This modern fantasy combines magic with emotion while promising political intrigue and adventure. Each page transports you to a realm of dueling worlds, one advanced and the other locked in the age of sail and pirates. When pirates and outlaws ally against tyranny as magical powers awaken at alarming rates, unraveling the plans of the evil Falconers. These dark administrators harvest children who could potentially manipulate the elements, stealing their abilities for a darker purpose. The heroes of this tale include Eusari Thorinson, kidnapped and sold at a young age. She must choose vengeance against those responsible for the pain she endured in evil hands, or choose to challenge the Falconers beside Braen Braston, a quiet outcast from the northern kingdom. This trilogy is filled with mystery, intrigue, action and more.
Targeted Age Group:: Mature Readers 16+ and older
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My children asked me years ago to find them books they could read that were more exciting than the ones they were currently reading at the time. As a single father at that time, raising three children, we spent a lot of time reading and it was something I highly encouraged them to do. As their reading advanced, I looked for mature children's books for them to read, and it was challenging for me to find books for them to read. My children asked me "why don't you write us a story dad!?" So, the journey began with me writing here and there in my spare time while working as a full-time Principal with troubled youth. As time went on, I began formulating this story with worlds and mystery and eventually put pen to paper, or I should say… fingers to the keyboard and began to write this story out. It became an intense passion of mine that has developed over the last almost three years, so much so, that I retired my career as a full time Principal to a become a full-time author. I now have finished the trilogy and have started a completely new series with its completion just weeks away.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters are a blend of people I know, people I wish I knew, and people I never want to know. Some are thought up before the story itself, while others I meet along the way. Sometimes I'm surprised when a character comes along, and they usually become my favorites in the end… as if they are alive!
Andalon Awakens Excerpt
A small man stood on the deck of a creaking frigate. Unable to sleep, he kept first watch listening to the nighttime waves lapping the hull. The ship stood on the open sea, stranded and thirsting for air that had remained strangely still for an entire day and night. He watched as the lack of wind seemingly laughed at the impotent sails hanging on their masts.
Complete lack of movement is rare at sea and the eerie calm had already worked on the imaginations of the crew. Fear had slowly built within each man, and the abrupt appearance of eighteen sails sent panic through every topside sailor. The little man pushed back his spectacles and sounded the alarm. Then he dropped through a hatch to wake the captain.
Inside the main quarters, a large man opened his eyes and groaned. The noise grew louder at his door, a rhythmic thumping that wrenched him from his dream. He fought back a euphoric shudder as the memory of his lover’s embrace faded into the pounding of reality.
He only held her briefly in his youth and would only ever do so in this recurring fantasy.
Her warm scent of spring lilac lingered momentarily, as did the soft caress of her lips. Braen Braston groaned as he awakened, fighting against the urge to draw his knife against the neck of whoever pounded on his door. Tears squeezed from his eyelids as he tightly closed them against the waking world.
If only he could return to the world where sweet Hester waited. He yearned to rejoin her warm bed and to feel her silky skin against his rough hands. Having once been a nightly occurrence, Braen had languished without the dream for more than a span. His wish every evening was that slumber would transport him to her realm. Now that she had again visited, he worried he would not remember her touch after he fully awakened. Faded love and death are the only promises time gives to mortal men, and Braen secretly hoped for the second. Does death include dreams? He was almost willing to find out when the waking world shook him violently.
The heavy door to his cabin nearly splintered, keeping time with the pain between his temples. Panicked fists beat upon its planks as he briefly considered death once more. His eyes shot open with alarm. Somewhere nearby men shouted, and a feeling of urgency rocked the ship. The pounding that drew him back to reality had nearly broken the oak from its iron hinges. The shouting that accompanied the beating came from topside as men ran to battle stations.
He furiously threw the wool blanket from his body, sweating from the adrenaline of either passion or terror, whichever his faded dream had held. Wincing, he realized her face had completely gone from his mind. Awakening had also robbed him of her scent. Wasn’t it lilac? He could not remember. Reality and rational thought drew him out of bed. He would face the unknown foe who had attacked his ship while he dreamed of impossible fancies.
His boots slipped on easily enough and Braen did not bother replacing his shirt. Running bare-chested he emerged from his cabin and collided with Sippen Yurik, his engineer and first mate, lifelong friend, and make-shift cabin steward. The small man stopped beating down Braen’s door when it suddenly opened inward.
“What is it?” Braen shouted over the sounds from above.
“Lady E-e-e-sterling’s main fleet has found us.” Sippen stuttered as he spat out the words.
The captain ran past the impish smithy and raced topside. As he emerged from the hatch, the icy wind met his muscled chest. The blast nearly took away his voice. His long blonde beard kept most of the gust from off his face and he turned to see that Sippen had followed. The small man held out a thick coat. Thoughtful Sippen, he thought and surveyed the scene.
Across the choppy, greyish water he spotted the faint white of sails against the dawn. He quickly counted the masts while Gunnery Sergeant Krill relayed a signal to ready the guns. While the cannons were loaded and range elevated, Braen looked for a target. Four large galleons loomed between him and a large fleet of eight cargo ships accompanied by six smaller escorts. Two fleets closed on his with vengeance. He stroked his chest-long beard. How do they have wind and we don’t? He glanced at his now raised battle sails, dangling limp and useless.
