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Supanove Sydney, upcoming releases, and a free story - the first part of The Alarming Appearance of An Absent Friend

About the Author

Writer of high fantasy and lawyer. Idealist and cynic. Contents explosive in presence of idiocy. Dragon lover.

Writing News, FREE Fiction and Barbarian Loot - March 2014

Welcome

OK, I've been slack - I'm going to try and be more consistent with the newsletter. Forgive me?
 

Writing News

Confronting the Demon

This fantasy novella is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo, as well as in paperback. Check out the details on my website to find the book in your preferred format. The book also includes short story A Magical Melody.

For lovers of Jacqueline Carey, Brent Weeks and Storm Constantine - fantasy with mystery, romance and a paranormal twist.

The powerful wizard, Alloran, lurks in the stinking muck of the back alleys of the city of Ehsan. Posing as a common labourer, he struggles to hide from his lover, his best friend, the authorities – and his past.

But beneath the garbage of the backstreets he discovers a new horror: a trail of gruesome bodies, gnawed on by demons, and left gift-wrapped for him to find. Someone is brutally murdering people from his past, and threatening to finish with his lover, Gisayne. What dark secret from Alloran's youth cripples his ability to fight back?

In a world where hellcats stalk the shadows, and a flaming demon lays waste to the citadel of the wizards, Alloran must risk losing himself to a powerful addiction, or abandon Gisayne to hell.

Stalking the Demon

The sequel to Confronting the Demon. I'm expecting to write the first draft of this in May and aiming to release it around August.

In the Company of the Dead

In the game of gods, the stake is more than just your life - my latest work. I'm about halfway through what I expect to be a 100,000 epic fantasy/fantasy romance novel.I'm currently featuring excerpts of my blog, Flight of the Dragon, as part of my Monday Morsel feature.

A Dilemma of Twins

This was an idea I had midway through In the Company of the Dead and I simply had to stop and write it. It's still in first draft, but I'm hoping to finish it after I'm done with the first draft of In the Company of the Dead. I haven't tried to place a piece with a paid market for some time. I might give this one a go. If you've read A Magical Melody, this story is set in the same world.

A to Z Blogging Challenge

I’ll be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year. If you’re not familiar with the challenge, participants post 26 blogs over the course of the month of April – one for each day of the month except Sundays, each inspired by a consecutive letter of the alphabet. I’ll be featuring at least one six-part piece of fiction, and possibly a second, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Supanova

I’ll be attending Supanova, running in Sydney on June 15 – 16. If you’re in Sydney and you’d like a signed copy of Confronting the Demon, be sure to drop by the stand. There’ll be some free fiction, an as-yet-unseen extract from Stalking the Demon, and other goodies.
 

Short Fiction - The Alarming Appearance of an Absent Friend

        A siren screeched in the bowels of the prison. Colonel Drada furrowed his aching forehead against the sound. The prison guard escorting him looked to the steel door standing a few yards ahead and back towards the stairs spiralling down into the dungeon depths. 
       ‘You can find your way out, sir? I really should….’ The guard glanced towards the stairs again and shuffled his feet.
       Drada flicked thick-knuckled fingers. ‘Go, man. The door’s right there and I’ve been this way dozens of times. I’m sure I’ll be fine.’
       The guard snapped off a hasty salute and disappeared into the dank recesses of the dungeon. The flames of the sparse torches flickered in the breeze of his passing.
       The siren screeched unabated in the distance. Drada combed fingers through his hair, wrinkling his nose at the greying black strands, and stepped towards the door.
       ‘Psst!’ A hand beckoned from a door to his left, cracked barely wide enough to reveal a bloodshot blue eye. The crack widened, exposing a hooked nose and creased face.  
       Drada hesitated. With one finger, he flicked at the gold braid on his opposite sleeve. Noticing, he forced both hands to his sides, jerking the jacket of his uniform straight and squaring his shoulders militantly. ‘Gan?      Sergeant Gan?’
       ‘Shhh! Don’t be telling everyone I’m here.’
       ‘I haven’t seen you in months.’
       ‘We’re not allowed to see anyone.’ The eye rolled wildly in each direction.
       'Not allowed?' Drada glanced up and down the hall; there was no one to see. Drawn on by fascination, he drifted closer to the door and its eye. ‘By whom? What’s the siren?’
       ‘Keep your voice down. It’s the escaped prisoner alert.’ Gan waved his hands as Drada reached for his sword, and swung the door open wider. He wore chain mail over the prison guard uniform, but no weapons hung from his belt. ‘There’s no escaped prisoner. I set it off to get you alone.’  
       Drada raised his eyebrows, but Gan pulled him through the door heedlessly. Closing the door, he leaned against the wood, barrel chest rising and falling rapidly. In another man, Drada would have said it was panic, but Gan didn’t panic. Drada looked closer. Gan’s skin was grey with exhaustion, his hair lank and tangled; more white now than iron-grey. He had aged years in the months since Drada saw him last.
       ‘What’s going on?’ Drada firmed his voice into that of a colonel expecting an answer and no longer that of a man talking to a long-absent friend. In the distance, the siren cut off mid-shriek. Drada shivered in the sudden, ominous silence. 
       ‘People are disappearing. Prisoners, mostly. Some guards. The ones who ask the wrong questions.’ Gan’s blue eyes flickered left, right, and left again.
       They stood in a long, unlit service tunnel. Dust and debris littered the floor. It was dark, except for a solitary candle fixed in a puddle of melted wax on the floor.
       ‘Amlay. Sawsey. Randlin.’ He rattled off a list of prisoners.
       Drada knew some of the names. Others were unknown to him. ‘Sawsey was transferred. I signed the papers myself.’
       ‘Of course, there has to be a legitimate reason for absent prisoners. But he didn’t get on the wagon; I was there. There’ll be an ‘accident’ en route to the new prison, a body provided, and he’ll be marked down as dead on arrival. He might be dead, but it weren’t en route.’
      Drada’s mouth worked but no words came. Gan was a stalwart soldier, a man formerly of his own command, reliable to a fault, but this…. If it were true, it must encompass a huge number of people, not only here, but on the transport wagons, in other cities... too many to tally. ‘This is... a lot to take in.’
      Gan thrust his face into Drada’s, his breath hot on the colonel’s skin.  'I can show you. I know where the prisoners go.  I know what they do with them.’ A shudder wracked his big frame, and a haunted look flashed through his eyes. ‘I wish to the gods I didn’t.’
 

Barbarian Loot

Award-winning Collector's Edition of Wheel of Time Playing Cards (2 Decks)

I love The Wheel of Time. I've been reading it since I was eleven, and I've lost track of how many times I've read the series. Even after 20 years, it's still my favourite series.  Now these The Wheel of Time® Playing Cards bring 60 of the most well-known characters to life through the breathtaking art of Ariel Burgess. I think I want them!

Complete in a double deck box, with a character list and two individually wrapped 54-card decks. Each card features a different character or characters from the series.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Mayo Clinic to fund research on Amyloidosis, the rare blood disease that claimed Robert Jordan’s life in 2007.

The cards are available for $38.00 from Ta'veren Tees.




 
Copyright © 2014 Ciara Ballintyne, All rights reserved.