Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book I (C1,S1)

Chapter 1

 

Subchapter 1

Let me tell you a story. My name is Carter Blake. I live in southwest Baltimore in a row house smack in the center of a shitty neighborhood. I’m sixteen and a junior at Johns-Hopkins University. I had skipped grades a few times. Not the easiest way to live, but my options were limited. I’d either be pummeled daily for being a total geek in high school or I’d be a pariah in college. I chose the latter. Funny thing: what used to get me beat up almost every day – intelligence – got me a lot of respect in the university. I arrived home after a series of lectures on Renormalization.

The professor, Dr. Kevin Rosenthal, had interesting ideas on their applications in cold fission. I got some amusement out of seeing most of my older classmates staring slack-jawed after each of Professor Rosenthal’s more abstract lectures. They had stunned looks on their faces when he delved into his own hypotheses regarding Perturbation theory. The non-befuddled ones would struggle to stay awake due to their all night cram sessions. The Prof frowns on sleeping in class and will use a slumbering student as target practice with his chalk-laden eraser. Unlike my other professors, he preferred chalk boards to dry erase ones. For those three of us still tuned in, his lectures were as stimulating to the mind as a Penthouse centerfold is to the body.
I threw my jacket over the banister, just inside the back door, and trudged up the stairs to my bedroom. I dropped the load of books from my back to the floor with a satisfying thud and a sigh of relief. I collapsed in front of my computer, flicked it on, grabbed a soda from a mini-fridge nearby and waited for the system to start. Afternoons were when I indulged in my favorite role-playing game, BattleHammer. It’s a swords and sorcery, hack-and-slash, dungeon crawler type RPG. I played the tabletop version on the weekends, but this was my fix between those sessions. As the computer came on, I hit a button on the stereo remote. Seconds later, the first notes from an Imagine Dragons album wafted from the speakers. I cranked up the volume to window vibrating and spun back to the monitor.
I loaded my current favorite BattleHammer avatar, a dark dwarf fighter named Drago the Clanless. He was Clanless because Mordecai, the Rakshasha wizard, had wiped them out. Drago vowed on his dead clans’ souls he’d wear the mage’s guts for garters and his skull for a cap. While I waited for him to load, I received a message from another gamer with the screen name of “Gandalf.” I rolled my eyes at that, and clicked to check his profile. I laughed when I realized the character he was controlling was one of a race called “treebeard” named “Pippin.”
After I played for a few hours, I spun in my chair, and flipped open the mini-fridge.  I scowled at its bare shelves. ‘I’ve got to remember to restock.’
            I clicked off the stereo, trotted downstairs to get another soda and considered making dinner. Mom wasn’t due home for an hour. Father disappeared around the time I turned three. I didn’t have many memories of him, only a vague short mental film of a shadowy person who seemed to be powerful. I wasn’t too fond of him for what he did, though I harbored a secret desire to meet him.
I grabbed steaks from the refrigerator and tossed them on the counter. Stepping out the back door, I walked over to ignite the charcoal in my grill. I wanted it warming up while I marinated the beef in a glass baking pan. I walked back in and over to the counter. I poured vodka over the beautiful meat (I am an avowed steak lover), adding spices and some extra virgin olive oil. I stuck the pan of steaks in the fridge and stood there; debating what else to make. My cell rang and I answered without looking at the id.
“This is Carter.”
“It’s Daphne,” was the melodious reply.
Daphne Sinclaire is 24, and the most gorgeous lab partner a guy would want. She stands at 167.6 cm, and weighs in at 83.9 kilos of firm athleticism. She has coppery red hair, sea-foam green eyes and an awesome 34D-32-38 body. How do I know her measurements? Simple: I asked.

At the start of the semester I won a bet with her. We’d been paired by chance for a science expo which had a cash prize of $5,000 each and, better yet, a write-up in Scientific American. Daphne wasn’t too pleased, in particular when she learned that not only could she not trade partners, but this project would also affect our final marks. She made it crystal clear that she didn’t want her grade to depend on, as she put it, “A little kid.” To attempt to placate her, I declared we’d win. She scoffed. I challenged her to place a wager. The terms were simple: if she won (by our losing), I’d be her personal servant for three years, no task refused. If I won (by being right – as usual –  about the outcome), I would be able to ask her five questions that she had to answer. Confident that we’d lose, she agreed.
Not only did our exhibition of sustainable cold fission win, we were invited to demonstrate it to all sorts of government officials. Once we’d won, my first question was what her measurements were. So far, it was the only one after two years. Since then, she had become a lot friendlier.
“What can I do for you?” I asked.
“I’m hoping you’d be willing to assist me with my psych assignment,” she replied.
“Certainement. Have you had dinner?”
“Nope. Why?”
“You’re welcome join Mom and me. We’re having steak and…Something.”
She laughed, causing a rush of heat to the pit of my stomach. “Alright. What time should I arrive?”
“How about…,” I paused.
“Well?” she prompted.
“ASAP.”
Daphne laughed again, “Roger. Wilco,” then disconnected.

I enjoyed hearing the military jargon from her. She’d picked it up from her dad, an Army sergeant.
My heart flipped. A female was about to be a guest of mine for the first time! To ask if I was excited would be like asking if a bear shit in the woods. A major understatement. On a typical day, I went over to her apartment on campus.

I grabbed three hefty potatoes from the bin, washed them, wrapped them in foil with a dash of salt and olive oil and slung them in the oven. I raced upstairs to shower. I arrived in my room before I remembered I had left the blasted thing off. Slapping my forehead in frustration, I hurried down and set it for 350 degrees. I ran back up, stripped and jumped into the shower.
While tying my sneakers, I heard a knock at the front door. I scampered downstairs and swung it open. The sight of her took my breath away. Daphne wore a light green tank top that accentuated her red hair. Emerald eyes were highlighted by purple eye shadow and a black denim mini-skirt that drew my interest. On her left wrist, she had on a gold hoop bracelet and an antique Mickey Mouse wristwatch. Her feet were in black flats. ‘You are so gorgeous.’  I didn’t have the courage to say it aloud.
I stood back and waved her in. She smiled and entered, turning with her right hand positioned so I couldn’t tell what she was carrying. After a few moments, she presented a bottle of Pinot Noir with a flourish. I chuckled at the expression on her face which seemed to say, “Look at what I did.”
“Why are you staring?” she asked with a smile.
“You’re cute.”
“Carter,” she said with a rise in inflection at the end. “Don’t.”
I raised my hands in surrender. “Relax. I’m not making another pass. The last attempt and subsequent shooting down was enough of a lesson.”
I took the wine from her, opened the bottle so it could breathe, and placed it on the counter. “Can you think of anything else we should have? Potatoes are baking in the oven.”  I gestured at the refrigerator.
Daphne shrugged and opened the doors of the fridge. As she searched, I pulled the steaks out and took them over to the grill. They were just beginning to sizzle when my mom’s car rolled up in the alley. She strolled through the back gate and waved. Mom was wearing her usual office uniform: blue jeans, a half-tucked white blouse and black tennis shoes. Her auburn hair pulled into a messy bun. An ink pen stuck out of it. Her laptop was slung over her right shoulder as always. Mom is one of the few women I know who didn’t carry a purse. Her brown eyes seemed tired. She walked over and pulled me down for a forehead kiss. She had to stand on tiptoes to do so; she’s 165.1 centimeters, and I’m 185.42. Yeah, I’m an overachiever in everything.
“Hey, baby,” she said. “How was school?”
“Informative,” I replied, “as always.”
Mom chuckled. “Daphne’s car is parked out front. Will she be staying for dinner?”
“Yes’m. She brought red wine for the two of you. Sounds like she’s making a salad.”
“I wish you wouldn’t ask our guests to assist with meals,” Mom complained, tucking her blouse the rest of the way into her jeans.
“On any other day, I would not. However, since she has asked for homework assistance, don’t you think it’s fair I be compensated for my time?”
Mom shook her head with a laugh and went into the house after readjusting her bun. I saw her greet my study partner through the back window. Twenty minutes after I started, the steaks were done.

