Writing

Kali's Tale – Book #4 of The DeChance Chronicles

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Today I completed the revisions on the fourth book in The DeChance Chronicles, Kali’s Tale.  This book is the one I started, way back at the beginning of November when Nanowrimo began.  I got de-railed twice.  The first time was when the flashback I’d planned in the beginning of the book got out of control and grew into a novella of it’s own, My Soul to Keep – which tells the origins of the character Donovan DeChance.  The second was when in early December our online store crashed, and the back-ups turned out to be no good.  I spent most of December rebuilding that..and meanwhile, I picked up a deadline.  Kali’s Tale will go live on Barnes & Noble’s online site for the Nook on the 6th of February.  It will be exclusive to the Nook for thirty days as part of a promotion they have – Nook First Look.  I am happy to say, the book will make the deadline, and the promotion will go on as scheduled.  Below is the author’s note from Kali’s Tale…just to get you excited!

Author’s Note

This will mark the fourth book in The DeChance Chronicles, which starts with the novel Heart of a Dragon, moves on to Vintage Soul (which was actually written first – long story for another time) and the novella My Soul to Keep which is the origin story for Donovan DeChance, and not to be missed by fans of the series.

This book also accomplishes something I have intended for some time.  In this volume, The DeChance Chronicles make a direct connection and crossover to another series I write for, O.C.L.T.  In that series, I’ve written the novel The Parting and the novella The Temple of Camazotz.  The characters Rebecca York and Geoffrey Bullfinch appear in this novel, as does Cletus J. Diggs, from my book The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature.  This book takes place largely in Old Mill, North Carolina, which is Cletus’ stomping grounds.  My books and my stories have long shared certain locations – San Valencez, Lavender, and Friendly California, Old Mlil, North Carolina, and Random Illinois.  If you enjoy this book, you should look up the titles above – you’ll find some old friends waiting.

If the story The Preacher’s Marsh – which involves a legend mentioned in this book appeals to you, that novella is also available.  In North Carolina I’ve found that all roads lead to highway 17, and in my writing, it seems the same may be true.

There will, with the grace of whatever power watches over me, be many more Donovan DeChance books in the future, and many more adventures for Cletus J. Diggs & and for the agents of O.C. L.T.  I hope you’ll join me.  I’m always ready to tell a story.

 

David Niall Wilson

Just off to the side of The Great Dismal Swamp

The 414,000 Words of November – A Nanowrimo Retrospective

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Nanowrimo Kitteh Finkz  Time To Writez Wiff Osmosis

I started participating in NANOWRIMO – Officially National Novel Writing Month, in 2004.  I don’t even want to think about everything that has happened to me since then, or to my career, because it would make my head explode, and nobody wants that.  I’m going to concentrate just on what I’ve accomplished during one 30 day period a month over the years.  More than 400,000 words of fiction.  Of the seven years I’ve completed the Nanowrimo challenge, I have completed six novels.  The seventh, Gideon’s Curse, is still on the hard drive, and as soon as I’m certain all of the timeline issues I created for myself have been dealt with, I will complete that one too.  This year, this evening, actually, I will add at least 50,000 more words to the pile, bringing the total to just under 465,000 words.  Approaching half a million, and most of them published.

I see a lot of writers – and some journalists who like to write about writing but haven’t done much to show they know what they are talking about – go on rampages against Nanowrimo.  Rushing ahead, they say, is against the spirit of the “craft”.  Not everyone should write a novel just because they can, etc.  I say to all of them…Meh.   This simple competition with no prize has helped me, year after year, to regain my focus, to produce finished products I’m proud of…and I wanted to take a moment to revisit those success stories.

 

2004: The Mote in Andrea’s Eye – entire novel completed in November…and sold later that same year to Gale / Five Star.  This book went through a hardcover, a trade paperback, and a large print edition with Five Star and is now a successful eBook – soon to be an unabridged audiobook. 

Critics said:  “Tugging heartstrings with the expertise of a master puppeteer, Wilson, a former naval technician, adds plenty of authentic touches but never overwhelms the reader with details. The clean prose, romance and fantasy elements, heart-pounding scenes of man against nature, and topical currency (thankfully not overplayed) will appeal to a wide variety of readers…” – Publisher’s Weekly

2005: Vintage Soul – which started as the first of the DeChance Chronicles and became Volume II in the digital rebirth.  Also sold the same year it was finished to Gale / Five Star.  This series is currenly one of the most popular things I write.  This is available as an eBook and as an unabridged audiobook narrated by Corey Snow.  

