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Monday, January 19, 2015

Curse of the Wicked Blue Djinn final part

Part 4: The final part. 

Joshua stood near a pier where a boat was preparing to disembark for Greece. He would have to travel a long way around the sea to get back to his home. It would be a hard venture for anyone, but facing the world as this dog thing only made the prospect of this journey that much worse. 

The kind ladies of the temple gave him a full cloak to cover himself with. He wondered about getting a suit of armor since he knew that battle was inevitable, but his magical strength was so great he didn't need armor. Well, that is what he told himself to settle on his decision to only his shendyt. The truth was that this new body was very warm, the fur was thick and during this warm time of the year he was down right hot. Traveling toward the deserts of the east only meant more heat. Thus, all he would bear above his waist was a cloak over his shoulders. It provided protection from the rain, high sun, and they frightened eyes of the average man. 

So, you're that man the Oracle sent me the letter about this morning.” The boat master walked over to Joshua. He leaned a bit to get a peak under the cloak, “WHOA! What are you?”

I'm just another man with a different face. Please, don't ask questions.” Joshua had prepared that statement for any who would ask the most obvious of questions. 

Well, whatever you are, the Oracle paid good money and I won't turn her down. If she's not scared of you, than neither am I. When you're ready, get on the ship.” The boat master walked away muttering to himself about how he was too easy of a push over for those pretty virgins. 

Joshua took a moment to look around, this was part of the world he had never expected to visit. It was beautiful and a little strange to him. He wouldn't soon forget the green grasses or soft faces of the ladies that helped him in this time of need. Now he would leave them to go into the unknown.

You're too quiet. I couldn't find you.” Without warning Julia approached from behind.

What are you doing here? We said our good byes back at the temple.”

I am not here to say goodbye. I am going with you.”

Wait. That isn't wise. I'm going into dangerous situations. This journey is going to be long and I don't expect to come back here when I'm done.”
Julia found his hand and took it, “I know. But, the vision I had when I first found you was prophetic about my journey as well. When I was a baby and my parents knew I was blind, they brought me to the old Oracle before Coelia. The Oracle prophesied that I would be a great seer and that my vision would come to me. But, it would only happen after I had journeyed far and wide and experienced the world through all my other senses. When they inquired about the time of my journey the Oracle said that I had to wait for the right companion to come." 

"You think that is me? Why?"

"When I had my vision the night before I found you I was assured that my time had come. I am to help you and you are to help me. Only then can we achieve both our goals. I'm sure of this.” She could sense the reluctance in Joshua, “I also happen to know a great deal about the culture and people we are going to meet. Being blind gave me time to study under a lot of teachers. That sort of knowledge will prove useful to you.”

Joshua couldn't deny that this was true. He was a student of history, languages, and art, but cultural anthropology wasn't exactly something he worried about. He wasn't growing up to be a diplomat. Besides, having a seer along for the journey could prove useful. “Okay. You can come. It will be nice to have at least one person who will be friendly with me as I travel. I doubt many will understand what I am and only fear me.”

You have so little faith in mankind. Perhaps this journey will show you something good about man that you obviously don't see.” 

Joshua watched the boat master waving at him from the deck. “I think it's time for us to go.” he took in a deep breath and then slowly released it. 
Julia squeezed his hand, “You're afraid.”

Me, afraid. Wouldn't think of it.” he lied. 

I can feel it in your hand. You are scared. So am I.”

He gazed out over the harbor where the ships came and went with the normal morning traffic. It was a rather picturesque scene. Yet, just beyond the horizon were great epic battles being waged across lands that were stained with the blood of millions. “I'm going out into a world at war, a world that I only read about in passing stories and legends. I'm no warrior, I'm no master of anything. I'm the son of a farmer and fool of a man. Afraid? Scared?...I am terrified.”

Julia started walking with him toward the plank. “Don't worry about what you aren't today. Imagine what you might become tomorrow.”

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Curse of the Wicked Blue Djinn part 3

Part 3 of the continuing story. 



Joshua sat, cross legged, on the floor of a large and empty room. He was in the heart of a temple that housed only women. They were the Vestal Virgins, priests who served under an Oracle. Though his new friend Julia seemed to only show him kindness, he could see the anxiety in the others around him even in this place. They didn't know what he was and they feared what he might do. 

