by thefourpartland

This is an excerpt from the third novel, Laeccan Waters. Currently, the main characters and their Hálsiend allies are trying to extract themselves from a raid that went badly wrong.

Ceinder fought desperately to defend those Hálsiends around her, but their numbers were getting thinner and thinner each time she looked. Even with her assistance on their strikes, there were so many of the enemy that exhaustion was killing many of her allies, as they became slow, and too tired to block the next blow. Indeed, she was reaching that same level herself, and if she did not collapse right then, she would do soon. Still, she had managed to hold the line, preventing the Þracian troops from overwhelming them here.

On the other flank of the battle, Atyniadol and the two warriors were all but fallen, their armour covered in nicks and cuts, and with red seeping out from several places on Atyniadol, for her thinner armour could not turn blades aside the way the mountain plate of Tri-Hauwcerton could. Atyniadol knew that soon she would need to step back from the battle to staunch her wounds, but there was never a break, never a moment when she could disengage and take that time, for they were so closely pressed by the enemy Áðexe that losing the rhythm of attack and block would see her skewered on the end of a thrust. So she fought on as the crimson trails crept further up her arms.

Next to her, Sawwaed and Bwyell could both see the distress that Atyniadol was in, but despite their best efforts, they could not carve out a pocket of peace in the centre of the maelstrom either, and so they lashed left and right with their hammers, the blows less well-timed and more wild, as they relied again and again upon their armour to save them. Their shields were chipped and dented in many places, for they were as much weapon as protection, and often their most effective assault was to slam a foe with the heavy boss upon the shield’s face, and finish the matter with a second strike from the war hammer.

By now, they had built a bulwark of corpses about their position, and the Áðexe of Þracian were forced to climb over the bodies of their friends in order to get at the humans, but while that slowed the pace of the assault, it meant that the enemies came at the humans from on high, at the level of their heads, and thus were the humans continually forced backwards, into a tightening circle, their backs to their Hálsiendic allies.

Sawwaed risked a glance along the line of their retreat, and saw the dim figure of a man face down in the snow. Knowing that it could only be Tarranau, he shouted and bellowed over the field of battle, calling for all soldiers to pull back from the battlefield in a fighting retreat. They had probably left the matter for too long, for their were down to less than one hundred and fifty troops, but at least the casualties they had inflicted upon the Þracians were so grievous that their force could never been used again.

The Hálsiends now gave ground with every step, ceding the hilltop position to their foes as they clustered about the western edge of the rise. With them came Ceinder, still on her feet and still deflecting enemy blows, although now she staggered with each one that she pushed aside. Bwyell reached Tarranau’s body first, flipping him over and listening for a moment before nodding to Sawwaed. Sawwaed grabbed the two nearest Áðexe, detailing them to carry Tarranau during the retreat.

Of the Þracians following them, there were perhaps six hundred left, and while that matter meant that the casualties inflicted were far in the favour of the Hálsiends, the difference in size of force still looked to spell the end for the humans and their allies.



by thefourpartland

Yes, that’s the proof copy of Tarranau sitting on my desk. I’ll get a better picture when I don’t have to use my camera phone. And that means in about two weeks there should be a little “Buy” icon splattered all over this website.



by thefourpartland

The Lianese line began to slacken and turn back on itself on one side of the square, and Rhy tried to look over the combat to see what could steal their resolve, but he could see nothing. The scene resolved itself moments later, as several Lianese soldiers collapsed with daggers piercing their throats, revealing a blood-soaked Llofruddiwr standing with two of his long-knives in hand, slashing into his Lianese foes. Caught between a suddenly surging shield wall on one side and a dervish on the other, the Lianese turned back to back, fighting desperately as two of them tried to slay Llofruddiwr. He dismissed their pitiful attempts, catching each strike on his knives before batting one Lianese weapon aside and kicking the soldier in the groin. One foe incapacitated, Llof turned his full attention on the other, and in a whirlwind of cuts and slices, hacked away at the wrist on the sword hand, wounding it until it could no longer hold its weapon. Both foes rendered incapable, he stabbed each, cutting an artery and letting them bleed out.

