This is a very quick thing.
There’s a Goodreads competition going on for 20 lucky people to win copies of With Silent Screams. All you have to do it click on the cover below and it’ll take you right there. You’d best hurry though as you only have 12 hours to do it.
This is for those who live in the US only. Sorry if you live elsewhere.
Here’s the first chapter from the upcoming Hellequin Chronicles book 3: With Silent Screams. Any spelling/grammar issues are because this isn’t the final edit. If you haven’t picked up the first 2 books yet, you can get them for $0.99 at the moment by using this deal.
Toronto, Canada. Now.
Sirens wailed as I parked the Mitsubishi Warrior next to a row of police cars and climbed out into the cool night air.
“You can’t park there,” one of the cops said as he made his way over to me. “You’re going to have to move.”
“He’s with me,” Sky said as she followed me out of the truck and showed the cop her ID.
“Sorry, Ma’am,” he said and stepped aside, allowing us through.
I pushed down the part of me that screamed to run toward the house—it wouldn’t do anyone any good. Body bags were already being carried into the house. The building itself was a fairly old brick structure, with two floors and probably four bedrooms. It certainly looked big enough. The nearest neighbor was a few hundred feet away, and with all the open ground and trees around it, I doubted anyone had heard a thing while its inhabitants died.
“Damn it,” I said as we reached the front door and I saw the splatter of blood inside.
“Hey, who the hell are you?” a male detective shouted as he strode toward us. Sky flashed her ID again.
“Oh great, a spook, that makes things much better.”
Sky’s ID just had a badge and a picture of Hades’ logo on it—a raven sat atop a shield. Like all of the more powerful members of the world, Hades had his own business empire and security force. Very few humans knew that the Hades from mythology was real, although the two barely matched up in reality. The majority of law enforcement in Canada had heard of Hades as an organization, and most thought it was a secretive, CIA-esque authority. They were only partially correct.
“I’m not here to argue, just look around,” Sky told him, replacing her ID in her pocket. “What can you tell us?”
“Well as you can see,” the detective said waving his arms behind him. “It’s a home invasion gone wrong. Some punks probably broke in and started searching, the old lady found them and they fought. She died with a stab wound to the throat.”
“And the man?” I asked.
“Yeah, I figure the little bastards enjoyed killing her and took their time with him. Probably figured he was holding out on riches or some shit. We’ll find them, though.”
“No, detective, you won’t,” I said and walked passed him and into the nearest room.
Blood saturated the carpet and a man in white overalls was examining the body of an elderly lady, looking for clues, while his colleague searched the room.
“Did she die in here?” I asked them.
The one kneeling beside the body turned to face me. “Yes, on the floor just here. It looks like she was stabbed in the throat. The spray of blood on the wall there suggests she was standing when it was done.”
I stared at the wall, and as the man said, the blood spray suggested she was standing when stabbed.
“Have you found a knife?” I asked.
He shook his head. “We’re still looking.”
“Can I see the body?”
The man glanced over at his colleague, neither of them wanted to say yes.
“He’s with me,” Sky said again. I got the impression she enjoyed showing off her ID.
Hades would probably get a call about an employee of his walking onto a murder scene, but I doubted he’d be too concerned. Hades allowed his employees the freedom to work as they needed to, and Sky, as his daughter, was given more than her share of allowances.
The coroner moved aside, and after placing some gloves on my hands, I crouched beside her and took a look at the body of Mrs. Vivian Moon. She’d bled out from the massive gash on her throat.
“You okay, Nate?” Sky asked as she joined me.
“No,” I said softly, hoping to keep my temper in check.
“Where’s the male?” Sky asked the coroner.
“He’s been taken out already, but you can go to the bedroom where he died,” he said. “First on the right.”
I removed my gloves and threw them into the hazardous waste bag as we left the room, then followed the man’s directions upstairs, the smell of death growing ever stronger. I grabbed a second set of gloves from a box outside the room, with Sky following suit, and we opened the door to whatever horrors the coroner had warned us about.
There were two detectives inside, one male and one female and both of them did their best to not glance at the blood-soaked bed. At some point the man who’d been on it had been a detective by the name of William Moon. He’d been a good man, an ex-Marine who had served his country during the Vietnam War and who had come back determined to do something good in the world. That good had eventually gotten him killed.
“Bill,” I said softly and made my way to the bed. “What the hell did they do to you?”
“You knew the victim?” one of the detectives asked.
“Yeah, he was a cop,” I said. “Retired a while back, but we worked together on something a long time ago.”
“Can’t have been that long,” the man said. “You’re what, thirty?”
