Excerpt: The Dragon Shield

Today, A Few Words is pleased to present an excerpt from the book The Dragon Shield by author Dianne Lynn Gardner.  Read on to find out more about this wonderful YA novel. 


“And you say that when you got to the mountain, he was tied. But the scouts saw him run free. Why is that?” He turned to his son, flames in his eyes. “Why, Ian? Why did you let him go if you knew he had power over the dragon?”

What am I going to say? The kid cried and I felt sorry for him, because that’s what happened. “Dad…”

The air was unbearably stiff.

“Man,” Ian beat his fist on the table and stood. “Stop it, Dad. This isn’t right.”

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Excerpt: Empyreal Fate

I’m very pleased to have an excerpt today from Rachel Hunter’s Empyreal Fate, a fantasy novel that is sure to appeal to those who love the epic works of writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and T.H. White.  This tale of love, hatred, and war begins with a forbidden romance and ends… well, I’ll leave you to explore for yourself.

From the Novel:

Darrion stared, dazed, into Amarya’s face as she loomed above him, concern defining her frame. Lifting himself, he sat, uncertain how he had come to lie upon the ground. He did not remember falling; he had no recollection.

“You did well,” the elf congratulated, extending a slender hand.

Darrion rubbed his head, feeling a tenderness that had not been there before. “What happened?” he asked, taking her hand and rising.

“I saw not of your mind, but from what I could figure, you gained entrance to the thoughts of a rambling oak. I know this to be true, for I could see your eyes swimming beneath the lids. Such does not occur unless a connection is made.” Amarya beamed, eyes sparkling with pride despite her pupil’s faint. With eager strides, she began smoothing the creases of his tunic. “You drifted too far, however – missing the mark. Your focus broke upon more than a single entity; your mind roamed in places it was not meant. As a result, your consciousness receded, and your celestial bond forged hollow spaces to compensate. Once that barrier snapped, the voices of many within the Illex, not merely the trees, poured through you. It was an overload of understanding – most mortals cannot handle such. But no need to fret; you’ve far surpassed the most capable of beginners. I am simply surprised you made contact at all.”

Darrion stepped back, feeling the lightness of his chest. With clouded thoughts, he speculated the feat he had barely attained. Few words could describe his awe – the confusion – that enveloped him. Dizziness clothed him as a tumbled reed.

Resting one palm against the bark of an oak, he listened – intent – as though searching for a beating heart against the trunk. Despite his wavering state, he was glad for Amarya’s tutelage. This feeling… it was almost surreal.

“To my knowledge, never has a human discerned as much as you.” Amarya’s pale hand sought Darrion’s shoulder, and he melted at her touch. “I’m uncertain what it means – for indeed, your ability comes as no coincidence… But the mortal mind proves oft unable to comprehend the spiritual realm. Not that it’s impossible, but man forgets his possession. He knows not of the awareness beyond material senses. You, Darrion, are not like other men. You – you’re different.” She shifted her jaw, examining him as if for answers.

“It’s true… I never knew the depths to which magic strayed,” Darrion murmured, almost trembling from his ethereal venture. “I used to think it all frivolous tricks of the tongue.”

“Not quite,” Amarya offered. “Those who perform incantations, as you suggest, are sorcerers – mere magicians who rely on handholds and false words to create masked illusions. In some cases – nigh, but rare – such illusions become reality. Regardless, the art lacks in form. Words are the derivation of mortals – a human contrivance, unnecessary for understanding. They are not real, as nature is real. Nay, words are but crude concepts – trivial in the matter of divine understanding. What is meant in one tongue may be opposite in another. How can a concept so unsure create something so pure? The answer is simple: it cannot.”

About the Author:
Rachel Hunter has always been fascinated with words and the intricate way in which they combine. Since a child, she has been an avid writer, winding vibrant tales and elaborate stanzas on folded bits of paper. As the years passed, her love of words never died; her adoration for reading fared no equal. Always with her nose in a book, Rachel took fondly to works spanning all genres. Yet it was the compelling grasp of fantasy and science fiction that wrenched her fascination above all.

Find Out More About Rachel and Her Novels:

Blog: http://www.rachel-m-hunter.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.rachel-m-hunter.yolasite.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Hunter/170131499766376

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/young_author

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Empyreal-Fate-Llathalan-Annal-ebook/dp/B007WWB24W

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762735.Rachel_Hunter

Excerpt: Tales of Lust, Hate, and Despair

Today, we bring you an excerpt from the new novel, Tales of Lust, Hate, and Despair by Ian Truman.

A little about the novel: Samuel Lee has known three days of freedom in the last eighteen years. Three days to come out of prison, see his daughter, settle a score with the mother of his child and her dangerous new boyfriend. Finding shelter in the unlikely company of a group of prostitutes, Sam will have to challenge his friends, his family, and ultimately, himself.

Told in the tradition of the best literary noir, Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair is a modern, lowdown and gritty take on the genre. Inspired by the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and Samuel Fuller as well as the music of Tom Waits, Sage Francis, Neurosis and Marilyn Manson, it is a novel that is sure to please anyone who has ever found themselves trapped and cast aside from the world.

