Monday, February 29, 2016

Character Madness: Amos from Carriage Interviews Grona from Evil Never Dies


Amos interviews Grona 

from 

Evil Never Dies 

by Rick Haynes







Amos peeks into the cottage and sees that no one is there. 



“Empty. Just the way I like it.” He lights the candles and opens the file sitting on the table. He is doing our interview today, because he understands hate, unlike Jena’s other characters. He’s still angry over his brother’s survival. He spent good money to knock him off. He turns the page, and reads.

The Maxilla are a peaceful clan but when rumours of dark magic arrive once again, can they survive the latest threat from, Myracadonis, the shaman? Tarn is ordered to lead the Maxilla into battle for the first time, but a man with the mark of greatness will always have enemies. Grona hates everyone, including his son, Tarn. Both are destined to be heroes yet only one can stand before the gates of hell and win. The gods are always watching, but whose side will they ultimately favour?

Finally someone who understands hate. Amos smiles as Grona hammers on the door.

“It’s open,” he yells.

Grona gave a mighty push, almost tearing the door from its hinges as he entered the hovel. Dressed in tight fitting trews, leather jerkin and hat; he looks like another rich lord to Amos. Yet the probing eyes and broadsword strapped to his back make him reconsider.

“Welcome,” Amos says. “Please, sit down.” He motions to a chair at the table.

Grona ignores the invite and moves to the stone hearth, warming his hands over the freshly lit fire.

“It’s good to meet you, Mr. Grona.”

“Do you realize that your clothes look as stupid as the way you act. Now, let’s get this over with quickly. More to the point, where’s the ale in this pigsty?”

Amos points to the far end of the table. As Grona helps himself to a large slice of ham, and pours a measure of ale, Amos begins to wonder whether an interview with a man like this was such a good idea. Yet, he has never seen such power in any other warrior and feels compelled to continue.

“The file says you hate everyone. Have you ever murdered anyone? I’m open for tips if you have any to share.”

Grona’s eyes closed to mere slits, his right hand moving to a dagger on his belt. 

Amos shudders, wondering whether he has gone too far. 

“You could be my next victim,” Grona said, “but then again, I’m in a good mood today.” 

He took a long drink of ale before continuing. “If you wish to live, Amos, never call me a murderer.”

Amos nodded, he could feel a dampness spreading over his back.

“I have killed many men even a few women, but I have never murdered anyone; well at least, none that didn’t deserve to die.” 

“Very well," Amos replied. "Why do you hate everyone?”

“Define hate. I have few friends but apart from them I trust no one. My small band of men, have earned my respect and with them my circle of trust is complete. Everyone else is either trying to cheat me, bribe me or kill me. Who wouldn’t hate them? Besides, old men like me have only survived because of our skills and our hatred.”

Amos looks into Grona’s eyes seeking contempt or even lies. The cold hard stare tells him more than words.

“Yea gods! Which one of us is mad? Metaphorically speaking, I’m not alive, merely a figment of my author’s vivid imagination.”

“I understand your predicament, Grona, but think of the possibilities. It’s the only chance that you, a strong character in a fantasy tale, can tell your side of the story.” Amos waits patiently, sensing the turmoil in Grona’s mind as he paces to and fro. 

“Maybe it would be fun at that, I’ve nothing else to do these days except wait for a second book. So I’ll play your little game but beware, once the beast inside me is aroused, it cannot easily be returned to whence it came.”

With his heart beating twice as quickly as normal, Amos knew that he had to tread carefully. And if he did, Grona would likely tell his tale. “The summary of your story says there are rumors of dark magic in your kingdom. Who is wielding it, and what does that mean to the people you hate?”

“A shaman has risen in the mountains and is intent on wiping the Maxilla clan from history. Why the Helgs have pledged allegiance to him is unknown, yet they have rushed to his banner and threaten my people.”

“And what does it mean to you?” Amos asks.

“Are you stupid or do you wish to goad me?” 

An advancing Grona was never a pretty sight but one with a face of thunder would turn the stomach of the hardiest of men. Amos backed away and composed himself before continuing. “I meant no offence, Grona, merely asking.”

“What the hell do you think it means? I am a mercenary but if any person endangers my people I will fight until I have no more strength to give. The Maxilla people mean everything to me.”

