Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jericho Effect Chapter 1 Preview and October News

Okay the preview for the Jericho Effect is now live! Unfortunately, due to the character limit on it is only a preview of the 1st chapter and does not include chapter 2 which introduces the werewolf pack and the other main character, Wikeon. Still, chapter 1 introduces the lead female, Crystal, so feel free to read it and leave some feedback by clicking this link: Jericho Effect preview.

Please read and leave comments.

I'm entering a number of short story contests at the end of the year. Most of the stories are single Quests' episodes. I will post the names of any contests I place in here on the blog.

Please note that I am participating in NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month) this November with the goal of writing 50,000 words by the end of the month. For this reason I won't be blogging much if at all in November. If you're interested, I'm sure there are enough other interesting posts on this site to keep you busy until I get back to blogging so feel free to explore. ;) Have a fun, spooky Halloween and watch out for werewolves!


I was really disappointed when I learned that because of the word count, the on-line preview of the Jericho Effect doesn't make it to the part where I introduce the character, Wikeon. For that reason I decided to post a couple scenes from an early draft of the book introducing you to Wikeon here on the blog. You may choose to read these scenes either before or after reading the preview. Wolfgang is the leader of the werewolf pack and Fang is his brother and second in command. When the scene opens Fang has gone into a human village to steal supplies for the pack.

Fang was gone for a long time. As the sun sank lower in the west Wolfgang paced nervously. Finally a howl went up from one of the guards, signifying Fang’s return. Wolfgang heaved a sigh of relief as he walked to meet his brother.

Most of the pack ran to greet Fang. A murmur of surprise swept through the small crowd, and as they moved away, Wolfgang saw why. Fang was in his wolf form. On his back rode a small, dark skinned, ragged human boy who looked about seven years old. The boy raised a grubby hand and pushed dirty locks of shaggy black hair off his forehead revealing warm brown eyes. His other hand rested on a leather bag draped over Fang’s shoulder. The bag was filled with stolen items.

“What’s this?” Wolfgang demanded fiercely.

“The solution to one of our problems,” Fang replied. “The humans should be a little more willing to trust their own kind. The boy will be our thief.”

“Have you lost your mind?!” Wolfgang bellowed. “Do you seriously think the humans will forgive us for stealing one of their children?”

“He’s one of those orphans who live on the street,” said Fang, flexing his shoulders.

The boy slid off his back and stood, looking frightened and hugging the bag of Fang’s loot to his chest.

“I did him a favor,” Fang continued. “He would have starved living in the alley where I found him. Believe me, no one is going to miss him. Now we won’t have to put ourselves in danger by entering the villages. We’ll send him. As long as they don’t discover he’s a thief, he should be in no danger. Besides, since he’s one of them, he’ll be able to stay longer in the settlements and bring back more supplies than any of us ever could.”

“And what have you offered him in return?”

“A home with the pack and food.”

Wolfgang turned to the rest of the pack and asked, “What do all of you think of this?”

There was a mixed response. Some cried, “We don’t want a human in our camp, take him back where you found him!”

The boy moved closer to Fang.

Others said, “It’s a great idea. We won’t have to put ourselves in danger anymore, we’ll send a human! He can make up for the wrongs of his race by working for us.”

Wolfgang faced the boy.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Wikeon,” the boy replied.

“And Wikeon, are you prepared to earn your keep?”

“Yes sir, I am,” said Wikeon.

He met Wolfgang’s eyes with a look of determination. Wolfgang had to give him some credit for this, since he was not sure he would be so brave in Wikeon’s place.

Finally Wolfgang said, “Welcome to the pack.”

The other werewolves howled their welcome, Wikeon smiled timidly, and Fang whispered to Wolfgang, “You won’t be sorry.”

“I better not be!” Wolfgang snapped.

A few days later when the pack was again camped near a human village Fang brought Wikeon to a wooded valley from which they could see the settlement.

“All right, Wikeon,” said Fang. “It’s time for you to prove your worth. We need clothes for two men, three women, and a child. We could also use some more blankets and coats since winter’s coming. Don’t even bother returning without these things. I’ll wait for you here. When you get back I’ll check to make sure you got what we need. Now get going.”

“Right,” said Wikeon trying to match Fang’s serious look. “Should I get any food?”

Fang thought for a minute then answered, “Get some bread, fruit and vegetables if you can manage it. Don’t bother with meat. We hunt for that.”

“Okay,” said Wikeon.

He turned and ran toward the village while Fang melted into the shadows of the trees. Wikeon returned a few hours later wearing a large brown coat which was several sizes too big for him and munching on a plum. Fang stepped out from behind a pine tree and demanded, “Well, did you get everything?”

