Okay, I know I wasn’t planning on it, but yesterday I started The Trouble with Bats and it’s already hilarious. This story takes place when Ironspell was back in college and went with a buddy to release mice and bats over in a Vampire neighborhood. Yeah, that’s a recipe for comedy right there. Hopefully I’ll have it written in time for Halloween!
I know you’ve all been waiting for Elfshot, so the waiting is over! Elfshot is now available on Amazon for $4.99 or you can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
To whet your appetite, I’ve included a sample for you to enjoy. Check it out:
“Excuse me, sir, but your demon appears to be growing.”
I glanced at the harried waitress before looking at Tuzren. Beau Jo’s Pizza was surprisingly packed for the day after the almost Apocalypse. When we arrived, the staff put us on an hour-long waiting list. Other humans and Supernaturals hung out in the bar or stood around us and made idle chatter, totally unaware that the four people who hung out patiently waiting for their name to be called were the same people who saved all of humankind.
We humans are surprisingly resilient creatures, which has served us over millennia, but we also can be totally clueless. There wasn’t even a titter when the server called out my name, Ironspell. It was probably best. I didn’t want to be reminded that even though I stopped a poisonous alchemical gas from killing off all humans, millions had died.
Eventually the waitress seated us at a table which was somewhat in the middle of the room. Which meant just about everyone jostled by us, one way or another. But we were here at Beau Jo’s and, by golly, we were eating the best damn pizza on the planet.
We had just gotten through the first round of pizzas when the waitress noticed a problem with Tuzren. A middle-aged woman with slightly graying brown hair falling down in wisps from her ponytail, she set another large pizza with extra meat in front of my girlfriend, Luna. The waitress had enough tact to not mention Luna’s half-changed state. Luna was a werewolf with a shifting problem—she couldn’t control her transmutations and was more than halfway shifted to her wolf form. “Thanks!” Luna said brightly and smiled at the woman—a simply terrifying expression if one wasn’t familiar with werewolves. The waitress smiled back and left us to our double meat everything.
Now, I studied the object of the waitress’s concern. Damn if Tuzren didn’t appear larger as he chomped merrily into the Beau Jo’s pizza. Right now, he was as large as a Labrador Retriever, whereas just a few hours earlier, he’d ride on my shoulder and I’d hardly notice him. An innocuous demon, as demons go, someone had summoned him to this plane only to abandon him because he was too small for their purposes. I had found him Dumpster-diving near Bonnie Brae Denver and took pity on him.
“Hey, Tuz, what’s the deal? We can’t feed you after midnight or ever get you wet?” I asked.
“Nah, that’s gremlins,” Tuzren said between bites. “Apparently this pizza has magical properties.” He smiled at me with cheesy goo running down his chin. “Don’t worry. It’s not permanent.”
“Good, because I’d have to have you ride in the truck’s bed,” Elryn spoke as she picked at her salad.
“Says the Elf who eats salad at the best damn pizzeria on the planet.” Tuzren pulled another slice and held it out to her between his clawed fingers. “Oh, come on. Live a little and have some.”
Elryn winced. “I’d rather not.”
“Are you a vegan?” Luna asked. “You know they have vegetarian pizza.”
“I know,” Elryn said.
“They have gluten free and dairy free,” Tuzren added. “You know, in case you’re intolerant.”
“I’m fine.” Elryn’s face said she wasn’t.
“What’s wrong, Elryn?” I added another slice to my plate. “You’ve hardly said a word since we got here.”
“I’m all right, really. I just don’t like pizza.”
I gaped. “What? Why didn’t you say something?”
“Are you even alive?” Tuzren asked. The demon had grown to about human height and about twice as wide as a normal human. His Denver Bronco t-shirt looked like a tiny afterthought on him. The chair groaned under his weight. “Everyone loves pizza. You can’t ‘not like’ pizza and be alive. Did a vamp get to you or something?”
“You know, they have pasta.” Luna opened a menu. “If it’s the tomato sauce…”
“I’m fine. Really, I am.” Elryn took a forkful of lettuce and popped it in her mouth. She chewed, making an exaggerated face of enjoyment.
“Honestly, Elryn, you could’ve said something. We could’ve gone anywhere.” I tried to meet her gaze but she looked away.
Tuzren swished his tail and accidentally knocked over two guys wearing cowboy hats who were walking behind our chairs. “Oops,” said Tuzren.