“Who is Myracadonis, and what does he want from you?”

“He is the shaman and has unusual abilities; probably earned from the gods. No doubt, like so many others, he seeks power. But whilst I breathe he will never succeed. With a stupid name like Myracadonis, how could he?”

Amos laughs. “Your son Tarn is leading the soldiers into battle. How do you feel about that?”

”Pah! That boy is no true son of mine. Lucky! That’s what he is. I should be leading the men. What Lord Bokin sees in him is beyond me. He will fail and when he does, so will the Maxilla, unless …”

It would seem that you don’t love all the Maxilla, Amos thought. 

“Why was he chosen instead of you? Seriously, someone who hates everyone sounds like the perfect commander to me. Get the job done.” Amos watches the warrior carefully. He sees Grona’s eyes narrow as he hears the word hate. Words form inside his mind but Amos decides, wisely, to keep his lips firmly shut.

“Tarn was fortunate; right place – right time. At the last battle all those years ago my men gave everything, yet he received the glory. A young pup succeeded but I bet he still pisses his pants when he remembers the fight. He stole my glory, hatred doesn’t even come close to how I feel about him.”

“You have enemies. Who are they?” Amos asks. Such information might be good to have one day.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! I can’t remember the last time anyone made me laugh. Perhaps I won’t cut your throat after all.” Grona drew his sword and held it aloft. Rubbing his fingers lovingly over the blade, he grinned at Amos before placing it to one side of the hearth “Everyone is my enemy. Many want to be the one that felled old Grona, and all will say that they were there. I spit on all of them, for as you can see, I am still alive.”

“What will happen if Myracadonis gets his way?”

“Over my dead body. We can’t lose; the author wouldn’t allow it, would he? How could he write the follow up novel, ‘Heroes Never Fade,’ if he did?” 

“What will happen if he doesn’t?”

Grona takes a long draught of ale before continuing. “The shaman will die and we all go home as heroes, but think how boring that would be.” Grona looked into the flames of the fire. Amos guessed he had more to say. “Sometimes … I wonder what is in store for me. I have my faults … perhaps my author will decide to kill me off.”

“I’m from the Victorian Era. Jena has a fantasy world, but I’ve never been in it. What is your world like?”

“The lands of the Maxilla are rich. Not in gold or minerals but the soil is full of goodness. We can grow virtually anything and our ale and mead is the envy of our neighbours. The Stormborn to the east are noble horse warriors. The Seafarers to the south are, as their name suggests, masters of the oceans. The Temujin live all over the great plains to the north east, a land so vast that even a well travelled mercenary like me has seen only a tiny fraction of their realm. All are our sworn blood brothers. In times of need we aid each other and as each season passes the bond of nations strengthens.”

“If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be?”

“Rolling back the years would be good. I’ll have to ask my author,” Grona chuckles. “I have more money than I can spend these days but I’ll never stop wandering. Give me a whore every night to warm my bed, a good ale, my band of men around me and that would … nearly … be enough.”

“Nearly enough?”

“I want the glory in saving my people. No son of mine, nor anyone else, will ever take that away from me … twice.”

“Jena’s kind of a fickle Author. She’s into tormenting us, so she doesn’t usually show us in the best light. Do you feel Mr. Rick Haynes, portrayed you well?”

“No!” The words echo off the stone walls. “What else do I want? I want to meet him, tell him my feelings, explain that I have to win … for nothing else matters.”

“And if your author refuses?” Amos asks.

“I’ll find a way to meet him. And if I can’t persuade the man, I guarantee he won’t be writing another book.”

Not for the first time Amos is trying to understand the complexities of the man. He tries to make sense of the contrast between Grona loving his people, yet admitting that he hates everyone at the same time. He looks closely at the warrior. Grona’s face is afire with anger, his body tense as he clenches his fists together. 

“Is there anything you would change?”

“My son Tarn, I wish him … dead. I should be the one showered with gold and land for saving my people at the last battle. If my lord had any guts he would acknowledge the better fighter, the better man, for I never take a step backwards.”

“Never?” Amos spoke without thinking, the word rushing out before his brain engaged. “Sor… sorry.”

“I have no scars on my back.” Grona snarled.

Amos quickly changed to something less contentious. “Who’s your favorite person?”

“Me!”
“Your least favorite? Mine would obviously be my brother. I hate him.”