Critics said: “This clever urban fantasy is packed with solid writing and filled with crisp details. Wilson is a whiz at painting with words. Below is a description of a ritual gone very wrong when an inept practitioner fails to control the demon he has raised.” – Patricia’s Vampire Notes

2006: This is the yet-to-be-finished Gideon’s Curse, which follows two timelines – an undead uprising on a cotton plantation outside Old Mill, N

C in the 1950s / 1960s – and a preacher, persecuted for bringing his teachings to
the slaves of that same plantation just after the Civil War.   While this book  has yet to see print,  a novella has been carved from it’s bones – The Preacher’s Marsh, which HAS been published as an eBook, and was featured in my huge short story collection from Dark Regions Press, Ennui, & Other States of Madness.

The Critics haven’t said much about it yet….

2007: The Orffyreus Wheel – This is one of several aborted projects I worked on for a previous agent who never, in the end, could get excited about anything I wrote.  I wonder if she understands how close she came to killing my career?  Anyway…this is another twin-timeline story.  It covers the life of Johann Bessler, who invented a perpetual motion wheel in the 1700s, and his ancestor who inherits the secret, and a grim battle to provide the world

with free energy.  This is available as an eBook and an unabridged Audiobook.

Critics said: “With the Orffyreus Wheel, David combines the same effortless pace of a good tale as he does with Ancient Eyes, but also manages to interweave two distinct stories – both of which share the same breathless excitement and wonder of their central characters. ” – Reader Review – Amazon.com

2008: Hallowed Ground – written with Steven Savile.  This novel, out now in trade paperback and eBook, due soon in unabridged audio, narrated by the talented Joe Geoffrey, is one of the works I am most proud of in all the years of my writing career.  It is a good western, I think, complex and layered, and accessible on many levels.  I had a blast working on this with Steve, and it was even more fun as we did it over Nanowrimo and allowed folks to

read along – which I’ve done almost every year.  This book is just now gaining in popularity, and I have high hopes for it…

Critis said: “Steven Savile and David Niall Wilson have produced a fine entry in the burgeoning Weird Western genre. Elegantly written, bristling with action and drama, HALLOWED GROUND is intelligent, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining. Readers of both Westerns and horror novels shouldn’t miss it!” — James Reasoner, author of REDEMPTION, KANSAS

2009:  Heart of a Dragon – Book I of the DeChance Chronicles.  Born of a short story written a very long time ago, this is a tale of a young artist, an old Mexican Magician, bike gangs, and of course, Donovan DeChance.  I love writing the books in this series – like the characters, and the city of San Valencez that I’ve visited so many times in my work…This book, like Vintage Soul, is available in eBook and unabridged audiobook, narrated by Corey Snow, who will (I hope) remain the voice of the series.  Both books will be available this year in trade paperback.

Critics said:  “Set in and around the dark and brooding Barrio of San Valencez, this tale weaves mysticism and action with a decided Hispanic twist. From the very beginning, when the rival Dragon and Escorpiones clans fight in Santini Park, you know the tale has far more to it than meets the eye. What brings the tale together is its underlying themes of Honour, Loyalty, Courage and Dark Ambition.” – Reader Review – Amazon.com

This year, I started out doing the next Donovan DeChance novel, Kali’s Tale, which has Donovan and his lover Amethyst looking after the young pack of vampires from Vintage Soul as they journey to The Great Dismal Swamp in search of on of their creators – to destroy him.  He is, of course, more than they bargained for – and Donovan will have his hands full.  This novel is also the first direct link between the DeChance Chronicles, and the O.C.L.T. novel series.  There are cameo appearances from Geoffrey Bullfinch, of novella The Temple of Camazotz, and Rebecca York, from my novel The Parting.  Interestingly, this year’s novel was to include a short flashback that told the story of Donovan’s origins – and that blossomed into a 21k novella of it’s own…  Today I will put the cap on the 50,000 words for 2011 and will continue on to see how many I can get before the 30th…

This is my thank you to all the folks who encouraged me, Chris Baty (no longer in charge) at Nanowrimo who tempted me and then prodded me and even helped promote me as my novels became successful.  Trish, who loves me, my kids who support everything I do, my agent Bob Fleck who has been there through all the Nanowrimo years – my collaborator Steve, and all those of you who have bought and read my books.  To the naysayers of Nanowrimo, I again say – Meh.  I’d say this post speaks for itself.

