Through the Veil: Release Snippet 2

Through the Veil has had the big red release button pressed.

Fly my words, Fly, Conquer the world! Ahahahaha!

That, of course, means that you get another snippet from the book. Enjoy, and I will put out an alert when the book goes live.

Zora shuddered in her fitful sleep, if it could even be called sleep. Her mind was not dreaming. It was struggling. She was trying to decide which memories she could trust, and which were false. The blue fog had lifted, leaving conflicting red and blue memories.

Somehow, she knew if she did not choose one set to accept, she would not remain sane for long. But which one could she accept? She had talked to her boss about Joe this morning. He had told her that her partner was alive, hadn’t he? Why would he lie to her?

Gary had always been honest and upfront with her. She could not conceive of a situation in which he would deceive her. He had to believe what he was saying. But she had encountered such other weirdness that she was not sure what she could trust. Or that he hadn’t been deceived. An older memory forced itself onto her. It seemed more raw, less polished, but that made it feel more solid at the same time. Black and white to the blue-tinted and red-tinted memories.

It was a memory of her Grandmama saying, “Always be careful, child. There are beings out there we cannot fathom the nature or abilities of. If you are unsure about something, remember the myths.”

One of those myths jumped out at her from those memories. The legend about Doppelgangers, and how they could take the form of anyone they wanted. Another, about changelings who replace a parent’s child at birth. What if there was something out there that could take the place of someone who was dead? Was that the sort of thing that her grandmother had been warning her about?

For the other Mongrelverse books that start series, A Mongrel’s Curse is HERE and Cursed Mother is HERE

Through the Veil: Release snippet 1

Zora found herself sitting on the passenger seat of a relatively new sedan. Her stomach had settled a little, but she was still having trouble focusing. The man who had helped her got some water from his boot. He had been kind. She really should get his name.

She rifled through the glovebox for something, even paper, to wipe her mouth with. Grabbing a loose sheet of what looked like scrap, she wiped it across her lips to remove the slimy-feeling residue. When the man came back with water in a metal sports bottle, he ordered, “Rinse and spit first.”

She grimaced but knew he was right. Swallowing the residue would most likely cause her gorge to rise again. She rinsed twice for good measure before she drank the rest of the bottle. Then she glanced at the piece of paper. On it was her address.

Fear flashed through her as she thought, Why does this man have my address? She shook herself a little. She had just seen a man light a smoke from fire from his fingertip and another thing with horns and red skin. A guy that had her address but was treating her kindly was low on her imminent-threats listing.

It still concerned her. If he had her address, there was no point in hiding where she lived. It all seemed so damned convenient now. Him being there to help her. Even the stranger that had precipitated the spill. She knew that there were times when paranoia was a survival trait.

How paranoid is a person if everyone is out to get them? Given what had happened, wasn’t some paranoia justified? She thought that was sure as hell the case.

Zora had grown up on tales from her father that her great-grandfather had been able to take the form of a wolf. As she had grown older, she had dismissed them as family stories with no basis in reality. But a part of her had always wondered. Wished it were true, even. That there were things that science alone could not explain.

Through the Veil should be released later this week. Hope you all are looking forward to it.
While you wait you can look at the other Mongrelverse Books, Here (A Mongrel’s Curse), Here (Cursed Mother) and Here (Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences)

Or you can look at my newest release, a Collaboration with Taki Drake, Mage and Mate

Also, sometime in the next month or two, my site should be getting a re-vamp (over vamp? Reconstruction?) So it may be briefly down. Just be patient. Things need to be updated and improved!

Paul C. Middleton.

Mage and Mate: Collaboration snippet 2

Here I am, taking a good hard look at myself, and I realize I almost did what I promised I would not do. Leave you guys in the dark

Sorry.

So without further ado, here is the final snippet for Mage and Mate. Why is it the final snippet? Well, the book is coming out next week, that’s why!

ForceX Bar, Arkken Port

It had been a short drive to the Marine bar known as ForceX. The drinking establishment had been the first place that Ruth had planned on visiting when she landed on the planet. It was here that she had returned the effects of Sarge Brandark, the man who had sacrificed himself on the slave ship to allow her to live.

Holding Sarge’s wake there had ed to other significant events in the short time that the Mage had been on the planet Arkken. If Ruth could’ve called anyone on the world an ally, she would’ve used that term to describe the bartender at the ForceX Bar.

Luka Grission was not just the bartender, he was part-owner of the drinking establishment itself. Tied tightly into both active and former military circles, he was a good source of information, and both Pawlik and Ruth valued him as a person of honor.

That was why Ruth was there.

Pawlik had gone out to another meeting with some of his political contacts, leaving the Mage at loose ends. While the nobleman was gone, a message had been brought in tagged for Ruth’s attention. It was a note from Luka, saying that he had some crucial topics to discuss with her and hoped that she would be able to stop by within the next day or so.