“Hey, watch where you put your tail,” the first guy said. He wore a wife-beater shirt and jeans. He also had at least a hundred pounds on me and about three inches or so in height. Even though it had just turned 11 am, the guy looked half in the tank already. His buddy wore denim that looked stylishly well-worked in. Probably a couple of guys from the resorts around here. Given how over-the-top Western they looked, it was probably for show. I bet if you quizzed them, you’d find they were from California or another urban center. Still, it was better not to piss off the locals.
“Sorry, guys,” I said. “Can we buy you a couple of beers?”
“Is that a demon?” Wife-Beater asked. He cracked his knuckles for emphasis.
“Why yes, I am,” Tuzren said, his voice an octave lower than his normal voice. He turned around and met their gaze solidly. “Is there something wrong with that?”
“Demons and Elves.” Denim-Guy spat. “They don’t belong here.”
Suddenly Beau Jo’s got very quiet. I could feel all eyes on us. I winced as I heard a growl issue from Luna. I stood up slowly, opened the wallet when I kept my badge, and flashed it to the men. “Police officer. Sirs, I don’t think you want any trouble.”
Murmuring went through the restaurant. A few teenagers, probably with fake IDs, tried to melt into their seats. Wife-beater squinted at my ID.
“That doesn’t even look real.” With that, he threw a swing.
I caught his arm in mid-throw, arm-barred it and took him down easily with an added wrist lock. His buddy held up his hands and retreated. “Hey, man, I don’t want no trouble.”
“Get out of here,” I said. Denim-Guy needed no more urging. He left.
I was handcuffing Wife-beater when an Idaho Springs police officer came in. He looked like the clean-cut average officer with the chiseled jaw and crew cut hair. My guess is he was around thirty. “I hear there was an altercation?” He walked up to me.
“Hello Officer…Duncan.” I hesitated and read the name badge. I handed him my badge. “This fellow and his cohort decided to take offense to my friends here. This one took a swing at me.”
“Officer Ironspell?” Duncan said.
Whispers and exclamations ran through the restaurant. I glanced at Elryn, who shrugged. Luna beamed at me and the demon chortled in amusement.
“Well, you’re always welcome in Idaho Springs,” Duncan offered me his hand as he grasped handcuffed Wife-beater. He glanced at the man. “Now, Johnny, how many times do I have to tell you to quit getting drunk and bothering the tourists?” He grinned at me. “A night in the drunk tank will sober him up. He’ll be fine.”
“I’m sorry, Mike,” Johnny muttered.
“I’m going to remove the handcuffs—are you going to behave?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry. Me and Jesse were just havin’ fun…”
“Doesn’t sound like fun getting in a fight with a police officer.” Duncan unhandcuffed the man and handed the cuffs back to me. “Thanks, but I’ll take him from here. Enjoy your pizza.”
“Thanks, Officer,” I said. I sat back down and looked at the cooling pizza. I wondered if they even had a microwave to reheat them.
Just as Duncan walked to the door with Johnny, Duncan’s radio went off. “Duncan, we’ve got a situation at the Gold Nugget Mine.”
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I listened. The waitress handed me the bill.”
I glanced down. Almost $500 for pizza? I remembered the beer we had. How many had Tuzren drank? I put my credit card down and the waitress promptly scooped it up.
I glanced at Elryn, who was also listening attentively.
“Roger, that. What’s going on?” Duncan keyed the mic.
“We have tourists trapped and possible terrorists in the mine. Elevator stopped working and before communications got cut off, people were screaming and Salazar heard metal banging. He thinks it’s Drow.”
Duncan frowned and then looked at me. He pointed at Johnny. “You wait here.” He walked over to me. “What do you make of that?”
I shrugged. “Tommyknockers, maybe. Could be Hobgoblins. I’d get the Supernatural Unit of the Army involved.” I met Elryn’s gaze. She gave a slight nod.
“Good luck with that,” Duncan muttered. “You see the latest news? The National Guard and military have been called out to calm everyone down. It’ll be a week before they’ll respond. We’re it.”
“We’re? Uh, we were just here after saving the world. I really hadn’t planned on rescuing people today.”
The waitress came back. “Excuse me, sir. But your card’s been declined.”
Silence ensued. I began to stutter, but then I remembered the Hostess snack cakes. Tuzren had stolen my card and maxed it out to bring Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and other snack cakes to distract the troll guards at the Dark Elves’ entrance. I figured he would’ve just given them my name and address, but no. “Uh, I might have another card you can try.” I pulled out my wallet and started rooting through it. I glanced askance at Elryn, who shook her head and I felt my face flush with embarrassment. I guessed I was going to be washing dishes to make up the tab. They clearly stated “NO CHECKS.”