Nanowrimo Kitteh  Iz All Writed out

-DNW

Donovan DeChance … Origins

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This year I started out Nanowrimo (Wordcount just over 20k for those keeping track) working on the next novel in the Donovan DeChance series, which was to be “Kali’s Tale,” the story of one of the young vampires in Vintage Soul setting off for a town near The Great Dismal Swamp to kill the one who created her.  Along the way, I decided I wanted a flashback for Donovan.  It would be, I said, the short story of how he became who, and what he is – a back-story filler for those who love that sort of thing.  I hit the right spot in the book, started the flashback, and danged if it didn’t spin out of control…

For one thing, I’m writing the flashback with no more of an outline than a brief synopsis.  This freed me up to add in a lot of details.  That turned what was to be a chapter, maybe two, into five, and then six.  I chose a familiar setting for the story – the western town of Rookwood, but before the days of Hallowed Ground.  In fact, SIlas Boone is a boy, as is the eight-fingered piano player McGraw.  There is still life and love and mystery in the town.  In Hallowed Ground it’s the dying husk of a settlement that’s purpose – supplying things to those traveling west – had left it all but a ghost town.  In 1842, it was very much alive.

I’ve answered a lot of questions.  Donovan’s age.  How he met Cleo, his familiar…why he does what he does, and how he discovered it…this has opened up a hundred years of adventures I can come back to, while maintaining the modern-day line of books simultaneously.

Kali’s Tale will likely not include this flashback.  It’s simply too long.  It will be either a short novel on it’s own, or a novelette, and it will be released before the new year.  Kali’s Tale I return to in a day or two, once this “flashback” that became a book is in the can.  I’ll leave you with a short excerpt…

The old wagon smelled of sweat, leather, cheap liquor, and a miasma of spices, herbs, and chemicals that would have driven a bloodhound crazy.  Donovan leaned back into a pile of old rags and tried to peer out through the crack between two of the wagon’s warped boards at the passing countryside.  He knew they were getting close.  Whenever they neared a town, or a settlement, Rathman picked up the pace.  The two old ponies scented fresh apples and hay, and the old man scented whiskey and women.  Donovan knew he would work long into the night, but hoped, in the end, it would mean a hot meal.  Sometimes, if he could keep his distance from Rathman and find an hour’s work sweeping, or scrubbing, or shoveling out a stable, he could earn a decent meal before the old man’s screeching, bullying voice dragged him back to the wagon.  At least it was something to hope for.

The town they expected to run up on next was called Rookwood.  Donovan had never seen the place, but Rathman remembered it from many years back.  Donovan hoped it was a lot of years, because the old fraud was seldom welcomed back to a place a second time if anyone remembered his previous visit, and it wasn’t easy to forget.  For one thing, the decrepit old wagon was painted over with brilliant, garish designs.

“Dr. Hugo Rathman, Healer, Mystic, and Clairvoyant” was painted dead center in paint so bright and so red that circling buzzards had mistaken it for blood more than once and spiraled down to have a closer look.  More than once Donovan had peered out into the driver’s seat of the wagon to be certain the carrion feeders weren’t after Rathman himself.  The old man could drink himself into a death-like stupor so deep that he seemed dead.

Finally they passed by the first small grouping of board and tar shacks.  Donovan caught sight of a think boy with wild hair and no shirt.  For just a second he’d have sworn the kid met his gaze, right through the boards.  A second later, the boy was off, flying barefoot across the desert toward town.  Apparently visitors weren’t common in Rookwood.  Donovan frowned.  The rarer they were, the more likely someone would remember Rathman.  It was possible that the old man hadn’t cheated anyone on his last visit, but that would make this a rare visit indeed.  At least three lawmen were watching out for the wagon because ill townsfolk had taken one or more of Rathman’s potions and either fallen deeper into their illness, or died outright – poisoned.

Whatever the situation, Rathman didn’t hesitate.  He aimed the wagon dead-center down the main road of the town, bumping through potholes and jarring Donovan’s teeth with each jouncing yard they progressed.  The wagon creaked and moaned, but it held together.  It always managed to hold together.  Like Rathman, it seemed there was no force on the road or in the desert that could put the final nail in its coffin.

