Posts Tagged ‘elves’

The War Ender’s Apprentice is HERE!

As many of my readers know I have had a trunk novel for an embarrassingly long amount of time which I LOVE called The Martlet.  Now with a few books under my belt, I can see how episodic the entire story is. I see now why though I got a lot of great feedback it wasn’t ready for publication.

Over the past six months, I decided to break up the novel in to a series of novella-length stories. Each story is approximately 150 to 200 pages. If you like epic sword and sorcery fantasy with a bit of necromancy, this series might for you.

The first novella is The War Ender’s Apprentice and comes out today! 

The War Ender's Apprentice copy

In the chaotic universe, many intelligent species are on the brink of war, but the Guild holds the violence at bay to foster peaceful trade. The most renowned War Ender is Lady Alana of House Eyreid. Alana hopes to train her beloved nephew, Roark, in her vocation.

It was supposed to be a simple training mission aboard an Interrealm slave ship. However, when Alana find her people enslaved, she murders the crew and rescues every slave—whether criminal, dishonored, or stolen. A fleeting vision of Roark’s future tells her to offer the newly freed Eohan a War Ender’s education.

For her vision to come true, Alana must rescue Eohan’s young brother who was sold in the last port and lost somewhere in the Realms, but first, they have a war to end.


Excerpt

Clouds rolled in, casting the Realm in deep shadows. The last sun dipped into the ocean. They pushed away from the shore on an unlit boat painted black as pitch. The sea was calm enough for Alana to steer the rudder and Roark to row without hindrance until they drifted into the current behind the larger ship.

At twenty-five paces, they dove into the water with a length of rope. As instructed, Roark carefully tethered the rowboat to the stern. Alana edged along the wooden hull. Wearing spiked gloves, she climbed to the upper deck.

Goddess, it stinks. A horrid mix of feces, bodily odors, vomit, blood and greasy pottage filled her nostrils. Over the hatchway stood the overseer holding a scourge of nine twisted thongs. His ill-fitted, ragged clothes looked as if they might rip any moment. His white hair was cropped short, but unwashed and ashy patches of skin flaked off his knees and elbows. She might have felt pity. However, a slave’s moan sang out into the air; the overseer hit his whip upon the grating. His eyes expressed eagerness to apply it upon the flesh of his victims.

Alana’s deceased aunt reminded her conscience, “We don’t kill for vengeance, Alana Mira Eyreid.” But her mentor was dead; she was the Guild Master now.

Alana slid to the deck, removed her metal spikes, hid them in a lifeboat and waited for Roark’s signal. He slipped aft to find the purser. Alana crawled into the captain’s night compartment — a dank, private room one deck below.

In the dim twilight, Alana observed an emaciated Fairsinge woman loosely chained to the wall. Her neck was restrained by a tight iron collar. Her once smooth white cheek branded and ebony hair cropped to her scalp. Upon closer inspection, her body did not look as fully formed as a woman’s, but Alana did not know if that was malnutrition or age. Her eyes were crusted with dried tears, and her reddened nose had left a trail of snot to her mouth.

Knowing the sheer stupidity of such an action, Alana knelt before her and pulled off her face mask and exposed her three-pointed ear.

A hint of life came back into the girl’s eyes.

“You must be quiet and hide.”

The girl mumbled and nodded in agreement.

Alana picked the lock. Once freed, the girl scampered to the far corner and pressed her branded face into her hands.

Replacing her mask, Alana glanced in the dirty mirror to ensure her auburn and silver hair was still covered.

As her dossier said was his habit, at eight bells, the captain entered alone. He undressed. Ribs and knobby joints were stretched across his mottled flesh.

He pulled at the girl’s chain. Holding the other end, Alana leapt from the shadows.

His last words were: “What in the devil?”

She tackled him and clamped his ankle in the iron, then shoved a dirty sock in his mouth. Alana could have killed him quickly. Instead, she pierced one lung and let him gasp.

Alana knelt on his chest and whispered, “You should not brag you don’t pay your debts, Captain. The Guild does not allow malingerers to engage in Interrealm travel. It’s bad for business.”

