Dan O'Brien returns to us yet again to tell us a bit more about himself and to share a bit of his book The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow.
Welcome to the fifth day of The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow blog tour. It will run until August 17th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:
A plague has covered the land, a single word on the lips of the frightened masses: the Widow. Washing a wave of terror over the countryside and then disappearing like a thief in the night, the Widow holds a kingdom in the palm of her hand. The eyes of Chaos have settled on Prima Terra and heroes must rise. Xeno Lobo, enigmatic and cryptic, hunts the Widow, seeking an object taken from him years before. Will he be able to stem the tide of violence and horror that sweeps the land?
A few questions for the author:
Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
I make as many decisions as possible. There are always some elements of your life that are out of your control. It is those select few options that appear to be out of reach, but are in fact just scary and push you out of your comfort zone. Those are the choices that you desperately need to make. Too often we do what we think we should do, and miss out on what we love to do.
Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
A fantasy novella: The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow. A rip-roaring adventure that doesn't stop moving until you read the last line.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
I like to think that everyone will enjoy my books, but the reality is that reading is highly subjective. Readers who enjoy fantasy, especially the sword-and-sorcery variety, will not be disappointed.
Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:
The guest quarters were fit for royalty.
The bed was a construction of pure mastery.
The four corners were pillars of ivory that strangled their way into one another. At the top was a grand canopy of linens. The sheets were sewn of the finest silks and were plentiful in the wake of the extreme cold that had gripped the lands. Xeno lay surrounded in the sheets, his body writhing in a nightmare. His arms flailed and his head shook from side to side.
Muttering, it was the incoherent rambling of sleep.
The remainder of room was darkness, except the dwindling flame at the side of the bed encased within the iron-cased lamp. The cold winds manipulated the fire like a dancer as the warrior slept.
The door to the chambers opened slightly.
Shadows of the hall merged with that of the room. The figure that accompanied the shadow slithered, as if without form.
Xeno remained undisturbed.
His mind was still trapped in whatever nightmarish world gripped it. As the shadow neared, the gaunt, featureless face of an imp moved close to the bed. Its wicked fingers gripped a ragged, curved blade.
Xeno mumbled in his sleep as the creature crept close. Its pale, sickly features curved into a grin of malevolence as it hovered above Xeno. Drawing the thin edge above its head, the imp prepared to plunge the blade into the slumbering warrior’s chest.
The moon shone behind the listless clouds that drifted by lazily. As the imp brought the blade above its head, the metal glinted in the moonlight and flashed across Xeno’s face, waking him in an instant. The imp screeched and slammed the blade down. It was too late. Xeno rolled and drew his blade from the table at the bedside.
“What in the name of Exodus?” roared Xeno as he brandished the blade. The imp thrashed about the bed linens, spitting and growling like the feral creature of the night that it was. The creature stopped upon hearing Xeno’s voice and cocked its head to the side. Its eyes glazed as it watched the warrior standing there.
“Kill––the––warrior Xeno,” gargled the beast as it leapt from the bed. Approaching Xeno, it slashed at the air with its savage edge. It moved like a beast upon four legs as it rushed toward the warrior.
Xeno swung his blade from the ground into the air with a deep arc, tearing the creature in two as it leapt. It squealed as it crashed back into the bed and convulsed momentarily, until it moved no more.
The blood pooled on the sheets.
Xeno sighed and moved toward the bed.
The half-light of the moon provided the only visibility; the torch had long since burned down to embers. Moments passed and Xeno felt the pressure of the solitude and silence of the massive castle and the halls that lined it.
The door burst open, revealing light from deeper within the recesses of the edifice. Hooded, shadowed figures emerged, their motions hurried and confused.
Xeno strapped his sheath along his back once again and pulled the straps tight, the leather groaning as it gripped against his back and along his chest. He pulled his cloak and wool shirt from the side table as Verifal approached, flanked by Gaition and three faceless guardians of Me’lein.
“Master Xeno, what happened?” queried the sleepy king as he surveyed the room.
The imp lay in blood.
Xeno sat in light of the moon.
He smirked and placed the blades into their hidden sheaths around his waist. He sighed at king. “That is a question I hoped you would answer,” replied Xeno as he pushed past Verifal and into the hallway just outside his room.
The corridor stretched far into the darkness. People had gathered because of the commotion. They ambled about like cattle in a pasture, waiting for a command, a reason.
“What are you saying?” began the king.
“I’m not saying anything,” interrupted Xeno as he leaned back into the room and glared at Gaition as he passed. The attendant lowered his head as he met the hateful gaze of the traveling warrior.
Xeno made his way across the room to the opposite end, his head peering out the stone window, looking to the darkened forest below. Shaking his head, he watched as the guards crossed paths and circled around the corner once again. “How many guards are posted along the outer wall?”
“Seven. Two at the gates and five roaming along the wall,” replied Uthen.
“And inside the castle?”
“At least ten or twelve more depending on the hour of the night,” replied Uthen once again as he leaned against the wall.
“What are you driving at, Master Warrior?” queried Verifal suspiciously. His regal robes were pulled tight around his frame, combating the biting cold of the night.
“Unless you are in the practice of keeping forest imps within the castle walls,” began Xeno. Turning with an accusing finger, he continued. “If that is not the case, then an imp with about as much intelligence as a stone wall managed to sneak past almost twenty guards and into my room without even the slightest bit of notice.”
“Are you saying that someone let it in?” queried Uthen trying to follow Xeno’s train of logic.
Xeno shrugged and looked from the king to Uthen, to the cowering Gaition. “It knew my name. It spoke it before I put an end to its life,” finished Xeno with a sigh.
“It spoke your name? You must be mistaken,” burst out Gaition. It was the first time he had spoken since coming upon the scene.
“You doubt my word,” returned Xeno, his anger seething. It seemed to rise from his person.
“No, it is not that. It is merely….” stammered Gaition, backing away from the angst and venom in Xeno’s words. Uthen glowered at Gaition, and then looked to the astonishment on Verifal’s face.
Verifal could feel the mounting tension and stepped forward quickly. “This cannot be decided here tonight. We will convene in the morning and discuss this further. Let us leave it until then.”
“Will that be alright, Master Xeno?” queried Uthen, turning toward the hunter.
“Fine, in the morning I leave for the north. I leave these matters to your court.” Xeno turned away from the congregation and looked out the stone window, out into the darkness that held both secrets and truths.
Verifal motioned for the guards to leave and he followed them, flanked by Uthen and Gaition’s shrouded figure. Leaving Xeno to the solitude and soiled sheets, he would see no more sleep that night.
Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.
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