 

Continues here.

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I just HAVE to write it out…

I’ve given this lady grief over some stuff she’s posted on facebook, but she and I also see eye-to-eye on many other things. That this is going on is a fucking disgrace. I almost typed, “I can’t fucking believe this shit,” but the sad part is, I can. I don’t know the full story about what’s going on with Stephanie, but I know Kathryn to be a woman of integrity. What she’s posted is a pleas for help. If you have a heart, reach out. Even if all you can do is offer words of support, I’m sure it’ll be helpful. At the same time, reblog this if you have a blog, or share this on facebook, twitter, and any other sites you know of. If you are, or know, a lawyer who’s willing to work pro bono, I beseech you to reach out to her.

tolerantpeople

OIG Dickbags

I am making this my final post for the “Tolerant People” blog because I have lost my capacity for tolerance. Kind of hard to promote an idea when you can no longer apply it to your own life. The last few months have been excruciatingly difficult for me, and as a farewell I am going to share with the world what happened, why it happened, and what I am going to do to change it. I have to write it. I sort of need an audience – even if no one is willing or able to help us. I am going to name drop, I am going to be offensive, and I am going to make it all public in the hopes that someone out there will eventually see it and pay attention to what is happening.

I am going to start with my own recent brushes with thoughts of…

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Another child killed by faith

This is further evidence that we need to ban, and punish severely morons who subscribe to homeopathy, and faith healing. Stop making our children suffer.

Why Evolution Is True

This time the faith is not religious, but faith in homeopathy and herbal remedies; and the child is not from the U.S. but Canada.

According to both the National Post and the CBC News Calgary, a 44-year old mother, Tamara Sophie Lovett, was charged two days ago with both criminal negligence and “failure to provide the necessities of life” to her 7-year-old son, Ryan, who died in March of a streptococcus A infection. Such an infection is almost invariably curable by penicillin (the bugs, surprisingly, haven’t evolved resistance to that old antibiotic, even over many years).  It’s possible that Ryan had necrotizing fasciitis, the so-called “flesh-eating bacteria,” but in a child that is also treatable if caught early.

From the National Post:

According to police, the boy was bedridden for 10 days before his death, however, the mother declined to seek medical treatment, relying instead on homeopathic remedies…

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I’ve decided to give you something.

Something wonderful, and something fun. At least, I hope so. I’m going to post my first novel on this blog starting Friday with Chapter 1, subchapter one. Everyday, I’m going to add another subchapter until the entire incomplete story is up. Why, you ask? *shrug* Seems like a fun thing to do, eh? Now, the reason why I say it is incomplete is because it hasn’t been professionally edited. Other than that, though…

I hope you enjoy Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book I. Here’s a preview, starting with the prologue.

 

Into the Realm:

The Chronicles of Carter Blake,

Book 1

 

R.w.Foster

This is dedicated to

Valerie Cline

Thanks for all your help, Chan.

&

Jennifer Boyce

It wouldn’t be done without you, my friend.

 

 

Prologue

I squinted across the dusty bowl of the coliseum where I found myself. A huge, ripped bald man with fur briefs and a leather breast-plate careened towards me. The scorching sun sucked rivers of sweat from his bulging biceps. Screaming a horrendous battle cry, he swung a serrated claymore at my head. I ducked, feeling the breeze of the blade swooping by, as the crowd in the stands roared its approval.
Whoa! Why the hell does he have a serrated claymore?!” It sounded a bit like a girl-scream even to me. Did I mention he swung a real big sword?

A Random Short Story. (rated TVMA) ;)

Forgive the light details. I jotted this down in about 45 minutes for someone, and have decided to share it here. I don’t even have a title for it. Any ideas for one would be appreciated.

 

            The young woman, red hair pulled back from her face, pushed through the tavern’s double doors. She was dressed in dark leather armor and carried daggers on her back; a mated pair at her waist, and another set sticking above her shoulders. She strode though the smoky and crowded room, ignoring the smells of stale ale and unwashed bodies. As she walked by, a drunken patron reached for her. Without losing stride, she broke the outstretched wrist, never taking her eyes from the burly orc behind the bar.

“I’m told Dirge is here,” she said. Her voice was mellifluous.

“Never heard of him.” In contrast, his was coarse.

She slipped a hand into a pocket and slid a sliver coin across the counter. A swipe of a rag, and the coin vanished. The barman tilted his head towards the fire. A shadowy figure lounged by the flames. As she watched, a small ember flared. A pipe, or cheroot. The woman walked over without a glance back.

She reached the leather chair, and stopped in surprise. A shadow was there, moving as if it were a real person, mimicking the act of smoking. A thick hand gripped her by the hair and cold steel kissed the tender flesh of her throat.

“Why are you asking about me?” A heavy voice growled. It made the orc’s sound musical in comparison. The owner of the voice sniffed her neck. “Not a vampire, nor a thrall.” She was spun roughly.

She found herself staring up at a rugged, worn and weathered face. Skin the color of new leather with deep lines carved into it gave proof to a harsh life. Dark eyes danced across her face, analyzing her. Oiled black leather covered his wide frame. This must have been how he was able to sneak up on her.

“You are the vampire hunter known as Dirge?”

The blade at her throat wiggled, reminding her of its presence. “Answer my question.”

“My companions and I wish to hire you.” As she said this, she glanced down his torso, taking in the broadsword with the onyx grip and ruby pommel sheathed in gleaming silver. His eyes automatically followed hers and his estimation of her went up a notched when he saw the silver crystal blade pointed at his belly. He knew that weapon. “You recognize Killswitch, do you?”

“I do. It was my brother’s. How did you get it?”

“It was in the horde of a green dragon that we killed last autumn.”

Dirge sheathed his knife. “Who are you?”

“My name is Jennifer. How much will you charge us?”

He sat in the chair that had been occupied by the shadow. “That all depends on what you’d like to hire me for.”