Duncan smiled. “Let me get that tab. I’ll expense it out to the Idaho Spring’s budget.”
I glanced at everyone in my party. Luna was laughing and Tuzren gave me a thumbs up. Elryn rolled her eyes.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go rescue some tourists.”
Got the final edits done today on Alchemist Rules! The new release date is September 6th, which is simply awesome! I’m so delighted the book is coming out. So, check it out, and check out the first chapter sneak peek of Alchemist Rules!
Supernaturals tend to go crazy on Mondays, and today was no exception. My partner, Officer Jim Douglas, just pulled our car into a typical Denver strip mall off Broadway and Evans and the fairies were out in force today. The little creatures were buzzing like mad hornets all along the sidewalks, causing what supernatural mayhem packs of six-inch-tall little people can do.
Normally, we wouldn’t bother to be here, but it was 10 p.m., which meant a visit to the local doughnut shop before they closed up. Yeah, laugh all you want, my partner is a stereotypical cop right down to the doughnuts. He had to have his sugar buzz, which meant fat bombs. It also meant I had to put up with his attitude since he was my fifth partner in four weeks. Right now, it was looking like he’d last the fifth week.
Even though it was a pleasant night for early April, the air was thick with smog and I decided to keep the windows up in the patrol car and avoid getting lung cancer. I’d run the air conditioner too, but it wasn’t that warm.
Instead, I picked up my book, Alchemy Magic for Beginners and leafed through the first pages until I found where I had put the book down last. The store front was so lit up, I could read the pages without the map light.
“Hey Cabbage,” Douglas jeered when he slammed the door, and swatted a Peter Pan looking creature away from his pocket protector. “Should I get you some doughnuts with sprinkles on them?”
“Ouch!” the fairy squeaked, flitting away.
I glared at Douglas. “It’s Bob. Bob Ironspell-Cabas.”
“Yeah, whatever, Cabbage.”
“Keep eating those doughnuts and they’ll be changing your name from Officer Jimmy Douglas to Officer Jimmy Dean in no time.” I added pig noises for dramatic effect.
Douglas, in his incredibly professional manner, flipped me off as he entered the doughnut shop. I thought about trying the new hex spell I read about in Alchemy Magic for Beginners, but instead flipped open my magazine of Alchemy Magic Today. Yeah, what can I say? The radio crackled as I perused the new spell of changing water into ice as a party trick.
“DPDS Car 51.”
I picked up the mic. “This is DPDS Car 51. Ironspell here.”
“Ironspell? You still in the vicinity of Washington Park?”
“Affirmative,” I said, trying to sound official.
“We got a supernatural disturbance in Washington Park. Do you copy?”
“Roger that. We’ll investigate.” I sighed and looked over at Douglas who was still at the counter trying to decide what fat bombs to buy. I tossed the magazine in the glove compartment and got out of our police cruiser. I then warded it locked. Specially made for those in the Denver Police Department Supernatural Unit, or DPDS, the car originally had been a Dodge Charger. The wards glowed and screamed to anyone with half a brain to not even think about opening it.
I ducked to avoid two fairies that nearly collided with me. Obviously lit from a sugar high. Both wore green Peter Pan type outfits—the latest rage among the current Supernatural little folk—and both were tugging on what was left of a frosted doughnut.
“Gimme that!” One shouted in a sharp little voice which promised to piece my eardrums.
“Mine! Mine! Mine!” The other shouted with a voice that could put nails on a chalkboard to shame. They tugged at the doughnut jerking back and forth while their wings were beating blindingly fast.
Some cops would’ve arrested them for disorderly conduct, but I couldn’t see being the big bully here. They weren’t driving, and they weren’t hurting anyone, no matter how annoying they might be. Once they sobered up, they’d be hit with the mother of all hangovers. Unless they started punching each other, it was just a typical night in fairyland. I walked into the doughnut shop, blindingly lit up to screw with my night vision. Douglas stood at the counter as the kid was ringing up the doughnuts.
“Can you do something about the bugs?” the kid waved at the fairies outside.
“Why, are they bothering you?” I asked.
“Yeah, they steal from the trash.”
“Maybe we’ll swat them,” Douglas said, pulling out his card to pay.