Alana grabbed his wrist and, using her saber, chopped off his hand which she placed in a tarred sack on her belt. Bleeding and gasping, the captain clutched his stump closer to his chest as she stood.

She opened his desk and found a small box of coin, though not nearly the amount needed for the debt. She opened the ledger. Damn me to the lowest Realm!

Her dossier had suggested the northernmost port in Daouail would be the ship’s first stop for the arena trade. Unfortunately, the ship landed in Dynion’s Port Denwort where several children, aged ten to thirteen, had been sold as house slaves. She pressed her hand to the ledger. Unsure if she would ever be able to right the wrong, she ripped out the page and shoved it in her emergency sack.

She unlocked the captain’s sea chest and dug for money and other valuables. She found a vial of perfume from the Fairhdel province of the same name, but little else.

“No wonder they made an early stop. The ne’er do well probably holds a debt in every Realm.” May he be resurrected as a toad.

Alana threw the branded girl a linen shirt from the chest and a wool blanket off the captain’s berth. The girl didn’t respond, even as the fabric landed on her.

Pressing her finger to the girl’s lips, Alana tried to prod her out of the corner. The girl was frozen. Alana put the linen shirt over her head and covered her in the woolen blanket. She still didn’t budge.

Alana stomped on the captain’s torso. She punctured his other lung and scabbarded her blade. With the hope his gasping was gratifying to the girl, Alana hoisted her up in her arms. In seconds, the dead weight aggrieved her aging shoulders, but she crept up the ladder and sternwards to the first of the four lifeboats without fail.

“Hide here until we free the others.”

Shivering, the girl lay at the bottom of the boat, covered in the woolen blanket.

Moving silently, Alana redrew her saber and slid behind the overseer. Seeking a faster death than the one she gave the captain, she stabbed him in the jugular. Blood sprayed onto the decking. Below the wretched creatures — elfkin, human, and dwarves — shouted, clapped their hands, and shook on the metal grating as he collapsed.

Approaching footsteps. Four sailors raced towards her with clubs and ropes, ready to beat back any slave uprising. They did not expect a Guild War Ender. Alana’s saber twirled towards her first opponent, the telchine sailor. She cut towards hir chest, seeking the earthen heart. She found her mark. The telchine crumbled back to the clay from which sie was formed. Alana always found the sort of clean, yet ostentatious death throe of the telchine, gnomes, giants, and dwarves particularly satisfying.

A rope slashed across her forearm, ripping the weave away. Ignoring the pain, she drew her offhand dagger and rotated towards the next sailor, a human. Her first cut was smooth as it sliced the flesh of his arm, the second hit an artery, spraying more blood on the deck and his earthen colleagues.

Roark appeared from the shadows, the head of the purser held high. He threw it to the surviving sailors who stepped back from the sight.

Alana did not pity them. Her two blades struck their flesh; the sailors fell quickly. Blood and earth spread across the decks.

Grabbing the keys off the overseer, she unlatched the first hold.

A young man pushed on the grating from below as she undid the chains. His face was hidden by a long, tangled mane of black hair, but he wore no beard, not even fuzz. He was at the edge of adulthood, his shoulders still slender, but with the promise of muscularity. Though he spent months in chains, he was not faded, his posture was still erect. No doubt bound for the arena.

The slaves made a wild scramble to the weather deck. They reached towards the sky, embracing their freedom as if it were a physical entity. Alana noticed the young man again, searching the crowd. “Ma! Kian!” he called.

She threw the young man the keys to the lower holds. “There are more below!”

He raced down the ladder.

Alana signaled Roark to prepare lifeboats and went below to where weaker slaves were kept. While those bound for the games were kept healthy, less valuable slaves were so emaciated they could barely stand.

Many hung their heads in hopeless dejection; mothers lay unmoving, cradling babes covered in filth. A closer look revealed these children were already dead or dying.

The young man she had given the keys wept over a middle-aged woman’s corpse.

“We must move quickly.”

“My mother …” He stared at the corpse with red-rimmed eyes.

Alana took the keys and unlocked the chains. “I’m sorry for your loss, but get those who still hold life. Once safe, we mourn the dead.”

Withered women struggled to rise and climb to the upper deck still clutching dead offspring.

