After months of waiting, I finally received back my manuscript for book 3, “Mandrean Revenge”. All I can say is I am humbled. The editor was harsh and I either forgot how to write or am at the mercy of an overzealous editor. I am far from perfect. An editor is something I need for perspective. But I can’t help but remember this book has been published once and the corrections were only a tenth of what my editor wants changed/removed. The removal of certain parts could fundamentally change the story. In the end, however, I have no choice but to put on my big boy pants and make the corrections listed. The wound is still tender so I will wait for tomorrow to begin my corrections/deletions. I hold no grudge against the editor. That person is just doing what they think is right. I have had a worse editor. That person actually asked if I knew what I was talking about. At least this is just mainly red lines on the screen. As I said at the start, I am humbled. When this is over I will have my book. Surely, I can suck up my pride and follow instructions. One thing is certain. The book’s about to get shorter. To once again quote Steven Tyler, “These are our babies, here.” Well according to my wife, there is significant pain involved with bringing one into the world. To a lesser degree the same can be said about books. When it’s delivered, however, it all seems worth it.
People will ask me what my favorite song is. In truth, I don’t have one. It’s a lot like asking you what your favorite food is. It changes with your tastes at the current time. I like different songs when I’m happy, sad, angry, depressed, driving during the day, driving during the night, with my wife, with my kids, and so on. Songs can affect your mood as well. For example, if I’m in a really awesome mood I don’t want to hear Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight.” It’s a great song but a total buzz-kill. Likewise; if I’m down I might want to listen to Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” It’s hard to be in a bad mood when listening to reggae. In general, though, I think we, as humans, like to match the mood of our music to our mood at the moment. Whatever the fire is that’s burning within us at a particular time; we like to feed it more of the same. If your happy, some Beach Boys never hurt. If someone does you wrong, “In the Air Tonight” is sounding pretty good. Music plays a big part in many of our lives. That’s great. Just don’t let it control your life. You choose your mental state. Don’t let music choose it for you.
It was at that moment of uncertainty that Linvin and his cavalry attacked from the rear along the entire line. The goblins were so preoccupied with the happenings in front of them that they paid no heed to the cavalry in the rear forming a line along the length of their formation. Bewildered goblins never saw the strikes coming that cut them down. The phalanx was so tightly packed that Linvin’s troops could not miss.
Linvin struck like thunder with his long sword. He slashed to his right and then his left, dropping goblins with each stroke. As quickly as he could swing his sword, he would kill another.
Linvin was not alone in his success. His cavalry cut deep swaths into the rear goblin ranks. The cavalry maintained their line and did not get too far ahead of each other in order to avoid being surrounded.
The discipline observed among the goblins seemed to bleed away in the chaos. Indecision took center stage. Due to the close formation, they could not turn to fight without dropping their pikes, but without their pikes, they would be at a great disadvantage to the horsemen. It led to carnage on an unprecedented scale, courtesy of Linvin’s cavalry.
Indecision gave way to panic as the majority of what was once a phalanx dropped their spears and drew their melee weapons. Rather than continue to be attacked from behind, they chose to turn and fight as best they could.
The change in tactics could not have come at a better time at the shield-wall. The front line had collapsed and Sculla’s men were on the verge of being routed. With most of the pikes discarded, there was at last a moment to hasten fresh troops to the line and reform the wall. Personally taking the lead, Sculla ordered an advance. They marched with their wall intact to the front of the goblin line and engaged.
The cavalry was meeting with more fierce resistance with the change of weapons. Their progress slowed and they began to take losses.
Linvin was striking more swords then armor as his enemy rallied. At least one goblin had kept his spear. He struck Linvin’s horse with a killing blow. The steed stood on its hind legs and then fell to its side.
Linvin was thrown to the ground with his sword and shield flying from his hands. His helmet fell forward, covering his eyes. With a swipe of his forearm he knocked the helmet off.
A goblin stood above Linvin with his sword in hand. He was ready to strike. Linvin propped his arm in front of him and braced for the blow. Nothing happened. Linvin looked again and saw a blade erupt from the goblin’s chest before he felt to the ground. Left standing behind the body was an astonished Fardar.
