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Hope you like.
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I’m still working on the other stories I’ve shared. Well, I’ve actually cancelled The Chronicles of Sera Blake. I wasn’t able to capture her essence. Maybe after I’ve grown as a writer, I’ll return to her. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of my latest Work In Progress, Court of Blood.
Previous subchapter here.
Since I’m scheduling this for Tuesday, this may have ended by then. But, regardless, I’m throwing my two cents out there.
As many of you may be aware, internet superstore Amazon.com is embroiled in a feud with publishing conglomerate Hatchette Book Group. This seems to be how Joe & Jane Average seem to be seeing things. You note that only two seem to be neutral? All the others, especially is you search Amazon vs Hatchette seem to call for boycotting of Amazon in favor of Barnes & Noble, and indy bookstores. Yeah, as if that would be a good idea.
As a currently unpublished author, I’m going to say this, “Boo-fucking-hoo.” So the multi-million dollar authors aren’t going to get a few pennies more on their tiny royalties. If the authors really cared about the readers, they’d say, “See ya,” to the traditionals, and self-publish. But they don’t care about that, they don’t like the idea of competition, and they don’t want to give up their guaranteed multi-million dollar contracts.
Folks seem to enjoy painting Amazon as the Big Bullies, and Hatchette Book Group as the Heroic Underdog fighting for the little guy. I say those roles are switched around. Amazon isn’t the bullies here, Hatchette is. They are the ones that want to jack up the price of the e-books. They aren’t fighting for their authors that are under contract. Consider: The authors that are with HBG get, at most, 20% royalties on their books once they make a certain amount. Even guys like King, Patterson, & Rowling. Twenty fucking percent. And, when you have guys like them under contract, HBG offers them advances of $100K- $3Million. Those advances are why folks like King are bitching, not the royalties. If they cared about royalties on their books, they’d go with the folks with the highest paying royalties out there, Amazon. Yes, Amazon. They even say it on their pricing page (for authors), “For titles priced between $2.99-$9.99, we pay a royalty of 70% on each sale.”
In the meantime, Hatchette wants a bigger piece of that pricing pie. They think that Amazon is getting too big a piece with their charging 10% for titles that are over $9.99. Go look up Steven King, James Patterson, et al., on any book seller website, and look at what the books are being sold for. Barring a second hand site, you won’t find any of their titles for less than $7.99 for a trade paperback, and less than $25.99 for a hardback. Now, consider this price breakdown: on that $25.99 James patterson, Hatchette takes 70%, the author gets 20%, and Amazon takes 10%. The way Hatchette wants it to be is they get 78%, authors still get 20% (big names, anyway), and Amazon would be left with 1%. How is that fair?
You notice who’s not been mentioned in all of this? The customer. That’s because they’d still pay $25.99. Unless HBG wins, that is. Then it would be $25.99 + shipping & handling. Even with Prime.
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I can’t believe I’ve not posted here since May 19th. Eep. Sorry, guys. It totally slipped my mind lately. What’s been getting in my way? Final edits on Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book I, and writing on other projects, and lately, worry about my best friend who has recently gone to the hospital.
I’ll do my best to resume posting sections of Carter’s tale on Fridays. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from a new story I started not too long ago:
Joey glared at his brother. “What are you doing here, David?”
“Viola is dead.” David bowed his head, eyes wet. “We’re down to nine Queens.”
“I know.” Joey picked up a Sig Sauer, actuated the clip, and racked the slide. A cartridge, with a strange blue bullet attached popped out. He peered at him from under long, sooty lashes. “This means war.”
Joey let out a low, raspy growl, stalked over to David and stood nose to chin with him. “No?” He tilted his head back. “You don’t get a say, brother. You left the pack, remember? Wanted to live among the humans.” His upper lip curled away from her teeth. “You wanted to be one of them.”
“Joey.” He drew the last syllable out, his voice dropping.
“We’re going to kill the dirt-nappers, and then the shifters, and finally the Giavana’s. So, run away, pup. It’s what you’re go—”
A massive hand around his throat cut off his words. Joey kicked frantically, but to no avail; he was three feet in the air.
“Listen, bitch. You may be Pack Leader, but never forget who is Alpha.” David snarled the last.
Joey’s eyes turned a bright green and his lips curled away from his teeth which grew longer, and sharper. David threw him down the hall. “Go ahead, dumbass. Waste your transformation.”
Joey glared at the bigger man. His arms were tense, and his chest out, and heaving. The Alpha shook his head with a faint smirk. The pack leader howled, and his mouth lengthened, merging with his nose, and becoming a muzzle. Triangular ears rose atop his head. Black hairs sprouted over his face, lengthening until it became fur. His teeth grew longer and sharper-looking. His fingers elongated and sprouted coarse black hairs. Each digit was tipped with a thick, black talon. His body began to elongate, his muscles stretching and growing bigger. His shoes burst apart, revealing sis feet as they extended, and narrowed, the toes were capped with long black claws.