The Lianese forces on that side of the barricade were soon finished, but two more Veryan troops had fallen, rending their total count down to nine, now that Llofruddiwr had returned to bolster them. That left those nine against fifteen of the Lianese, and the Veryan forces were exhausted. Locsyn could barely stand, having been cut along his thigh, unable to lower the shield to defend himself. Rhocas had gained a wound across the back of his sword hand, and his arm trembled each time he tried to lift the blade. Gwyth stood like a rock, but this rock bled from cut after cut, and even his prodigious strength had slowed and weakened. Only Taflen stood unwounded, for even Rhyfelwyr and Llofruddiwr had been struck. Knowing what must be done, Rhy called out “Charge!” and leapt over the barricade, followed by Llof on his left and Taflen on his right, with the other soldiers a step behind.

Rhy could feel the energy fast draining from his body as he pushed it beyond all limits, and he staggered on his third step, nearly falling to the ground as he struggled with the enemy in front of him. Only a Llof knife-thrust stopped that stumble from being the end, and in a moment Rhyfelwyr was back on his feet, his sword sweeping around in a low arc to cut the ankle of an enemy, shield held high to protect from strikes to the head. Gwyth summoned his massive strength for one last blow, and simply slammed his blade into a Lianese shield, cutting through the wood and metal to drive the tip of his weapon into his foe’s neck. Sword caught in the shield, he let it go and grasped his shield with two hands, laying about him as if it were a club.

The far end of the line was anchored by Rhocas and Locsyn, and they fought as a team, one blocking strikes, the other leaping forward to thrust through the openings created. The style of combat was alien to the Lianese troops, and two fell before they began to understand the rhythm of blows, and drive the two Veryan soldiers backwards. Stumbling, Locsyn was only just able to turn his body to catch the attack on his shield, and he saw Rhocas take a further step back, leaving Locsyn fighting two on his own. Locsysn did all he could to defend himself, not even trying to counter, only trying to deflect the strikes as they came at him. He was rewarded for his skill a few moments later when a lance of blue flame flew over his shoulder and played upon the nearest Lianese troops, incinerating the two he had been fighting, and then turning down the line to catch two more.

The burst of flame from Rhocas left the young mage in a near faint, kneeling on the ground and retching, but it had shattered the Lianese soldiers entirely, and they scattered, a few caught from behind by the daggers of Llofruddiwr, but most escaping, the Veryan soldiers too exhausted to try and follow. Gathering themselves in a tight circle, Taflen applied bandages to the various wounds, cutting strips of cloth from the dead soldiers around them. They waited there for many minutes as the sun passed across the sky, sprawled upon the ground like so many dead, their bodies shut down. Only when the sun began to touch the tops of the buildings did Rhyfelwyr stand again, and gesture the others onwards, towards the warehouses.



by thefourpartland

Over on Splintered Lands today, we have the continuation of my comedy story Thieves Abroad. And here below, I’ve posted an excerpt from a short story set in The Four Part Land. To place yourself on the map, the action here takes place more or less under the text Yn Brydio Ad , which is the place of pilgrimage for those who worship the element of fire. Like many characters in The Four Part Land short stories, Bererin will appear in the novels as well.

In the night, one boot split and fell apart, and so Bererin removed the other, tossing it to the side with its broken companion. Barefoot, he would carry on, for his feet had grown hard and leathery from weeks of walking, and would serve him as good replacements.

All through the night he strode, snacking on what little food he had left and taking light sips of water. He staggered as the sky turned purple, then pink, then bright orange, and when the sun leapt from its hiding place beneath the ground he covered his eyes with one arm, for the distant dunes sparkled and glinted in the first rays of light.

Puzzled, he made his way towards them, and as the angle of the sun shifted overhead and gave him a clearer view of what it was that lay before him, his puzzlement grew, for it seemed nothing so much as giants trees, each with twisted trunks and writhing limbs. Each member of this forest glinted in the sun, and he wondered what calamity had struck this land such that all trees had taken on a metallic hue.

Further still were the trees than his first impressions had told, for they towered further and further overhead as he approached, yet never did he seem to quite reach them. Only when the first bent its boughs right to the ground and sought to touch him did Bererin raise his vision and examine what stood before him.