“You ready, boy” Rathman grated, turning so that his unshaven face, wild dark hair and red-veined eyes glared back into the shadows.  There was no way he could see into the interior, but he still managed to stare directly into the particular shadows where Donovan rested.

“Yes sir,” Donovan said.

Rathman stared a moment longer, then nodded.   He turned back to the reins, steered around a corner a bit too quickly, nearly tilting the wagon up on two wheels, and a moment later they came to a halt.  Donovan rose, stepping up to the front of the wagon and peering out around the edge.

It was an alley between what looked to be a stable, and a taller wooden building that might have been a saloon or hotel.  Rathman dropped the reins, stood, and stretched, pressing his knuckles tightly into the lower half of his back.  He’d been sitting in the same position for nearly thirty miles, and Donovan knew it would take more than an hour for the stoop to leave him.

“I’m goin’ to see about getting the horses taken in,” he said.  “You get this wagon ready – hear?  We’ll be settin’ up in the morning, and there’s no time for delays.”

Rathman seemed to drop almost into a trance then, as if listening to a voice Donovan couldn’t hear.  Then he turned back.

“Put out the books, and the rheumatism tinctures.  Arrange some of the other cures behind.  Then get this place presentable and set up my table.  I believe the spirits might just speak to me here. There’s something in the air.”

Donovan thought that all there was in the air was dust.  He thought, very briefly, of his father, sickly and barely able to carry himself to work in a mine so dark and deep it swallowed men whole.  He thought of his mother, though he could barely remember her face.  He thought of the tiny room that had been his, the bed that had grown too short to contain his long, lanky legs, and he sighed.  At that moment, he’d have traded half his life to be back there, caring for his father – assuming the old man hadn’t passed on – and getting ready to take his own turn in the mines.

“Apprentice,” was the title he’d been granted so long ago.  “Assistant to a man of books and medicine.  A learned scholar with the ear of the spirits and the mind of a professor.  What it had boiled down to was the life of an indentured manservant.  He’d learned to read, but only by his own dogged effort, and stolen moments with Rathman’s precious books.  When he proved he could earn a dime or two by reading from the old tales to those who passed by, the good “doctor” had taken an interest and taught what he could between drunken binges and fits of curse-spewing malevolence.  He was obviously torn between the fear of teaching too much and having Donovan run off on his own, and the greedy desire for his apprentice to be able to shoulder a share of the burden of making their living.  It was also true that no listener had ever asked for their money back, or threatened to run Donovan out of town on a rail, and likely Rathman held that against him too.

Updates – it's About Time

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It’s been a really long time since I posted here.  I know this, because this blog posts on to my Amazon author’s page, and they sent me a note saying if I didn’t start updating soon they would deactivate it.  This is what happens when you diversify and spread out too far.  This has always been my personal bully-pulpit, and also the place I focused on updates to my own writing.  It will be that again.

Currently I’m novelizing KILLER GREEN – the first ever screenplay conceived on Twitter, posted as blog-posts, starring Twitter celebrities (and others) and then optioned right back there on Twitter.  It’s not produced yet, of course, but we all know how those things go.  It’s still “in the works,” and I’m ever hopeful.

In the tradition of this particular story, if you want to read along as I write it, I set up a blog.  The chapter posts are private, but all you have to do to read along is register and login.  I have fifteen chapters posted so far, and I’m well into the next one, so get on over and catch up at the KILLER GREEN READ-ALONG BLOG.

My novel MAELSTROM is due soon for Kindle and other eReaders. I have also recovered the trade paperback rights to this title, so it will be coming out from Crossroad Press in the next year. This, of course, will join the so far unspectacular sales of other trade paperbacks we’ve done…there was a lot of grumbling about books coming out digitally that you couldn’t buy in print.  I set up the print line and priced it about five dollars cheaper than anyone else doing it…and no one is ordering.  Not a great argument for the hardcopies, but we persevere.  So far from Crossroad Press you can get a number of books in print, including original novels from Aaron Rosenberg, Chet Williamson, myself and Steven Savile, as well as an original collection by Jo Graham.  If you buy these books straight from the Crossroad Press store, you will receive the eBook for free with your purchase.  Many are also available in audio (with more to come)

All of this, of course, is available through CROSSROAD PRESS and also on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My collection The Call of Distant Shores is getting some attention now, and my most recent novel is also available, The Parting, the first full-length book in the new O.C.L.T. series.