Braen had expected to cross the trade convoy in the night before. When he had lost the wind, he assumed that they would suffer the same hinderance as Wench’s Daughter. He had not expected the main fleet to be so close. But it had appeared, oddly timing the arrival with the cargo ships. How had they coordinated pursuit in open waters?
“Get us some wind!” He shouted at the helmsman. “Hard to port! Drop those battle sails and put up the mains! We need speed!” Braen had not yet fought atop Wench’s Daughter and wished for his own Ice Prince. Suddenly, Braen remembered that Wench’s Daughter promised bigger fire power. “Belay my last! Keep the battle sails,” he ordered, “hard to starboard and all guns to port!”
With or without wind, his heavy ship would not outrun the swift imperial galleons. The large captain cursed as he remembered how he had been talked into leaving his own sleek-lined vessel at Pirate’s Cove. Worse, the belly of Wench’s Daughter brimmed with heavy stores stolen from Esterling’s winter warehouses.
Wench’s Daughter drifted where the larger warships preferred. He would have to fight on their waters with reef shoals directly south. He carefully chose and called out his first target, hoping a hit below waterline would drag the lead galleon in front of the other vessels. However, such a first volley would be a marvel of the gods if it actually found wood to splinter. For that task, Braen Braston trusted his loyal friend Sippen.
The little weaponsmith was not much to look at. Small framed, he was slightly larger than a ten-year-old boy. His head was too large for his body and his arms were twigs. Sippen Yurik was useless in a fist fight, and deathly afraid of sharp blades. He preferred mathematical equations over human interaction. Other than remembering small things like coats during a cold morning battle, the man appeared worthless on a war-going vessel. That is, until you witnessed him sighting weapons.
He had been the royal engineer at Fjorik and designed and oversaw the building of Ice Prince. Even earlier than that, a close friendship bonded the two men from boyhood. When Braen fled the city two years earlier, Sippen had been waiting on the docks with his tools and the ship, refusing to allow his friend to flee into exile without him. For all of this, Braen was eternally grateful.
From the corner of his eye Braen saw the unassuming man help the gunners make final adjustments for windage, furiously scribbling with chalk on a slate. Sergeant Krill called out distances, bearings and speed while Sippen calculated. “Guns readied,” bellowed Krill, after Sippen had nodded to the one-eyed man. Braen briefly considered how a one-eyed gunner judged distance with such accuracy, but, as always, he did not openly question Krill’s knack for timing and range.
“Stand by to fire!” The captain gave the preparatory. “Make your mark. Now, batteries release!” On Braen’s command the cannons exploded toward the largest of the galleons. Perhaps a lucky shot, Braen halfway smiled as most of the projectiles struck below the waterline. The large foe listed as a sudden rush of seawater entered its hold. It semi-capsized as he had hoped, and it listed before drifting with the current toward the trailing fleet. As he had hoped, the sinking vessel briefly blocked the passage of the other warships. Braen finally enjoyed time to think the battle over.
Oddly, he noticed a sudden coldness pass through his body. Most likely the retreat of adrenaline after the initial chaos, he tried to dismiss the chill until it had grown into a storm on a mountain summit. Braen felt his skin raise into bumps such as you would find on a freshly plucked fowl. Chicken-skin, his mother had called the sensation when he was young. It radiated from within, almost as if his blood had cooled several degrees during the time to aim the guns and fire upon the other vessel. Braen pulled the collar of the heavy coat up against his neck.
While he pondered his next movement, three massive dark shapes rushed beneath his keel toward the wounded galley. At precisely the moment the shapes passed underneath, Braen saw sails flutter. Gods be praised, the pirate captain thought as the breeze caught. “Full to port. Ready the guns at starboard and prepare to take wind!” The dark shapes continued to speed toward the other vessels, and he briefly glimpsed long, trailing tentacles on the water.
Braen blinked as his eyes played tricks. They’re only mythological creatures, he assured himself, but Artema Horn’s prophetic words resounded through his memory. He grew colder. Everything was colder. Even the wood of the railing had grown icy.
Through the smoke and early morning haze, Braen spotted more sails on the horizon. Hurried calculations revealed at least twenty more of Esterling’s fleet, at least five of them flagships. Those, along with the six escorts, would make for overwhelming odds.
He signaled for Krill to lob the next volley over the wounded ship. Just as he called for the second attack, three large monsters emerged from the water.
Braen did not know who screamed the word. His only assurance was that it might not have been him. He watched helplessly as large tentacles reached out of the water and grabbed all three of the enemy galleons. Huge suction cups curled around the warships as desperate cries for mercy reached his ears. Then, the hardwood splintered as all three ships shattered like glass ornaments against stone. Stunned, the pirate captain prayed to the gods for the first time in two years.
As if timed with the sinking of the third galleon, the sails on Wench’s Daughter’s again fluttered, then fully caught the wind. The ship lurched with a sudden jolt as the wind favored their escape. The captain smiled and gave the command to turn hard into the blessed current. Braen barked at his crew, “Square away these sails and get us away from this cinder cursed place!” Using the creatures and the wrecked galleons as cover, he silently hoped that the pursuers would remain distracted. He smiled and his crew let out a whoop as the now westerly blowing wind carried all of his vessels out to the safety of open sea.
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