Category: fantasy


Langston grimly watched the sad-looking clowns go through their routines. The dire moon, with its grey valleys and thin ponds of aquamarine goo, had enough difficulties, the inhabitants eking out an existence from mined stones and subsisting on common dehydrated fruits and flat slabs of compressed meat simulations, without being reminded of the drearier side of life by downbeat performances.

Moon Clown:

Continued: The Clowns of the Moon

Opening of my novel I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter:

Devin stared through the large plate glass window of the Escamonde Hotel at the dark branches of the walnut tree.  In between two of the large, lower branches there was a wispy, white piece of fabric.  Or at least, there had been one a second before.  He blinked, and saw the fabric again.  But then he jerked away and yelped.

A small stream from the cup of caramel latte had burned his hand.  The paper cup lay on the floor where he’d dropped it, a pool of overpriced, precious sugary brown liquid pouring out around it.  “Shit,” he muttered.

“Isn’t that the fourth latte you dropped this week?” Ramona was asking in all seriousness, without the slightest trace of humor.  She had somehow instantly turned up at Devin’s side, where he hadn’t realized she was standing, and was looking darkly at the mess spreading on the floor.

Devin quickly wiped the hot latte drippings from his hands on a white towel and began soaking up the remains of the failed beverage with all the recycled napkins and paper towels in the vicinity.  He muttered some insincere apologies to Ramona and the elderly lady tourist who looked on peevishly from the other side of the counter, waiting impatiently for her indulgent drink.

“I’ll get that for you,” Ramona told the frail lady without enthusiasm.  She went into action on the latte, with her patented, sullenly slow-motion technique.

“I want whip cream,” chirped the lady, repeating her earlier instruction.  She was clearly perturbed at having her carefully planned Arcata idyll interrupted by a teenage barista’s incompetence and was eager to re-join her equally elderly lady friends at one of the cafe’s little wooden tables covered with one of the hotel’s quaint, handmade tablecloths so they could plan out their birding or antiquing adventures for the day.

“Yeah,” said Devin.  He’d popped back up, a soggy towel in one hand.  As Ramona plunked the latte on the counter, he grabbed a nearby canister and shot onto it an unceremonious glob of lopsided whip cream, giving the latte a final, disorderly glop of indignity.  The tourist lowered her white eyebrows darkly but took the cup and retreated without another word before some other injury could be visited on her beverage.

Read more: http://bit.ly/NjiFnJ wattpad_finalA

Gorman Fowley approached the check-in counter with a wry, minor smile.  Too much time had gone by since he’d flown out of Evil International Airport.

The over-rouged, middle-aged brunette at the counter narrowed her eyes, accented with mint green eye shadow.  She gave a quirk of recognition with her mouth.  “Fowley.  Haven’t flown you out in a while.”  Her voice was a croaky instrument, like that of a toad from a sparse woodland.

Fowley plopped his luggage, a large rectangular item in dried-blood red, onto the scale.  “I’ve been missing it, Runa.  Sitting in my apartment thinking of all those destinations.”  Fowley had an unruly head of brown hair that poked out in varied directions and wore a crumpled, thrift store suit in a shade somewhere between light brown and salmon.  His face was leathery, with the over-tanned tone of a man who spent many idle days on corrupt beaches.

“The Lost Isle of the Decapitated Children,” Runa said wistfully.

“The Canyon of Sacrificial Goats.”

“Bloated Crone Mountain,” continued Runa, glancing toward the huge graphic poster on the wall.

“Archfiend Archipelago,” countered Fowley.

Runa put an abrupt end to the dreamy recitation.  “What your final destination?”  Her fingernails, bathed in dark pomegranate polish, were poised to strike the dusty keyboard.

“Imp Town,” said Fowley triumphantly.

Continued: http://bit.ly/15U8PAt

In an irregular galaxy,

hunkered behind a sprawling nebula,

Controlling a system of stars numbering

A total difficult to count,

The relatively tireless, foolhardy officers of

Space Command voyage between worlds,

Exploring, researching, and ferreting out

Vulnerable potential colonial outposts.