The trees were glass, a great forest made of glass. A thought struggled through his mind, rising from the fuzzy depths of memory, through the layers of confusion and lost thoughts, until it banged upon his conscious, demanding entry. Only then did Bererin recall the description of Asbri Ffaglu-Cyffyrddedig, for the lightning that struck the ground left great trees of glass, fusing the sand into an unknown forest.

Bererin had arrived, and he sunk down into the sand and cradled the nearest of the boughs in his arms, for a day had come that he thought had long since passed him by. As he wept, a bolt split the sky, and a nearby dune was struck full and hard. More lightning followed, a rain of bolts upon the hill, and with his eyes wide Bererin watched the formation of another tree in this great forest. For that was how they were formed, as dunes suffered the thunderous impact of bolt upon bolt. Then the passing of wind would sweep clear the sand, revealing the glass beauty that hid beneath.

Bererin climbed, his legs pumping with renewed vigour as he sought the summit of the forest, as he climbed through the trees until he could look out and see the great mass of them, the woods that were Asbri Ffaglu-Cyffyrddedig. His feet slid in the sand, and the curve of the hill set him to stumbling, but he would not be denied the summit and his perseverance paid off, for as he reached the peak, his eyes beheld a great forest, a towering land of glass giants that covered the sand for many miles around, glinting and glistening in the new-fallen sunlight.



by thefourpartland

I’d like to welcome everyone to an interview with J. Cafesin. She’s an up and coming author with one book published and another shortly on the way, and you can look her up at her website. Now give her a big round of applause for stepping up to the plate.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, let us know who you are.
Asked my kids this morning who they think I am since I couldn’t come up with anything, which, in and of itself should tell you something about me. Here is what they said:

Daughter (9):
-Loving [a great mom!]
-Over-dramatic and edgy sometimes
-Harsh sometimes, but never out there (meaning I don’t hit, and won’t. Ever.)

Son (12)
-Over-reactive, sometimes
-Kind of a depressive
-Good at putting feelings and thoughts into words

You published your first book Reverb, in October of last year. How’s the reaction been?
Would love to tell you millions of copies have been sold… I’m a recluse and suck at self-promotion, would rather write than aureate; and there’s a bit of trouble with the cover. Fought hard not to have it, as it doesn’t represent the book at all, but publisher insisted. Since the cover is half (or more) of the sale with unknown authors, it’s been hard to get people past it to the rich story of a man at the brink of sanity who finally learns to love someone other than himself.

Given the good reviews, are you going to work more in that world?
REVERB was fun to write, much easier than DISCONNECTED, it flowed off my fingers because James has been in my head since I was a little kid. I know him, his life, his family, his passion for creating music and how the muse can isolate and dictate a lonely life. And yes, if I get to it, there is a sequel for REVERB in the works, an outline anyway, I hope to get to some day.

And you’re now working on Disconnected. Tell us a little about that.
My first draft of DISCONNECTED was over 15 years ago. I set it aside to have kids, and then, of course, needed money, so went back to my ‘career’ as a freelance creative director in advertising/marketing. I wrote it again after REVERB got picked up, been working on it for the last 4 yrs, rewrote it completely, twice. I’m on my four iteration, but this time I have it, the full story jelled months ago with a great ending that most all women can celebrate!

How’s the response to it been so far? And you’ve been using Scribd. Has it helped the writing process?
Not sure if these numbers mean anything, but I’ll give em to you anyway (as of this minute):
5,600+ reads; 200+ Likes and seemingly around 400 following now chapter for chapter.

Working on DISCONNECTED for 4 yrs without any real feedback, so I put it out there to see if I was telling a story worth reading. Apparently it is, but again, I don’t know what the numbers on Scribd mean. I have gotten some great reviews from groups like Urbis and Zoetrope, and many, many emails from readers that like the work, which has kept me writing it–that, and Kate, the main character, finally came off the page and told me her story.

Any characters in these books that are particular favorites?
James Whren is my alter ego, which I guess is weird since I’m a woman. (But maybe not. I know many women who fantasize about being a guy, though I’ve not heard a lot of men who wish to be women, which should tell you something about our social structure.) James is hot, cool, brilliant, beautiful, and better than me, as he’s achieved greatness, which I’ll spend my lifetime striving for.