She sat in the other chair. The vampire hunter lit his pipe and the pleasant tang of red weed filled the air. “We’d like you to teach us how to effectively combat vampires.”

“That is easy enough to do. When would you like to begin?” He crossed his ankles as he slouched further into the thick seat. “I warn you: I charge extra for rush jobs.”

“Immediately.”

He nodded. “Forty thousand sovereigns. Half upfront, the other half when I feel you’re ready to fight the parasites.”

“Done.”

Something about her tone intrigued Dirge. “Care to share why you have this urgent need to learn these tactics?”

“Vampires are planning on using my sister as a sacrifice to summon their eldest from his slumber.”

The hunter sat up. “I’ve not heard anything like this. How did you find out?”

Jennifer rose and paced to a window. She stared out at the snowy darkness. “While on a rescue mission for the Jarl of Windhaven, we managed to capture the ringleader. It turned out that she was a thrall. She asked me how I escaped Scarward Keep.” Dirge half rose from his seat. “Shortly afterwards, we learned the vampire’s plans, and determined to stop them.” Jennifer turned, and froze at the distress on the vampire hunter’s face.

“Did you say Scarward Keep?” he asked in a strangled voice.

“I did. Why?”

He traced his fingers along a wound that she could not see. “Long ago, the master of that place left his mark on me a few years back.” He motioned for her to follow. “I’m coming with you to the keep. Never mind the training fee. Most of your group won’t be coming back alive.”

 

***

            Outside, Jennifer waved towards a group lounging near five horses. An elf, half his head shaven, dressed in green and brown leather, bobbed his head causing metal in his ear to flash in the torchlight. He shouldered a long bow and a quiver of arrows and glided over. He was followed by a large half-orc in grey full plate mail. His head was shaven except for a blue-black topknot. The hilt of a great sword showed over one immense shoulder. The half-orc stepped fully into the light, showing a scar over where his left eye should have been. A pair of women approached in lockstep. One wore half-plate mail that gleamed. A holy symbol was etched in the breast-plate. Her helmet was carried loosely in her left hand. A mace hung at her hip and a large shield was slung over her right shoulder. Her brown hair was cut short. The other was clad in bluish-silver chain mail. Blonde hair was tied back in a braid. A well-worn book held in her hand proclaimed her to be a cleric. ‘Sword sisters,’ mused Dirge.

“These are my companions,” Jennifer said. “This is Rohir Mandrane.” She gestured to the elf. “Gromm.” A wave to the half-orc. “Leigh Grimbane the Pure.” This time the short-haired woman was indicated. “And Astred Blake.” She placed her hand on the vampire slayer’s shoulder. “Everyone, this is Dirge the vampire hunter.”

Leigh said, “How did you get the name Dirge?”

His head dipped, then his left eyebrow rose. “Banshee was already taken.”

Astred laughed. “Good one.”

Leigh scratched her head. “I don’t get it.”

“A dirge is a funerary song expressing mourning in commemoration of the dead. In some cultures, it is the last thing the dead hear in this world,” Gromm said. “A banshee is a female ghost who’s wail is the last thing her victims hear.”

“Is that why you call yourself Dirge?” Leigh said.

Rohir snorted and turned away. Dirge chuckled. “No. I usually call myself me, I, or myself.”

“Asshole,” Astred said under her breath.

Leigh bit her lip. “Jen? Help me out here?”

The vampire hunter placed a big hand on the close-cropped head of the woman. “I’m going to have an easy time training you, Leigh.”

“Wait, what?” said Gromm. “How is that possible?”

“Hey,” Leigh said.

“It’s possible because she’s going to be willing to follow my instructions to the letter, and not assume she knows what I’m intending before I say it.” Leigh beamed. Gromm narrowed his eyes. “Come, the night is short. Let’s begin your training, eh?”

***

            A week later, the party arrayed themselves outside the perimeter of the castle walls. The pallid sun tried weakly to shine through the clods before giving it up as a hopeless task. Shadowy figures could barely be seen wandering the ramparts in the dim daylight. A chill wind blew from the north, bringing the scent of a coming snow storm.

“What-” Rohir said.

Jennifer clamped her hand over his mouth. She leaned over. “Werewolves have excellent hearing. Even better than that of elves.” Her lips grazed his ear as her whispered words warmed it.

Dirge cast his hand in the air, sending what appeared to be dust into the wind. He looked at his students. “Keep out of sight. I’m going up to that ridge.” He pointed to the mountain they’d just descended. Jennifer’s eyes went wide, and she motioned frantically for him to be quiet. “Relax, girl. I cast a spell of silence.”

She sagged as if a weight had been removed from her shoulders.

“Why are you going back to the cliff?” Astred said.

“I’m going to reach out and touch some lycanthropes. We are downwind of them, so along as you all keep low, you won’t be found.”

“How will you reach them from back there?” Gromm said.

The vampire hunter took a pack from his horse. He spread it out on the ground and unrolled a collection of odd objects. The party watched in awe as the assortment of metal and wood slid together with a series of clicks. The finished thing was about 4 feet long, had a dark metal tube in the front, and a strange wood block at the end. Two metal legs extended from a little past the middle of it. A cylinder was affixed to the top as Dirge held it. He attached a box to the bottom somehow, and using a strap, slung it over his shoulder like a bow.

“Remington M24,” he said. He pulled one more strange item from the pack, and handed it to Jennifer. “Hold the small holes up to your eyes, and look towards the werewolves.” She did and gasped. They were suddenly close. “These are binoculars. They allow you to see things that are far away as if up close. The wolves don’t know you can see them. I will return after I’ve disposed of the vampire’s bodyguards.” Dirge mounted his horse and rode off, disappearing into the gloom.

 

***

An hour passed. Taking turns with the binoculars had worn thin some time ago. Leigh watched the distant werewolves at Jennifer’s insistence. A crimson spray of blood flew from one’s head and it collapsed. Seconds later, a crack, like far away thunder, echoed. A wolf ran over to its fallen companion. Blood erupted, and this one fell also. Again, a couple heartbeats passed, and the sharp report came.

“Jen! Look at this!”

The red-haired woman rose from the log where she sharpened her blades and took the offered binoculars. She trained them on the keep in time to see a werewolf drop where it stood. Once more, the noise arrived. “I guess it’s not thunder after all.”

“What do you think that Remington M-24 is?” Gromm said.

“I think it’s a gun,” Leigh said. The others looked at her, surprise written on their faces. “It looks like one I saw in a picture book when I was a girl.”

“What is a gun?” Jennifer said.

Leigh shrugged. “Magic?”

 

***

Near midday, Dirge rode up. A fire burned, cooking the carcass of a deer. He dismounted and beckoned the others around. “We’ve got about four hours of daylight left, so eat quickly. It wouldn’t do to be caught by those parasites.”

“Do you have any idea how many vampires are inside?” said Leigh.