Since the moment he first saw his face in that waters surface he had hoped to wake from this horrible dream. He imagined he was still out in the desert asleep under the sun, perhaps close to death. Was this just some sort of hallucination he was acting out before he died of dehydration? Were birds circling overhead waiting to consume his deceased flesh? Could this be real? His thoughts were getting more and more disjointed as he sat waiting for something to happen. 
Finally the doors of this room opened and three people entered. Julia and another woman dressed just like her came in on either side of the oracle. The oracle was a lovely woman in fine garments befitting her role. She had a symbol drawn on her forehead that indicated her position. The other woman dressed like Julia carried a pot of some kind and set it on the floor in front of Joshua. The way she carried it with cloth between her hands showed that this pot was very hot.
Joshua gulped and waited while the Oracle sat across from him on the other side of the pot. Julia sat next to him and the other girl left the room, sealing the door behind her. The first thing Joshua noted was the lack of surprise at the sight of him. He had seen the same look in the eyes of everyone he has encountered today, except her. He wasn’t sure what this meant. 

“So, it is true, a man under a curse has been brought here. Interesting.” The woman seemed to study him.

Joshua gulped and nodded, “Yes. Thank you for letting me into your temple.”

“This is not my temple.” The woman seemed to take a little pleasure in confusing the poor young man.

Julia explained with a lot of happy excitement. “When I came to see my mentor I discovered that the master Oracle had come. She wished to see you. Joshua, this is Coelia, head of all the Oracles.”

“You came to see me personally? Why?”

Coelia calmly stated, “In good time. What is your name?”

“My name is Joshua. I'm from Egypt, I worked for the household of Potiphar the twelfth.”

"Joshua, that is not an Egyptian name?" 

He nodded, having explained this many times before. "My father is Egyptian my mother is Hebrew. I was named after her great grandfather. I am still a son of Egypt."

“Tell me, Son of Egypt, what is the story you wish to tell me, for I know there is a story in you waiting to get out.”

“Well....I'm not exactly sure what happened. I was wondering in the desert near the lands of the Ishmaelites. I discovered a fine bronze lamp hidden deep in a cistern. Inside was a being calling himself the Blue Djinn. He offered me a wish and this is what he gave me.”

“What was the wish?” 

Joshua felt bad for what he was going to say, but he needed to tell the truth. “I wished to be a great warrior so that a woman I love would love me in return. I never wished to be changed into an animal of any kind.”

“I see.” she studied him for a moment longer, considering all that he had said. Holding out her hand, palm up, she asked, “Give me three of your hairs?”

Joshua frowned but obliged. He reached up to his head but was stopped. 

“No. Three of the hairs from your arm.” 

He didn't even think about the fur on his arm, only the hair on his head. Reaching down he plucked three little hairs out and placed them in her hand. She lifted the lid of the pot, allowing some of the incense to float out. Dropping in the hairs she closed the lid and closed her own eyes. For a long few moments she muttered something that he could not understand. After some quiet meditation she slowly lifted the lid of the pot and watched the smoke rise. 

“The voices, they are speaking to me....” something surprised her and she abruptly leaned back, her hand throwing the metal lid away in an involuntary motion. The mark on her forehead lit up and a light began to flow out of it. As if she weren't in control of her own body she spoke aloud, “Boy born of Egypt, a curse has been placed on you. The wicked Blue Djinn laid upon your body the image like that of one of the gods serving Ra. The blessing received of a body well fit, and a strength unending, will also be your curse. You will never die, growing no older or weaker as the years pass on. You will not die in battle and will forever be that which the Djinn has given you. Age will not take you. But your loved ones will grow old and fade away with the passing eons. Be warned, a life like this can twist the soul and test the conviction of any who live such ways.” With that last word the light stopped flowing and she slumped down for a moment to catch her breath. 

Julia, who was overcome with fear at this outburst of magic, held tight to Joshua's arm. “Is she well?”

“I am fine, young acolyte.” Coelia answered and sat back up properly. “Retrieve the lid.” 