“I’m older than I look,” I said. About sixteen hundred years older. “What did they do to him?”
“They cut him up and beat him pretty badly,” the woman said. “The coroner says they broke a lot of bones, and then they decided to partially skin him. They eviscerated him in the end. He died hard. The coroner had the body removed about twenty minutes ago.”
“Can you both give us a minute?” Sky said, showing them her ID. They nodded and left the room.
“Nate, what did he call you for?”
“He said people were dying and he needed my help. He told me to be here at six and he’d explain everything. That was four hours ago, which is pretty much exactly how long it took to get you and drive here. The call was cut off when he was about to tell me something else, though”
“Any idea what?”
“Don’t know. The phone just went dead. There are storms in the area, so I assumed it was a problem with the phone itself. When I couldn’t call it back, I rang you.”
“I’m going to talk to my father. I’ll see if I can get him to take the case over. I know this is human on human, and not even Avalon touches those, but I figure we can make an exception. We’ll find out who did this.”
“I know,” I said. “And then I’m going to kill them.”
Sky placed a hand on my shoulder and I placed my hand on top and squeezed slightly. There was a time when we had almost been more than friends, but time and personalities had ensured that it never happened.
Sky removed her phone from her pocket as I noticed a business card that had fallen onto the carpet beside where Bill would have laid on the bed.
I picked up the black card and found that it belonged to a hotel in Manhattan, the Scepter Hotel. A bloody mark stained both sides of one corner. At one point, I would have used my blood magic to try and get some insight into who the blood belonged to. But those days were gone. Since my necromancy had reared its head nearly a year ago, my blood magic had vanished. Hades had told me that necromancy and blood magic can’t coexist, but it was a huge thing to lose, and something I still had trouble getting used to.
“You ever heard of this?” I asked Sky, passing the card to her as she told someone on the other end of the phone to wait a moment.
“It’s a fancy five-star place. You think this blood is Bill’s?”
“Maybe. It’s worth looking into.”
“I’ll bag it up,” she said and took it from me as she started talking on her phone again.
I walked over to a nearby door and pushed it open, revealing a clean ensuite bathroom. Directly in front of the door was a mirror above a white sink. Someone had written “welcome back” on the glass in blood. I noticed the small camera, positioned on top of the mirror. And then my world exploded.
No amount of magic at my disposal could have stopped the destructive power of the explosion as it rushed toward me. A hastily assembled shield of dense air robbed it of its potency and left me alive, but the shockwave still picked me off the ground as if I were made of paper, flinging me back through the nearest window with a crash.
I slammed into the solid earth with a crunch, tumbling backward until a large tree stopped any further movement with a definitive thud.
I lay there, covered in blood, dirt, and brick dust as my brain tried to catch up with what had happened.
The first port of call was pain. It washed over me, hunkering down in every conceivable place on my body. My ribs felt as if on fire, turning even the simple act of breathing into a battle. My left arm was numb, and my back felt wet, but I couldn’t move enough to find out what had happened. I coughed and the pain roared through my body until I spat bright blood onto the grass beside me. Probably a punctured lung.
All in all, I was lucky. I might not have felt it, but if I’d been human I would have most certainly died.
My magic had started to heal me—my ringing ears faded back to normal within a few seconds, so I just sat still as the thoughts of Sky and the officers in the house filled my head. Were they okay? Did I take the brunt of the blast? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. Unfortunately, I couldn’t move.
A short while later, a young woman walked out of the woods beside me toward the ruins of the house. She glanced around briefly as flames leapt from the giant hole where the bedroom and bathroom used to be, then turned toward me. Her high heels and knee-length dress were an odd sight, but the smile on her face suggested she was not here to help.
She ran her hand through her shoulder-length brown hair and stood a few feet in front of me, the smile never wavering from her beautiful face. I’d never seen her before—there wasn’t even a glimmer of recognition on my part—but from the callous grin on her face, I got the impression that she certainly knew me.
She took a few steps toward me and breathed deeply before placing one of her heels against my shoulder and pushing down. The strength of the woman was incredible as the heel tore into my shoulder, causing me to yell in pain as she turned her foot left and right.
“I’d love to make you my new pet,” she said and removed her foot, her heel dripping blood onto my arm. “My last one didn’t make it.”
“You triggered the explosion,” I said. A cold rage began to fill me, but I couldn’t have fought her on rage alone—I’d have been killed. Instead, I was forced to sit still, watch, and listen, which did little to improve my mood.