“Based on the number of bodyguards, I’d say it’s an elite nest. Probably about twenty to thirty.”

“Well, shit,” said Gromm. “That’s gonna suck.”

“Pun intended?” said Dirge.

“Huh?”

“Never mind. Where is Jennifer?”

A nearby tree rustled, twigs and leaves falling. The lady in question dropped out, and landed in a crouch. “You want me?” The vampire hunter gave her a big grin, causing heat to rise to her cheeks. “Um…”

“Let’s eat, and then mount up. We’ve got a hell of a chore in front of us.”

“Right.”

She turned away, lightly scratching the scab at the side of her neck. Part of it flecked away. A small rivulet of blood tricked down. She glanced at the crimson on her fingers.

 

***

Jennifer lowered her blades in surrender. No one had ever pushed her like this before. It was arousing.

“I want you,” she said.

Dirge sheathed his sword. “Alright.”

Her eyebrows went up. “That’s it?”

He gave a wicked grin. “Of course. I enjoy ruining women for other men.”

She tilted her head. “Good, or bad?”

“When you wake, you tell me. If, that is, you are able to stop grinning long enough to.”

That quiet assurance sent a frission of heat to her belly, and she felt herself go damp. “You’re pretty cocky.”

He unbuckled his sword, and laid it on the end table next to the bed. “No. I know what I’m talking about.”

She unbuckled the daggers at her back, and put them on the dresser. She turned back, and unfastened the straps of her jerkin. “Prove it.”

The vampire hunter crossed the room in a single stride, and with a few deft movements of his fingers, finished undressing her. He stepped back and allowed his eyes to run over her body. He noted the diamond-shaped scar where someone stabbed her with a short sword, the jagged scar where something with claws had ripped at her belly, the otherwise smooth and creamy skin, her defined muscles, the luscious curve of her hips, and the red curls over her pubis. “Delightful,” he murmured.

Dirge scooped her into his arms and carried her to his bed where he gently lay her down. He sat on the side, and took a few minutes to look her exquisite form over.

She squirmed, and a flush crept along her neck and cheeks. “Why are you staring at me like that?”

“I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman in my life.”

She sat up, and tried to slip off the bed. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all.”

“Why not?”

“Because.”

He took her wrists in his large hangs, preventing her from rising. “Because isn’t an answer, it’s a word.” He pulled her back down, and trailed his fingertips down her body, eliciting a shiver.

She closed her hazel eyes. “I’ve not been told I’m beautiful except when being mocked.”

“Jennifer.”

“What?”

“Look at me, please.” Reluctantly, she opened them. Moisture, from shame, made them glint in the candlelight. “The only thing you heard in my voice was reverence,” he said softly. “You really are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”

“What about my scars?”

Dirge took in her face. She refused to meet his eyes. Her brow was furrowed, and she seemed to be trying to melt through the bed. “Jennifer. Look at me, please.” He locked her gaze with his. “All of you is beautiful. Let me show you?”

She swallowed hard, then nodded, again closing her eyes. “Alright.” Her nose wrinkled adorably.

He decided not to push her to watch him. Both her wrists were linked together in his hand, and raised above her head. His other hand skimmed over her cheek. The smooth softness of her skin fascinated him. Feathery kisses followed his touch. She tried hard to not respond, but these sensations were new.

His fingernails barely scraped her skin, raising more goose bumps, as they went down the side of her neck to the upper curve of her breasts. When his lips followed, she moaned. His teeth lightly scored her flesh. She trembled. His tongue, soft and damp, traced her same path, setting her on fire. Her lips parted, then the lower one was captured between her teeth.

The same pattern was followed over her breast. First his fingertips trailed over the lushness of her boob, then feather soft kisses came after. Teeth lightly followed the tender scrape of fingernails, and ended with a soft lick of his tongue. ‘Stop teasing me, please.’

His hot, wet mouth closed over her erect nipple and lightly suckled it. Her heart nearly leaped out of her chest. She cried his name as the building heat exploded through her body in an inferno of passion. He pulled back and blew cool air over her nipple. She pulled hard, trying to free her hand, to push his wonderful mouth back to her breast. His mouth returned to her chest, but she was slightly distracted by his fingers gliding over her belly, going further south, and ‘Yes!’, his fingers grazed her vulva. Her hips came up to meet his touch.

At last her hands were freed! She reached for him, but he had slid further down the bed. ‘Where is he goi-’

Her mind went blank as his tongue slipped over her mound. He then slid it down the left side of her sex, and dragged it back up. His glacial pace was maddening. Her fingers found, and knotted in his hair. Her legs wrapped around his neck, giving him greater access to her. His magical tongue next traveled down the other side of her. The fire inside her raged, demanding to be freed. Instead, his talented mouth moved to her thigh. She wanted to scream, she was so close to climax.

He nibbled along her inner thigh, then kissed the nibbled area. Then, his tongue traced the same path his lips and teeth had traveled. She panted. His attentions had her feeling feverish.

“Dirge.”

“Hmm?”

“What are you doing to me?”

He chuckled at her panted question and raised his head. He locked eyes with her, then slipped a finger inside her. “This.” Her eyes rolled back in her head as her back came off the bed. He grinned, and licked the center of her heat, eliciting a drawn out moan.

The vampire hunter grinned again. He paid close attention to the sounds she was making. Each time her noises indicated she was about to go over the edge, he altered his movements, or licked another place on her, denying her release.

“Please,” she begged.

“Please what?” he said.

“Let me.”

“Let you what?”

“Come.”

Another smile spread across his face. “Put it all together for me.”

“Please, let me come?”

“Not yet.” He gave a wicked chuckle, then moved further down her body. She wanted to scream. “No coming without permission, either, Jennifer.”

What?”

“You have to wait for my permission before you have an orgasm.”

Why?”

“Because of how sweet it will be. Trust me. Just enjoy what I’m doing to you.”

“You’re driving me crazy.”

“That’s the plan.”

She looked down her body. “That’s mean.”

“So am I.” He gave her a gentle nip behind her knee.

That sent another rush of heat to her center. That was unexpected. ‘What else on me is sensitive like this?’

He continued on his way down her body, licking, nibbling, caressing, and kissing. After spending a few minutes suckling on her toes, which initially tickled, but then felt amazing, he made her turn over to her belly. He began to slide his fingers over her muscles, pausing every so often to add a bit of pressure to select muscles, utterly relaxing her. Her eyes grew heavy and her breathing slowed, and grew deeper. His fingers stopped kneading her thighs, and moved in between. He traced her sex from behind, causing her breath to shorten again.

When she was wet enough, he slipped two of his fingers into her. From behind. She moaned at the new sensation. And then he gently pressed down with the two inside her. Lightning went off behind her eyes and she squealed. She then sank further into the bed. He scraped his nails over her back, then withdrew his fingers from inside her.

She turned to her back at his direction, and gazed deeply into his eyes. They were even darker than they had been earlier. He rose from the bed in a single smooth motion, and stripped his clothing off. She sat up, and took his hardness in her hand. The pattern of callouses and smoothness on her hand caused him to moan. She smiled and pulled him down beside her. She rose up on her knees. “My turn.”