It was 61 years ago today. 61 years ago, my parents both said “I do” before witnesses and God. Sadly, neither of them lived to see this day. But I have no doubt in my mind that they would still be together. They would take a drive on their anniversary to the same drive -in diner they went to when they were dating. My father was never one for fancy restaurants. He was never much of a romantic either. On the night of their wedding they reached the hotel and he started emptying his pockets. Out came electrical component after component. He said, “I can’t believe I have 3 days off to start work on our new Hi-Fi set. You can hold the pieces while I work.” How they ended up with so many children, I’ll never know. My mother was the only woman I’ve known who would get mad when her husband bought her flowers. She always said, “It’s a waste of money. They’re just going to die in a few days anyway. And one rose means just as much as 12.” That one ember of romanticism in dad was snuffed out. When he proposed it was typical Dad. He sat on the sofa next to my mother and pulled out a ring box. Handing it to here he simply said, “Here.” She opened it up to see a college class ring from his school. Mom asked, “What does this mean?” Dad was tongue-tied and did not speak for several minutes. Then he said, “Well; do you want to get married or not?” As it turns out, my father didn’t ride the bus to class at the University of Toronto all winter and had only a light jacket against the frigid wind blowing off Lake Ontario. He did that so he could save and buy the best ring he could afford; his class ring. Mom didn’t know the story behind it but to her it may as well have been the Hope Diamond. She eagerly accepted and the rest, as they say, is history. They shared an unbreakable love which only mortality could separate. I’m coming up on my 26th year anniversary and hope know my love will always be there for me.
Suddenly there was a crack from a whip causing Linvin to drop the knife and grab his hand in order to try to stop the bleeding from the fresh wound. In a moment, Hugon stood before their cage.
“Don’t try to grow brains in here, Boy. There is no escape from my dungeon. Even a stupid half-breed like you should be able to figure that out.”
Linvin clenched the bars with his bloody fist and stared Hugon in the eyes. “Your time is coming, Ogre. When I find my way out of here you will wish you had killed me.”
Linvin believed Hugon was ready to respond but apparently noticed something cold and piercing in Linvin’s eyes. The half-elf’s expression seemed to terrify him. Linvin could tell in Hugon’s cowardly heart he felt the sincerity of the prisoner’s words and despaired. In what Linvin viewed as a clear attempt to hide his weakness he punched Linvin in the face with all his strength. Linvin held onto the bars in order to retain his balance. It was a crushing blow. Other than a wince, however, Linvin retained the same expression.
Stepping back, Hugon readied his whip. “I’ll teach you not to look at me.”
Linvin calmly stepped away from the bars and sat in the middle of the cell with his legs crossed. Hugon cracked the whip but it only caught on the bars.
“Trouble?” Linvin asked sarcastically. “You know if you grew a brain out there you might have realized the bars were too narrow for the whip to penetrate. I guess the joke is on you.”
Hugon’s fury made his body shake. “You will die for this,” he said under his breath. “Magician or no Magician.”
Linvin stood and laughed at the giant. “You are incapable of killing me, you pathetic blob of dough. You and your entire breed are utterly worthless. Do shuffle back to your little desk like a good slave.”
The Jailor had heard enough. Hugon reached for his keys and sifted through them quickly to find the right one.
Meanwhile Bander and Rander caught on to Linvin’s ploy and moved to the two sides of the cage.
Hugon found the key and headed for the door. Just as he reached it the loud sound of armor was heard coming up the stairs. It was the guards returning with the slaves. Seeing them enter, Hugon put the keys away and said, “The day will come when that pint-sized sorcerer won’t need you any longer. Then I’ll peel the flesh from your broken bones so slowly that you’ll wish I would just end it, Boy.”
“Until that day,” Linvin responded. “Do try to show us a little more courtesy. I would hate for Necromancer to incinerate you before we meet again.”
The Great Goblin turned and headed down the stairs. The ploy had been successful, but only in making Hugon more determined to kill Linvin.