The young man didn’t move. “I can’t leave her here. I can’t leave my brother.”

“What’s your name?” Alana asked.

“Eohan, Son of Aedell.”

“Eohan, would Aedell want you to die with her corpse when I abandon this ship to the depths?”

The youth sniffed. “No.”

“It would bring your mother honor to know her son saved these other mothers. Get them to the lifeboats.”

“Lifeboats.” As if the young man came out of a daze, Eohan leapt to his feet and unchained the nearest woman who clasped her dead baby. The woman moaned as he cradled her in his arms and tore out of the hold.

Alana grabbed another woman unable to walk and carried her to Roark who organized the five lifeboats and lowered them one by one into the sea.

She was proud her nephew had the good sense to organize each boat with a mix of healthy survivors and weakened ones. Some slaves dove into the sea and grasped the sides of the boats and other survivors, unwilling to be separated from their families again, clasped each other. Just as well, there wasn’t enough room on the lifeboats anyway.

Four more trips to the bowels of the ship, before she and Eohan were able to save all of the survivors. Every bunk, every corner, every chain, Eohan shouted, “Kian, Kian!”

Once the last survivor was out, Alana grabbed his arm before he went below again.

“My brother…”

“We have to go!”

“My brother … He’s a kid!”

“Children were sold in the last port, if you ever want to see him again we must go!”

He glanced toward the hatch.

Alana grabbed an oil lantern off its hook and smashed it across the deck.

“Come on!”

The boy didn’t move, but screamed, “Kian!”

Alana almost left Eohan to the flames, but heard Alana Mira! Somewhere deep in her mind, through the smoke, she witnessed an adult version of Eohan tossing a squealing auburn-haired child into the air and catching her.

Damn it. The boy was destined to become a man. A man with a child. 

The vision of the child turned to face her. The resemblance to Roark was unmistakable, but she saw something else deep within the blue eyes. Something wild and violent. She was unsure if her vision was literal or figurative representations, but somehow Eohan was bound to the future of House Eyreid. Damn me to the lowest Realm!

“Ki–!” Eohan choked as smoke filled his lungs.

Flames rolled closer to them, eating the decking.

Alana rammed her left index and middle finger into a pressure point deep within the boy’s shoulder and gripped his ear with her right hand. “Move.”

*

 


Want to read more? The War Ender’s Apprentice is available at Amazon in Paperback and on the Kindle! 

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Why does an author end a series….

Cover_ksToday the final page of Faminelands: Book 3 Mareton’s Curse went up on the webcomic. I am proud of what I accomplished with the series and this is a bittersweet moment for me. Though I am not saying I will never go venture to Talamh with pen in hand, I also believe in being honest with the fans. At this time: it is unlikely.

Our reasons are simply practical.

Though I enjoyed the creation of Faminelands Book 3, post production did not go well. Its Kickstarter failed, but I produced the book anyway. We did a minimal run, but a full-color, perfect bound project we were never able to get our costs down. Though there were avid fans of the series for whom I am truly thankful, and we sold out of our first run of The Carp’s Eye, Faminelands #3 did not sell well in 2103, and our sales have dropped to 0 in 2014.

Faminelands has always been a project of love. I knew going into it that some people would hear the words ” mercanary elf” and started running in the other direction. However I have also spent thousands of dollars and hours. I need to pull the plug.

As some of you know Faminelands Vol 1: The Carp’s Eye was not only my first book, but it was how I taught myself how to create comics after years of painting landscapes and baby room murals. This act of creation defined who I wanted to be as an artist and author as well as set up the kind of books I wanted to write. So Faminelands has a special place in my heart. It always will. At the same time, there are other projects that I want to work on. A 100 page graphic novel takes me approximately 800 hours in production, post production. And forever to sell.

Ultimately, my heart is no longer on this project and its bleeding me dry. 

Maria had to scale back the hours, she is able to give to the projects. Though it was a bit dicey for awhile, I think we figured out what is going to work for both of us.

All that being said, if you want to know about Lark and Orin the webcomic is still up (in fact at least for the time being the store still has the Faminelands Banner since I need to send in the ZB Template) And we will keep a small amount of stock if you want to order the books. To be clear, though this series has ended, as a company, Maria and I are not going anywhere. In fact though 2014 is a year to regroup and end a few dangling projects. Out for Souls&Cookies #5 is being released starting March 27, 2015.