These are the accounts of some of their less

Successful expeditions…

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The Planet of the Orange Oceans

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The Planet of the Belligerent Monks

The Planet of the Dead Wombats

The Planet of the Unstoppable Vines

The Planet of the Visible Robots

The Planet of the Invisible Robots

The Planet of the Ravenous Snails

The Planet of the Telepathic Jellyfish

The Planet of the Frozen Spiders

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Here’s one of your favorite scenes from my novel ‘House of Prension’.  Follow the link for the complete novel:

Not Jabbs  (From ‘House of Prension’, Chapter 14)

Some bolder Jabbs showed themselves the next morning: they’d watched the foreigners with trepidation during the Fog Hour from the safety of rocky nooks.  As the Prensioners stirred, the Jabbs apprehensively continued a vigil.  Pinkface slyly noted their surveillance as he rose, quietly shifted into a sitting position and made traditional placating gestures.  Aulic pointed out the dried eggplant squares, making motions he hoped would be interpreted as an invitation to try a sample.

After long minutes of this face-off, a few Jabbs cautiously skittered forward, offering stock greeting phrases.  Despite their strange appearance, they were quite fluent in Mervan.  A broad-faced specimen, an apparent leader, skittered about at the group’s front staring at the newcomers with the same motionless gaze of the others.  Pinkface made a diplomatic overture.

“Jabbs, we come with peaceful intent, almost as if we are people who might want befriend you.”  He coughed uneasily.  “Although that is certainly not strictly necessary.”

            The lead Jabb moved his head from side to side, which involved moving his entire body since the parts were continuous, appraising the visitors.

“You are not Jabbs,” he said at last.  His voice had the characteristic Jabb squealing sound of rocks scraping against a metallic surface. 

            “No, of course we’re not Jabbs,” said the Elder impatiently.  “Do we look like Jabbs?”

            Aulic rested a calming hand on Pinkface’s arm.  “We’re from a different tribe.”

            “A different tribe of Jabbs?” asked the Jabb leader.

            “No, we’re from…”

            “A tribe of people across the desert,” inserted Pinkface.

            “Perhaps a long lost Jabb tribe that has changed in appearance and manner so much as to be an entirely strange looking group of beings . . .” the Jabb leader began.

            “No, we actually have nothing at all to do with Jabbs,” Pinkface insisted.

            “Then you should not be here,” the Jabb reasoned.

            “We’re visiting,” said Aulic, before Pinkface could make an insult.

            “I see.”  The leader folded two appendages.  “Do you plan to poke in Jabb tunnels, find a luscious one for your own?  Excavate grub worms, uninvited?”

            “Absolutely not,” Pinkface assured him.

            “Then we can relent in our vigilance.  We invite you for grubs.”

            “I should remind you we’re not Jabbs,” Pinkface repeated.  “I cannot make that point too strongly.  Your grubs may be an inappropriate nutrition form for us.”

            The Jabb kicked with his stubby legs, as though acknowledging the Elder.  “I have eyes in my head,” he said.

Arvin squinted.  “Is he being rude?” he whispered to Pinkface.

Pinkface spoke out of the side of his compressed mouth.  “Not at all.  It’s a Jabb trait to make remarks on utterly obvious subjects.  It’s a recurrent meditative practice, a way to maintain their attachment to reality.”

The Jabb went on, gesturing at the desert.  “The rocks are dry today.  Dry for everyone.” 

Pinkface winced.  The Jabb speech tones grated on his ears like the skull of a long-dead hum squirrel scraping repeatedly on a jagged granite escarpment. 

“We spread our appendages to welcome you.”  The Jabb wiggled his upper limbs and extended them, stepping closer to Pinkface.

            “That’s a wonderful gesture, but we must move on speedily . . .”

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Here’s the opening of my fantasy novel ‘House of Prension’.  You can read more at Scribd.com by following the link below.

A top review from Amazon.com wrote: 

“In this story a teenage boy of royalty is facing a maturity ritual and dealing with other royal protocol he is not really into while under the constant scrutiny of his older brother and throne heir. The author creates a whole new world with different classes of people and rituals. Yet with the style of writing the author makes everything so real, the reader has no problem imagining the world that has been created on the page. A lot of times in fantasy or Sci-Fi stories I tend to get lost at the beginning of the book, trying to figure out what’s what and who’s who in the author’s world. It usually takes me a few chapters to familiarize myself with the new world and its people. I didn’t have a problem at all following this author or keeping up with his imagination. Aulic is an interesting lead character and his life in Prension is intriguing. The author sets the stage for a wonderful novel sure to entertain and delight. In a few short pages I was deeply invested in the characters and story. The story flows smoothly and this is a book I would definitely buy.” — Amazon Top Reviewer

 

            Aulic Prension lay still on the courtyard bench against the backdrop of a peach-painted wall concentrating intently on thoughts of an obese waxen figure.  The figure was a pale white one, the unattractive white of sour milk, and around its base misshapen protuberances, small dried drippings and streams of wax, stood out in bumpy relief. 

