Monthly Archives: January 2017

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, January 10, 2016, I reached a milestone in life, becoming a published author with the release of The Crystal Crux – Betrayal.

Click Here and watch Flintstones singing Happy Anniversary!

To honor the occasion, I decided to highlight many of my favorite lines from the book.  Perhaps those who have not purchased or read the book will be inspired to do so.  Remember, The Crystal Crux-Betrayal is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook.

  • There wasn’t an iris in the room but still she could smell them, the, the iris and the salty sea.
  • Gherardus stood tall above the back of the chair, his grey-blue eyes glaring down on them, his mind squarely focused on the mission ahead.
  • Gherardus cuffed his frustrated fist with the other hand realizing this conspiracy was going to require more tact and coin than he had ever thought possible.
  • As if he were Samson parting the infamous pillars beneath Dagon’s temple, Gherardus shoved aside a pair of wooden doors and entered a miserable little antechamber near the bottom of the world.
  • Decidedly pedantic and anxiously ambitious, Talento Fabbro had no time for philosophy or religion.  He dismissed his elderly father’s ravings simply enough.
  • The great king of mosquitoes must have blood.  We are not here to resist him.  We will give him blood.
  • He blinked in disgust and supposed aloud, “War, for whatever purposes we have imagined, is all around us.  Friends are betraying friends.”
  • Talento Fabbro festered in the dark behind the throne.
  • The loss of such devotion and talent seemed almost immoral, almost.
  • “Awful does not do you justice, my Lord.”
  • “I have no desire to be impaled by aspirant priest.”
  • Gherardus staggered despondently down the aisle towards the same wooden pillars he had brushed aside a sin ago, once nearly tripping over a hurried little lizard that scurried across his path.  As he breached the threshold, he muttered in amusement, “And to think, I respect Pero more than any other bastard in my court.  Awful surely does not do me justice.”
  • During his nearly fatal plummet back down to earth, Bellerophon managed to gather in his grasping frantic hands a host of esoteric particles from the swirling nitrous clouds surrounding paradise.
  • Ophis had been slumbering unscathed for centuries in a remote European barrow.  He was waiting, hoping, for the return of the last age, the age when dragons ruled the earth, the age before the first man Adam breathed his first breath and stole dominion from them in the Garden of Eden.
  • What is sin to a god anyway?
  • The agitated stream of lava swallowed the crystal.
  • Ophis is still crazy mad.
  • Rugerius had always been a rapacious child.
  • Rugerius stared hard at the shiny seax in Bergus’ left hand.  The grip was bone white and the polished steel blade no more than eight-inches long.
  • Celestial courage vented down from the empyrean.
  • “Oh Venus, you love, you charming sweet dame, smile and kneel, afford, entertain.  Touch not my soul but arouse this old flame, kiss me, inhale me, be not ashamed.”
  • The Spaniard screamed as the jug of wine and the open wound rained the earth red.
  • Rugerius ripped through the bedroom like an angry bull, his soiled hands tearing a destructive path through the fragile, silk veils, many of which became unfastened from the ceiling and died, their sinuous bodies drifting down gracefully to the floor unaware that they had been violated.
  • Her arms and legs began to quiver.  Viridian was drifting towards some mystic netherworld to locate her inner beast.
  • People are sheep, subject to the whims of the ruthless.
  • “I won’t be here when you return.  I’m going to Capri.”
  • Anthea pulled her eyes away from the sindon to see why her fiance was not responding to her query.  She was not surprised to find him staring into the abyss.
  • How could the people not cheer?  How could Pero not smile?
  • “I have witnessed herds of genteel stock hoisting their shit-covered tails high in the air for all to see, turning readily from left to right, proffering up their hindquarters to every handsome bull.”
  • The clip never left him.  It was the first trinket exchanged between them, a golden clasp she once wore.
  • The red cloth reminded her of the blood filling the human heart, the precious fuel that keeps the human body alive.  The white silk harkened back to the days of childhood and purity, the times of sweet innocence and noble truth.  The answer was obvious.  “I will purchase them both for I will need them both.”
  • He forced himself to gaze upon his father’s broken body, teeth clenching, anger tearing through every fiber of his being.
  • “Bravest blood flows first,” Zor whispered commandingly.
  • “You must be the rock.  You must be Penafiel.  Everywhere you go, you must be Penafiel.”
  • The man they both loved the most in the world was traveling on a quest from which he would never return.
  • He flew upwards and outwards towards his ideals like Icarus heading for the sun.
  • Having tolerated more abuse than he believed he was expected to endure but still exercising unparalleled restraint, Pero de Alava calmly flashed Rugerius a knowing grin before rearing back and busting the hard pommel of his sword across the braggart’s face.
  • “Gentlemen, let us empty our goblets and drink our detestations away.  When the morrow comes and the sun gives light to the extent of this outrage, there will be ample opportunity to nurture the enmity you’ve fashioned for Lord Pero.  I’m sure of that.”
  • Benectus had been Capua’s faithful kitchen steward for the previous three short-lived administrations and, in his opinion; all three were venal at best.
  • Midonia hovered at the doorway like an eager vulture, her wings folded up unsympathetically inside the wide creases of her boat-sleeves.
  • “I will not strike you down though you be the devil himself.”
  • And then the demon in him roared back to life causing his body to convulse.
  • “You love God and He loves you.  The whole world could go to hell and burn in fire and you wouldn’t care.”
  • Her daddy would always be there to save her.  She need only see his face to feel at peace.
  • Merle Gilmore was a klutz.
  • “No,” Francis replied.  “I have never seen Pero of Penafiel before today.”
  • The first target to draw his attention was the feeblest knight of the lot, a tall, ill-fitted fool with a small round shield, his clumsy fat horse nothing more than an abject field mule.
  • With a singular blow of his heavy mace to the backside of the rival’s steel-plated helm, Francis sent plumage flying everywhere.
  • The Griffin began to fly.
  • “You have saved my life today, Sir Francis Whitehall of England.  Now I am going to save yours.”  Francis couldn’t hold back his smile any longer.  “God be praised.”
