Monday, December 9, 2013

Featured Author: Welcome Cole brings Welcome Cole here to promote his fantasy/adventure novel, The Pleasure of Memory, Volume One of the Blood Caeyl Memories. Today Cole has a guest post and an excerpt from the book.

About the book: 

Beam is a smuggler, a murderer, and a rogue, who lives by the age-old rules of "Finders, keepers" and "To thy own self be true". Abandoned by his family and raised in a run-down priory by an old monk, he is consumed by his anger. He measures the worth of the world's citizens less by the character of their hearts than the gold he can pick from their pockets.

However, when he receives a mysterious message from his long dead mother, his carefully constructed rules of priority and self-interest are changed forever. Wrapped within that message is an ancient map that leads him far south to the reservations of the Vaemyn, a race of savages forcefully sequestered from the world by the civilized Allied Nations. Once there, he searches through a burial ground the size of a small city where he finds an ancient artifact called the Blood Caeyl, a rare red crystal carved in the image of a sensuous eye that he believes will make him rich beyond his dreams.

In his flight, he crosses paths with Chance Gnoman, a powerful Water Caeyl Mage. When Chance recognizes the Blood Caeyl, he explains the importance of the artifact in the war that is about to ensue. The artifact begins to change Beam, awakening the memories of a thousand lifetimes, and with those memories, the powers of a god.

Guest Post by Welcome Cole

The Evolution of the Blood Caeyl Memories:

The Pleasure of Memory
was born from a dare. Or perhaps challenge is the better description. Years back, I was discussing the art of writing with a dear friend, a fellow devotee and author of fantastic fiction. We were discussing the evolution of The Story. The conversation was something akin to a literary version of the creation versus evolution debate. Did the best stories evolve through careful structuring of the plot and characters prior to the actual writing, similar to God’s Seven Day Plan? Or did they grow organically from the kernel of a planted idea, flowing initially as a kind of free association that gradually evolves into a life form?

I clearly favored the latter.

To prove his point, my friend then initiated the challenge. He provided me with an opening sentence, and double dog dared me to grow it into a story. The opening line he graciously delivered to me was “It’s a good day to be you,” written as a quote. Looking at that seed, I was pretty certain it wasn’t an acorn that could grow a mighty oak. I figured I’d be fortunate if it grew a milkweed.

After several fruitless months of writing, wadding, trashing, writing, wadding, and trashing, I decided to take a more scholarly tack. I cheated. I took a concept I’d been playing in my head for about a year, but hadn’t yet started on, and I placed the dare sentence at the beginning of it. Now, in all fairness to myself, I have to say that I still wrote this story organically from a simple premise and without benefit of a storyboard, but while starting from a different seed. However, in using his second dare seed, the concept of my original premise was dramatically changed. You might say this story arose from genetically modified stock.

Three books later, the project has evolved into a complex story of good versus evil, of a man forced outside the comfort zone of his own greed and self-importance, of the allies he unwittingly finds among his enemies, of his metamorphosis into the human and, ultimately, god he was destined to be.

Excerpt from The Pleasure of Memory

Beam landed on his hands and knees in the wet, muddy grass.

It was dark. Shadowy figures encircled him, but he couldn’t make out the details through the pouring rain and cloak of night. He tried to stand up, but the pressure of a sharp point in the back of his neck convinced him to stay where he was.

He grudgingly settled back on his knees and gave a silent curse. He didn’t need to see anything. He knew exactly where he was. The bastards finally had him.

He squinted up through the hammering rain. A clap of thunder rocked the night, followed by a several brief pulses of light. He couldn’t make out their faces, but the shimmer of their mail against the distant lightning was unmistakable.

He dropped forward and slapped the wet grass. “Stinking savages!” he cursed into the rain.
“Stand up, skeechka!” someone called over the crackling roar of the downpour. The voice was female. This warrior was a Vaemyd, a female Vaemyn, though there was nothing feminine in her tenor.

Beam spit some water back into the grass and again squinted up into the rain, aiming in the direction of the voice. “I’m comfortable right here, thanks,” he called back, though he could barely see her.

“I told you to stand up!” she yelled, “I’m not inclined to tell you twice!”

