Monday, August 12, 2013

Featured Author: Dan O'Brien



Welcome to the third day of The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow blog tour. It will run until August 17th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:

A plague has covered the land, a single word on the lips of the frightened masses: the Widow. Washing a wave of terror over the countryside and then disappearing like a thief in the night, the Widow holds a kingdom in the palm of her hand. The eyes of Chaos have settled on Prima Terra and heroes must rise. Xeno Lobo, enigmatic and cryptic, hunts the Widow, seeking an object taken from him years before. Will he be able to stem the tide of violence and horror that sweeps the land?


A few questions for the author:

When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?


This is an interesting question because without any kind of preparation, we doom ourselves to failure without understanding why. I think there is a time and a place for organizing your plans, but then the real work begins. You need to be willing to go as far as your possibly can, even push the limits of what you consider comfortable.


If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

I think it is the pressure from others to live up to how they perceive us. Often, we trade in self-esteem for group perception and it becomes all that matters. When we are concerned how people will judge what we have done, we want there to be as little ammo for a public humiliation as possible.


What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

I do things even though I know I will be judged by others. To me, stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging the static ideas about who you is at the core of really living your life. People will always let you know how they would do it, or how they think you should live your life. The reality is pretty simple: You decide. In the end, if it doesn't hurt you or others, then why not?

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:


The Nighen, an unnatural creature spawned of evil, consumed and murdered all along the western providence for the weeks after the emergence of Chaos. Its appetite had grown astronomically since its birth.

The blood moon of Chaos drove it forward.

Swollen clouds drifted lazily overhead. Bruised and disfigured skies threatened to drench the land in rain and storm, something in which the slowly-aging hills would find great comfort. The mixture of deep shadow and moonlight allowed the cloaked figure to move through the dense forest unnoticed––his hood wrapped tightly and his decadent robes drifting out behind him.

He hummed quietly. Along his back was the outline of a sheath, the blade hidden. The moon made a kaleidoscope of images across the paths of the forest, and the man moved through them. His figure melded and conformed to the bizarre shapes. His features were hidden beneath the hood, the bitter winds that periodically slapped against his frame could not loosen the bond the cloak held over him.

The forest around him shifted in the winds. Branches scraped against one another. The gales howled, creating sounds in the night far more morose than the ones that truly haunted the rich shrubbery. The man did not hesitate as he walked, not even when the unnatural sounds of forest silenced and the low, throaty growl of a night terror emanated from beside him.

Amber eyes were translucent in the darkness. The lack of iris was eerie as if shifted, watching the man move past its vantage point. The creature groaned loudly and stood. Scaly claws dug deep into the already-frozen earth as it moved forward in leaps. It hit hard upon the ground, shaking the earth as it rose from a crouch.

The man’s pace quickened now. He moved with renewed speed, head lowered. The blade upon his back protruded from his hunched frame like a sore that had grown from his spine.

The creature moved alongside him, the crashing sounds as it charged through the forest thunderous. The man threw back the tight folds of his cloak and moved with the grace of a practiced runner. His shoulder-length hair emerged from beneath the hood, cascading off his back.

The creature ran on all four limbs, end over end like a feral animal. Its breathing was ragged and intense. Cold air exhaled from his nostrils as it charged after the dexterous man dodging through the forest.

He jumped over a dislodged collection of roots, and then spun past a tree that stood directly in his path as he landed. The creature just slammed its gigantic horned frame into the trees, splintering the wood and knocking them from its path.

The forest ended abruptly. The thick mass of roots and trees disappeared from sight. The sheet of grass, stained brown, extended for a few feet until it ended in a monumental plunge to the canyons and plains below. The man skidded to a stop and threw back his cloak, drawing his blade from around his back.

The hilt of the sword was cast in ivory––the pearly construction was crafted like a dragon’s head. Its guard was formed of the beast’s hellish wings, the spiraling, sinewy protrusions spreading symmetrically on each side.

His brown hair was thrown across his face, hiding his cold blue eyes buried behind sleep-deprived circles. A beard carved his jaw line, his lips drawn tight in apprehension. The winds tore at his frame, the fold of his cloak whipping like tendrils in the cold gales.

The creature emerged from the forest and rolled to a stop, rising on its hunches and glaring at the man. It opened its maw, licking at exposed, rotten teeth. Black, soulless eyes were obscured in the darkness. It tilted its head and made a thin sound, like a bird chirping.

“Man flesh,” spoke the creature.

The words were guttural and strangled.

The man looked at the creature, its shoulders rising far above him. Grayish skin covered its entire body juxtaposed with black, spiked scales. Its arms were long like an ape. Claws were sharpened into half the length of the sword the man wielded.

“Not much for conversation, are you?” the warrior spoke breathlessly.

“Kill. Eat. Man flesh,” growled the creature once again. The creature took a few steps forward.

The warrior turned his blade out and it glistened in the half light of the moon. The flash captured the soulless sockets of the creature. His feet parted slightly, rooting him as he prepared to lunge. In one motion, he leapt forward. The point of his blade sung through the air as he did so.

The creature roared. Swinging one of its massive claws across the front of its frame, it tried to catch the man mid-flight as he descended. The man shifted in mid-air, his body tightening and then rolling to the ground. His blade was tucked tight with his body and as he landed; he lunged forward. Catching the creature across its mammoth legs, the creature howled in pain as it reached down to block the strike.

It glowered at the man as he returned to his stance. His blade was held across his chest at an angle, eyes set firmly at the throat of the beast. They circled each other, the beast snarling and sputtering as its green puss oozed from the wound and covered its leg.

It burned the earth beneath them.

The creature roared––its mouth agape, saliva glistening as it strung from fang to fang. Its stale breath was like a fog from its mouth. The man moved forward again, the blade slamming into the flank of the creature. Blood splattered across his cloak and the stricken ground.

He turned as he remained crouched beneath the haunches of the beast and drove his blade through its chin. The creature groaned as the crack of the splintered skull echoed in the hills. Sliding down as the man pulled his blade free, it was no more. The creature’s face was a macabre death mask.

The warrior stood over his prey.

The lifeless eyes of the beast were listless, departed. He raised his blade and decapitated the creature in one smooth movement. Reaching down, he grasped his prize: the head of the Nighen.


About the author:

A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.




All of his books are only 99 cents on Kindle right now!


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