I have already answered this question, but if the truth be known, I do hate everyone, even you. But perhaps I hate my author the most.”

The doorknob turns and Amos and Grona see Juliette walk in.




“What are you doing?” Amos asks. “I’m trying to conduct an interview here.”

“You were supposed to be finished an hour ago,” Juliette says. “And this is my house.”

Amos flushes, and turns to Grona. “Is there anything you would like to add?”

“She looks like a whore. How much does she want for a ploughing in the back bedroom?”

Amos ignores the comment. “Any images you want to share?”

“You want to read my mind now? But wait, there is one I would share with you. I can see a dagger sliding effortlessly over an exposed throat. Now I wonder whose neck that would be?”

Amos rises and tips his hat. “Maybe we’ll meet again someday. Thanks for coming.” He sneers at Juliette and leaves, slamming the door behind him.

“Now girl, let me show you what a good time really is.”



Author Bio 

Rick Haynes was born way back before time meant anything. One zillion reincarnations later he thinks he knows who he is, but he is prepared to take a second opinion. In the meantime why not leap into the world of his imagination? 





Purchase your copy of Evil Never Dies 
Follow Rick Haynes on Amazon

Friday, February 19, 2016

Character Madness and Musings Presents - A Virtual FantasyCon Blog Hop Event


Hi I’m Jena Baxter, author of The Carriage, Veiled Memories, Pretentious, and Reflections, and I’m your host for this stop in the tour.


This is your post for the ACOA Scavenger Hunt and I am pleased to be hosting 


AR DECLERCK 


In her post you will find a number, not in written text, but as a numerical number. Write it down and collect them all as you visit every post along the way. Good Luck!






“Life is generally unfair, God of Fortuity. Take this, it's cold in Alfheim.” She handed him a blue scarf.

Gage frowned but took the scarf. “You really think the answer is in Alfheim?”

Lisa shrugged, unrolling a new ball of yarn.  “I think that we should explore every avenue to save Lavinia. The best and brightest sorcerers are loup, and in Alfheim.” She tapped his leg with her needle. “Be careful, Gage. She's powerful in her own right, and any number of underdogs would love to have her power at their disposal.”

He growled, hands tight on the scarf. “Well, I can't let her die.”

Lisa's smile was wide. “That's my boy.”

***

The Fates watched Gage as he ran through the meadow. In his wolf form their son was power, grace and lethal dominance. He ran without thought, letting his beast have the moment.

The oldest, Nona, looked to her sisters. "They are together."

The younger sisters nodded, reading the tapestry as it wove itself around them. Nona followed Gage's life thread as it intersected with Lavinia's, chocolate brown with soft lavender.

"Do you think it is enough to bring them together?" asked Decima. She measured the threads that Nona wove. Morta, the youngest, cut the threads when their time was done.

Nona stared into the scrying glass and sighed. Their son was at a crossroads. He and Vinnie could right an old wrong and save the kingdom, if they could only come together as the Fates decreed. Unfortunately, matters of the heart were not easy to manipulate. Especially when dealing with wolves.

She smiled at her sisters and waved away the image.

"It will have to be enough," she told them sadly. "We have interfered more than we should have already. They will have to do the rest themselves."






A roar split the air. The horses whinnied and shied from the sound as the ice trembled. As loud as it was, Kai knew that Surtr must be close enough to sense his magic. It was drawing the specter of Death closer to them with each passing moment. He looked over his shoulder as his friends mounted the golden stallions. Another bellow echoed over the sea and Kai tensed as the waves rose higher and higher around the ice.

The fear coated his mouth and tongue, making it hard to breathe and swallow. He choked, gasping in the air.

Dive.

"I can't." Kai's hands trembled.

Sheridan is waiting.

"I know, dammit." Kai sucked in another lung full of air. He closed his eyes and focused on the magic. "You do it."

It only works if we are together.

"I can't."

You can.

Before he could change his mind, before the terror clawed its way back over him and took away his resolve, he bent his knees and dove into the sea.

The water closed around his head and he thought his mind might break. It was a fear he'd known once before. That certain feeling that the sea would be his grave. He blinked against the current as an image of Sheridan burst into life before his eyes.

She is what we fight for.