Of course, she’d been ready to take off immediately. Her security detail put their collective foot down and insisted that she wait for them to prepare. Jenna resisted all blandishments and took the time to assemble a security detail. Ruth fussed and fumed, but the delay wasn’t that long. By the time they took off from Borachland Castle, it was still less than an hour between Ruth getting the message and their shuttle leaving.

The big hurry may have increased their discomfort, Ruth thought to herself. However, it’s good for them to stop thinking of me as a package that needs to be moved around. This package has legs, and they can lead, follow, or get out of the blasted way.

Walking through the doors of the ForceX Bar still gave Ruth the shock of going from full light to almost complete darkness. At least at this point, it was a known feeling. Pausing for a short moment to get her bearings, Ruth was nearly overrun by one of her security detail.

Smiling at his muttered apology, Ruth walked over toward the bar and called out, “Hi Luka! I hope you have started to stock the better liquor because I really could use a drink and I don

’t want to drink any wimpy stuff.”

The bartender let a hearty belly laugh loose and reached below the bar to pull a bottle and several glasses. “Hello, yourself. I suppose we should be honored that the Lady Mage is visiting us.”

“Only if you want me to drink you under the table at the insult,” Ruth replied.

“No, no. Anything but that! Think of the terrible things you would do to my reputation if I allowed that to happen.”

“Then you better not give me any further snobbish words, because we are here for good companionship and drinks before we have to take off for home again.”

“Obviously, you’re going to need some people to drink with you. It wouldn’t be any fun to drink by yourself, and I know better than to try to tempt your bodyguards.”

“I suppose you’re right. Do you have any recommendations for someone who’s not going to get freaked out by drinking with a non-Marine? Preferably, someone who won’t hit on me.”

The bartender chortled and looked around the room, making a show of his slow perusal. There were very few people sitting in the bar at that point, but the Mage made special note of several of them. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Jenna had stiffened when she had seen two of the same three that Ruth had marked.

Ruth heard Jack, Jenna’s AI weapon, say, << Isn’t that the Major? I thought he was acting more like a hermit these days instead of drinking at a bar. >>

Jenna replied silently, surp

rising Ruth because she very seldom did that when the Mage was around. In a quiet mental voice, the former Marine said, << Yes, if you think that it is Major Alan Culhane. >>

<< OK. Now you can explain to me why that dimwitted excuse for an officer, Lieut. Trempal is slumming in a Marine bar. >>

Before Jenna could reply to Jack, a new mental voice interjected, << I think he was here because he had been ordered to spy on the occupants of the bar. However, when Alan and I showed up, his orders changed, and now he’s here to try to see who we might meet with and what other bits of meat he can scavenge. >>

Both Jack and Jenna exclaimed in unison, << Frag him! >>

Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences LIVE

The Book is live.

Buy it here on Amazon

Mercenary. Outsider. Mongrel.
That is how things were. That is how I liked things. Alone. Depending only on myself. No strings, no chains, free to act as I wish.
Recent events have changed my life, unfortunately. First, I could not refuse to help my family, especially my favorite cousin. Then for no sane reason, a past client stuck around to help me out.
I smell the hot metal of chains being forged, the restriction of ties knotting. My life will never be the same. It must be a hazard that comes through my family. The question is…
Which family line is causing me to go from mercenary to some kinda questing knight?

Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences – Release snippet 2 (and Publish Button Hit!)

Good News! The Publish button has been hit one Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences
Now we just have to wait for the Amazon people to put it through review and out to publish. As soon as I know that has happened I will put out a published post with blurb and link. But to tide you over for the (up to) 72 hours that may take, go forth and read this snippet!

The local hunters were thrilled to be hired for such a hunt. Fame, glory, and the thrill of a battle like this one promised to be had not taken place in at least four generations had them in high spirits. They knew, even if they died, their names would go down in the annals of their tribe forever. They were almost as bad as Fydor over the glory of the situation.

It was when Amraz had gathered his men that the problems started. Both groups were made of professionals, but the Kurds were decidedly old school when compared to the Fabula group. They viewed them as overdressed peacocks, and the Fabula responded in kind, treating the Kurdish hunters as uneducated hicks.

I would later find out that when the Fabula had been forming, more than a millennia ago, this particular Kurdish clan had turned down membership. They felt that the Fabula were too willing to take contracts without looking them over and thinking of the consequences. I have to agree with the Kurds there.

It took days to get them to start working together. Individually or in groups they acted like wolves circling purebred hunting dogs. Neither side sure who would win in a fight, but both certain they were somehow better.

I had no idea how to forge them into a group. It was fortunate that Pelanor was with me. Elven Rangers were used to creating a force, however temporary, out of adversarial groups. The bigger threat always had to be contained, in their eyes. I learned something of leadership just from watching her. Enough to know that I would be a poor choice for a leader.

