Welcome to the blog tour for Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions. To those of you who are new to my blog, welcome to Slithers! I’m one of the authors featured in this work, and I’m exceptionally pleased and excited to steal a few moments of your time today.
If you are interested in seeing the complete blog tour schedule for Legends and Lore, check out this link to the Xchyler Publishing page or click the blog tour square above.
You’ve seen the cover, the rundown, and the book trailer here on Slithers. Now, it is with great delight that I present to you an excerpt of my story, “Peradventure.”
I would also like to give my shout-out review of the other stories featured in this volume, and invite you to become better acquainted with each of the authors through their bios, site links, and other works they have published with Xchyler. The X-team (as we call ourselves) has been a blast to work with, and we’ve all worked hard to bring these stories together for your reading pleasure.
Before you leave, be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway located at the bottom of this post!
Delilah stood rooted to the gritty mud floor of her hut with a mixture of awe and terror as a goliath of a creature with pointed, bat-like ears and glowing yellow orbs for eyes reached for her with a massive hand through the night’s darkness. That hand could have easily crushed her throat or broken her neck before she could think to scream. But she didn’t scream. And the giant, claw-like fingers merely stroked back the hair that had fallen into her face.
The creature’s skin was surprisingly silky, dark blue like the night’s sky just after sunset. A glowing blue vapor curled off his skin in pale wisps and illuminated his features. A single lock of black hair was tied in place at the top of his head that fell snarled and loose over his shoulder. He was bare-chested, wearing a pair of loose muslin trousers that gathered at his ankles. The jawbone of some large animal was pinned to his left side by a striped sash at his waist. He smelled like scorched sand, like fire and brimstone.
He smiled at Delilah. Though menacing to behold, the creature’s methods were beguiling. A part of Delilah still wanted to flee for her life, but she was inexplicably transfixed.
“Do I frighten you?” the creature asked. His voice was deep and unearthly. It seemed he could have churned the underworld with a single rumbling breath. Yet it was as gentle and silky to her ear as his touch was to her cheek.
Delilah knew that voice. She couldn’t deny it belonged to the mysterious man from the south who had been pursuing her the past three days. The man she’d been avoiding, yet unable to chase from her thoughts and dreams for the same three nights. In daylight, he had been a mere man. Just as massive. Just as ominous. But a man. Only a man.
“What are you?” she whispered, her voice trembling.
He took a step closer. “I am jinn,” he said. “By daylight, I take whatever form pleases me, be it a man or any other creature. By night, I take my demon form.”
“And your name?” She dreaded the answer he would give, her heart pounding in her chest.
“Among my kin, I am known as Afzal. Among men, I am called Samson.”
“Samson!” His words confirmed her fear, and she stumbled back into the water pots against the wall. She kicked over one of the vessels by mistake, and it shattered on the floor.
“It seems my reputation precedes me.” He flicked his wrist, and the base of the broken water pot righted itself. The clay shards flew back into place, leaving no seams or cracks. Water slurped back inside over the lip of the vessel.
Delilah clutched her chest and shuffled away a little farther from the pot in astonishment. “Have you come to curse me?”
To read more, get your own copy of the anthology here on Amazon!
For the benefit of my fellow authors in this anthology, this is a shout-out highlighting each story and what I loved most about them.
The Brother-Sister Fable by Alyson Grauer
“And the Mystery Winds began to blow…” As the title suggests, this delightful tale is told in fable-style, and would appeal to audiences both young and grown up. It is at once charming and a little creepy, with lovely milieu immersion in the forested mountains of a New Englander’s back yard, and creative depictions of the less natural creatures that live there who are desperate for a victim of their ethereal call to rule them when the seasons change. This is the sort of tale that would be fun to read around a campfire at a family reunion, or at a Halloween party with friends.
Charon’s Obol by. R. M. Ridley
This gritty suspense-mystery features a private detective who uses magic to help a young girl find her missing immortal parents—Plouton and Persephone. This story has plenty of action, an explosion, and, of course, magic. I enjoyed the adventure. This story piques my curiosity about Ridley’s White Dragon Black series, and the urban-magical universe this author has created.
Grail Days by A. F. Stewart
With immortal witches fighting over who’s life has the most drama, as well as the all-powerful magic of the Grail, “Grail Days” is whimsical and entertaining. I enjoyed the descriptions, particularly through Nimue’s comically exasperated point of view. Stewart has a wonderful way of conveying personality with words. The characters were quite amusing, and I enjoyed this little adventure.
Natural Order by Lance Schonberg
A weird yet satisfying tale, about two people who are kidnapped and discover they have something unusual in common with each other and their captor. What I like most about this story is that the bizarreness of what is going on kept me curious throughout. For this story, the questions raised at the end were as interesting as the mysteries solved. This story is a puzzle, mixed with suspense, and the fun is wrapping your head around the magic and meaning of the events.
Downward Mobility by M. K. Wiseman
“Did you actually think you could run? With an undelivered soul?” I loved the characters in this story. Amelia and Michael were endearing from the start, and I enjoyed following Amelia’s urgent antics to save her mortal lover’s soul from an undeserving fate. The outcome was lovely, with a nice little twist I wasn’t expecting at the end.