Kai focused on her face, tracing every line with his eyes as he struggled to swim down. The magic gave him a strength he'd never had before, and he cut through the murky water with no trouble. The pressure was immense as he swam faster and farther toward the bottom of the dark sea floor.

I can't see. Kai blinked, keeping his focus on Sheridan's face as it wavered before him. Suddenly his vision sharpened as the magic suffused his body more fully. He felt its ancient 5 thoughts deep in his mind. It existed on a level that was nearly incomprehensible to him. One thing they had in common, he realized, was Sherdian. The magic cared for her too.

Beyond Sheridan's face he saw a glimmer of light. He'd ceased caring about the fact that he no longer needed to breathe. He only knew that he was close to Sheridan. He was close to the door to the Underworld. He tightened his grip on the All-Key and strove to swim faster.

He turned back as a wall of water smashed into him. He struggled in the churning mass and managed to get upright. His eyes widened as he saw what swam toward him.

It wasn't a fish, nor a man, but something between the two. Wide, lidless eyes with massive pupils flickered in the light from the Underworld door. It swam with its arms and legs back against its body, using its giant tail to cut through the water like a shark. Kai tensed as it aimed for him, ramming into him at a terrible speed.

The impact knocked him backwards in the water making him flail as he spun head over heels.

Surtr's minions. Bottom dwellers. The magic helped him gain stability and the fish-like creature tried to slam into him again, but was deflected as the magic shielded him. We have to hurry. Where there is one, there are bound to be more.

Kai dove toward the door, the edges of it visible in the dark water. The light poured from around it, and he knew that it close. He could feel the warmth of the Underworld sun cutting through the cold. Suddenly the magic was loud in his head.

SURTR COMES. YOUR FRIENDS HAVE DONE ALL THEY CAN.

Kai flinched as the magnified sound of the magic reverberated in his ears. He swam faster, harder, trying to reach the door. A swarm of the fish-man creatures surrounded him, and he struck out, the magic feeding his desire. He swam past as the creatures shrieked in agony at the electrical energy he wrapped them in. They fried in the water, the smell turning his stomach as the magic urged him on.

A tremor broke through the water, making Kai look back over his shoulder. He flinched. All he could see through the bubbling waves was a massive, unblinking, red eye. It stared at him, larger and more sinister than anything he'd ever seen. Its pupil was a dark void.

Hurry. The magic was swelling in Kai's chest. It was strong and powerful, but it recognized the threat from its ancient brother.

Kai turned from the eye unable to imagine what terrible beast it might belong to. He kicked his legs and swam as fast as he could toward the door. He felt the power of the giant Elder God's mouth before he saw it. He turned again, and all he could see was blackness threatening to engulf him.

He's going to eat us. Kai said to the magical nexus.

It is time. His magic replied.


Find out more about the worlds of Mythical Madness at

or purchase them at






Scavenger Hunt Hint:

The number for your clue will not be written in text, but it will be numeral. Tally all the numbers you find during the hunt and tally them together. This final number will be an entry in the Rafflecopter on the ENTER HERE page on the official website - http://acoascavengerhunt.weebly.com/enter-here.html

If you get stuck along the way because you of a broken link, please visit the


Did you find the number? 

If you did, then click this author's link Amy DeClerck to continue the Scavenger Hunt. 


Monday, February 15, 2016

Character Madness and Musings Blog prompt- How Artwork Affects my Stories

I feel like I've written this one before, but maybe that's because I send out blog prompts on tumblr, and have a board for fantasy prompts on Pinterest.




I've mentioned many times that everything is a blog prompt for me, but music and images have a special place in my heart. Here are a few reasons why.

The first is that I'm crazy about color and color blends. I think colors represent specific things to all of us, like yellow for the sun, orange for fire, red for blood, and blue for water. Color always speaks a variety of things to me.

The second is that if you send an image to a hundred storytellers, they will return to you a hundred different stories. This has always amazed me. I wish I had the chance to read some of the stories to the prompts I've sent out.

The third is the content. Abstracts make the mind reach for a story, A dragon blowing fire might be preparing the hearth for a maiden to cook a meal, or roasting it's next dinner. Mermaids might be playing with a sailor, or sending him to his death, only the storyteller knows until the pen is set to paper, or fingers dance on a keyboard.

My favorites are the strange one. I worked on writers prompt posts today, and this one really struck me.