First, she called Amraz to the drill field and proved her skill against him. He was acknowledged as the most skilled of the Fabula. Their swordwork was amazing, although Pelanor clearly was the more skilled. There was even a level of magic thrown about in their duel. I remembered being struck by one of their spells that threw a bolt of pure force when they were trying to capture me. I saw such a bolt being thrown at Pelanor, but she merely rode it, spinning away, then charging back in.

Mage and Mate: Collaberation snippet 1

I have also been working on a collaboration with Taki Drake in her Unfettered Mage universe. It has been a lot of fun, and working with a mentor on something has been an amazing experience. (I just hope it has been as fun for her.) So, Without Further Ado, here is a snippet from the first of several books we will be working on together.

<<<>>>

Of course, she wasn’t alone. Even now, in the protection of Ruth’s private quarters, she had a bodyguard. Jenna was on duty and stood within the room. The former Marine was armed and exuded danger and power.

The Mage glanced at her companion, words flowing through her head,

I think I’m doing pretty well to adjust to Arkken. I’m coping with bodyguards following me everywhere and living in something that looks like a cross between a medieval castle and a modern tech fantasy. Spaceships and swords. Who would’ve thought the reading of my youth would make this seem familiar?

Outside of the people at the castle, and those that had been on the slave ship with her, Ruth did not know many people. For the most part, her schedule was her own, and she told people when she wanted to talk to them.

The alert tone of the communicator on the wall of her room was even more startling because she had expected to be totally undisturbed. The source of the call was hidden, an icon going the equivalent of what on earth would have been an unlisted number notification. With a wide-eyed glance at Jenna, Ruth asked, “Who do you suppose it is? I don’t know that many people.”

Jenna frowned and said, “Even more importantly, how did they get your number?”

“Only one way to find out. Let me answer it.”

The bodyguard moved to be out of the view of the caller but pulled a recording device from her belt. At Jenna’s nod, Ruth tapped the icon to accept the call.

Shocked, the Mage recognized the man whose image now showed. Unsure of why he was calling her, Ruth greeted him by name, “Senior Auditor Rick, what a surprise. To what do I owe the honor of your call?”

The slender, precise man twitched his face into the approximation of a smile. Leaning slightly forward toward the screen, he said, “I wanted to extend my thanks and the gratitude of others in the Auditors Guild for your handling of the misfortunate audit problems. We deeply appreciated your cooperation in this and wanted you to know that nothing like that will ever happen again.”

Ruth knew how mortified the man must feel and how important it was to the Auditors Guild that they were seen as incorruptible and perfect. It had never crossed her mind to trumpet the fact that they had made an error. Any gratitude for her perceived forbearance was simply a plus.

“You are very welcome, and I truly hope that you never have to deal with something like that again.”

When Ruth would’ve ended the call, Auditor Rick raised his hand to stop her, and said, “It occurred to me after we had left our meeting that there might be some information that someone raised in the Alliance would have that you are missing.”

“Yes, I’m finding all sorts of holes in my understanding and patching them as quickly as I can. I just hope that nothing critical is missing. I would hate to have people injured or other accidents happen because of my ignorance.”

“With that in mind, several of us prepared some information packets that we thought you might find useful. I am transmitting them over to your incoming message queue now. Some of them concern local laws and regulations as well as the definition of the powers and responsibility that an Unfettered Mage holds.

“Additional information covers similar topics for anyone wearing the circlet of the Archmage. Since there hasn’t been either a powerful Fettered Mage or any Unfettered Mage in multiple millennia, you might find it difficult to find those guidelines.”

Ruth smiled in gratitude, and said happily, “Thank you! That will be very helpful.”

Looking satisfied, the dignified Auditor added, “Some of the other packets of information cover areas that might actually be dangerous for you and your people. After so long, the existence of an emerging Unfettered Mage may excite some of the more radical organizations throughout the galaxy. While most of these tend to be poorly funded and not particularly powerful, many of them have members that are fanatics and will go to great lengths to cause you harm.”

“That sounds perilous, and frankly wasn’t something I expected to hear. Are there any specific groups that you think would be the most concerning?”

Sighing, the Auditor look suddenly tired. Running a hand across his face, he scrubbed his eyes for a moment and looked deeply into Ruth’s eyes across the electronic interface. “Some of the worst ones go by names that cover their fury at the galaxy in general and twisted logic with labels that proclaim them to be on the side of good. Two of the worst are the Protectorate Cadre and the Order of the Just. Most of the others are just flash and no substance.”

Ruth sighed in dismay and heard a very soft echo from Jenna. Once again trying to look appreciative, the Mage responded, saying, “Thank you again for your consideration, Senior Auditor Rick. I will definitely delve into the information you have sent me. I will also make sure that all the necessary people on my staff see it.”