Now, why’d you decide to go indie?
Random House didn’t want me. But I’m hoping for them, or their like, for DISCONNECTED. If not, I’m going to have to give up writing again and go back to advertising/marketing. Promised my kids Stanford, and if they can get in, it’s going to take a lot more book sales that only a large marketing machine like RH can offer.

What do you find are the biggest obstacles to overcome when writing a novel?
TIME and quiet space!! Especially with kids, my DH, a bratty dog and freelance creative projects to bring in bucks when needed. Love to have a major publishing house behind me, a good agent to handle my marketing gigs, tell me where to go, when to be there…etc. so all I do is show up. I love writing, my true passion besides my family, but with having to market myself, by myself, it’s so time consuming with all my other stuff, it leaves little time to write.

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?
Write because you love to, not because you think it’s your ticket to greatness, or a financial windfall. Most professional writers I know, even with big publishers, still have ‘real’ jobs, independent wealth or public or private donors to pay the bills.

If you’re writing to tell a story; play with, even satisfy a muse; scratch a mental itch; you’ll finish that novel, and probably more on that.

What famous writer would you most compare yourself to and why?
Wow. Sorry. Can’t. Great writers, like Dostoevsky, Bradbury, Fowles, Dickens…etc. humble me. I dare not compare myself to the likes of these writers, ever, lest I stop striving to model them.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?
Can’t speak for everyone. Great books, like movies, art…etc. are only great if the reader/viewer thinks so. I loved The Fountainhead. My DH hated it, couldn’t finish it, in fact. So where does that leave Ayn Rand’s masterpiece? Recommending reading– it’s best to know your audience first.

What book are your currently reading?
Stranger On The Planet, by Adam Schwartz; Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury (reading it with my son who also LOVES it!)

eBook or hard copy, or do you not have a preference?
ebook! I love trees!!!

Have any new and upcoming authors caught your eye?
Just read, I Thought You Were Dead, by Pete Wilson. I thought he captured his character really well, and told an engaging story. Also, Donald Pollock. He did some amazingly raw, real character sketches in Knockemstiff.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Don’t want to ever be a superhero. Remember what Spiderman’s uncle said: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I believe it to my core. Don’t know if Marx meant to change the world, but words are powerful, and the weight of that responsibility gets more intense as more and more people read me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
‘Crazy person,’ is one of the meanings of Pantser, so I’ll go with Pantser!

Have you ever thought of a great opening chapter and a devilish closing chapter but just can’t work out how to get from one to the other?
There is a math joke like that: Professor has formula on the blackboard with complex numbers and symbols but there is a big gap in the middle where the board is blank. Under the drawing says: “And now a miracle happens…”

Been there. Done that.

Have you ever written a story where the antagonist made a better protagonist than the one you used?
Not really. My characters struggle with themselves, their battles aren’t really outside, but inside. Even in REVERB, James is imprisoned and tortured, but the real issue is inside James, locking people out, instead engaging with his muse, doing anything to satisfy its incessant hunger to create, so when he needed help, there was no one real to help him.

What kind of routines to you keep when writing ( i.e., exercise, food, chores, etc.)?
I write 7 or more hours a day, and when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about dialog, story and characters…etc. Can’t help it. Always seems to be some character and/or scene in my head vying for my attention. Other than that I’m with my kids doing the mom thing, and/or my DH doing the family thing.

What current project are you working on?
Finishing and selling DISCONNECTED.

Can you share any of it with us?
Next project I’m going SciFi and putting a script I did at UCLA [ages back] into a novel.

Any last words you’d like to say before we give you a stiff drink and let you step away from the podium?
Thanks for having me on your site! Not so much into liquor, but I’ll take sweets—some cotton candy, maybe, or treats—I’m big into backrubs!



by thefourpartland

Boots crunched on the red soil as the ship was offloaded, and the crates of cargo piled up outside. Then the crew set about unpacking, putting together the first of the tools that would allow them to build a new home.

Days later, the first of the true heavy machinery whirred into life, and a pit was born near the ship. Into it the crew carried beams, roofing over the space as they sealed and supported the walls. From time to time they paused, looking skyward, for so far from home, the constellations looked different, and some they could not see at all.

Work continued apace, and soon the pit had become a home, complete with all the amenities needed. The best was when the crew could come in and take off their working gear and relax in the warmth and fresh air, for outside was a cold and dusty place.