The sword point twisted viciously against his neck. Beam disappointed himself by wincing. He was confident it’d drawn blood. His mind drifted back to his own sword nestled snugly in its scabbard on the stone floor of the tunnel five minutes below him.

Another peal of thunder rocked the night. A lingering flash of lightning briefly unveiled the silhouette of the Vaemyd standing directly above him, illuminating her long enough to reveal her sleeveless armor and her bare, muscular arms glistening against the rain. He tried to look off to the sides, to evaluate the odds, but the sword in his neck convincingly dissuaded him. Still, he was certain there were at least three others.

He again slapped the wet grass. “Bad bloody luck!” he cursed.

“Nay, you’re wrong there,” she called through the rain, “Luck isn’t even in the equation.”

“Get that damned blade out of my neck. I'm unarmed.”

An explosion rocked the night. Beam flinched. It was too loud to be thunder. Despite the sword pinned to his neck, he managed a peek back behind him. The savages had opened the other half of the lid to the tunnel. The open round hatch gaped up into the dark rain like a radiant, mocking laugh.

A second sword found his right flank, and a third dug into his left. The blade on the right twisted a little harder than it needed to.

“Easy!” he yelled up at the offending savage, “Do that again, and I’ll slap you back into diapers!”

Something struck the back of the head. He collapsed into the grass. He wasn’t sure if he was hearing another peal of thunder or just the ringing in his ears. Before he could recover, the warriors dragged him up to his feet. His skull was throbbing. His legs felt weak as wind.

The Vaemyd pressed in close. “You’re damned mouthy for a man with three blades against his flesh,” she said into his face, “You’re either fearless or stupid. Which is it?”

She was nearly his height and as solid as an oak. Another rip of lightning threw her wet face into light. Her features were chiseled and commanding, betraying neither compassion nor humor. She wore her pale hair bound back in the severe Vaemysh tradition, laced up so tight even the rain seemed unable to penetrate it. Water streamed down her face and dribbled from the sharp horns curling up from under her earlobes, but it did nothing to diminish the malice in her eyes, which were as blue and cold as ice.

“Strange,” she said to him, “I’d expected you to be bigger. All this fuss about such a little man. I find it rather disappointing.” Her eyes looked almost serpentine in the greenish light radiating from the open hatch behind him.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Beam said back, “A Parhronii dandy could’ve evaded your girls.”

“Have your laugh, skeechka. It’ll be your last pleasure.”

Beam shook the rain from his face. “I’ve heard that from your kind before,” he said, “You threaten and threaten but never seem to follow up. I was beginning to think you weren’t really trying.” He spit more water into the grass.

The blade on his right twisted into his ribs again. This time it stole his breath away. He tried to turn on the man, but was quickly subdued. The bastards had a solid lock on his arms, cocking them mercilessly behind him.

“Keep it up, you savage prick!” he snarled over his shoulder, “I’ll feed your jewels to you before we’re done!”

“You’ll have to excuse their zeal,” the Vaemyd said, “My trackers thirst for your blood. You’ve been a monumental irritation to them these past months, jh’ven?”

Beam again flipped the rain from his face, but said nothing.

“However, I do have an offer for you,” she continued, “I give you my word that if you answer my questions directly, I’ll make your death quick and painless.”

“And if I’m stubborn?” he said through the rain.

“I let my warriors have their way with you. You look strong enough that you might last a week or more before their fires.”

The fear that statement left in its wake disappointed him. “Do you really think I’m intimidated by you?” he forced himself to say.

She smiled at that, and leaned closer, whispering, “I’m confident of it.”

About the Author:

Welcome Cole is a writer of fantasy, contemporary novels, and urban fiction. He spends his time in the lakes and forests of Traverse City, Michigan and in the desert and mountains of Castle Rock, Colorado. He has degrees in Nursing and Business Administration, and writes at every opportunity. His book, The Pleasure of Memory, will be followed up shortly with his contemporary fiction novel, Henry’s Re-entry. The second volume of the Blood Caeyl Memories, The Shadows of Memory, will be released in early 2014.

Buy the book:
Caelstone Press | Amazon |
ISBN 978-0-9894249-1-2 (softcover) $16.95. ISBN 978-0-9894249-2-9 (hardcover)