The man nodded in acknowledgment and ended the call, calling out an ending farewell, “You are very welcome, Mage. The Auditors Guild always balances its transactions.”

More snippets of this book can be found here (Link to Taki Drake’s page)

Note: For those who have read all my works, the main character was first developed in the short story Commander of Mercenaries, found in (insert Anthology Here)

Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences – Release snippet 1

Only one Cathedral I had visited, Yorkminster, had given me a similar feeling. Impressive while you are there, but in many ways a true holy site only after you left it. Different in magnitude to the Wyrm’s cavern, but a similar sense of something beyond my experience. I had to wonder why only one Cathedral felt so different from the others.

I also had an additional issue. I was going to face off against a Drake, another powerful Wyrm. And my choice of wizardly allies had just got an agreement from the bloody Rainbow Serpent to stay in place.

That was not something a wise person did. I was truly fucked.

A cloud hung over me despite the excitement from Fidelma and Isolde. Both were amazed they had seen one of the Wyrms. Many supernaturals did not believe in them, they were seen so rarely. One of the ironies of the world beyond the Veil was many still did not believe in things they could not relate to something they had experience with. This was despite many of them having passed through the Veil. Despite discovering a whole world beyond their previous experience. Wyrms went a step further. The powers they held had to be felt to be understood.

There seemed to be information beyond what I thought was the Veil. As if there were layers to the illusions and knowledge sinks that constructed the mystical curtain that separated the supernatural and normal worlds.

Maybe that was how the Veil worked. No one I had heard of then or now has suffered ill-effects from moving deeper. The initial breakthrough was another matter. Then again, taking the first step into anything life-changing was always the hardest. I knew that. I was still taking the first steps to letting people into my life.

Allies for a specific task were one thing. Working with people regularly was another. You had to divide up tasks and trust their competence at what they agreed to do. I still had trouble passing on long-term responsibility, even with Fidelma and Isolde’s supernatural abilities.

Fidelma and Isolde were both hyped up by their experiences. I, on the other hand, was exhausted. First the visions, the dreams. Then summoning the strange fire. The act of calling that fire had been physically exhausting. The other events had been tiring in a different way. I wasn’t happy about letting the ladies drive my truck home, but from what the Rainbow Serpent had told me, I had weeks, or at most months, before I needed to get the sword or tooth or whatever it was.

RETURN OF THE AUTHOR

So… I have been sick recently. I really did intend to be good and post regular, but for the last 6 weeks I have been up and down and generally unwell. Up to and including a hospitalization.

Funny thing about not being able to breathe properly. All you want is some air. ‘You think,’ gasp, ‘the hospital,’ gasp, ‘might be able to,’ gasp, ‘help me? Well,’ gasp, ‘then, get me there’ gasp, cough, splutter.

It was not fun. And they still don’t know what was wrong. But I feel better now, so am going to run with that and hope whatever the problem/illness/alignment of the planets was, it is now resolved.

I intend to post about the music that inspires me on Mondays, Something or another on Wednesday or Thursday (at least once a month a regular post about being a carer.) and three times a fortnight I plan on posting either snippets or something that expands the universes I write in. Especially MY universe, the Mongrelverse. This last will be on Saturdays, with the third post floating to fill in gaps of other themes or just being jammed in somewhere if I have enough elsewhere.

I hope for the best. I really hope to avoid more relapses. That would be a badness thing.

I have managed to get some work done. Otherwise where would I be pulling the snippets from?

The first of these releases should be sometime within the next fortnight – Mongrel’s Tooth and Consequences. I will update everyone with the date as soon as I confirm.

To the next book and beyond!

P.S. Well wishes welcome!

Progress Marches Forward

Exciting news! All Chaos Press has released a formal announcement identifying the start date of Wenebojo and the technology company that will be working with them to bring the Storytelling to everyone. The company that was chosen to be this integral collaborator is IBM. Wenebojo is a story-based streaming service where you can more fully immerse yourself in your favorite genres, from romance to sci-fi. You can read more about the entire project HERE.

Wenebojo has opened for sales, both advanced ones and something called the Pathfinder group. Pathfinders will enjoy earlier access to all future releases and a variety of other perks from February 15th. This is a wonderful opportunity for the addicts out there. (And come on, I know some of you get obsessed by when a new book or story is coming out.) Regular subscribers will gain access on or around the 1st of March this year.

I wanted to update you all on the progress for Wenebojo.com. I am thrilled that we are pushing forward to launch, and I hope it brings many new people to my audience. Feel free to spread the post and the news! And if you have further questions I might be able to answer, don’t hesitate to comment below!

Paul C. Middleton.

P.S. I would appreciate it if when you sign up if you would pick Group Purple. It will give you a discount and me a warm fuzzy feeling.

#Wenebojo #AllChaosPress #Storyteller