At Emerald City Comic Con, we will be having a huge raffle of both Faminelands and Out for Souls&Cookies swag, books, and sketches. 

We have some exciting news about 2015 that I look forward to announcing later this year.

2013: #ECCC Confessions from Booth 1006

Okay I started this on Facebook, but then realized this was really a blog post. So some of these are repeats from this morning. These are things I actually said over the course of this weekend and thoughts going on in my head.

2013: #ECCC Confessions from Booth 1006: Exhibiting as Elizabeth Guizzetti

Maria and I in the booth!

Maria and I in the booth!

How does it feel to be a woman in a man’s field?

In my head: huh? Man’s field? What do you think this is 1950?

Spoken answers:

  • When I started Faminelands six years ago, I didn’t know comics were a “male-dominated” industry. I just thought it would be fun to try to write a graphic novel. I have been doing indie comics and when I look around, I see plenty of other ladies. So I didn’t really break the “rules” as much as no one told me I could or couldn’t do what I do. More and more women write books all the time.
  • I have never been discriminated against as a woman–or if I have– I was simply too dense to notice. Sometimes being thick is good. 😉
  • I did not know Other Systems was hard scifi when I wrote it. I did not know I was breaking into a man’s genre. I didn’t even consider my audience. I wrote a book I liked and listened to when and where Dennis groaned when he watched StarTrek.

logoeccc

HERE IS MORE TRUTH. Not a single thing has to do with me being a woman. I want to be considered a great author, not a great “woman author.” My reproductive organs have nothing to do with writing! Here is some stuff that matters:

  • I spent six months researching the gold rush to make Lure as real as possible. 
  •  I am a good dog-mom/alpha-dog/whatever to Rosie and Tycho so they continually feed me inspiration for Out for Souls&Cookies.
  • I wrote three graphic novels in the Faminelands Universe in a way that made me feel I never ruined the story.
  • I am damn (a stronger 4-letter word is more appropriate, but don’t want to embarrass my folks) proud that my worst reviews of Other Systems is there is too much science, exploring and not enough romance. I spent three months researching scientific theory alone, so of course there was a lot of science! Come on people! 

When is the sequel to Other Systems etc?

  • I am working on one now.

But when?

  • I don’t just push out books to get them out on the market. Sorry, you have to wait, but good sequels take time. Don’t worry, I always announce my sequels early.

A follow up to #5: Do you want to know how to make [Insert title] better?

1_INCH_ROUND

In my head: Oh my god, did they see Malak’s jacket on page 41 in Mareton’s Curse? It was not rendered with as much care as every other piece of an image and if that wasn’t bad enough, the crappy looking coat makes his head looks pasted on!!! NOOOOOO!

  • No thank you, once a book is out, it is what it is. No one is more critical than I am, but I know better than to keep obsessing over it.

How is it to work with your bff?

  • I love Maria, but we do sometimes disagree. That is a fact in any friendship, but how do we stay friends? We have had a business contract since the beginning of all of this.

Why did you write Faminelands?

  • Because I like elves. I admit it. Now that the trilogy is complete, I am working on The Martlet for the same reason.

Hey There…

  • No, you can’t buy me a drink later, I am married.

Follow up to Question 8: then where is your ring?

  • See this tattoo? (On my ring finger on my left hand.)

TShirt_Fluff

Where is your husband?  (Actually this year he had the flu, but this question is asked every year and even if he wasn’t sick, it is not Dennis’ job to man the booth.)

  • Well it’s [insert day] so he’s probably home playing computer games, but he might have gone to a movie or something. Dennis does not have to hang out in my booth for me to know he loves me. I don’t hang out in his office. What you think that’s different? You are wrong, because this is my job. And no, you still can’t buy me that drink.


I want to do indie comics or write books or…. ?