Julia stood up and followed the where she had heard the last sounds of the lid falling to the ground. Finding it she carefully made her way back to the Oracle. 
Joshua gulped hard and asked, “Was that all true? Am I cursed to live forever?”

“Yes.”

“Please, can you change this fate?”

Coelia took the lid and placed it once again over the pot. “No. I am just an oracle, a seer of things unseen. But, I do know how wicked magic works. Creatures in this world like the Djinn are powerful, but their power is linked back to them eternally. If he is destroyed, all his curses will be lifted.”

“So, all I have to do is find an immortal magical being and kill it.” Joshua stated rather sarcastically.

Coelia did not care for his tone, “Yes. It is the only way. And, there is more. I came here this day because I saw you in a vision a week ago. I saw your fate intertwined with that of the human race. You will accomplish great things, but you will face great hardships and tragedy as well. The forces of the supernatural that side with the mortals in this war wish to bless you and see that your task is completed so that all men may remain free of the tyranny of the evil gods.”
“Tragedy? Hardships?” He stated quietly, absorbing all she said. 

Julia seemed to sense his uneasiness. She sat down next to him again and took his hand, “Have courage, Joshua, you have a good heart and people will see that in you.” 

“How will I do this? What can possibly kill a thing like the Blue Djinn?”

“I do not have that answer. I only know that you will understand what you need to as the time approaches. Your life from here until you face your destiny will shape your actions and empower your soul.”

“Just imagine all the wonderful things you will learn and see as you journey.” Julia was trying to put a little happiness into all this doom.

He smiled at the woman who seemed to never be down and gripped her hand a little tighter. “Perhaps. First I need to find my way home and speak with my family. They need to know what has happened to me.”

Coelia stood back up, “Your destination will be home, but you will find what you seek on the journey to get there. You may stay here this night, but you cannot linger. You will leave tomorrow morning, I will see to your safe passage from here.”

Julia and Joshua stood up, him helping her to her feet. She smiled while holding his arm, “I'll get supplies ready for you, it'll be a long journey.”

Coelia bowed her head to Joshua. “Rest well and have courage. By the time you find your way home, you will be a changed man. Not outwardly, but in your heart and mind.” With that she left the room.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Curse of the Wicked Blue Djinn part 2

Here's the second part of the series. 




Who...who is giving me water?” Joshua felt the cool trickle of liquid running down his throat. More than that he felt his head being rested on someones lap with a gentle hand lifting him each time some water was given.

Are you awake?” A sweet feminine voice asked him.

Joshua forced his eyes open and groaned under the pain he felt in his chest. He looked up to see a clear sunny day and a woman holding a small bowl of water up for him to drink from. “Who are you? Where am I?”

I'm Julia, an acolyte of the Vestal Temple. I had a vision last night and followed it here to find you laying on the bank of the river. Are you in trouble?” She was not looking at him, her eyes were fixed forward. 

Joshua got himself up away from her lap and into an upright position. He felt really weird, something wasn't right. “I think I'm alright. My memory is cloudy, I don't recall how I got here. Where am I anyway?"

"You are near the Vestal Temple in the village of Ticinum, two days walk from the city of Rome."

"ROME!?"

"Yes." Julia, her eyes still fixed forward, felt the ground for a moment and then found a stick she had been carrying. “Are you well? Were you injured when you fell into the river?” 

Joshua watched how she was acting and realized she was blind, “I'm alright I think. Nothing broken, and no blood. Are you alright? Did something bad happen to your eyes?”

I was born blind. Do not worry about me.” She tapped the ground for a moment to get her bearings, “Are you sure you're fine?”

Why do you keep asking me this?”

I apologize for asking so much, it's just that your skin feels odd, your face seems puffed as if hit hard, and I thought there was something sticking into your back. Forgive me for examining you while you slept, I was concerned.”

Joshua looked down only now realizing that his eyes weren't playing tricks on him, his arm was indeed a dark gray color. It was covered in a thick fur, in fact his whole body was covered in this fur. Standing up quickly he felt his back all the way down until he had almost got the length of his spine, only to discover a tail. Rushing over to the waters edge he looked in to see a face that wasn't his, it was a mans face that had more dog in it than man it seemed. 