They were required to keep a log of their activities for each day, and often the crew would wake to see that new orders had arrived, or new suggestions. It felt good to know that despite the distance, people at home cared.

Finally, after many months of labour, all the work required to set up was complete, and the last of the boxes was unpacked. The crew relaxed among her potted garden, and she smiled. She’d been told that the next ship had a man on it. Not a bad present after three years alone.

This story is based on the concept of a One Way, One Person trip to Mars.




by thefourpartland

The second charge came, and it was repulsed in the same way as the first, glass spheres breaking the momentum at point-blank range. There spheres rarely killed, but the clouds of abrasive glass would injure many an eye, and the spray of sharpened waste would make the ground a spike-ridden mess, and for that Rhyfelwyr was grateful. In the brief pause as the Lianese forces gathered for a third charge, Rhy spoke with his squad, pulling them from the lines.

“We’ve lost three of the twenty men we started with, and three more are like Locsyn, wounded. They’re going to throw a third round of javelins, and we’ve already tightened the wall once. Do we charge?”

Taflen looked up, examining the Lianese forces for a long moment before shaking his head. “We stay, we’ll take more of them with us that way.”

Gwyth grunted. “Uplifting, you are.”

Nervously twirling the end of his moustache in one hand, Locsyn shook his head. “Rhocas, can you get us out of this?”

The young mage sighed. “I’ve been training as a mage for only a few days, I can just barely manage summoning fire when I want it. I can’t do one of the giant balls of flame. I’m sorry.”

Rhy patted the young man on the back. “Nothing to be sorry about, you signed on as a soldier and you do a soldier’s job. We stand.” Rhy turned back to his post in the centre of the barricade, and only Taflen heard him mutter that “I hope Llof comes up with something.”

The third trumpet called, and Gwyth readied himself, his shield held high to catch the incoming javelins. His arm ached and a slow trickle of blood flowed from where the arrow had pierced it in the morning, but he ignored the pain, and caught the first Lianese soldier over the wall on his shield, slamming it up into his foe as the man jumped from the barricades. A sword thrust around the side slammed into the Lianese ribs, and Gwyth dumped him off, shield reset to deal with the next foe.

Taflen steadied himself, one foot up on the wooden barrier, and as the first of his foes tried to scramble across, he caught the fool with a hard strike to the helmet, cleaving the protection and leaving his foe writhing on the ground. Two more followed at the same time, pushing Taflen back as he fought to keep his shield in front of one and strike at the other with his sword. The split attention meant neither succeeded, and a thrust at his ribs was only stopped by the quick attention of the Veryan soldier to Taflen’s left. That assistance allowed the historian to strike hard at the legs of the foe to his right, and the sword carved through the shin until it lodged midway into the bone, yanked from his hand as the Lianese soldier fell. With nothing but his shield left, Taflen put his right hand behind the boss and slammed it into the face of his second foe, knocking him backwards. The strike was too late for Taflen’s ally, for in stopping the thrust at Taflen he had left himself open, and a countering blow had left him dying in the dirt. In the brief moment of freedom that he had, Taflen grabbed the sword from his fallen comrade’s hand, stepping backwards and readying himself for the next foe to come.

The shield wall contracted further, with only ten of the original twenty still standing, of which five came from Rhyfelwyr’s squad. He was proud of them, that they would stand against the odds, but some twenty five Lianese soldiers remained to press in on them, and that left Rhy sore at heart. He could see Rhocas calling on his magic, and brief sputters of flame would appear, but the carnage and the chaos of the battle had stolen the mage’s concentration, and soon he fell back on his sword, standing in the shield wall and delivering blow for blow, his face pale with sweat. The young man had seen too little of life to die, and he fought with the strength of the desperate, fear lending power to his strikes, and speed to his counters.



by thefourpartland

I’d like to welcome everyone to a little interview with a friend and co-worker of mine. Lisa is involved in the Splintered Lands and Deepwood Inc projects with me, and has been immensely successful at marketing herself. Now, I hope you’ll all read on and enjoy her wit and wisdom.

First off, tell us a little about yourself. For that one person in the back who doesn’t know you.

