UNEDITED (Follow us on the Facebook page)
The Marines continued their journey, but it was another eleven hours before they completed their ascent and were driving through the colossal tunnel that had been drilled into the rear of the mountain. The tunnel had been built two years earlier, back when word of the Syndicate first arrived via SETI’s Alien Telescope Array.
The news had been almost impossible to believe and was initially chalked up to yet another “fake news” story. But then the truth was revealed. An armada of alien craft had emerged from a globular star cluster known as M-25, traveling at speeds of what appeared to be a thousand miles per second, heading directly toward Earth.
The first scientist to discover the craft, a man whose name was lost to history, described the spacecraft as moving in formation, as part of a team. He’d used the term “Syndicate” to describe the armada, and the name had stuck. (more…)
UNEDITED – Launching May 30! In the meantime, follow the series on Facebook!
With every reason to suspect that this might be the last day of her life, Quinn adjusted her well-worn battle armor and shouldered her assault rifle, staring up at the billowing gray clouds of the early afternoon sky.
There were no rays of light, no sign from the heavens, nor any other reason to be optimistic.
Yet, somehow, she still possessed a modicum of hope, because she wasn’t just readying to fight for herself. Hers wasn’t necessarily a personal battle for survival; rather, it was a fight on behalf of humanity against an invading force of aliens that might soon sweep across the Earth, ushering in a new age of extinction. Quinn had always thought that despondency arose out of having choices, and since there was only one option—do battle against the invaders and squeeze every ounce of life from their bodies—there was little reason to lose heart.
A bemused smile danced across her lips, and she wondered how it had come to this. How a young woman from an Ohio backwater could enter the Corps as a means to support herself and her little girl and then, only a few years later, be on the front lines of what might be history’s last great stand. The battle to end all battles, the fight to save Earth from a powerful alien force that the Marines simply knew as the Syndicate.
Soon they would likely see the first sign of what might bring their impending death. Quinn and the others in her squad, the thirty-six men and women of the Global Force Marines, were ready for whatever the day might bring, even if that meant their complete and utter annihilation. (more…)
UNEDITED – (NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON – AND KINDLE UNLIMITED)
Rhona followed closely behind her brother, pulling her dress up over her ankles to avoid tripping as they descended the stairs. This was foolish, she knew, but she had to admit that her curiosity was piqued. On top of that, they had the warlock locked up, so what could go wrong?
The stairs led to the servants’ hallways, many of whom were sticking their heads out in curiosity at the sound of fighting above.
“Return to your rooms,” Alastar commanded, storming past.
Rhona did her best to keep up, but her dress made it hard to move swiftly, and more, the servants weren’t listening to Alastar’s command. Instead, they crowded into the hall with questions about what was happening, hindering their progress.
At the end of the hall, stairways led to the dungeon—a result of transforming this former basement from an old Church ruins into the dungeon.
Rhona turned and shouted, “We’re under attack! Get to your rooms and lock up if you want to live!”
That got their attention, and soon the hallway was empty.
Alastar looked back at her and laughed. “Couldn’t you have done that before we walked through them all?” (more…)
Alastar had just finished wiping a smudge of dirt from his gold-rimmed, pure white armor when his sister, Rhona, entered. She gave him that look he always hated—a raised eyebrow, a gaze that dared him to look away from her green eyes, and a hint of a smile at her lips. It was the look she gave him whenever she was about to knock him back down to size and remind him of their humble beginnings.
“Let me stop you right there,” he said, fastening his gold cloak over his shoulders and turning to the mirror. Damn, he looked good. Not in a conceited, sexy sort of way, but as a strong paladin who deserved every bit of honor the High Paladin, Sir Gildon, was about to bestow on him.
Making eye contact with Rhona, he attempted to match her confidence as he said, “I earned this.”
“Oh, and I had nothing to do with it?”
“You were there when I needed you, aye. But I was the one who caught the warlock. I am the paladin here, don’t forget.”
“How could I ever?” Her brow furrowed into a glare that lasted only a moment. “I’m simply looking out for you.” She stepped up beside him and reached a hand over to smooth out his cloak. “It’s just… there’ve been too many times we thought he was preparing to send you on the holy quest.”