“We got other problems,” I said. “Dispatch came on.”
“Well, fuck.” Douglas picked up the bag of doughnuts and a coffee. I noted he didn’t bother to get me a coffee.
“Coffee?” I asked.
“What?” Douglas snapped, as we walked out the door.
“You owe me like…twenty cups,” I said, not bothering to hide my irritation as he walked to the driver’s side.
“Put it on my bill.” He shoved the bag of doughnuts into my hands and put the key in the door lock. It gave him a good zap. “Jesus fucking Christ, Cabbage! Do you have to do that? Most people settle on door locks, you know.”
“Oops,” I said, not feeling sorry. “You know it’s standard procedure.” I touched the car and the wards flashed, effectively neutralized. “Go ahead now.”
Douglas unlocked the car and climbed into the driver’s side. He reached for the doughnut bag, but I skittered out of reach. “Hey!” he said.
“Put it on my bill,” I said and whistled. “Hey guys! Want some doughnuts?” I shouted to the fairies.
Like moths to a flame, the little miscreants came out of hiding. Given how busy the intersection of Broadway and Evans was, I couldn’t believe how many appeared out of nowhere. Soon, I was surrounded by a swarm of hungry, buzzing fairies.
“Hey guys!” I shouted over the noise. “Quit harassing the customers around here, and I’ll give you free doughnuts on Mondays, okay?” I tossed the bag in the air. It never hit the ground.
One of the fairies flitted in front of my nose. “Is that a promise?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’ll bring you some doughnuts.”
“Deal?” I asked.
“Deal!” They all shouted in their diminutive voices. They whirled around in the air, clinging to the doughnut bag like an angry bee swarm and disappeared into the night.
I got into the car. Douglas was on the radio. “10-4, we’ll be right there.” He glared at me. “You owe me for those doughnuts, Cabbage.”
“You owe me for the coffee. Consider that paid up.”
He shot me a look and started the car. Tonight was going to be fun, I could just tell.
I’m beginning to plot out Wolfsbane, which will be Book 3 in the Ironspell Chronicles. Today, I decided to put together the cover. For inspiration, if nothing else. Check out the new Wolfsbane cover and tell me what you think.
Today I wrote “The End” on Elfshot! Elfshot is now completed in its first draft. And imagine that, you get a sneak peek at the ending, even though it doesn’t spoil anything in the story, so you can rest easy and look at it. (Okay, there’s a minor spoiler in it, but I won’t let on because that would, like…spoil the story.)
It sits at a comfortable 54,725 words. That will change with edits.
Anyway, my plan is for Elfshot to go live in early October. (The October 14th listing on Amazon gives me a couple of weeks of slippage in case life gets in the way…)
Another Elfshot update.
Word Count: 42,009
Snippet from last night’s writing
The chamber looked like it had once been a guest hall or something that housed a lot of people or things. Columns flanked its sides that led into smaller alcoves which housed statues of what I guessed were famous Dark Elves. Above them, the ceiling stretched for at least three stories in a type of dome that had no opening to the outside and yet shown with a luminescent glow that lit all the way down to the floor. We could see across the great expanse toward the single door guarded by two of Vindar’s soldiers. The Ignore Me spell seemed to work as their eyes passed by us without noticing the two apparent Drow soldiers and a demon on the other side of the hall.
Painted murals extended from floor to ceiling, worn over time by dust, heat, and earthquakes. They depicted scenes I didn’t recognize. Above us looked like the Norse god Freyr handing something to what I suspected was a Dark Elven king. The god was amazingly beautiful with long blond hair and a blond beard—even to a heterosexual man such as myself—he was attractive in a manly sort of way. A large golden boar stood before him and the Dark Elf king had one hand on its flank as if giving the boar to the god. Another god with red hair like fire and beardless, presumably Loki, was standing next to the Dark Elf king.
I had seen paintings of the gods before, mostly done in sort of Romanesque-type images, but this was not in that style. They appeared life-like and in clothing that the Northern tribes would’ve worn given the period of the design. My gaze shifted lower to the images of a battle. Dark Elves and Light Elves battling each other. The king of the Dark Elves stood in the center, fighting what appeared to be the Light Elven king. Another mural depicted Dark Elves breaking their chains with hammers. And yet another one showed a battle with newer armor and Dwarves attacking the Dark Elves. I turned and saw yet another mural showing two worlds, both lush and green, colliding in a terrible cataclysm. A chunk of one world spiraled off into space, while the two suns were caught together in a slow dance of death.