More specific updates to come, and I’ll be fleshing out the books pages.

-DNW

The Writing of the Novel Deep Blue

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The novel Deep Blue finds its origin in the novelette by the same name published in an anthology titled Strange Attraction.  In Strange Attraction, all the stories were inspired by the “Kinetic” Art of Lisa Snelling, each author choosing one of the characters on an intricately detailed Ferris wheel sculpture.  I was honored to be among authors such as Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe in presenting our separate visions of what lay buried behind her art.  From the images presented, I chose a harlequin, hanging by a noose from the bottom of one of the Ferris wheels seats.  I took the image, made it the wallpaper on my computer, printed it out and carried it around with me, and let it sink in.  I could have written any number of stories that would have sufficed, but somehow I knew there would be more to this work, and so I waited.

The publishers of the anthology, Vince and Leslie Harper, invited me to have dinner with them one night when my mundane job took me to Washington DC.  We met for Mexican food and went together to see the movie PI which, at the time, was newly released.  On the way to meet the Harpers, I walked down into a shadowed subway, and I was assaulted by some of the most haunting saxophone music I’ve ever heard.  It bordered the blues, walked down old jazz roads, and I never saw the musician.  That set the mood for what was to come.

I reached the restaurant without further incident, and we spent a pleasant hour scalding mouths and stomachs with jalapenos and washing them down with beer.  Then came the movie.  I won’t go into detail about PI, but I’ll say it’s a black and white film, very surreal, filled with symbolism, and it left me visually and emotionally stunned.  I parted company with Vince and his wife, found my way back to the subway and my hotel, and called it a night.

The next day, a friend of mine and I set out to visit The Holocaust Museum.  I have always wanted to see it, but I was not prepared for the intensity of the images, the displays, and the words I would find in that short hour visit.  I purchased a book of poetry written by the victims, and left with so much bottled up inside from those two days that I thought it would be the end of my sanity.

That night, I started to write.  I started to write about The Blues, and how deep they might really get.  I wrote about pain, not my pain, but the pain bottled up inside the world, as the pain had been bottled up inside me, and I wrote a way out.  That was Brandt, his guitar, and his blues.  The story, like the pain, refused to be bottled up in just the few lines of that novelette, and so I released it into the novel you now hold.

Everyone comes to their crossroads eventually – the defining moment of life.  As Old Wally, one of the novel’s main characters tells us – “Crossroads, or the crosshairs.”  Forward or back, but you can’t stay stagnant – that way lies madness.  I give you . . . Deep Blue.

PRINT BOOKS AT CROSSROAD PRESS

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We have been slowly and tentatively making our way into the world of print books at Crossroad Press.  I like a physical, page turning book as much as anyone, and though we are careful folks who want our business around for the long haul, we want to put some of those page-turning books into people’s hands at a reasonable price.  Here’s what we have so far

Not going to put descriptions here…click the links!

The Birth of the Dread Remora – US ORDERS INTERNATIONAL ORDERS

 

The Second Veil – By David Niall Wilson – Due July 15th 2011 US PREORDER / INTERNATIONAL PREORDER

Homegrown by Elizabeth Massie – US ORDERS / INTERNATIONAL ORDERS

The Ravens of Falkenau – by Jo Graham INTERNATIONAL ORDERS / US ORDERS

We have tons more on the way…including this last…a preorder for our very first hardcover novel – HALLOWED GROUND – by myself and Steven Savile.  You can preorder this also wat http://store.crossroadpress.com – there are several options including signed, international, and others…get your copy reserved now.

Lost Benjamin Franklin Limerick – to William Dawes

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For those following the Palin historical fiasco over Paul Revere’s ride, just a quick note. Paul Revere rode off got distracted, and was captured by the British … but he got all the credit… another guy, William Dawes, ALSO rode out yelling “The British are Coming” with a much different outcome…he actually completed the job. Such is the fickle finger of history. I was rustling about some old parchments and suddenly – I felt the presence of Benjamin Franklin…I grabbed my ball-point quill and began to scribble…

There once was a fellow named Dawes,
Who rode off on his horse for a cause.
But a guy named Revere
Hollered HEY! OVER HERE!
And made off with the fame and applause

BF (poorly channled by DNW)

Vanace & The Curly Stick -Free Fiction

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Zombie Unicorn drawing by KendellFace on Deviant ArtThis story exists because of and – thus – is dedicated to … in no  particular order – Brian Keene, Justine Musk, Rain Graves, Mari Adkins, Bailey Hunter and the rest of the Twitter Crowd who believe in rainbows and unicorns…and Zombies.  Enough said.