Most days I say: Well it’s hard work but I love it. I write or draw every day and by the end of the year I have a novel. I love the work. 🙂

It’s the truth, but somedays I wish I could say to an attendee: Look, I work 40-60 hour work weeks with very little financial reward. But to me it’s not about the money. Sure I would love to have the money. I would build a big pool of gold like Scrooge McDuck and swim in it. However I think writing and drawing comics and novels are worth it even if I don’t ever have a commercial hit. I’m not even trying to have a commercial success in the way most people consider it.

Seriously if I wanted money, I would write porn–oh sorry I mean “erotica” or go back to painting baby room murals. That’s where the money is, however, that is not who I am. I write stories that my mother will not be ashamed to show her friends, I can be proud of that I paste my name all over it and hopefully makes the reader see beyond themselves. I love to do the research, I love to stretch my skills and to see myself getting better and better every year. That’s my reward. IF and ONLY IF that reward will be enough, then stop making excuses and get off your sorry butt and get to work…. 

But if I ever said that I think Maria would kill me or at least push me out of the booth and tell me to go buy us cookies.

Emerald City Comic Con–Here we come!

logoecccSo I am heading out to pick up our badges today for Emerald City Comic Con the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the pacific northwest! I also will bring one suitcase of display items and banners so I can do the basic table set up. Maria and I will haul the inventory together tomorrow. She gets here at 10 am and the con opens at 2pm so we have plenty of time for finishing set up and lunch.

Maria and I will be at Booth 1006 this year. The con is bigger than ever before.  We will also have some help from my niece, Jessica. We wil be “elfing-out” to celebrate the release of Faminelands #3. Come by for free postcard sets, bookmarks and other goodies. We have a special prize for anyone who buys the entire set. We also will be having a raffle with a hand drawn image of Lark and you can get your photo taken with people who dress up as elves to sell you a series of books.lark

We will be handing out buttons, postcards and excerpts for Other Systems. We also have news on The Martlet and Out for Souls&Cookies to share.

There will be plenty of celebrities, media guests, artists and authors. If you are in Seattle, come check it out!

Coffee klatch interview with Lady Meadowlark and Hunter Orodherthin

A coffee klatch interview with Lady Meadowlark and Hunter Orodherthin, the Children of Lady Nora, Daughter of Lady Aster of House T’Ralom of the Daoine.

Lark’s eyes sparkle as she drinks her chocolate milk. Yet even for Lark’s jovial appearance, I feel her scanning us, studying us. Orin is more sedate. He sits back, sipping his espresso but his eyes alternate resting upon the doors, the sidewalk outside, and me.

OrinnLark

Elizabeth: First let us start off by thanking you for coming down to Seattle. Earth is pretty far away from Talamh, is it not?

Orin (shrugging): The outside is the outside.

Lark: Quite far, but worth the trip, I am sure.

Elizabeth: So what are you plans in Seattle?

Lark: We came to this great city to find work and trade in order to bring wealth to the Daoine, of course. We will take in the sights as you call it of course. Your towers are quite impressive here.  You have wonderful drinks. I never had chocolate milk before.

Orin: Actually, I find it amazing how much food your people have. We just went into one of your grocery stores. Though it is too bad you no longer much in the way of a barter system.

Elizabeth: I see your named brother, Roan, is not beside you today?

Orin (shrugging again): With small children, he prefers not to travel so far from home. He sometimes he comes, sometimes he doesn’t.

Elizabeth: And your father is doing well?

Orin: Our father is a sick man. It is best that Lark keeps her apartments in the Great House.  I personally prefer Lark’s apartment with the Champion’s room to our father’s hut.

Elizabeth: So your relationship has had some ups and downs.

Lark (blushing): Every family has there problems but no matter has happened between us; Orin is my brother. Now he is my Champion too.

Cover_ksOrin just looks pissed off so I decide to change the subject. Elizabeth: And so in Mareton?

Lark: Roan, Orin and I shared an awful dream. There were so many sacrifices during the drought. At least, you will see we were ale to make a difference in Mareton.

Elizabeth: if you want to know the whole story, you can read more in Mareton’s Curse! On March 1st, the sequalization of our story will start at http://faminelands.com begins! Updates every Friday.

Faminelands Book 3: Mareton’s Curse is here!!!