“I have proven myself.” Alastar turned, voice rising in his excitement. “Why shouldn’t Sir Gildon send me on the next expedition?”
She shrugged. “He should, there’s no doubt. But that doesn’t mean he will. You don’t notice the way he eyes me.” (more…)
Flames burst forth from the farmhouse, the same one Rhona’s brother had entered just moments before. Alastar, ever the hero, had drawn his sword and gone charging in mere seconds before, leaving her to hide far away from trouble.
Clearly, that wasn’t an option. Not when he could be in danger.
She worked her way around the farmhouse, searching for a way in. A scream sounded, then the grunt of a man, and she decided it wasn’t time to be timid. She ran for the open doors Alastar had rushed through, in spite of the black smoke that billowed forth.
The sight froze her in her tracks—her brother in his white and gold armor, his white cloak smoldering at the edges, circling a man in the black and green plaid of Clan Buchan, the fire users.
She had studied the various clans and what magic they used, at least to the extent that the paladins had been able to chronicle it in their war against the evils of magic.
Her first thought was to jump in and help her brother, but the warlock spun, hands pushing out, and a wall of flame came at Alastar that caused him to leap back and call upon the blessings of Saint Rodrick for protection.
Watching the shield of light that formed between her brother and the wall of flames, she knew this wasn’t her fight. But when a figure caught her eye, a cowering woman in the corner, she knew she could at least help her. She darted through the smoke, staying low in a crouched run, and knelt beside the woman. Her eyes were barely open, her breathing short. (more…)
UNEDITED – This is a snippet from my new book in the Age of Magic series with Michael Anderle. Follow the Facebook Page, check out the Rise of Magic books by Chris, Le, and Michael and enjoy! What you have here is the prologue, so… be sure to pay attention to the next one too (when the story really starts)
Larick reached the top of the hill before his fellow mystic, Volney, and therefore felt like the beauty of the view was his and his alone. They had traveled over land and sea to reach this spot, and as the wind whipped at Larick’s heavy robes, casting them about like thrashing waves, he felt as one with nature.
Spread out before him was Roneland, the top portion of an island divided since the Age of Madness. Remnants of a city, old ruins of buildings that once reached into the heavens from the days of technology toppled and largely covered in vines and earth in spots, some completely overgrown so that they appeared to be new hills.
The ghosts howled, though Larick knew it to be simply the wind blowing through those old ruins, as he had heard those same ghosts many times before. He stood with the sea behind him, the green, rolling hills flowing in every direction, with the highlands just visible, rising up in the distance.
Heavy breathing came from his right, pulling him from the moment. He turned to see Volney, a shorter man with a shaved head like Larick’s, but with piercing blue eyes. Though the man was less physically intimidating, when those eyes turned white the man was a force to be reckoned with.
“If only I could learn to simply levitate,” Volney said between breaths, holding his chest, “this would be so much simpler.”
“You know, brother,” Larick replied with a taunting smile, “you could also spend more time on the physical.”
“And lose time from my mental studies? Hardly.”
For the first time, Volney looked up at Roneland and all exhaustion melted from his expression, replaced with awe.
“This is the place?” he asked. “Where are all the people?”
“My records indicate we’ll not find them in, or even around, the cities. Here, from what I’m told, the people scattered, avoiding the cities and turmoil, holding their own in the mountains on the one hand, or creating great fortresses in the lowlands.” (more…)
For anyone who likes dragon shifters, epic fantasy, and crazy action, here’s some more from TEARS OF DEVOTION. Book 1 (Land of Gods) is now in audiobook, so I want to share some of this one – probably my favorite book written to date.
The sun hit the grass of the cascading hillsides in front of Lome as he approached the village walls. Shadows stretched over the bricks, concealing the cracks and crevices in the path.
From the top of a hill, Lome saw the village rising up along the mountain behind the walls. He could barely tell where the buildings stopped and the mountain rock began.