 

VANACE AND THE CURLY STICK

Free fiction

by David Niall Wilson

The sun was high in the sky, filtering down through the leaves to send light dancing over the leaves and dirt of the forest floor.  Vanace paid little attention to this, as he was busy keeping himself upright, having just awakened from far too little sleep and far too much wine the night before.  He had at least another mile to go before he’d reach his bed, and even the large, spiral-shafted walking stick he’d found along the way was failing to right his balance for more than a couple of steps.

It was an odd piece, and on any other day, he’d have stopped to examine it at length.  The tip was very sharp – so sharp, in fact, that it seemed as if it should break each time it struck the ground.  It did not. It buried itself a few inches, even when he accidently stuck it into the root of a tree, and it pulled free effortlessly.  In a forest prone to magic, this should have set off warning bells, but on this particular morning all warning bells would have done was make Vanace’s head hurt, so it was as well there was relative silence.

There had been other signs.  The clearing where he’d found the thing had been darker even than the lightless forest.  No moonlight had penetrated there.  He thought he remembered that there was a stone buried in the center of that clearing – a headstone?  Who could remember such things?  He’d nearly impaled himself on the walking stick in the dim half-light of morning.  Only dumb luck had brought his boot against the thing’s base and broken it free of the earth before he staggered onto it.

There was a rustle in the trees behind him, but at first Vanace was unaware of it.  There were others in the woods, there were always others in the woods.  Most of them were harmless, and almost all of them knew better than to get within spewing range of a drunk.

The sound behind him grew louder, and he was very suddenly engulfed in a cloud of horrifying stench.

“By the Gods,” he muttered.  “What in the five blazing blue levels of hell is THAT?”

Vanace plunged the tip of the walking stick into the loamy earth and used it to pivot back the way he’d come, leaning heavily on it for balance.  He peered into the shadows and squinted.  He was not sure whether he should hold his nose or keep both hands on the walking stick, and he was nearly certain that if the smell of whatever was following him continued, he’d be leaving a large quantity of used wine in the forest.

“Who’s there?” he said.

There was no answer, but a pair of flickering blue eyes watched him balefully from deep within a small copse of trees.  He leaned closer, but this served only to cost him in his balance.  Only an incredibly lucky half-spin around the walking stick, and dropping to one knee, saved him from falling face first.

The thing in the shadows stomped the earth.  Hard.  Leaves and dust flew, and at the back of his addled mind, Vanace felt the first stirrings of sobriety…and fear.

“I said, who is it?” he repeated, filling his voice with bluster he didn’t feel.  “I haven’t got time for games, and – by the blue fairy herself – you need a dunk in the river.  You’ll attract buzzards smelling like that.”

He regretted these last words as soon as he spoke them.  Whoever, or whatever, was there was not particularly friendly, and he was in an uncharacteristically bad condition for fighting, or running.  Possibly better to make nice and hope it would go on its way.

Branches parted, and something large pressed out into the open clearing.  At first he thought it was a large, black horse.  Then, as the shoulders came into view, and he caught the drooping, rotting flesh dangling from the left side of its jaw, Vanace found his feet and staggered back.

The dead thing still reminded him of a large black horse, though something was – wrong.  Ribs stuck out through ruined flesh on the sides of its chest.  Though the blue light flickered in its eyes, the sockets around that light were empty pits.  What might once have been a glorious mane hung in ugly patches.  The thing stood on legs more bone than flesh, decayed sinew and muscle hanging in strips.  Insects buzzed around it.

“Stay back,” Vanace said. He pulled the stick free of the ground and pointed the sharp end at the creature now stalking him, stepping back and trying to plant himself solidly.  He cursed inwardly as his legs refused to accept his order to balance properly.

And then he saw it.  Dead center in the thing’s forehead was a notch of bone. It protruded from the skull like a gnarled root, or a chipped fence post.  Something was missing.  In his hand, the long, spiraled stick suddenly felt oily – and wrong.  It grew hot to the touch, and he noticed for the first time how old it was, and how odd.  The thing stopped as he pointed the stick at it.  It pawed the earth and pulled it’s ruined lips back to reveal startlingly intact teeth.