Holding the plum with his teeth, Wikeon unbuttoned the coat, pulled out a canvas sack and dumped it at Fang’s feet. He also emptied the pockets of the coat, shoving a few more plums, some apples, a zucchini and a cucumber into Fang’s arms. He then flopped down on the pine needle covered ground, finished his plum and tossed the pit at the trunk of a tree. While Fang set down the fruits and vegetables and sorted through the bag, Wikeon laced his fingers behind his head and lay back staring at the clouds skidding past behind the branches overhead.

After a minute Wikeon said, “It’s all there. I got everything you asked for and a little extra. Plus I got these to help me next time.”

He sat up, reached into an inner pocket of the coat and withdrew a few trade coins which could be used as currency in any of the four human kingdoms of Irowasa. Fang raised an eyebrow.

“How did you get those?” the werewolf asked.

Wikeon shrugged and said, “Some people don’t watch their pockets carefully enough.”

Fang smiled and replied, “I think we’ll keep you.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crystal Finds Sinister Dealings in Fairy Wood (Jericho Effect scene)

Below is a scene from the middle of my YA fantasy novel, The Jericho Effect. Before you read it let me give you a little background so you understand what's happening a bit better. Crystal is an enchantress in her twenties who became involved in the activities of a werewolf pack when she fell in love with the warlock, (male witch) Wikeon who was raised by the werewolves. The pack is led by a werewolf named Wolfgang and his brother Fang. At this point in the story Crystal is in hiding with a werewolf girl named Hunet, who was thrown out of the pack when she refused to kill a human. Crystal has sworn to protect Hunet from Wolfgang's anger. Before the scene opens Crystal heard the pack howling near their hiding place and used a seeing stone to discover that the werewolves were meeting someone in an abandoned barn on the edge of the woods. Leaving Hunet behind, Crystal made her way into the forest to investigate...

The moon hung just above the highest hills when Crystal reached the werewolves’ meeting spot. The old wooden barn was just visible through the first rows of trees forming the very edge of Fairy Wood. The barn’s roof sagged dangerously low. The pack filed through the gaping hole left by the broken door. Crystal was about to follow them when a sudden gust of wind hit her back and set the leaves rustling. She turned in time to see Wikeon glide over her head and navigate his way between the trees to land a few feet in front of where she stood.

Crystal moved behind a tree trunk before he saw her but couldn’t help glancing around it to get a better look at him. Wikeon looked tired; there were deep shadowy circles under his eyes from lack of sleep. Some trouble Crystal could only guess at made his shoulders sag. Crystal pressed herself closer to the peeling bark as Wikeon turned in her direction. He bent and hid his broomstick beneath the low hanging branches of a bush then turned to face the barn. He tensed visibly as he stared at it. Careful not to make a sound, Crystal moved around the side of the tree until she could once again make out Wikeon’s face in the moonlight. Strands of limp hair clung to his sweaty forehead but they were not enough to hide the fear in his eyes. Whatever was happening in the barn, Wikeon was afraid to face it. Part of Crystal wanted to run to him, fling her arms around him and comfort him. She suppressed this feeling for she would never learn anything that way.

Wikeon sighed and squared his shoulders, steeling himself for what was to come. Then he walked into the menacing structure. With a quick glance at the woods around her to be no one was watching, Crystal dashed forward into the shadows of the ruined door. She knelt to the left of the opening and leaned forward until her ear nearly brushed the doorframe. From there she could see and hear the entire scene playing out inside the abandoned building.

The werewolf pack stood on the hard dirt floor illuminated by a single lantern hanging from a sagging rafter. Wikeon moved to stand between Wolfgang and Fang at the front of the group. The werewolf leaders were both in their human forms. At the front of the barn the man Crystal had seen in her stone sat on a stool facing the pack. His face was hidden beneath the wide hood of his black cloak. A pipe poked out from under the hood, smoke masking the already mysterious figure. The man crossed one leg over the other so that the right toe of his worn, knee high leather boots pointed at Wolfgang. Crystal noted two other men standing on either side of the stool. Both guards were armed, one with a short sword the other with a bow and quiver of arrows slung across his back.

“Well?” asked the man on the stool.

A puff of smoke billowed from his lips as he spoke.

“We’ve done as you asked,” Wikeon replied in a hollow voice.

More smoke curled out from under the hood.

“Do you have proof?”

Wolfgang gestured at Fang who dropped the remains of a silk tunic at the man’s feet. Even from her place in the doorway Crystal could tell it was covered in blood.

“And this,” added Wolfgang tossing something small to the smoker.

Holding the pipe with his teeth the man reached out and caught the object with both hands. It glistened as he raised it to the light. Crystal leaned forward a little more until she realized it was a ring.

“I will show these to my employer,” said the man. “I’m sure he will be pleased.”