Warm air emitted from the walls like a blanket cast from the mountain to cover the earth below. Lome stopped to figure a way into the village, only then seeing the archers’ turrets and at least one pair of eyes staring down at him from above. A great drawbridge was pulled up, forming a flat surface with its cut rock supports. His instincts told him the walls should be centuries old, but they seemed pristine to the eye. Lome looked over it all with a hesitant thought to his past, a memory never there but never gone, from some other life perhaps. (more…)
As I prepare to release my first Age of Magic book (a Kurtherian Gambit Universe fantasy series), and to celebrate finishing that book today, I thought I’d share some snippets from my already published book, Tears of Devotion. Enjoy!
The man’s eyes opened, and he stared at the clouds floating across the sun that glimmered and wavered as if barely there. Yellow rays of light warmed the man’s skin, accompanied by a gentle breeze. A breath of fresh air alerted his senses, pulling him into the present, reminding him that he couldn’t lie there forever.
For a moment, he wondered if he were in heaven, but a shooting pain in his back told him that thought was wrong. He sat up with the piercing question of who he was and why he was here.
A glance at himself revealed tattered blue robes, and a sandal on his left foot but none on his right. He glanced at his surroundings, curious, hoping for a clue among the weeping willows that lined the reed-filled river, but found none.
Waters raged inches from the man’s feet, tossing froth across small rocks like a rabid dog hoping to eat all in its path, all but the life-size statue of a woman in the middle of the river, where the water soothed to a low whisper. The moment the man’s gaze met the face of the statue, he wished he had not wasted so much time looking elsewhere. He thought of diverting his eyes, to look at the maples in his periphery, or the gentle sky he still knew was above him, but he couldn’t. The statue’s slender neck led the man’s eyes to the soft chin and the perfectly formed pouty lips of this sorrow-filled angel. The marble formed a sleek nose below large eyes that stared into the sky as if to thank the heavens for her beauty.
A leaf came to a rest as it drifted along the river, floating against the statue’s base like a gentle hand caressing the woman’s leg. At that moment, the man thought he would give anything to be that leaf. Hours passed, and the statue seemed alive at moments, but always full of sorrow, and always staring at the heavens in gratitude.
Part of him hoped, maybe even believed, that if he lingered here long enough, the lapping waters would break the stone and reveal a living woman beneath. But another part of him said that no woman alive had ever been so beautiful. It couldn’t be possible. (more…)
I went for a new cover all – thoughts? This is for Hounds of Light, book 2 in the Cursed Night series, a spinoff of sorts from the Bringer of Light trilogy (all loosely connected in the Eternal Light saga, in case you didn’t know).
Since this book focuses more on the magic, I thought this more appropriate. And Christian (of Covers by Christian) did an amazing job. Thanks, Christian!
HOUNDS OF LIGHT
Katherine is all that stands against a secret order of vampires and an army of werewolves.
From author of the bestseller Reclaiming Honor books (A Kurtherian Gambit series), with Michael Anderle
The werewolf army’s power has spread far and wide, and a new enemy arrives using dark magic. Katherine has no choice but to rely on her new half-vampire friend to uncover the new enemy’s hideout and stop him and the other vampires from seeking control over all remaining werewolves.
It’s a battle of epic proportions, but Katherine finds new allies on the side of light and honor.
Will her new friends come through for her when she needs them? Can Katherine stand up to a new order of werewolves and their would-be enslavers?
Unfortunately for her enemies, she refuses to surrender, and her friends got her back. There’s no middle ground here, simply victory and world-peace, or utter destruction.
This is one of the characters from my FALLS OF REDEMPTION trilogy – can anyone guess who? First 5 correct (or semi-correct?) guesses gets a #Free Audiobook! US and UK only. Comments below!
More Fun Art?
Also, what do you think? I love this artist’s work, and think I’ll commission her to do more. Maybe a piece on Cammie from my Reclaiming Honor series? How about my others – what would you like to see there? Thanks for the feedback!
By the way, this will be the cover of a short story spinoff probably. So stay tuned, and join the newsletter to keep up to date!
PS – if you have the Land of Gods ebook (Falls of Redemption book 1), the Audiobook is only $1.99. That’s a serious steal.