Ha! Well, I was born and raised in the Nation’s Capital and relocated to beautiful Colonial Williamsburg about 6 years ago. I studied classical piano and ballet from age 3 on and began writing in my early teens. Then, sadly, my grandfather passed, the words stopped flowing, and I abandoned writing up until a year ago. During the day, I’m a litigation assistant (I know, reeeally exciting stuff) and at night, I run, write, read, form book clubs – the list goes on and on. I’m not exactly sure why I even own chairs, I rarely actually relax enough to use them. So basically, blah, blah, blah, I’m kinda boring.

You’re about to publish your first book, how’s that coming along?

I am, I am. It’s hard to believe that it was just a mere eight months ago when I finished the first draft. The manuscript has been ripped apart several times over since then and is finally taking shape into the final draft. Yay!

So you’re in rewrites?

Don’t. Remind. Me. Yes, specifically round three of my rewrites. I am over half-way done and beta readers have just finished reading the first half. I plan to have the rewrites finished over this next week, if I don’t distract myself with, you know, everything.

And the publication date is when?

My hope is to have the ebook available by the end of June (oh god that’s next month), with the paperback to follow shortly thereafter. Fingers crossed I make my new deadline.

Now, you’ve bounced around between genres a fair amount already. Any favorites you’re going to return to?

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried so far. My writing generally crosses genres anyway, but I would say I am most comfortable with romance, comedy and horror. Wow, I know, quite the combination.

What’s the one genre you really, really don’t want to write?

Hmmmm. That’s a good question. I’m not opposed to trying anything once. I’m petrified of writing Sci-Fi though. Not exactly sure why, but I am, which probably means you’ll be making me write that soon.

Right, time to start a contest where you have to write in Sci-Fi.

Seeee, I knew it!

Random question of the day: Best dancing song?

My all-time favorite score of music and therefore, in my opinion, the best to dance (at least ballet to) is Swan Lake Op.20 by Tchaikovsky. Hey, I warned you I was boring in the first answer!

Have you finished writing Kingdoms in Conflict yet? [This is a joint writing project between Lisa and myself for Splintered Lands]

Noooo, of course not. But, I am genuinely starting to feel bad about how long I have been ignoring this, so I’ll get right on that. No seriously, I will!

Of course not. And that’s because you’re working on how many other projects?

Uhm…500. Okay, maybe not that many. But I write and maintain my own blog, coordinate and manage Between the Lines, write with you on Splintered Lands and Deepwood, Inc. and, uhm, I guess that’s it.

Oh come on. There’s a only a few in there. That means you’ve surely got a few more coming.

Well, okay, there are more! I recently formed Black Kettle Publishing, LLC and there are also plans to take Between the Lines to the next level and open an indie book store.

Anything to tell us about them?

Black Kettle Publishing, LLC, for starters, will publish my books. But, after my debut has launched, I plan to track down other talented writers. And yes, I already have a few in mind.

The book store is my long-term goal and I am only in the verrrry preliminary stages of drafting the business and marketing plan and figuring out where and when it will be launched. So this one’s probably going to take me a few years to get all sorted out.

Only three more? Slacker. Tell us a little more about Between the Lines.

Yeah, yeah. Well, Between the Lines is not your ordinary book club. If you are looking to read Stephen King or John Grisham, you’re in the wrong place. The members of BTL only read indie and small press authors. One of the major benefits to this is the readers and authors get to connect directly with one another, both online and via our telephone club meetings.

How’s the response to it been so far?

Amazing! BTL was founded in March of this year and has grown to almost 120 members in under three months. We have our Featured Authors lined up through 2012 and have some exciting new events, including the introduction of Double Feature months, which will be announced shortly.

Have you considered merging it with the Deepwood Inc project?

Why that is an excellent idea! Both Deepwood and BTL aim to promote and assist indie authors, so yes, I think this might be something I need to work on.

Any last words you’d like to say before we send you off to that copious free time you have?

A big thank you to all of the wonderfully supportive people whom I’ve met this past year. I have to say the warmth of our writing community has restored my faith in humanity. So thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, retweeting, making me laugh and well, being you.

No plans for world domination yet, I see. Well, thank you very much for coming around and talking to us, and best of luck with all of your projects. Including the three unannounced ones.