  • And yet today, the eminent man felt slighted.  The Provost was a common errand boy squirming uncomfortably on a pine bench in the great hall at Capua.
  • “You will avoid Benevento and travel directly to Melfi utilizing a remote and ancient trail known as Eagles Pass.”
  • Right now, she saw no shine.  She saw only armor and a sword, dark embodiments of death, emblems of conflict and harbingers of separation.  His wearing it now said much.
  • She was close to tears.  “Pero, I’m scared.  I beg you, husband, come, take my hand and let us pray.”
  • “She is henceforth yours and not mine.  I’m tired of always being the one to put things right.”
  • This door was death.  He needed only to pass beyond it and he was free.
  • “Pero, I asked you not to change.”
  • Before Pero could wheel Lady Zaon around and make this his final scene at Capua, Francis snatched hold of the bridle.
  • “I, for one, never thought my faith would sour like it has.  I fear I am becoming like them.”
  • “Well, we cannot pray the bastards away.”
  • “And you would have us live at peace with them who exiled and murdered you?”
  • A large horsefly landed on the grey-speckled palfrey’s backside and bit it unexpectedly.  The horse bucked up in the air before he was ready.  Pero nearly lost his grip.
  • “He is my best friend and absolution is hard to come by today.”
  • “I have fallen so far.  It is so dark out here.  I am all alone.  No one can save me now.
  • ‘Let this be the trap.  Let this be the moment.’  The next thought passed quickly.  ‘Be careful what you wish for.’
  • “No, no,” the girl pled, oranges raining out of the basket.
  • “For a few gold coins,” she whispered, her voice nearly singing.  “Anything is possible.”
  • It was the winged, weightless horse he saw earlier in the day, running gracefully on the ether.
  • ‘A tempting lamb to be sure.  Wholesome white purity.’
  • “When you touch that clasp,” Pero continued, “I want you to remember this day and pray for your husband to come.  And believe me, he will come.”
  • Sometime during the dead of winter, no one could really remember when, a proclamation went out to all the cities announcing the engagement of Rugerius Fabbro to a woman he had never met.
  • More adventurous visitors traveled beyond the city, to the ashen plains of Herculaneum where an attraction known as Sin Circus had taken up residence with its mysterious black tents.
  • As he wheeled about to leave, the faint whimper of a teary-eyed woman somewhere in the chapel caught hold of his ear.
  • Beneath the purple cape with icy silver trim, the annoyed maiden rolled her eyes, despised the intrusion and attempted to ignore the stranger further.
  • Embarrassed, the maiden turned slightly red.  Timidly she started running her fingers through that which remained of her hair.
  • “You must recant.  You know nothing about me and my sins.  You don’t know who I am or what has happened today.  What you wish for is impossible.”
  • “I am ready to make my stand in life.  Place your faith in me and my love for Anthea and watch me change the world.”
  • ‘I don’t have the jawbone of an ass but I have this.  And I have the element of surprise.  With God’s help, I could kill these knights.’
  • “Forget my name,” Pero instructed Cambio.  “Forget my name because God has.”
  • Suffice to say, Merle Gilmore rose to the task.  The Rose, as Merle came to be known in Warwick, served his Uncle Geoff with health and vigor.
  • Francis stared into his only child’s face as though she were a magic mirror reflecting his dearest dreams.
  • “Da, I will be fifteen tomorrow.  My life is just starting.  Let me live a little.  Nothing will happen tomorrow, I promise.”
  • The clarion sounded.  An alarm bell followed.  First it was one and then another and then another.
  • Anne breathed soundlessly so only Francis could hear her voice.  “I’m scared, Da.”
  • Francis had never heard of Black Leaves or seen the inverted black oak-leaf crest before.
  • “The rain is falling hard this day, my Lord.  Saints and sinners are hurting all the same.  Don’t let this storm cause you to forget who you are.”
  • Francis Whitehall could not run fast enough.
  • “Don’t forget me, Da!”  Anne couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.
  • “You are not forgiven.”
  • Like the trifling waste that usually fell down from these pipes, Francis and Guidus dumped themselves down harmlessly into the sludge river that encircled the castle.
  • The flickering fire strained and struggled to provide light.  It was being rejected by the strange woodland.
  • That was before the wolves arrived.
  • The moment Pero dismounted, Zaon collapsed.
  • Pero de Alava had become the most dangerous creature on Eagles Pass.  He was now a monster or a god or something worse.
  • A curious iridescent glow began flickering at far point.
  • Without an ounce of grace, as if his body had been thrown there by some giant uncaring hand, Pero crashed down hard on his stomach inside the colonnade of torches.
  • Its pearl black eyes fixed their oppressive gaze on Pero, hypnotically straining to seize him and draw him near.
  • He stood there a long minute defying the darkness, somewhere between heaven and hell.
  • “No human has ever entered Ithaca by way of those woods.  It is unheard of.”
  • Sinibaldus felt slighted, defeated.  He was not accustomed to losing, not where the crystal was involved.
  • He knew it wouldn’t be long before he winked again.
  • “Who are you, old man,” Pero stated cuttingly.  “Why are you out here?  What is this place?  Why the giant torches?”
  • Ba-boom.  Ba-boom.  Ba-boom.
  • In sheer madness, those that condemned killed those that encouraged.
  • No longer lightheaded, Pero shot to his feet and unsheathed Miriam.
  • “Lizards apparently are not animals,” Turstin wryly replied.
  • “I’ve seen men and women with whiskers and tails, people who cannot speak, only growl and snarl.”
  • Pero tore the bandage from his arm and his severest injury.
  • “I tire of your vacillation, you young fool”
  • Spit flew from his mouth.  “That bitch was my mother!”
  • Turstin remembered the moment they placed the quarrel in his hand before loading it in the firing shaft.
  • “He follows the old gods, the gods of war, wrath and willpower.”
  • “A man can become awfully paranoid when he doubts the things he has done in his past and believes his sins are chasing him.”
  • He had chills but was sweating profusely, nauseous and delirious, everything and nothing.
  • Grey ghosts with dead white eyes and long, icy fingers watched him.  Fire erupted and the homestead was consumed in an instant by flames.
  • The corridor was dripping blood.  There was an odor of death, putrid and rancid.
  • Before Anthea could reach him, an arrow sang out of the murkiness beyond the white cloud.
  • “There you go again, Pero, trying to make me your god.”
  • “I am Penafiel.  I shall not be moved.”