The horn was magnificent, but Vanace had no chance to admire it.  As the thing grew closer, he found it increasingly difficult to keep his grip.  Without really knowing how he knew, he was certain that if he let go, it would be the last thing he ever did.  He gripped the horn with both hands and held it before him, keeping it aimed at the thing’s head.

“I didn’t know!” he cried.  “How in blazes could I know?  It was just sticking out of the ground…”

If the unicorn heard, or understood him, it gave no indication.  It snorted, and foul air rushed from its nostrils, shooting the shells of long-dead bugs into a cloud of debris.  It stomped its foot again, and Vanace felt sweat drip down the back of his tunic and trickle down his spine.

He took a step back, and the beast followed.  As it moved, shivering its flanks, debris and insects poured out holes in its hide.  The closer it drew to the horn, and to Vanace himself, the brighter the blue flames in its eyes blazed.

Vanace knew he should try to run.  It might catch him, but then, it might not.  It’s body was falling apart.  Something in the blue light drew him.  Instead of breaking for home, or trying to lead it into the sunlight, he took a step closer, and then another.  The horn had grown heavy, like a broadsword, and it was getting more and more difficult to keep his grip.  Struggling with every ounce of his strength, he fought the compulsion urging him forward.

It was futile. The closer he came to the thing, the heavier and hotter the horn grew.  The tip dipped, lowered, and as he came within a foot of the putrid, decayed thing’s face, it dropped the last foot and drove into the earth.  Vanace pressed the base of it forward, angling it toward the unicorn’s corpse.  It bowed its head, and, just as it seemed the horn would topple over and drop to the earth, the thing rammed its head into the horn.  The base fused with the broken knot on its head. The two did not come together cleanly.  It was skewed, pointing off at a broken angle, though solidly planted.

And in that instant, Vanace’s muscles were his own. He turned, waved his arms wildly to keep from falling, and staggered toward the edge of the clearing.  The unicorn blew another cloud of insect parts and dust and let loose a rattling, hissing sound that might have been the ghost of a scream.  Vanace reached the trees, just as the point of the horn pierced the flesh of his back and drove forward through his heart.  Still he tried to run, but though his feet found purchase, and his legs churned, the unicorn paced him, driving it’s horn deeper, and deeper, until at last, spent and broken, he felt the bit of those dead, bony teeth rip into his skin.  He tried to scream, but only a gurgle of blood and day-old wine rolled from his lips.

~ * ~

Katrina ran through the forest, searching for Vanace and muttering under her breath.  He’d been out late again, and she’d known he would not make it home, but now most of the day had passed, and she was worried. He’d never stayed gone so long. She followed the track of the stream, a shortcut to the tavern he frequented.  About halfway to her goal, she stopped still as stone.

In a clearing, across the stream, a unicorn stood, tall and handsome, black coat gleaming in the sun.  Its horn was long and spiraled, and oddly it shot out at an angle from the creature’s brow, rather than sitting straight.  It turned and started at her, and though the beauty of its visage drover her half mad with unfettered desire, she was unable to choke back a rising scream.

Dangling from that horn was a bit of cloth she knew very well.  It was the tunic she’d sewn patches onto only three days before.  It belonged to Vanace, and now, as the unicorn crossed the stream slowly, holding her with its gaze, she saw that it held something eles.

The thing watched her with her husband’s eyes…and it was hungry…

 

 

The DeChance Chronicles … an Introduction

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Now in digital, books I and II of The DeChance Chronicles.  For those who were around for the first iteration – Vintage Soul, which was originally the first book, is now Volume II, following Heart of a Dragon.  Chronologically, it’s the correct order, and a lot of the complaints I had about not developing Donovan and his supporting cast I think I answered in Heart of a Dragon...it seemed the proper shift.  Volume III – Kali’s Tale- will be written sometime in the next year, if I can keep my schedule properly aligned.

Anyway…here are short synopses of both books.  Heart of a Dragon is on sale from now until May 25th as I discuss it for my “Book of the Week” on my Official Facebook Page.  Vintage Soul has just been released at $2.99, also in digital.  Both are in production as audiobooks, and both will be in trade paperback by the end of the year.