Developing a character is not as easy as it sounds. It is a very important step in a story. People want to see growth in the character. It is something that peeks interest in the reader. Let me show you what I mean with an example from my books. Bander Greenlith is; at heart, a simple elf. He does not think for himself because his brother Rander does his thinking for him. If Rander says to hate Linvin then he will hate Linvin. Bander’s only real concern is having a full belly. At the beginning of the story, Bander doesn’t think twice about following Rander’s orders. As time goes by, however, Bander begins to see how he is being used and it annoys him. He starts to rebel against Rander. By the end of the story, he is totally independent in his thinking. As a reader you see the change and actually begin to root for him. Even the main character Linvin changes. At the start he loathes the brothers for their insubordinate reaction to him. Linvin is used to leading an army where his orders are followed without question. On his quest he finds he must earn the party’s respect. Linvin makes mistakes but overall proves to be a capable and worthy leader. In a novel you must develop the characters to keep your audiences interest. I have started reading many books I did not finish because the characters were stale. It’s not enough to write a book. You must keep the audience’s attention. Keep this in mind when you write your own stories.
The Count sighed, “Gredly had become increasingly brazen in the interest rates he offered the Kingdom. They were outrageous rates. He possessed the resources to make it difficult to find competitors. My family, however, found alternate sources of financing from outside Sartan, eager to do business. Gredly found himself without his largest debtor. He was completely cut out of Sartanian government economics. We had caught him by surprise. By placing the Donivis in the Treasury, he assured himself of all the loans he could ever want from the government at any rate he might choose. So really, he removed my family for both of the reasons you mentioned.”
Linvin leaned on his desk and blew a smoke ring. “That fills some gaps in my information, but it is largely what I expected. My dear Count, I have a business proposition for you. As a businessman, I hope that you will hear me out.”
Venicci smiled and said, “There is never harm in hearing a business proposal. Please proceed.”
“My father was a great man. This company has become so large that I doubt even he could have managed all the affairs he once did. Furthermore, I plan to expand the company. I have the capital, but I do not have the people to handle that capital.
“It is clear to me that the company’s system of handling finances is inadequate and an open invitation for impropriety. For that reason, I plan to streamline the finances of my company. I cannot afford to lose vendors over clerical errors, whether deliberate or accidental.
“I also need accountants whom I can trust. If I were to disappear from the world, I would want the Grithinshield Trading Company to continue without missing a thing.
“In summary, Count Venicci, I want to hire you and your family to handle all of my company’s accounting. You will see that every bill is paid in a timely fashion. You will audit all books, including the stores. Your family will monitor inventory and compare it to what the ledgers say we are supposed to have. Buyers working for the company will also be subject to audits.
“Inasmuch as it was a matter of public record, I know how much your family earned for their former duties. I am willing to pay you that figure, plus ten percent.”
The Count folded his arms and tilted his head as he looked at Linvin. “That is an intriguing proposal, but my family has more wealth than we could spend in a lifetime. Why would we bother running your assets?”
Linvin inched closer to his guest. “In a word, pride. Your clan has just been dishonored and has no use for their time. You do not wish to sink all your resources into your own bank for fear of loss. If you sit on your money, you will fade away into obscurity and Gredly will have beaten you.
“Now, consider what will happen when you accept my proposal. You will be allied with the most powerful trading force in this country and one day, the world. The Veniccis will hold a place of honor again, with arms that can stretch as far as your imagination will let them. My company is the only one that can afford to pay what you deserve and the only company grand enough to deserve your services.”
Venicci nodded along. “That is quite the sales pitch. Dirk could not have done better had he been here, but there remains unanswered questions. For example, why hire us? If you are looking for a competent accountant, there are many far cheaper than my family.”
“You said it yourself,” Linvin answered. “You do not need the money. If I had a store full of food, I would not hire a starving man to guard it.
“My company will be run professionally, cleanly and in an orderly fashion. There will be no payoffs, kickbacks, extortion, skimming, or any other similar behaviors tolerated by anyone in this company. Having your unique family history, you have seen every trick ever invented. You know all the angles. Those games will not happen in my company. You will see to that and root out corruption from within.”
Fantasy fiction is my passion. This series embodies my love for a good story and action. You will find it to be many things, but not boring! Read what you love and love what you read...