    Click here to purchase The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

    BETRAYAL

Building A Cave

Since I’ve not been to Italy and didn’t have actual pictures of my own of the Blue Grotto on Capri, I decided to build one in my basement for the cover of my second book : The Crystal Crux-Blue Grotto.

Despite all the investment in work and time, it didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to but that’s alright.  It still provided enough of an atmosphere to use it on the cover in a somewhat blurry, blinding blue aspect.

So here is my recorded history of the build.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

001

And so it begins.

002

I started with cardboard and plaster.

004

One of my main concerns was how to work water into the scene.  Just painting everything blue wasn’t going to cut it.  I knew I would also have to experiment with the lighting.

007

I build a cardboard shelf (which doesn’t really exist in the Blue Grotto but I needed for my story).

011

I bought a blue light.  This is one of my first experiments with it.

014

I had envisioned a much larger, wider shot of the grotto eventually so I started expanding the cave with wire mesh and more plaster.

023

The wood column I added to the front did not actually stay there.  I moved that out.  I thought I might need it for support but didn’t.

048

I drilled holes in the board because I knew I wanted light coming up from the water.

 

058

I also didn’t like how the blue light was working on white plaster, so I decided to go with a silver-grey color for the interior.

069

Me and my monstrosity.  Lol

073

To hold the water, I used a clear paint tray.  I actually liked the ribbed pattern for effect.

 

87

I started experimenting with the lighting again, even adding smoke.

92

Yes, I wanted the skeletons in there but they were too prominent and I needed them to be more in the shadows.  Too much light exposed them.  If you search the final product, they are there but really shaded.

95

97

That’s me in my magician’s robe – the one I wore to Bristol’s Renaissance Faire in 2016.  Any other Ren Faire people out there?

98

And this is me in the photoshop format that was eventually placed inside the cave for the cover of the book.

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And this was the final product.

10-finished

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And then came the deconstruction – tear down the cave!

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Crystal Crux – Blue Grotto.  Read and write a review – even if you just put up the number of stars without writing a review.  Authors need those reviews!  Thanks for all your support supporters!  I look forward to writing Book Three in the series in 2017.