YAH! WHAT DID HE DO TO ME!?” He felt the puffier upper lip and whiskers that were growing out of it. 

Julia felt her way over to him and then took his arm, “Who? Who could have done this to you?”

A Djinn, something evil that cursed me.” Joshua couldn't stop looking at his reflection.

Cursed? Are you sure about that?” Julia was highly curious about this.

Yes, what else to you call being transformed into a dog, man....thing? I'm hideous.”

She gently took his hand and held it, then used her hand with the small stick in it to feel him, “I feel a heart beat, I feel muscles, and I feel warmth. You aren't hideous. If I could see you, I'd wager you are quite handsome.”

That is because you are blind. If you could only see what was done to me. I'm a monster.” He was getting panicky now. 

She started to pull on his hand to lead him away, “Come with me to the temple.”

No, I can't” he resisted her. “People will be scared of me.”

People have avoided me my whole life because they don't understand a blind person. You get used to it. Just come with me, please.”

Are you sure about this?”

Yes.” Julia smiled and pulled on him harder to follow, “The Oracle I study under is a wise and thoughtful woman. She can help you understand this better than I.”

With great reluctance and reservation, Joshua followed this nice girl to a stone road that led toward a small village surrounding a large temple. Along the way people stopped and stared at him, more than one person ran away, and a few even threw small things at him. He didn't respond since he sort of understood their trepidation.



Monday, January 12, 2015

Curse of the wicked blue Djinn part 1

I am going to post a four part short story series. It is an alternate storyline for the character of Bark. In this story we find the world is at war.

The Curse of the wicked blue Djinn part 1

The Alternate Past.


Joshua was born in the land of Egypt during the ages of great upheaval in the heavens. While the age of myth was falling apart, the age of man was rising to power. Great wars scattered across a landscape bathed in the blood of legends, both mortal and immortal.

The family of Joshua weren't famous warriors or commanders, just land owners who managed the farms for the household of the local governor. The governor, Potiphar the twelfth, was a good man and cared for this family. So close was the governor to the family that when their son was born he let young Joshua sit under the scholars that taught his own children. Joshua learned foreign tongues, history, and poetry.

Potiphar had a daughter that was near Joshua's age. When the time came, Joshua petitioned her father for her hand in marriage. This would bring great wealth and power into his family. But, he didn't care, Joshua only cared about the immeasurable love he had for Ahmose. 

Before Potiphar could agree to the request Ahmose suddenly proclaimed she had accepted the proposal of another young man of Egypt. A warrior of noble stature and many victories. Joshua was crushed. He wasn't a strong man, only the son of a farmer. His only fighting was against the animals that threatened their livestock. He was no match for this virile soldier of the Pharaohs armies. 

Distraught he left his home and wandered into the desert in hopes of perishing under the sun. He couldn't imagine life lived in such disgrace. 

Soon he came upon a natural cistern in the lands of the Ishmaelites. The water was very low for it was early in the dry season. But, he was thirsty so he climbed in and fell into the water at the bottom. Once he had drunk the stale, dusty water, he saw something odd glistening in the moonlight. A small oil lamp made of bronze and carved with intricate design. 

This is odd?” he muttered to himself. Picking up the lamp he felt that it was warm, even after sitting in the cold water all this time. 

Looking deep into the etchings he saw words in a language that was not common to his people. But, he had studied under Potiphars scholars and knew enough to read a little of the text. “Beware...twist the words.....unfortunate...evil resides within.” he threw the lamp down and spat at it, “a cursed artifact!” he knew enough to fear this thing. The recent wars against the god like beings have left many strange and powerful items laying around, items that should be avoided unless you know how to deal with them.

Then a devilishly clever idea crept into his mind. If he brought this item to the lord of Egypt and presented it for destruction, then Joshua would be rewarded handsomely by the Pharaoh. This would certainly draw the attention back from the beautiful Ahmose. Grabbing up the lamp he climbed out of the cistern, soaked up to his waist in dirty water but still with a good smile on his lips.  



Joshua journeyed for a full day back toward his homelands. It was a long walk, but he was certain of his victory. 

The evening of the first leg of his journey he rested by the road and looked at the lamp again. Something about this item fascinated him, he wanted to know what was inside. But, he couldn't bring himself to look out of fear for his life. 

