right. He had not the faintest hope of making it to the capital.
“The black tortoise,” the woman said. Her wavy hair and round cheeks offered a warmth that drew Kyetsu in and made him feel at ease.
“What?” Despite having surrendered to the woman’s maternal glow, Kyetsu had no idea what she was talking about.
“The black tortoise.” She rested a hand on his shoulder and pointed toward the horizon. “Can you see it?”
“No.” He looked up at the clear black sky, filled with countless stars, trying to glimpse at what she pointed to.
She waved her hand in a smooth, swirling motion, tracing a pattern in the stars. “It is locked in an eternal struggle with the snake.” She now traced the serpent, wrapped around the tortoise in fierce combat. A gasp escaped from Kyetsu, and the man chuckled.
“I can see it.” Kyetsu felt as though he were taking in the heavens with new eyes.
“Follow the tortoise,” the woman said, “and you will always find your way north.”
“Is that how you travel,” Kyetsu said, “by the stars?”
“You can count the starry nights on one hand this time of year.” The man laughed, shaking his head.
“Sometimes.” The woman tsked at the man before offering Kyetsu a smile. “But a road is often easier to follow.”
“When you can find one.” The man laughed again, nodding in the direction of the wild mountains beyond the camp.
About the Author
Seb Cielens is a South Australian writer who has immersed himself in Asian culture and history since he was a child. His stories recount the turmoil of life in late imperial Korea and China, weaving hundreds of hours of historical research into vivid and inspiring fictional tales. When he started training in Kung Fu at the age of thirteen, Seb had no idea that it would lead to a lifelong passion for this amazing place and time. After training in Chinese, Japanese and Korean martial arts for much of his life, he began putting it together with a lifelong passion for writing. Seb is a high school History teacher by day, and writer by night. He has managed these achievements despite being legally blind. White Lotus is the first novel in what promises to be a bountiful career as an author.