Cover_ksThe graphic novels arrived this morning wrapped in cardboard, bubble wrap and shredded paper. I need to unpack them and repack them for ECCC and send out any pre-orders as promised. Also in the was our CD’s for the digital copies! Now I just have to burn them, then on to world domination…opps that wasn’t the inside my head voice, was it? There is still time if you want to place an order, check out our store

Also coming are more posters for both Faminelands and “Who wouldn’t trust a poode?” posters for Out for Souls&Cookies.

Mareton Curse

Creating Talamh: The Daoine Village

It seems only a short time ago, but five years ago, I created Talamh which is the world in Faminelands.

I knew the world was to be faux medieval. I knew it would have elves, humans, giants, dwarves, and fairies. I knew I would want to use Irish words. Talamh is the Irish word for Land or Earth. Daoine is the Irish word for People. I liked the idea that they referred to themselves just as the People. I knew of the Daoine first, in fact, it was only after I decided Orin had run away did I create the city in the South where Orin lived.

Then I began drawing this map very early on in the process. It was mostly for me as I needed to figure out where Lark and Orin were heading on their adventures, but it turned out so beautifully, we made posters.

I decided that most of the Daoine would live in Huts, but the nobles lived in stone houses (or for low ranking nobles, the barracks.) Lark has an apartment in the Great House, but often spends time in her father’s hut.

The Daoine are generally are the “good” guys who believe that they were descended directly from the Goddess. So their history was wrapped up with the mythos of their Mother Goddess.Daoine

Excerpt:

“We were but a distant memory of another civilization, great and lost to time.  It was then Talamh was barren, dark and lonely.  She went to find others like her, but finding none, she wept and gave birth to the Seas.  The Seas knew only her sorrow and crashed upon her shores.

The Rising Sun and the Setting Sun heard her weeping and came to see what was the cause. Rising Sun warmed her and the Setting Sun gave way to the darkness and Talamh felt alive and fertile. The Seas now having fathers to guide them, became calmer and many living creatures began to grow within him. Eventually the fourteen moons found Talamh and visited the Seas in their time.

Talamh grew fat and round. From her union with the Sun sprang the Wood. Talamh loved both of her children, but they often quarreled. Eventually the Seas took to the depths and the Wood ran freely across her hills and valleys.

But each was lonely and they met up in places where the trees dip into the Sea and the rivers frolic in the Wood.  And so unknowingly they begat many more creatures and the Lady of the Hunt to watch over them.  

No creature that walked or swam upon Talamh was as fair as the Lady of the Hunt. So beautiful was she that a star seeing her great beauty whispered words of love to her. He came to her during the night and so they begat the first elf woman: Idola. 

Idola ran through the forests and swam in the seas for many years before having children of her own.  She set before her many children a path to follow but it was fraught with danger.  It was her eldest daughter’s eldest daughter the Lady Iris who accomplished this great feat. 

Lady Iris then took her sisters Goldlynada and Lilia to the North and created a great society based upon equality and valor. 

The Lady Goldlynada created House Sarralonde and birthed Lord Galen the First who sired many noble children. The Lady Lilia birthed two noble children and two others that did not live in valor, but lived to create things of use and beauty for the good of all.  Lady Lillia in her wisdom saw the need of another path and the need for some to follow it. Thus the path of the commoners was born.

Lady Iris herself birthed seven mighty warriors: Lord Cairn, Lady Aster, Lady Oaka, Lady Laurel, Lord Perth, Lady Hazel, and Lord Brogan to protect and serve the people.

Each of her children fought in many battles, and harnessed their will in order to push back the chaos which threatened the Daoine.  These great women and men all bore much for the good of Daoine until Lord Cairn fell from the path.  Lady Aster, by her own hand, earned the right to rule the great house Lady Iris created.  She gave to Talamh five children including the great and wise Lady Aren who married Lord Galen the Second and brought forth more noble children.  Evayla who brought forth Nonia the Healer, Perth the Second and Laken who both died in childhood and her untamable daughter Lady Nora who in her time served the people with bravery and fought many battles.

But Lady Nora turned away from her people’s edict and took a common bowyer.  In this way, she brought forth three children: the Lady Meadowlark and her beloved brothers Orodherthin and Calthal. 

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