He examined the writing closer and pondered how he would approach the Pharaoh. It would look better if he could explain more than the mismatched words he already read. But, this stupid thing was so dirty no one could read it. Using his sleeve he rubbed the surface of the bronze lamp to clean it off. It rattled in his hands and he nearly dropped it. Realizing he had awoken something within he gazed at it intensely to read, “Beware the wicked Djinn, he will twist the words spoken to him. Misfortune is all he will give, lock him inside if you wish to live.” 
As the last words came out of his mouth the top of the lamp blew off and a billowing, thick cloud burst out. The cloud transformed into half a large man that floated above the wispy smog beneath him. It was an enormous blue skinned person that appeared as a very strong man, at least from the waist up. He floated aloft with only smoke as his legs and a wicked sneer spread across his face. 



WHO HAS FREED ME!? THE GREAT BLUE Djinn!” He bellowed so loud that it echoed across this arid land.

Joshua held an arm up in fear, “It....it....it was I....” 

HA, HA. Such a pitiful mortal cowering in fear! Stand up, shout for joy, you have gained much this day, little one!” 

Joshua was not certain what to make of all of this. This thing was happy, joyous in fact, and speaking very amicably. So, with a lot of shaking, he lowered his arm and got to his feet. “What....what are you?”

I am the Blue Djinn. A great and powerful lord of magic. Tell me, what is the age? How Long have I been imprisoned in that lamp?”

It...” he straightened up, “It is the second age of man.”

Then the war with the gods?”

Joshua gulped, “It still progresses.”

Then it has not been long.” The giant blue man leaned over on his cloud and looked deeply at Joshua, “Tell me, little mortal, whom do your worship?”

"Worship?" Joshua's voice almost squeaked as he said that word.

"YES! Worship! Honor! Which god do you owe yourself to?!" 

Well, powerful lord, the leader of the god army is Ra. He has betrayed us. We Egyptians worship no one, sir.”

Ah! I see. So, you, personally, side with Ra or with the mortals?”

Joshua was beginning to worry about this line of questions, but he would not betray his loyalties, “Ra has abandoned us and seeks our dominion. I side with the mortals in this war.”

Good! Good!” This seemed to please the Blue Djinn. 

Are you going to kill me...sir?” 

HAHAHA! You amuse me, little man. Of course I will not kill you. I cannot kill, it is against the rules that govern Djinns. On the contrary, I offer you a wish. You may have what your heart desires. A gift for freeing me of that damned lamp! Speak, and it shall be!”

Joshua should have heeded the many legends of the Djinns, and the warnings on the lamp, but his heart was still yearning badly for the love he had lost to a stronger man. His wish came out before the thoughts were properly weighed, “I wish to be a strong man, a man who can fight wars.”

The Blue Djinns smile turned positively malicious. “Thus it shall be. I will grant you your wish, little mortal. A great warrior of Egypt. Land of the animal gods. Forever more you will be a strong and powerful man. Enjoy the face of your enemy, for it is yours now!” 

What?” Before an answer could come, a flash of light filled his eyes and he was thrown through the air like a leaf on the wind. 

He flew through the air, half conscious and with a lot of pain all over him. His body was changing, but he could not see what he was becoming. All he saw was water distantly below him, stars above him, and the clouds passing around him as great waves. 

On a dark and cold night in a land filled with grassy plains, Joshua splashed into a shallow river and tumbled to the shore. For a brief moment he looked to see his arm and discovered the muscles he had wanted, but he also found thick fur and claws. He tried to say something but his mouth didn't work. A great depressing exhaustion came over him and he blacked out right there.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Where's my darn hoverboard?!

Happy 2015 everyone, I can't believe it's here. I remember back when 2015 was science fiction, not reality. Where's my darn hoverboard!

2014 was a good year for my writing. I completed one book, published two, and am preparing four more. I refined and polished a Christian novel, with a lot of help from very good friends. Now that novel is being queried to agents in the hopes of getting into a bigger publishing house.