The Grey Hour had settled in on Prension Town and the dwindling orange light was muted and meditative.  There was an anticipatory air before the lavish Autumn Girl dance set to begin in a few hours.  The moments before a dance were an odd time, perhaps, for a session of Dream Hand practice, but Corben Corsaire, the most respected Prension Dream Hand, was determined to squeeze in another session before Aulic’s Maturity Ritual.   

Even though he was intent on his teaching, Corben, an occasional painter with a remarkable eye for color, couldn’t help noticing that the tan-brown streaks in Aulic’s hair complemented the peach wall.  His concentrating face with its closed eyes was rendered especially striking by the distinct strip of scalp showing down the middle part of his hair.  It was an unusual but noble style, this scalp-strip, forbidden to all Prensioners except members of the royal family.  On Aulic, the strip worked unusually well, since his hair naturally had a center part.  On others, the strip was less felicitious.  His mother, Empress Landau, never looked quite right with it dividing her mounds of curling brown and blonde hair, and so she often favored an empresses’ headdress. 

“You must think of the Pudding Dinner Ghost legend.  That’s the kind of lumpishness and bumpy waxiness I’m imagining.”  Corben could keep the desired avatar firmly in mind even with his eyes open, a talent possessed in full only by the most masterful Dream Hands.  For Corben, it was as though the Pudding Dinner Ghost was vividly superimposed on the image of his pupil.

Under Corben’s tutelage, Aulic was attempting to envision this same waxwork.  If he summoned the Ghost to his mind in a full-fledged form, he’d be that much closer to mastering the creation of his own Dream Avatar. 

But Aulic found it difficult to focus on figure contemplation as dance tunes trickled from the windows of the ballroom where poko musicians were rehearsing.  The same dances were brought out each year to the Autumn Girl ball-goers’ predictable delight.  Though he tried to form the Ghost Corben had sculpted a few days before, Aulic’s attention was constantly drawn away by the interminable bolka rhythm.  Hearing the thudding of mallets on lizard skins, he could picture only the clicking of reveler’s shoes on the floor, the rhythmic signals of men’s extended arms, their festive finger clicks, and the circle of maidenly grins, moving in a blurry rotation. 

The annual ball extended back in time even before Dovan’s reign.  Girls would spend all summer anticipating the chance to demonstrate elegant heirloom gowns.  For centuries the ritual had endured, with the same bolkas and spanilles trotted out, the same baked mammals trussed up and smothered with sweetened fruit sauce, and the same spiced ciders and weed brews dispensed by poko attendants. 

            With such distractions rampant, Corben was not hopeful about the session’s outcome.  He knew Aulic possessed an agile mind and a memory attracted to facts and detail.  But his interest in dream arts was minimal and he was rarely engaged in creative tasks.  Corben felt his sensibility was analytical, one to cast an evaluating gaze over other’s creations.  It was not unusual for a Prension to be meditative, but few were so skeptical in their mindset.  Many courtiers found Aulic’s frequent acerbic comments unsettling, his spiked observations annoying, but Corben maintained an indulgent smile at his remarks.  Perhaps his mystical leanings, his devotion to the oft-disdained Dream Hand rites, encouraged him to empathize with the young rucklen.

Aulic perversely kept seeing an old emperor’s rigid face rather than Corben’s wax figure.  He was a Frissen Emperor Aulic had read of in the dense Brown Tomes that covered entire walls of the court library.  The emperor’s small, unattractive head came unbidden into his thoughts, its features pinched and squinted, his mouth ranting with ever increasing speed about insufficiently compliant neighbors on the Frissen borders.  Aulic recognized the head as that of Tor Molk, with his well-known nose appearing as small and squeezed as it was in the anecdotes, his eyes a drippy shade of moldy green and his hair plastered with sweat onto his short forehead.

Somehow this unpleasant head appeared of its own volition with a vividness Aulic never experienced with Corben’s inert figures.  With each effort he made to refocus, Molk’s visage grew denser and more insistent.   Just as the head’s jabbering reached a physically impossible rate, there was a clatter and intrusion of outside voices. 

A crowd had suddenly appeared in the courtyard.  A break had been called in the ball preparations and the toiling pokos and half-girls had quickly spilled outside, making dripping comments and laughing dull, half-girl laughs.  Concentration would be impossible with the crowd clustering in noisy batches.

“We should have gone to my wax hut!” Corben declaimed in frustration. 

 

Continue the chapter at the link below or buy on Kindle at Amazon!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/21149397/House-of-Prension-Chapter-One

House of Prension on Kindle