PLEASE NOTE: This novel is for mature readers. Excerpt contains language and violence.

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Excerpt: Propheticus

Author Emma Daley has stopped by today with a teaser for the Propheticus Blog Tour! Here’s an excerpt from her work:

I knocked on the door of the tiny desolate hut and waited in anticipation as I prepared myself to face my past. The camp was far from any of the others and was not as well kept. From the branches of the trees hung the carcasses of tiny dead ani­mals that seemed to be fresh. The fire pit was freshly used, I would say the night before. And all kinds of spears and daggers lay tilted against the outside of the hut. Somewhat fresh foot­steps marked the ground in puddles. They seemed to be going nowhere and everywhere. It was as if she had been pacing the ground over and over and not all in the same spot. I finally spotted a shadow move from within the hut, and called out to the woman. But she hung in the shadows and the only sign that she was even there was the scampering around I heard within the hut and the clanking of things in her path. I called to her to come out from the shadows, reciting the story I had shared with the tribe earlier, in hopes of the same welcoming reaction. She still refused to emerge, so I waited in her tiny camp for her to respond. The children that had followed me there played hide-and-seek in the nearby trees and every once in a while when they heard the clanking from inside the hut and we thought she might emerge, the children were jolted from their carefree game and stood poised to see the woman inside. That went on for hours. I began a different tactic, sing­ing tunes that the Justerians used to sing to their prey to lure them into their hunting traps. It was habit, I suppose. But still there was nothing.

After hours had passed and the copper moon departed, the woman’s tall figure slowly crept out of the dark shadows of the hut. I stared in awe at her physique. She was tall and lean with short golden hair that sparkled in the dark and piercingly blue eyes. She wore leather clothes and always had a weapon strapped to her belt. When she walked, it seemed more like pacing or scurrying the way animals moved when they were on a hunt.

Author Links:

Propheticus Blog

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback




Excerpt: In the Shadow of Vesuvius

Author Liz Carmichael has stopped by today with a teaser of her book In The Shadow of Vesuvius

All I wanted then was for Levi to put down the tray and leave. Every delay, even the most minor ones, made me want to scream until I had no voice left to scream any more. The sooner Levi went downstairs and cleaned up the kitchen, the sooner he would go to the slave quarters. Then he and the rest of the house would sleep, or at least be out of the way, and I could leave.

But not today – oh, no. Today, he wanted to talk, and he dropped onto the mat next to Remy with a huge, lop-sided grin on his stupid face. His dark-lashed ebony eyes shone with some inner pleasure I neither knew, nor cared to know about.

‘Don’t you have any work to do?’ I folded my arms across my chest.

‘No, I ate while I helped Cook. Then I cleaned the kitchen while Dominus and Domina dined. I’m all yours for now.’ His ridiculous, broad grin stayed teeth-grindingly in place.

‘Well,’ I snapped, ‘Remy won’t eat with some bug-eyed fish staring at him. And I don’t mean the one on the plate. If he becomes too excited he won’t settle for siesta, and that means he’ll be fretful when I take him to his mother.’ With fists on hips, I glared at him. ‘You know what happens then, don’t you?’

Jumping to his feet, Levi held up his hands in surrender. ‘Forgiveness, Domina Mirabelle. Just trying to be friendly, no need to turn into an old shrew. I’ll leave you in peace. Eat. Enjoy.’ Before I could say anything else he left. That’s when I saw the slices of spiced chicken and olives, with a small chunk of cheese and half loaf of bread next to them. Levi had remembered how I much hated fish – eel most of all – or had Cook remembered? Maybe bringing the fish for Remy was Levi’s way of covering up what he had really brought for me.


About the Author

Although born in Scotland and spent time in other countries, Liz is now happily settled in Melbourne, Australia. She is an editor as well as a writer and avid reader – especially historical fiction – who loves researching, though she can get so caught up in research she forgets about the story she’s researching for.

Liz also draws and paints for relaxation, and will do illustrations for her books whenever possible. She walks her daughter’s dog because both need the exercise.

She has a Dip. Art (Professional Writing and Editing), and taught writing and editing for two years until the need to concentrate fully on her own writing took over again.

Her favourite authors, in no particular order, are: Sue Monk Kidd, Sara Donati, Geraldine Brooks, Vanora Bennett, Sarah Dunant, Cormac McCarthy, Markus Suzak, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Robert Harris. For Crime: Michael Connelly, Minette Walters, Jeffrey Deaver, and Dean Koontz for his crime with humour. Newest favourite authors are Anne Obrien and Pauline Gedge – writers of historical fiction, of course.

Author Links:


Purchase on Amazon for Kindle

Purchase on Amazon in Paperback

Purchase on Barnes & Noble

Excerpt: Oblivion’s Forge

Simon Williams returns to the blog after yesterday’s interview with an excerpt!  As promised, here’s the first chapter of Oblivion’s Forge, the first in the Aona series.  This novel is available on Completely Novel and Amazon.  

More information about Simon’s novels can be found at his website, www.simonwilliamsauthor.com.