His knees snapped back like a dog’s with sickening wet crunches. His barrel chest grew wider, the bones creaking, and snapping under the pressure. Wiry hair spread over it in a rippling, spiral pattern. His arms spread wide, and his head went back, loosening a deafening howl.
“You’ve been a naughty boy, Joey. Messing with magicks you’re not supposed to.” David rolled his shoulders, and tipped his head from side to side. Each movement caused popping, and crackling sounds. “let’s dance, Pup.”
The werewolf bellowed in rage, slaver dripping from his fangs. He leaped at his enemy, seeking to rend him limb from limb. David took a step to his right, guiding the deadly claws away with the grace of a dancer, and then slammed the werewolf’s skull through the window. The lupine creature extricated his head from the broken glass with a howl, and lunged forward with another attack, leading with his left clawed hand. David flowed to the right, and aimed the wolf’s head at the brick wall. Fragments flew through the air as dust rose in an explosion.
Joey pulled his head away, moving slower than before. He shook his head, and whimpered at the buzzing deep inside his skull.
“Surrender, Joseph, and turn back. I don’t want to hurt you further.”
Instead, he snarled again, and thrust his gaping maw forward. David punched the other in the snout with his right fist, and captured Joey’s lower jaw in his left. The pack leader made a strangled yip of surprise, and then was yanked down. His jaw collided with David’s rising knee. He dropped to his knees, dazed.
“Pull yourself together.”
David turned to leave. White hot heat ripped through his body as Joey’s claws tore great furrows down his back. He screamed in pain, and whirled. Fists, moving like lightning pounded into the werewolf’s skull with the force of jack hammers. In the space of a moment, Joey’s nose was broken, his jaw dislocated, and his cranium misshapen.
The Alpha grabbed the Pack Leader’s ears, and then used his head as a pinball, bouncing it from one wall to the other, up one end of the hall, and down the other. He then threw the werewolf down the stairs to the marble floor twenty feet below. David leaped down after him, landing in a perfect three-point-stance. He gripped the beaten wolf by the scruff of the neck and lifted him.
“Clean yourself up. You’re a mess.” He left his opponent’s head hit the floor, and stalked down the hall between the twin flights of stairs to Viola’s quarters.
Joey lay, naked and shivering on the floor for several minutes after the Alpha left. Abrupt reversions always left him with a quivering stomach. He slowly raised his throbbing head and spat out a tooth. It lay in a mix of saliva and blood, mutely accusing. What was I thinking? I’m not yet ready to take David’s place as Alpha. This just confirmed what she said.
He sighed, and slumped over to his back, blindly staring up at the massive fairy crystal chandelier dangling from the vaulted ceiling. He blinked, and switched his gaze to the large oil painting of Alastor Hara, the pack founder. As always, that unsmiling countenance seemed to be saying, ‘You’re not worthy to lead my pack, Mongrel. Only purebloods should ever lead.’
“Fuck you, old man.” He gingerly sat up, not yet fully healed despite his swift regeneration. I should get dressed. I’m sure the old man doesn’t want to be staring at my pale ass. He got to his feet, and swayed, nearly falling again. He shook his head, and collapsed to his knees. His gorge rose, and before he could swallow it back, it barreled out his mouth like a runaway freight train. Each heave served to aggravate his torn neck muscles. After the last one, he wiped his mouth, paying no heed to the frothy pink vomit on the floor. One of the servants would clean it.
He limped down the hall that opened just off the eastern most section of the front stairs, bracing himself against the wall, trailing blood behind him. He staggered into the library, and locked the door behind him. He paused, knees shaking, head down for several heartbeats. He then walked over to the fireplace, and flipped a hidden switch.
The heart slid to the side revealing a dank stair down. He slipped through, depressing another button on the other side of the threshold. The fireplace slid back, leaving him in pitch blackness. He confidently strode the stairs, his sight unaffected by the lack of illumination. The steps wound around, and around, sometimes twisting under each other, but going ever further down.
Near the bottom, it grew brighter. The increase was gradual enough that his eyes had a chance to acclimate to the change. The stairs terminated in a cathedral-like cavern. Torches scattered around on the walls provided the light.
In the center of the room stood an elaborately carved granite sarcophagus. At his approach, the lid swung open. A small, blonde girl stepped out and turned icy blue eyes on him. He stopped at the base of the platform and knelt with his head to the stone floor.
“Rise, Joey.” The soft voice had an ethereal quality to it. He did as commanded, gazing worshipfully at her porcelain features. “You lost.”
Though it wasn’t a question, he felt compelled to answer. “Yes, Mistress. Just as you said I would.”
“Your recklessness almost gave away your secret.”
“David still doesn’t know I can transform without the queen. He thinks it was a wasted one.”
“He knows you are dealing with magic you shouldn’t be.”
Her voice wasn’t loud, but he shook anyway. “I’m sorry, Mistress.”
“No matter. He will not be a problem much longer.” She gestured, and an ornate golden chalice appeared in her right hand. She passed her left over it, and handed the now full cup to him. “Drink, and grow strong.”
“Yes, Mistress.” He swallowed the fiery ruby liquid in one gulp.
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