“As you wish.” The roughness of his voice delighted her. She was no inexperienced farmer’s girl, but Dirge had shown her things she’d never experienced before.

She slid her hands over his rough chest, noting he was covered in even more scars than she. Puckered craters on his chest indicated he’d been tortured in the past. She’d seen too many of the scars from hot pokers before. She lightly traced them with her fingers, then impulsively dipped her head, and ran the tip of her tongue over the marred flesh. His gasp told her he enjoyed that. She trailed her tongue over a set of crisscrossed scars over his abdomen, wondering how he got them. She went lower on his body, using his sounds to guide her movements. She reached behind her and drug her fingernails over his erection, grinning at his groan. She reach his hip, and paused at an odd-shaped scar. It looked like a, “Gods, Dirge. Did someone bite you?”

He rose up and flipped her to her back. He held himself above her, and placed his knee above her thighs. She willingly parted her legs and waited for his response. “Do you want me to answer that, or do you want me to do this?”

She forgot her question when he slid into her. Her hips came up to meet his. He nibbled her neck, and slowly withdrew about halfway, then slammed in. Her legs wrapped around his hips and he pulled back a bit again, faster this time. He thrust into her slowly. She moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. He then kissed her for the first time.

Their tongues swirled and played. His thrusting picked up speed. She pulled away from the kiss to breath. Her legs held him tight, as did her arms. He lowered his head and whispered, “I want you to come for me.”

“Huh?” Her question was gasped out.

He thrust faster, and harder inside her. “I want you to come for me. Right now.”

His words sent a shock of pleasure through her, adding more fuel to the inferno within. He reached between them and brushed his thumb over the stiff nub at the center of her sex. The roughness of his calloused digit sent her over the edge.

All her muscles tightened and then released abruptly as pleasure swept through her. Her limbs fell from his body. He remained still, watching the pink fade slowly from her features. Her eyes fluttered open and a smile spread over her face. Still watching her, he resumed moving in and out. Her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. Soon the heat rose through her again.

“Want to try something different?”

“More different? How so?”

He slid out of her, causing her to moan in protest. He then guided her over to her belly, and up on her hands and knees. He slid into her once more, somehow, ending deeper inside her.

“Oohh!”

He grinned as his hands gripped her hips. His body slapped hard and fast against her rump. She was lost in a sea of new, wonderful sensations. It had never crossed her mind that sex could be done this way, or for so long. She gasped with unexpected pleasure as he gathered her hair in one hand and gently tugged on it. The pleasure/pain shot from her head down to where they were joined. His finger found that sensitive nub again. She cried out, and collapsed, hugging the pillow. He followed her down without missing a beat and stretched over her. The sensation of his hard belly against her back as his hardness rocketed in and out of her sent her over the edge again. This time, he didn’t stop. Instead, he increased his movements, sending her immediately over the edge again.

Sweat rolled over their bodies as he pounded away. He used his grip on her hair to tug her head to the left. He brushed his lips over her ear. “I’m going to come, Baby Girl,” he whispered.

His swelling within her pushed her close to the edge again. He gave a last thrust into her, and bit her neck extremely hard as he erupted within her. The teeth on her neck coupled with his spurting into her womb made her orgasm harder than she had all night.

After they lay together in the darkness, as his hands wandered over her, soothing where they’d previously aroused, she touched the place he’d bitten, wanting to know how hard he’d bitten her. She jerked her head away from the sharp sting. With greater care this time, she once more touched her bite. She felt wetness. Brow furrowing, she brought her fingers to her nose. The familiar copper tang of blood flooded her nose. ‘Damn. He bit me hard!’ For some reason, this sent a tingle down her belly. She ignored it, and pushed her back against Dirge’s hard chest.

 

***

The party entered the keep by the main gate. The smell of damp, sour earth, and rotting meat hit them like a fist. The great hall was filled with drifting zombies. When the undying creatures detected the warms of Jennifer’s group, they shuffled to attack.

“We seem to be expected,” Jennifer said, cutting a rotting zombie to ribbons.

“I would wager you are correct.” Dirge slammed a zombie that stumbled too close face first into the floor. Its skull cracked like an egg.

Astred raised her clenched fist, and a burst of brilliant light shone from it. A wave of the zombies burst apart. “Back to the Abyss with you, wretched creatures. In Ra’s name, I command it!”

Leigh swung her mace in wide, controlled arcs, splattering undead brains left and right. Her shield protected Her side, and was sometimes used to decapitate her attackers. Gromm slung his great sword around as if it were a broad sword. A swath of the zombies dropped with the first swing, then he switched hands as he spun, and carved up another group. Rohir stood near the portcullis, whistling as he fired arrows through zombie skulls. Dirge pounded zombies into the ground, gripping their heads, and slamming them with terrific force.

“Do you not like zombies, Dirge?”

“Their existence is an offense to me, Leigh.” He grabbed on that was about to grab her from behind, and flung it into another oncoming group. “Be aware!”

“Right, sorry.” She cringed as if in anticipation of a swat to the back of her head.

He looked to see how the others were doing and noticed Astred being pressed backwards. “Astred, what are you doing?”

His shout caused her to look from her book. “I’m loo- Guh!” Blood flew from her mouth as her body jerked and twitched. She fell, her back turned to a pin cushion by the arrow trap.

“Nooooo! Astred!” Leigh charged through the swarm of zombies, her mace hammering down the undead in huge swaths.

“Leigh, Watch out!” Gromm’s shout came too late. The short haired woman with the quick laugh, dropped from sight with a scream as the floor disappeared beneath her.

“No one move!”

“Go to the Abyss, Dirge! I must help my friends.”

“Jennifer, you don’t know what other traps are in here. Don’t run off recklessly!” A cold decayed hand fell on his neck. In a blink, Dirge whirled and gripped the zombie by the throat. An arrow grew from its temple. He glanced at the elf, and nodded thanks. The dead again corpse dropped without care as his eyes flew around the room. The half-orc knelt at the edge of the pit, shoulders slumped and heaving. “Regroup. Gromm, grieve later.” The huge warrior whipped his head around with a snarl. “Save it for the parasites. They took Leigh, and Astred.” Dirge dropped his head. “I should have thought to scout the interior before we came in.”

Jennifer knew if she hadn’t stepped over to speak privately with him, no one would have heard his words, or the despair in them. “Dirge,” she said softly. “Don’t blame yourself. Focus on the parasites, remember?”

“Do as I say, not as I do?”

She smiled. “Nope, nope. That’s not going to work for me.”

He attempted to return her smile, but failed. He shook his head, and started to turn away. He paused, mid-motion, then spun back, and kissed her firmly. “Thank you, Rishka.”

“What does that mean?”

“I’ll tell you when we’re finished. I promise.”

“I look forward to it.”