I – A Single Word


 As the blackness closed before him, and the fury of the void flung him half-broken to the rocky ground, he thought for a certainty that this would be his last moment.

A dull red sun hung in the distant west, on the point of dissolving into the dusty horizon. Behind him, a scream that seemed to come from the earth itself was cut short savagely, and the black portal that had spat its fury at the unwilling watcher vanished from the world forever.

Vornen opened his eyes hours later, with the sun a faint memory in the west and a biting cold wind tugging at his ragged clothing. Already the first hint of frost settled upon the ground.

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Romance Excerpt: A Chance of Fate

For fun today, we’ve got an excerpt from the new romance novel, A Chance of Fate, by Emleigh Walsh.  Read on to find out more about the book and see where you can pick up a copy!

About the Book:  

Chance McGregor is known as one of the toughest werewolves around. As the Dominion Creek Pack Guardian it’s his job to protect the pack and its laws. Even if that requires him to find his true mate or mate with someone of the council’s choosing. With the Mating Ceremony fast approaching – and Chance a very unwilling participant – he has more on his mind than pack safety. It’s enough to make even the baddest werewolf whine like a puppy.

Stephanie Taylor is finally making her way in the world. She’s out of a bad marriage, starting a business with her best friend in a great new town, and in control of her stable – if not sometimes boring – life. She can handle boring and she doesn’t need a man to tell her what’s best for her anymore.

When Chance runs into Stephanie on the street, he realizes that he found his woman. The problem is she’s a human. Not a problem for him though. Now all he has to do is convince her that they are meant to be together forever; talk the ever-meddling pack council into allowing the mating; and protect his pack from a group of rogue wolves wreaking havoc across the state. With their hearts, and lives, on the line Chance and Stephanie will do the only thing they can…


From the Novel:

He made it across to the brick building housing a group of local businesses.  He put his forehead on the wall and waited for her to pass. He felt her walk cautiously by; he felt her eyes on him the whole way.  He felt her turn the corner and go up the cross street.  Eventually, after he could no longer feel her near, he gathered his control and turned around to stare where she was.
“So what the hell was that all about?” Eric bit out at him.  “You almost lost total control of your wolf.  You NEVER lose control!”
He could hear the fear in Eric’s voice as well.  Truth be told, he was pretty frightened when he thought about what could have happened.
“It’s her,” he said, with awe, still staring at the spot he’d last seen her.

“My mate.  My true mate.”

Purchase the book at Amazon in Kindle or paperback format.  Also available for Nook.

Excerpt: Hollywood Stories

Here’s a fun excerpt for the blog today! I love history and I admit to a particular fondness for movie history. My first experiences with history were in reading biographies, most of them of the old stars of the silver screen.

Author Stephen Schochet is a professional tour guide in Hollywood who years ago began collecting little-known, humorous anecdotes to tell to his customers. His new book Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! contains a timeless treasure trove of colorful vignettes featuring an amazing all-star cast of icons including John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn and many others both past and contemporary.

A Couple Snippets From Hollywood Stories:

We Don’t Want a Hit

Executives at United Artists Studio were unimpressed viewing the initial footage of Sean Connery playing James Bond in the 1962 spy thriller Dr. No. The thirty-two-year-old Scottish actor, whose receding hairline was carefully hidden by a toupee, seemed to change his accent in almost every scene. Sure, the former Mr. Universe runner-up was a formidable
presence, but did Connery have the sophistication to play the suave super spy 007, a role originally meant for Cary Grant? The studio kept the completed film on the shelf for many months before releasing it in England where it was a smash. Well, it had to be a fluke; Bond was English, after all. Six months later, they released it in the USA where it did great again. Dr. No led to a hugely successful James Bond franchise and made Sean Connery an international star. It failed only in Japan, where movie-theater owners translated Dr. No to read, “We don’t want a doctor!”

Walt Disney’s Daughters
(This one’s my favorite. I laughed so hard. – Gwen)

Walt Disney’s two daughters, Sharon and Diane, grew up sheltered from the limelight. The children had no images of Mickey Mouse around their home. Their father didn’t go to many parties, preferring to stay in after a long day of work. Sometimes he would playfully chase the youngsters upstairs, cackling like the evil peddler woman in Snow White. When they behaved badly, Walt would admonish them with a raised eyebrow; his stern demeanor inspired the character of the wise old owl, in the 1942 animated feature Bambi. As toddlers, the brainy Diane and beautiful Sharon stayed blissfully unaware that their parents worried about them being kidnapped and allowed no pictures of the sisters to be publicly circulated. Once in 1939, a curious classmate questioned six-year-old Diane about her family. She went
home and said, “Daddy, you never told me you were that Walt Disney,” and asked him for an autograph.

To find out more about the book, visit the Hollywood Stories website!

Socialpunk: Excerpt from Monica Leonelle

I’m pleased to share with you an excerpt from the new novel, Socialpunk, by Monica Leonelle.  

A little more about it:

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

From the Novel:

After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.

A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.

Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.

He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.

But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.

He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute.

But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires.

He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer.

He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them.

In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them.

Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit.

Socialpunk is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.