Donovan DeChance is a collector of ancient manuscripts and books, a practicing mage, and a private investigator.

BOOK I – HEART OF A DRAGON – Also an Unabridged Audiobook Narrated by Corey Snow

When Anya Cabrera, a Voodoo Houngan in San Valencez California’s Barrio, tampers with the ceremony that draws the  Loa to possess the faithful, Donovan DeChance, book collector, mage, and private investigator is contacted immediately.  Donovan helps to maintain the balance of supernatural forces in the city – and that balance is in serious danger.

The Dragons, a local motorcycle gang, live under a shaky truce with a neighboring Hispanic gang, Los Escorpiones, who are now aligned with Anya. The two groups face off in a battle that becomes more than the Dragons expected. Los Escorpiones are faster than they should be, and stronger. When they are stabbed, or shot – they get back up and keep on fighting.
Old Martinez, a local sorcerer and medicine man who has helped maintain peace in the Barrio for longer than anyone else can remember stands with The Dragons.. A young man he has been slowly mentoring, Salvatore Domingo Sanchez, joins him. Salvatore, is an artist, and he dreams of dragons.  When Salvatore begins to paint the dragons from his dreams on the leather jackets of the Dragons of the Barrio, the balance begins to shift.
Can Donovan, his lover and partner Amethyst, Martinez and Salvatore find a way to stop Anya Cabrera from unleashing a demon army on San Valencez – or will their efforts release an even greater danger into the city? HEART OF A DRAGON is the story of an artist, ancient evil, dragons, voodoo and men. It is a story of courage, brotherhood, and other worlds.

BOOK II – VINTAGE SOUL

When, despite the finest in natural and supernatural security, a sexy and well-loved, three hundred year old lady vampire is kidnapped right out from under her lover’s nose, Donovan is called in to investigate.

He soon finds that there is much more to the case than a simple abduction when an unknown intruder invades his home and steals a very rare, very ancient manuscript. There will be no ransom for the kidnap victim, and if Donovan doesn’t prevent an ancient, forbidden ritual from reaching its culmination, far more than a single vampire’s undead existence will be at stake.

Calling on his lover and partner, Amethyst, and an odd assortment of contacts, informants, and connections, Donovan follows the ghostly trail of the kidnapper through a winding maze of intrigue-always a step behind-through magical battles, murders, and confrontations with a rogue band of young vampires intent on beating Donovan at his own game.

Vintage Soul is a dark urban supernatural mystery with a hint of romance. Set in an underground society, a city within the city of San Valencez, California, it opens portals to the unknown darkness that surrounds us. Fast-paced, strewn with clues, investigation, and magic, this is a book sure to slake the appetites of fans of mystery and the supernatural.

Follow the conversation about Heart of a Dragon this week on FACEBOOK.

The Not Quite Reverend & More – SALE!

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I’m having a sale, of sorts…an ongoing, cyclic promotion of my many, many books.  Over on Facebook, on the Official David Niall Wilson page, I’ve started talking about one book a week…what made me write it, inspirations, techniques, the history of where I was and what I was doing at the time – for the anthologies like Defining Moments it’s a sort of extended story-notes section.  Along with these promotions, I’m putting the books I talk about on sale for only .99 for a short time.  Right now you can get Defining Moments & On the Third Day for .99 through the 15th, and The Not Quite Right Reverend until the 20th.

The hope is I’ll pick up some new readers along the way, and that some of those getting the good deal will take a few moments to go to Amazon, B&N, and other places to leaves me a review, or stop by the Facebook page and talk about my work.  The two things about being a writer I enjoy the most (in this order) are people reading what I’ve written, and talking with people who’ve read what I’ve written…of course, the writing itself is a close third.

This week’s book is “The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature,” first published by Bad Moon Books.  You can hear all abou

t this one, or buy and read it now for .99 – OR – in this particular case, I’ve also put the unabridged Audiobook on sale – narrated by the amazing Mr. Joe Geoffrey – for only $9.99 – that’s a big savings, and he did a great job.

Here’s an audio sample to give you an idea: Sample of the Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus Audiobook

I hope you’ll all take some time to come by, see what’s going on, and join in on the discussion. Also, I’m editing the novel HALLOWED GROUND for publication soon, and writing another titled THE PARTING – so there’s plenty of variety…and 100 percent more sale.

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