The woman made a contented sound, like a purr. “Of course. I wasn’t meant to come say hello, but I just couldn’t stay away. I wanted to see how you’d handle this . . . warning.” She raised her head and listened as the sounds of voices coming closer.
She sighed and bent down in front of me. “Such a shame we have to cut our relationship short. I’d kill you, but I don’t want you to leave the fun just yet. See you soon, Mister Garrett.” She pressed one finger into the hole she’s made with her heel a moment ago. I yelled out once more until she withdrew the finger and licked it clean. “You taste good. Maybe when we meet again, I’ll be able to get my fill of you.” She kicked me in the head so hard, it would have moved a car. I blacked out.
The release of Hellequin Chronicles book 3: With Silent Screams, is only a few months away, so I thought it would be nice to share the cover with everyone.
So here it is, the cover to With Silent Screams.
Before anyone asks (because someone will), no that isn’t Nate.
You can pre-order the book from Amazon. It’s been a long time coming, so I’m both very excited and a bit nervous about the release.
Have a good Christmas/holiday/whatever you’re planning on doing.
I’m very pleased to be able to show you all the prologue of Hellequin Chronicles book 3, With Silent Screams.
New York City, New York. 1977.
I do not like flying. I’ve been told it’s perfectly safe, that it’s the future of travel and about a hundred other things which I’m sure the sane part of my brain agrees with. The other part of my brain doesn’t like the idea of being tens of thousands of feet in the air, in a small metal tube, with large quantities of jet fuel. I don’t like the fact that my life is in the hands of people I’ve never met—from the pilots to the repair crew.
More than all of that, though, I really don’t like the fact that flying makes me feel mortal. And as a nearly sixteen-hundred-year-old sorcerer, that isn’t a very nice feeling at all. But when friends call saying they need my help, I’ll brave this ludicrous form of travel and get there as quickly as possible. Even so, as the DC-9 came to a standstill outside the gate, allowing all of the passengers to exit into the terminal, I felt a moment of relief.
JFK airport is massive on a scale that’s hard to convey, and that’s not just including square footage. The sheer number of people inside the airport was almost overwhelming, and I was grateful to finally get outside.
“Nathan,” a man shouted as he walked away from a red Ford Mustang and took my hand in his, shaking it vigorously.
“Roberto,” I replied with a smile as I dragged my hand free of his grip. “You said you needed my help with something.”
The smile on his face vanished and he placed a hand on my shoulder, moving me toward the car. “We’ll talk once we’re on the road. We’ve got a bit of a drive ahead of us.”
“And where would that be to?” I asked across the car’s roof as I put my bag in the boot.
I paused. “You still work for Avalon, yes?”
Roberto nodded and got into the car. I sighed and followed suit.
“How long is this drive?” I asked after he turned the engine on and pulled away from the airport.
“Seven hours, give or take a few minutes.”
“So, you’ve got plenty of time to tell me what the hell is going on.”
Roberto was quiet for a while as the traffic around us began to get heavier. I didn’t want to disturb him too much when he was driving; he was new to the concept of driving and I wasn’t sure he could drive and hold a conversation at the same time.
“Why didn’t you have me land there, then?” I asked as we entered the highway and Roberto appeared to relax with the monotony of going in a straight line.
“Because New York is neutral ground. It’s the closest neutral state to Maine, and the safest place for us to meet without anyone being alerted to either of our presence. Technically I have not, and never will, set food inside Maine without official permission.”
“I assume you don’t have that permission.”
Roberto’s silence told me all I needed to know.
“So, do you feel like telling me why you’re risking some serious trouble heading your way?” I asked, getting more confused by the minute.
Inside the glove box was a manila envelope, which contained a photograph of a young woman with long, dark hair. There was a sheet of paper attached to the photo, which gave information about the woman.
“Sally-Ann,” I said, reading the information. “Nineteen. She was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and she’s a college student studying fine art at Yale, which makes her smarter than the average college student, I guess.”
“She was incredibly smart, and sweet, and a good person.”
“Her body was found outside of Stratford, Maine, four days ago.”
I was silent for a moment. “I’m sorry, Roberto. How did you know her?”
“Her father worked for me. He was a doorman—he died four years ago in a car crash just a few miles from safety.”
“I mean home. It’s been a long few days.”
“That’s fair enough. So, what happened to Sally-Ann?”
“She lived with her grandparents in Augusta after that. I made sure she was well taken care of.”
Humans in positions of power or influence often also work for Avalon or some of the more powerful individuals who make up the council. Humans are a good way to find out who’s who in a city, and I knew from previous experience that Roberto was very protective of anyone who worked for him.