Gromm rose, and strode for the door near a plain wooden throne at the top of a dais. “I’m going to kill them all. Wait for me, Leigh.”

“Gromm! Wait!”

A roaring crackle, and the half-orc began to dance, screaming, his hand locked on the door. Smoke rose from him as the sickly sweet odor of cooking flesh filled the air. Occasional flashes of his skeletal system could be seen as electricity ripped through him. An arrow thudded into the back of his head, and the screaming mercifully cut off.

Rohir stepped beside Dirge. “We are going to kill them all.”

“Indeed.”

The elf nodded. “Lead the way vampire hunter.”

 

***

Hours later, they were deep in the bowels of the castle. All three of them were covered in black gore from hammering stakes into twenty-three vampire hearts. Rough cut stone, covered with lichen and moisture, showed how far into the earth they had traveled. A faint breeze brought the odor of stagnant water, decayed blood, and corruption to their noses. An iron gate barred them from what they hoped was the final vampire in the place. The master. At Rohir’s insistence, Dirge had checked every few feet for traps.

As they carefully approached, the gate lowered into the floor. The vampire hunter looked at his companions, brow furrowed. They shrugged at him, and he returned the gesture. Jennifer’s eyes widened when Dirge drew his sword from his sheathe. She swallowed when she realized that at the other end of the onyx grip and ruby pommel was a green tinged crystal blade. She handed him Killswitch without hesitation when he held his hand out. “Killswitch, Engage,” he whispered, touching the two together.

The silvery crystal seemed to flow and meld with the green tinged. As the colors joined, a brilliant viridian glow illuminated the tunnel. Dirge pulled the blades apart. Both had taken on the color of the other: a silvery green was the color of each blade. A spark leaped between the two. The short sword at his waist, pointed forward, and the brother held above his head, Dirge turned his body side on, and stepped with care into the newly opened door. Jennifer followed, the daggers at her shoulders in her hands, in a similar stance. The familiar creak of yew assured them Rohir had an arrow drawn.

The room was more of a cavern, roughly shaped. Here and there, stalagmites, and stalactites. Their pretty colors almost distracted from the rest of the décor. Scum covered the surface of a wide, shallow pool of bubbling stagnant water. An iron sarcophagus stood upright next to a blackened altar. An unconscious woman lay bound to the top of it. An ancient stone effigy of a man towered over the scene.

“Longinus.” A throbbing vein in the side of his neck, and the bulge of his forearm muscles were the only sign of the intense hatred Dirge was feeling. He lurched across the water, then stumbled, an arrow growing from his back. He went to his knees as another sprouted from the back of his thigh.

Jennifer whirled at the first twang of Rohir’s bow. He aimed at her. She dropped into a crouch, ready to leap at him.

“Don’t. This is an ironwood bow. My arrows travel at four hundred fifty feet per second.”

She growled at him. The elf smiled, showing his small fangs. “You’re a vampire? How? You were walking around in sunlight!

He sighed. “No. Not a vampire. Yet. I’m a dhampir.”

“What?”

“He’s not a real vampire, but a wanna be.”

Jennifer turned at Dirge’s words. “You’re okay!”

Dirge flashed a smile, but didn’t take his eyes off the elf. She looked back to the man that had been a dear friend.

“How dare you.” Rohir’s upper lip curled. “I’m going to enjoy watching my master devour you. But first, I’m going to watch as he raises the great Longinus. Look!” The elf pointed to the altar.

Dirge didn’t move. Jennifer turned to the altar, alarm on her face. Behind the vampire hunter, a huge shadow rose.

“Dirge, watch out!”

Before she could do anything, the vampire grabbed him, yanked his head to the side, and sank his fangs into the hunter. Almost instantly, the undead monster thrust the human away, gagging and spitting.

Dirge rolled to his feet, blood gushing from the wounds on his neck. He leered at the vampire crouched before them, vomiting steaming, bloody froth. “Avery. Former king of the elves. How are you feeling?”

Glowing red eyes glared back. Shaking hands wiped blood from trembling lips. “I’m going to kill you, fampir helwyr.”

Dirge laughed. “I’m Dirge Silverblood.”

Eyes wide, Avery stumbled backwards. “That’s not possible. We killed you all.”

The smile vanished. His eyes went hard. His large hangs clenched and released. Clenched and released. “Not all of us.”

Jennifer swallowed hard. She looked back and forth between vampire, and vampire hunter, the dhampir forgotten. She edged over to the dropped blades.

A scream erupted from behind them. All whirled to the altar. Rohir raised a knife, and plunged it into the girl’s exposed belly. She cried out in agony, blood spewing from her lips, staining her teeth.

“Noooo!” Jennifer screamed.

Crimson light shot from the gaping wound and hit the moon. It slowly turned scarlet. The red stained moonlight spread across chamber. Jennifer raced to the altar. Rohir jumped in front of her, intending to stop her. He drew his short swords from their scabbards. Without missing a step, she punched the elf in his throat, crushing his windpipe. The dhampir collapsed, gagging, and gasping for air. Frantic, she tore the ceremonial knife from her sister’s belly.

“No, Linden,” Jennifer said brokenly, tears dripping onto her body.

The sound of stone breaking and fragments striking her reminded her of the battle going on. She looked up in time to see Avery stab Dirge through the stomach, hard, spinning the vampire hunter around. Her jaw dropped as he met her gaze and winked. He gripped the hilt of the sword in his middle and slowly pulled it out.

He turned to the vampire, and beckoned for it to continue the fight. He paused, seeming to size up his opponent. Dirge doubled over in pain. His arms out to the sides, his torso began to twist from side to side. Hair began to sprouted over his exposed arms, and flowed down his back as his clothes ripped from his expanding body. His fingers elongated and thick, black talons sprouted from the tips. His body began to elongate, his muscles stretching and growing bigger. His feet extended, and narrowed, the toes, capped with long black claws, ripped out his boots. With sickening pops, his knees snapped and reversed like a dogs.

Longer, heavily muscled arms stretched to either side, shoulder height. His head tilted back, his mouth stretching and lengthening, merging with his nose until a teeth filled muzzle pointed at the cavern ceiling. Growls filled the air, as where a man stood, a werewolf now reared, snarling. The beast roared at the vampire and lunged at him. The vampire hissed, fangs becoming more pronounced. He lunged for the werewolf.

The two ripped and tore at each other. Fur and blood flew as claws sliced through flesh. The werewolf ended up on top of the vampire. Black claws flashed in the dimness as he ripped at his enemy. Left, right, left, right. Blood and gobbets of flesh flew. Avery managed to throw Dirge off him and rolled to his feet.

He had Rohir’s bow and an arrow nocked. As the werewolf came back up, the vampire loosed the arrow. It whistled through the air an plunged into the lycanthrope’s eye with a sickening squish. His head snapped back, and he gave a mournful cry as he sank to his knees.