.It's the curious quality of the book, which is held open on a specific page, and the dead tree in front of it, and then the mermaid/merman, that just dove into the water. I could make a list of questions from this image, leading to a great story in a variety of genres.

Many of the images I've used for prompts have come from Alpha coders. They aren't mine to keep, but most if not all are available for wallpaper, and to be viewed. I have a dragon novel for the future that came from viewing their images. There is great talent on the site. If you're curious, you can find it here. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the image that gave me the idea, but it was incredible. I'm seriously jealous of the talent of a great artist.

Artwork, like music, can also help set the mood for a scene or story you're writing.

I don't manage to get on the Alpha Coders site as much now that I'm on Pinterest, but I still like flipping through the images.

Check out my Fantasy Writing Prompts, board here if you're interested, or my tumblr prompt blog, Writer's Corner, here.

Have an awesome day everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What I love about Valentine's Day





Happy Valentine's Day Everyone.

I see so much negativity about this holiday. After all, lovers should be lovers all year long, right? I know this to be true, and the commercialization of it all is also true, but any holiday is what you make of it. You don't have to buy into the commercial side of things if you don't want to, How to avoid it? Here are a few simple thoughts ...

Grow your own flowers or special plant.
Make your own card.
You're going to make dinner anyway, so what's the problem with setting the table and digging out a few candles?
Most people dress up for a date on any day of the year, so why not this day?

I don't have an issue with the commercialization of Valentine's Day, but I like boxes of See's chocolates, teddy bears, and cards. I used to love creating romantic candlelight dinners, but I haven't done that in a long time. Realizing that led me through the things that have changed over the years and why.

I never needed a holiday to make a special dinner or celebration, I just needed the desire to do something special for the people I love.

Then why does the holiday have a place close to my heart? It goes back to a time when Valentine's Day wasn't really about a lover, but more about friendship; all the way back to grade school.

We always had a party at school on Valentine's Day. Parents, (unfortunately not mine), made cakes and other treats, and everyone gave out little cheap cards to all their classmates and friends. Some were even hand-made. I remember meticulously going through the boxes of cards at the store to make sure my cards would be special. Okay, so there is still a little commercialization involved, but they were pretty economical for the most part.

After I had I cards I spent days going over and choosing the right ones for the people on my list, and wrote a little note on the back, special for every single person in my class. It was the one day that no matter the color or religion, we were all friends having fun. We would never all be at the same party any other time of year, and I loved it.

Today Valentine's is simpler. My husband usually buys me flowers, (always what's leftover because he waits till the last minute, but it's the thought that counts), and he takes me out for a nice brunch or dinner. I've been bad about getting him gifts the last few years, but he doesn't seem to mind because he's quirky, and he knows I support those quirks all year. Still, I think a candlelight dinner will be in order later this year.

Have an awesome holiday everyone, even if it's as simple as holding someone close and telling them you love them.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blog Prompt - Share a character's backstory

I've been behind on my blog prompts for a while now. I know, it's a bad habit and not uncommon, but sometimes life unwittingly catches up with me. Here is one I started, but hadn't finished.

share a character's backstory

Colovere






This is tough because there are always a few spoilers involved. I decided to introduce, the wisdom character of my Reflections novel, Colovere.

Colovere is the King of unicorns, and his subjects love him, some of them enough to live in the magical world he's been confined to while his brother Petaire rules in his stead. He was tricked by the witch, Zylphia, who made him believe his missing mate is waiting for him in her world behind the mirror. He follows her, only to realize he's been deceived when he arrives.







He loves his mate Ophelia, with all his heart, but Zylphia gave him her horn, to prove her death. Now he is trapped, and rebuilding his life with his friends.

Tolor, a bear shifter


Selene, a female centaur

 And a herd of unicorn subjects that would follow him anywhere.

When he meets Juliette, she throws rocks at him, but she is a maiden, and he is drawn to her and her need of his help. He becomes her first friend, and much of Juliette's success in survival is based on his kindness and wisdom.

His favorite pastime's are spending time with Juliette, and playing with his herd in the meadow in front of Zylphia's cottage.

His biggest fear is the Witch Zylphia, bringing harm to those he loves.

His favorite food? The apples he and Juliette harvest when she climbs on his back.


A Teaser


A fairytale loved by children and adults alike