The big event for me for 2014 was publishing Legacy of the Dragonwand part 1. That book has been several years in the making and I was anxious from the start about putting in the hands of readers. It didn't come out with as big a bang as I had hoped, but it certainly has been moving better than my other works so far. I eagerly await fresh feedback about Dragonwand from readers.

What about 2015? I plan on publishing Legacy of the Dragonwand part 2 this year. I have a little work to go before it's fully ready, formatting, cover art, that kind of stuff. But, it won't be long before the second half of the book is out there and you can find out what happens to Markus, Crystal, Treb and Kiin. I also have the third installment of The Crystal Needle in processing. If I can get it edited in time I hope to have it published by this coming Christmas. I worry that it has been so long since the first and second books came out that the third will be forgotten. But, all I can do is try.

Another new thing for me this year is a bit scary, but an important step. I am going to finally go out and set up in conventions and events to sell my books face to face with the public. I have heard good things about the success in this venture, now it's about time I started doing it myself. I have signed up for two events so far and have two more that look promising. The only hurdle left to worry about is money, and I already have some help within the family on that part.

2015 may not include hovering cars, holographic waiters, or colonies on Mars, but it looks bright and hopeful. I want to make the most of it. I can do nothing about yesterday, I cannot see what is to come tomorrow, so I must make today matter.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

This week I will make this short. Merry Christmas.

Oh...and books make great gifts. (Did you know that you can purchase an ebook and send it to someone as a gift. If you have someone who loves books but lives far away, don't just send them a basic little ecard, send them an ebook and give them a real gift they can open and enjoy again and again.)

And, of course, you can give a great gift to that YA fantasy fan in your life. Legacy of the Dragonwand.


Now for some Christmas pics by yours truly...enjoy.




Monday, December 15, 2014

I hate this book!!

Happy week before the week of Christmas. As you should have already heard, Legacy of the Dragonwand part 1 is out, came out last Tuesday and has enjoyed decent sales and two very good reviews already. But, that aside, I hate it.

"But you wrote it?" You might ask, you could also say, "you want us to buy something you hate?" or "why do you hate it?" or....okay, enough with the questions..sheesh is this some kind of interrogation?

Anyway, I don't hate it now. But I wanted to tell you a little about what it feels like to be an artist. Some artists, not all but some, have mixed feelings when they create. As I was writing Legacy of the Dragonwand I had ups and downs in my feelings toward the story. I worried that it absolutely stunk, had no chance, no one would read it...and so on. The truth is I was worried that it would not live up to the expectations I had already placed on it before I wrote it.

I have heard from non-authors that they think that authors are arrogant about their work. It is a logical deduction considering how hard an author is forced to promote themselves and their work. It could easily appear as ego when it's just trying to sell books. Now I have known some authors with giant ego's about themselves and their work, but they are actually in the minority. Truthfully an author worries that every last word is wrong, that something in the text wasn't written right, or that there is a small but problematic plot hole that they missed.

Honestly I do the same thing with my artwork, my embroidery, my stage work, anything that is artistic of mine I have moments of dislike over it during creation.  I almost gave up on the book cover for Legacy of the Dragonwand and just went with something generic from Amazon. Ask the people who have commissioned work for their covers, like the Kai's journey series. They will all tell you that on more than one occasion I told them that it wasn't going to be good and they wouldn't like it.

In the end, though, things change. Once the completed work is sitting before me I love it. Yes I can still fix it, work on it, even fuss over the tiny details that may or may not be a problem. But, as a whole I am satisfied.

I am not alone: Here is a story I read that confirmed that even some of histories greats have gone through this.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who wrote the famous ballet The Nutcracker, in his own words
said that it was "far weaker than 'The Sleeping Beauty'- no doubt about it" and when he finished the score, he even called it "all ugliness". But the composer eventually grew to like his creation and wrote "Strange that when I was composing the ballet I kept thinking that it wasn't very good, but that I would show them what I can do when I began the opera. And now it seems that the ballet is good and the opera not so good"
(note: he was promised the freedom to write and produce an opera if he finished the Nutcracker, which was a commissioned work.)

If a giant of artistry can go through such ups and downs emotionally over his own creation, especially something as fantastic as The Nutcracker, then I am not alone.
(I am in no way comparing my meager work to the work of someone like Tchaikovsky, just using this as an example.)