Avery straightened the rags of his clothing, then discarded the remains of his shirt. He cast aside the bow and stalked towards Jennifer. His wounds closed as he approached. She gently laid her sister’s head to the altar and backed away. The vampire followed her around the platform. The moonlight was nearly to the sarcophagus which started to shake.

Avery licked his lips as he watched Jennifer back away. “You look so tasty.”

“I’m not really. I’d gag you.” She backed though the water, raising a horrible stench.

“You wasted a useful servant. You must pay for that.”

“Would you bill me?”

“Jokes. Is that all you have left?” His voice was filled with contempt. A groaning crash caught his attention. He spun. Dirge lay against the fallen sarcophagus, panting. “What have you done?”

Jennifer lunged for Killswitch and Engage. The vampire turned back. The short sword was waist level, pointed forward at him, the broad sword above her head. Her body was side on. “Sorry, but Dirge was merely the distraction. I did not intend for him to weaken you at all. The fact that he did is merely a bonus.” She gave a death’s head grin. “You’ve always been my goal.”

“Cocky little bird. I like that.” He flew across the room.

She tried to dodge, but was tripped up. She fell to her knees, and saw Rohir had her ankle. The blade flashed, and the elf’s severed head rolled down the steps. Avery pulled her up and peeled the blade from her hands while holding her in the air. As he cast them away, she kicked him in the throat, causing him to loosen his grip. She back flipped through the air. She landed, and her ankle buckled. She fell. Before she could get up, the vampire was there.

He dragged her upright again and pulled her head to the side, exposing her neck. Pain ripped through Jennifer as fire tore at her side, just above her hip. The vampire dropped her, and kicked at something she couldn’t see. The pain caused her to fall again. She placed a shaking hand to her side, and slowly looked down. Ragged teeth marks bled in a semi-circle though her leather jerkin.

Warmth spread up her arm. She glanced down and saw the moonbeam on her forearm. It looked solid. Idly she wondered if she could touch it. She reached, and discovered to her delight that the moon light flowed through her fingers like molasses, only warm. She scooped more into her arms, coming further into the moon’s glow. More warmth flooded her body. Jennifer rolled her head back, and moaned. It was like the light was making love to her. Her eyes closed as she realized the moon sang to her. She stepped fully into the light and felt stronger. She stretched like a cat, luxuriating in the sensations.

Something made her open her eyes. The moon seemed so much bigger and brighter. It called to her. Her blood raced. Her breathing increased as her heart rate went up. She rose up on her tiptoes, reaching for the moon. Her mouth dried. She noticed she could hear the shush and whush of her blood flowing though her veins. Then, she caught scent of corrupt decay. She could taste vileness. Vampire.

Her nostrils flared. Her hand clenched so hard her knuckles popped and her tendons creaked. She tore at the moonlight, suddenly hating it. It clung to her skin. Enraged, she tore at it. Chunks of her skin were torn away, revealing golden fur underneath. There was a pounding in her ears. She gripped her head and screamed. It turned to a howl as the loathsome, yet delightful, moonlight turned her skull to tallow. Her skull flattened, her mouth growing longer, and more pointed as her palate merged with her nose becoming a muzzle. Her teeth grew into fangs. Her muscles stretched painfully, tearing as they filled out and became larger, infused with the moon. Her joints popped and tendons creaked as both grew. Her thighs, bulging, ripped through her leather armor. She ripped at the remains of it with razor sharp claws. Her feet elongated, tearing though her boots. She threw her head back and roared her rage at the moon.

A hiss caught her attention. She whipped her head around. Vampire. Where. There. Kill. A vampire stood on the dais near another wolf. It wore tattered trousers. Blood flowed from its mouth. She tore across the cavern, claws ripping the stone beneath. The vampire met her partway. Its claws ripped into her, enraging her further. She slapped at the vampire, sending it on a short flight which terminated at a stalagmite. The mineral column exploded from the impact. She crossed to the vampire in a bound and slapped it into the cavern wall. It hissed at her again, and picked up glowing things. The sight of them made her angrier. Her heartbeat raced, nearly exploding out of her chest. She roared and leaped to attack again. The glowing things flashed, and burning erupted in her belly. She roared in pain and rage. A clawed hand slapped out and the vampire’s head flew through the air. It hit another wall, and burst into a cloud of dust. The body before her collapsed, and decayed into a pile of dust.

She turned, looking for more to destroy. The sight of a human on the dais made her blood boil. She raced over to rip it apart. The moon slowed her, sending soothing warmth through her body. She walked on all fours to the top of the platform and stalked up to the human laying there, blood flowing from wounds. Its scent was familiar. Father. Mate? Dying. Her long, tubular tongue crept out and lapped at the wooden shaft sticking out of his eye socket. The other eye opened and looked at her. His mouth opened and soothing sounds came out.

“Rishka. I’m sorry for what I’ve condemned you to.”

Soft hands caressed the dying man’s cheek. A familiar warm body her him close to it. He looked down her wonderful nude body. Her scars had faded, replaced by new flesh. His head was cradled in loving arms. Tears fell from his eyes. Clear ones from the right, pink ones from his ruined one.

“You’ve not condemned me to anything. You enabled me to get my revenge.”

He looked up at her, but her lovely featured were blurry. Blackness hovered near the edges of his vision. Her scent, honeysuckle and jasmine filled his nose. He drew it in deep, closing his eye as he did. “Darling, help me to the moonlight? I want to see the moon one more time.”

“Of course, my love.” Tears fell on his face. One touched his lips, leaving a taste of salt and warmth. For some reason, he felt cold. He shivered. “Here you are, Dirge.”

He opened his eye, basking in the warmth of the moonbeam. Dark, course hair slowly sprouted along his bare forearms and rippled across his chest. The fur spread to his belly and slowed. She held him tighter. Don’t cry, Rish-

Grrr, Grr, and Grrr, again.

I recently finished reading a romance novel. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it. I read pretty much everything. No, I’m not giving you the title, nor am I linking to it. I only do that with stuff I like, and this was not one of them. Holy crap this book was poorly written. Not just with clunky sentence structure, and flat characters, but it was like the author had a checklist of romance novel tropes and ticked off each one. See what I did there? I didn’t even mention whether the author is male or female. Yes, males write romance novels, too. I’m trying my hand at one.

“But, Rob, didn’t you write a post about arrogant writers a couple of days ago? Aren’t you being a hypocrite?”

Yes, I did write said post, and no, I’m not being a hypocrite. Here’s why: This post isn’t really about that book, it’s actually about a particular trope within it. One with ties to the real world. Big ones. I’ll explain. About the mid-point of the story is the obligatory break up scene. I’ll give the author credit: They didn’t go with the fight and break up, nor the misunderstanding and break up. No, it can about a week later. I guess you could call it the fallout break up. Or the post-fight break up. Okay, so maybe it was the fighting break up. Back to the point I was trying to make.