By Skyfall by Emma Michaels
“How beautifully…human.” This tale of sirens responsible for observing the human world above and overseeing the fate of parted souls in an underworld somewhere in the sea below was a combination of murder mystery, reunion, and redemption story for all the characters involved. I was intrigued by the details of how sirens in this story shift forms, their supernatural abilities, and a few other twists related to the people that the viewpoint character, Ari, meets in town.
Faelad by Sarah Hunter Hyatt
Many of the stories in the anthology depict magical transformations, including the pain and wonder of each. Faelad is centered on the magical transformation of not only a clan of Irish werewolves, but of an ancient goddess who cursed herself to live as a mortal, ignorant of the love she thought she’d lost. The transformation the latter strives for is difficult to obtain for a number of reasons, and watching protagonist Claire struggle to realize who she is and what power she has within her for instigating both war and peace in her world was a fascinating conflict.
Two Spoons by Danielle E. Shipley
This story…was freakishly disturbing to me. Like the viewpoint character describes, this is both a fairy tale and a horror story twisted in one. I liked the author’s voice and style to her storytelling. It brought the scenario of the fictional diner to life quite vividly. Shipley definitely has a way with creating that just-below-the-surface-there’s-something-really-creepy-going-on-here mood.
Alyson Grauer is a storyteller in multiple mediums, her two primary canvases being the stage and the page. On stage, she is often seen in the Chicago area, primarily at Piccolo Theatre, Plan 9 Burlesque, and the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Her nonfiction work has been published in the “Journal for Perinatal Education” for Lamaze International. Her short fiction can be found in Tales from the Archives (Volume 2) for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and in one other anthology from Xchyler Publishing, Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology. Alyson is a proud graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and hails originally from Milwaukee, WI. Her debut novel, On The Isle of Sound and Wonder, will be released in November 2014 from Xchyler Publishing.
Sarah Hunter Hyatt grew up outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. As a child, she kept notebooks of stories that she would share with her little sisters at bedtime. Now, an adult, her stories have matured but still occupy her thoughts (and notebooks). “Faelad” is Sarah’s second short story for Xchyler Publishing, her first being “Stunner” which appeared in A Dash of Madness: a Thriller Anthology. Along with writing, being a mom to three wonderful kids, and a wife to a patient husband, she also dabbles in graphic design.
Emma Michaels is a cover artist, blogger, and author of the Society of Feathers series. Her love of blogging started when she created a book blog in 2009 which gave her the courage to finally submit her own novels to publishers. Emma Michaels’ publications now include Owlet and Eyrie (Tribute Books), Holiday Magick Anthology (Spencer Hill Press), and Cirque d’Obscure Anthology, and Cogs in Time Anthology (Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly). To find out more stop by http://www.EmmaMichaels.com
R. M. Ridley lives in rural Ontario on a small homestead, raising a menagerie of animals, including a flock of sheep and a swarm of foul. He has been writing stories, both long and short, for three decades, the themes of which range from the gruesome to the fantastical. As an individual who suffers from severe bipolar disorder, Ridley is a strong believer in being open about mental health issues because myths should be kept to stories. Ridley’s first short story featuring Jonathan Alvey, “A Case for Custody,” appeared in Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology (2013), followed by Tomorrow Wendell, Book 1 of the White Dragon Black series (2014). He has two works slated for release in 2015, including Books, Bourbon, and Blondes, an anthology of White Dragon Black short stories, and another full length novel, Book 2 of the White Dragon Black series.
Through two wonderful mentored research experiences, Sarah E. Seeley had the opportunity to work with dead sauropods and ancient odonates while acquiring her undergraduate degree in geology from Brigham Young University. She hopes to study more dead things in the future and contribute to scientific discussions about what makes life on Earth so amazing. In the meantime, she explores the bright side of being human by writing dark fiction. Sarah’s independently published works include Maladaptive Bind and Blood Oath: An Orc Love Story. Another short story, “Driveless,” appears in “Leading Edge Magazine” Issue #66.
You can learn more about Sarah on her writing blog at www.SlithersOfThought.com.
In the middle of lecturing one of his children on the importance of following dreams, Lance began to wonder why and when he’d stopped following his. Gathering up a few salvageable shreds of unfinished stories, he began his first novel. He’s written several novels and many shorter works in the years since, and has had twenty or so stories see publication. At any given moment Lance is working on a novel and at least one short story—probably more—most of which fall into the broad buckets of science fiction or fantasy.
Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. . . . Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble.
Danielle blogs at www.EverOnWord.wordpress.com.
A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A.F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being dark fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she’s published novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry and nonfiction. Stewart’s first published work with Xchyler Publishing, “Our Man Fred,” appeared in Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology (2013).
Stewart is fond of good books, action movies, sword collecting, geeky things, comic books, and oil painting as a hobby. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.
M. K. Wiseman is a librarian who recently decided that it would be fun to try her hand at the creation of books instead of mere curation. A ‘method’ writer, she likes to first try out the worlds that she builds. This has, admittedly, led to some strange results. (For example, she once elicited funny looks at her daily coffee shop by adopting a British accent for one day. We’re all in trouble once she decides to write a space novel.) Wiseman’s first short story for Xchyler Publishing, “Clockwork Ballet,” appeared in Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology (2013).