Yes, yes, I’ve been behind on posting word counts for Elfshot. So sue me. Elfshot is now at 35,030 words. Oh, and I decided to give you a sneak peek into what I wrote today:
Li’alla sat beside me. “Humans began to hate the Fae and blame us for all their maladies. While it’s true the Elves had Elfshot, most didn’t use it because the world was so volatile. The blue sickness had taken a huge portion of medieval Europe’s population and humans blamed us for it. They said we were in league with the Christian devil and called us demons.” She shook her head. “I remember those times. They were frightening.”
I took a sharp inward breath. The blue sickness was the name people called the Black Death during medieval times. “You were alive during the Black Death?”
She smiled sadly. “Yes, and I remember when my human friends died of it, refusing to take the medicine I brought because the parish priest told them it was poison and I was an agent of Satan.”
We both fell silent and I stared wistfully at the stars, wishing I was anywhere but here. I thought about Luna and how much I missed her cheerful smile. I thought about Elwyn and Duncan and hoped to the gods they were okay. Unlike the plague from medieval times, this plague would be Elfshot and it would kill not only humans but Light Elves as well. I turned to her. “Why do Light Elves hate your kind so much?”
Hey! Have you picked up your FREE copy of That Dragon was in No Way my Fault yet? It’s available on Amazon! Go there now and get your own copy!
I’ve been trying to work on Elfshot, and I’ve learned one thing. You know what’s great about pounding your head against the wall? Stopping.
A Type of Writer’s Block and How I Got Through It
It took a few days and a conversation with my spouse before I realized that I needed another twist in the story. So, I forced myself into the chair in front of my computer and found out what happened next. Elfshot is actually a complex story, which means it needs me to think about it a lot.
What’s Happening in the Ironspell Chronicles
Surprisingly our hero, Bob Ironspell-Cabas got stuck in the world of the Dark Elves thanks to a goddess. She gave him a mission to eliminate the enemy’s weapons.
Only enemies aren’t necessarily the bad guys. Oh, some are, but some aren’t, and it’s starting to sink in that there are shades of gray (not the S&M book by that name) and not necessarily good guys and bad guys. There are good guys. There are bad guys. But not everything is clear cut in this series, which leads me to some fun places to go.
OMG I Didn’t Outline!
One problem I’m having with Elfshot is that I’ve been working off of an incomplete outline. This is coupled with the fact I veered off the last part of the outline. Ah well. The writing will surprise me as well as it unfolds.
A Preview of What I Wrote Today for Elfshot
I thought I’d give you a snippet of what I wrote so you might enjoy:
I followed her down several tunnels until we came to a corridor with several doors down it. It was surprisingly well lit with mage lights and what appeared to be florescent fungi and moss along the walls, casting the tunnel in an eerie blue-green glow. The Drow fashioned the doors out of stone, much to my surprise. We took the third door on the left and it swung open with just a touch, like the door at the entrance to the caverns. She led me into a room, which I discovered was a living room with an upholstered couch, stone table, and several wooden chairs.
To my surprise, cool, fresh air circulated throughout the room. I could see a much younger female Drow in what appeared to be the kitchen, complete with a hearth and wooden shelves, as well as two boys that looked equivalent to human children ages five and eight.
“Li’alla, we have company!” The elder Elf called to the woman.
Li’alla turned and looked at me. Too skinny to be pretty, she met my eyes with her gaunt gaze. “Oh, Nana, what have you brought?”
“Nana! Nana!” the two boys shouted as they ran out of the kitchen.
Nana smiled and bent down for a hug. “How are my two rapscallions doing? Have you been minding your mother?”
“Yes, Nana.” The children spoke in unison and I tried to hide a grin. Children were alike all over, no matter how different they were.
Li’alla wiped her hands on a worn dishtowel before coming out. “And who did you bring us?”
“Li’alla, I want you to meet Ironspell. Ironspell, this is one of my granddaughters, Li’alla.”
Li’alla looked horrified. “Oh Nana! What foolish thing have you done?”
“Which one? There are so many.” Nana winked at me.
Thought I’d share the cover to Book 2 — Elfshot. Right now, I’m working on this novel! Stick around and I might give you a sneak peek.
In the next few days I’ll be putting up covers of each of my books. You can let me know what you think of them in the comments. First up, the book which should be out early July, if not sooner: That Dragon was in No Way my Fault. Check it out!