The female lead is having a conversation with the male where she says she just wants to be friends (ouch). Then, she goes on to tell him how wonderful, and amazing this guy is (also “ouch”). At this time, I rage quit reading; I tossed the book across the room, and punched a wall. Why? Because that is the most aggravating, and bullshit thing ever for me*. Every time I read it, or worse, hear it, I want to scream: “If he (or I) is so fucking great, why don’t you want to be with him* (or me)?!”

Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with being “friendzoned”. I have a few female friends that I see as folks who are fun to hang out with. What I do take issue with is the inherent lie in the “you’re a wonderful guy*” speech. Evidently, there is something you find wrong with wanting to be with him* (or me). For Feck’s Sakes, be honest with him* (or me). Tell me where the guy* screwed up. Help him* out so he* doesn’t keep messing up relationships, and going years between them. Especially, if during the “You’re a wonderful guy*” speech, you tell him* you want him* to be happy. If any of that is really true, you’d want him* to improve his* chances, right?

*Note: This rant is from a heterosexual point of view because that’s what I am. I’m not edging anyone out intentionally. The same things are for any and all relationships. If you’re gonna break up with someone, maybe be honest with them? Also, that book makes me want to stay away from them for a while.

What I’m Doing Now:

I just started work on my sequel novel. Here’s an early look (I just wrote it a couple days ago):

 

Into the Realm, Book 2:

The Chronicles of Sera Blake, Book I

R.w.Foster

Chapter 1

Sweat flew through the air in time to the rhythmic slap of the rope against the floor. Though she stared at the gym mirror, Sera Blake did not register the frizz of her soaked curly brown hair, the flush of her skin, nor the ripple of well-defined muscles exposed by the navy sport bra and training shorts. Her focus was on her upcoming match against Broderick Stevenson, star lacrosse player at Johns-Hopkins University. He was a formidable opponent: Currently at ninety-five wins, two losses, and three decisions. Of his victories, ninety were by knockout. She didn’t care about his record too much. The more important thing was his reach. At eighty-four inches, she would have to get in close. He hadn’t won a match by submission since the early days of his career, so she figured that was the strategy to employ. Still, it wouldn’t do to underestimate him.

Her mentor, Georges Juarez, had made that mistake. He’d gone six rounds with Stevenson without really being touched. Georges had Stevenson bleeding from his nose, lower lip, and a mouse under his right eye. Before the final round, her mentor had told her to watch closely.

“I’m gonna jab with my left, hit him with a right hook, and then I’m gonna put him down with Blitzkrieg.

Sera gave a mental chuckle at the silly name Georges had given his devastating left haymaker. Ordinarily, it was a match-ender, but it was not to be that night. Stevenson had tanked her mentor’s hardest punch and unleashed three rapid-fire uppercuts to his jaw, putting Georges to the mat, and later to the hospital. Georges’ jaw had been broken in four places.

Most folks who followed the underground Mixed Martial Arts scene figured that the upcoming fight was a misguided attempt at revenge. Sera like Georges, but didn’t care about his loss. The way she saw it, Georges was irrelevant. Broderick Stevenson was the important one. He was recognized as the best. She needed to beat him so that she would get that recognition. It was her passion, her fire, her life to be the best fighter ever. That goal was paramount; the first thing on her mind when she woke, and the last thing on her mind when she slept.

The snap of a cassette tape startled her out of her reverie. The whirl of the jump rope came to a halt, and she noticed she was dripping wet and breathing hard. She walked over to the wall and hung up the rope. She whipped sweat from her face with the towel on the bench below, and drained a liter of water in several long swallows. She dropped the bottle next to a couple other empties and swapped out Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock and Roll tape for Metallica’s S&M. The sounds of cheering fans echoed from the house’s sound system as she walked into the shower. She undressed to the sounds of The Ecstasy of Gold and started washing to the notes of The Call of Ktulu.

 

I Have A Confession To Make

Disclaimer: The authors I mention below are not among those I’m referring to in the post. All have helped me immensely, and are willing to do the same for other author-wannabes (like me). Two even have a website, and books dedicated to that. Another has a book too.  

 

Not too long ago, I read a couple of lines that made me realize: We writers are a rather arrogant bunch. I did some searching online to double-check, and I discovered, yep, we are. Here’s what I mean: I have read over 1,000 books, blog posts and articles over the last year that says not everyone can write a novel. I’m not going to cite any of them because a few were written by folks I’d like to consider my friends. Almost everyone said that only a select few can write novels, or they’d quote some statistic that says 80% of people think they can write a book, and then say that was bullshit. What we do is so hard. Um, no it isn’t.

Technically speaking, nothing is hard to do unless you don’t put in the time, and energy in learning how to do it. For me, building a space shuttle, a nuclear reactor, calculating pi, or even making bouillabaisse. I don’t know how to do those things. However, I can go learn how to, if I had the drive to. It’s the same thing with writing. Anyone can put words together to form sentences, then paragraphs, and then a manuscript. It’s not that hard.

What separates we writers from Joe, or Jane, Average is our drive to put words to paper, or screen. We have a compunction, or a predilection for doing so.  Hell, you can even say it is our obsession (some of them anyway. I’m pretty damned lazy for the most part). Something within us makes us get to a desk, or table, pull out our notebooks, pads, typewriters, or computers, and start stringing words together to form a story. Sometimes it is great, sometimes it sucks. Great thing is, what is awesome, and what is sucky, are subjective. For example, millions rave over The Twilight Saga, and 50 Shades of Grey. I can’t stand either.

“You’re not the target audience, asshole.”

Fair enough. I also can’t stand Terry Pratchett novels. Or some R.A.Salvatore ones. And you know what? Not one of those four I just mentioned even notice that I haven’t bought their stuff. They have millions of fans.

If you have any interest in some authors I do like, I can rattle off a couple of names (maybe you could go check ’em out, see if you agree with me): R.S.Guthrie, L.T.Kelly, Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi (Anglea & Becca are a writing team. They have separate links because I want to show both pages, and not have both names go to the same place. I’m weird like that. :P), Kevin Rau, Jen Boyce, Fabiola Surya. Jen & Fab don’t have links because their novels are not yet published, and they don’t yet have websites, though Fab does have a blog. Wondering how I can say Jen & Fab are some of my favorite writers? Simple: I get to assist these wonderful ladies in crafting their stories. I’m kinda blessed that way.

Why did I title this blog “I Have A Confession To Make”? I was one of those arrogant writers I mentioned. I am no longer. Now, if someone says to me, “I want to be a writer,” or “I can write a novel,” my response will be, “Go for it. I’ll be cheering you on. If there’s any way I can assist, let me know. I’ll be glad to.”

Wanna check out some of the above author’s works? Here’s a series of links to their stuff on Amazon:

Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi –  The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus

R.S.Guthrie – Black Beast, Ink, Blood Land (This one is Free)

Kevin Rau – H.E.R.O: Metamorphosis, H.E.R.O: New Markets, Necromancer’s Ascent

L.T.Kelly – Falling to Pieces (her debut novel. The second is in the works).

Why not show some love to these wonderful authors? Tell them R.w.Foster sent you.