“So, why was she in Stratford?”
“She went there a lot; she’d met some artistic types a few years ago and she liked to go there to meet them and draw. She was supposed to be on her way there when she was murdered. Whoever killed her dumped the body in a shallow ditch and let the heavy snow-fall cover her. We only found her because a local fell into the ditch. Sally-Ann’s grandparents contacted me to let me know. They’re heartbroken. She was going to be something very special.”
“That’s why you’re risking your job?”
“Avalon won’t fire me, Nathan.”
He had a fair point. But they would make his life very difficult for a few years. Roberto was a head of a division of the SOA, or Sword of Avalon. The SOA are the internal security agency for Avalon. They’re a mixture of an Internal Affairs department and the Secret Service.
“Here’s the thing I don’t understand,” I said, sliding the picture of Sally-Ann back into the envelope. “Why me? You’re more than capable of investigating this yourself.”
“You’ll see,” he said. “I promise all of your questions will be answered in Portland.”
“Then put your foot down, because this whole thing is making me nervous.”
The rest of the journey was done in silence, allowing me to get a few hours sleep. Roberto woke me once he’d pulled up outside a bar called the Mill and switched off the engine. I yawned and opened the car door, stretching as the cold air of winter in Maine made sure I was fully awake.
The snow had let up for the day, but it covered everything in an inch-thick layer of whiteness, which crunched under foot as I made my way around the car to join Roberto, who was waiting for me.
“In here,” Roberto said as he pushed open the bar door.
I glanced up at the sign that hung above the window and stepped inside.
The warmth flowed over me like a welcome embrace. I glanced around the spacious bar and saw half a dozen people sat at various tables, either talking amongst themselves or eating. I spotted Roberto talking to the bartender, and he waved me over.
“Nice place,” I said. “I remember it being a bit more of a hovel.”
Roberto opened his mouth to speak when a woman walked up to us, her heels clicking on the bare wooden floor. She wore a beautifully tailored dark suit and heels that put her just a few inches below my own height of five-nine. Her eyes were deepest blue and contrasted nicely with her long, almost black hair.
“Mister Garrett, Mister Cortez, my name is Rebecca Dean, please follow me,” she said and turned to walk away. Her accent placed her from New York, but I thought I caught something else in there, a little Irish maybe.
I watched her walk and received an elbow in the ribs from Roberto for the trouble. “Watch yourself,” he said with a slight grin.
“I’m more interested in watching her,” I said.
Roberto pointed to the woman’s heels, which were four inches long, and glinted as light hit them. “Those heels have blades on them,” he whispered. “Like I said, watch out.”
The woman led us up a flight of stairs and down a corridor, where she opened door and beckoned us inside.
“Please take a seat,” she offered, pointing to the two black leather armchairs that sat opposite a couch made of the same material. A glass coffee table lay between the chairs and couch, and as I sat in one of the chairs, I took the opportunity to survey the room.
It was a fairly large office at about thirty by thirty foot, but it contained nothing out of the ordinary. A large desk sat at one end, next to a window that bathed the room in light. The walls were adorned with paintings of various landscapes from around the world—they were very impressive, and whoever had done the work had certainly had a good eye.
“So, are we here to see you?” I asked the lady, who had sat down in the couch in front of me, regaining my attention as I stared at an exquisite watercolor painting of Camelot.
“I’m just the bar’s manager,” she said. “I’m only here as a witness.”
“A witness to what?” I asked.
“To why I asked you here today,” a man said as he stepped into the office
I was on my feet immediately, making my way over to the stocky man and embracing him tightly in a hug.
“Nathan, my old friend,” he said with genuine warmth as we parted. “I’m glad to see you again.”
“You too, you look good,” I said. He looked almost exactly the same as he had when we’d last met over a century previous. He’d let his dark hair grow to shoulder length and had a small scar on his cheek, but it was his eyes that gave away the pain as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
He stepped past me and shook Roberto’s hand as the bar’s manager bowed deeply.
“My liege,” she said and he motioned for her to stand.
“Liege?” I asked. “When did you get people to call you that?”
My old friend turned back to me and smiled, but this time it didn’t reach his eyes. “Have you not heard? I am the king of Shadow Falls.”
My mouth dropped open in shock. I’d heard nothing about it. Even away from Avalon, I would have thought I’d have picked up little traces here and there. “How long?”
“Three years now,” he said. “Although it feels much longer.”
“King Galahad,” I said. “Damn, if it doesn’t suit you. Now can someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”
And that’s it. If you want to read more, you’ll have to wait a few months, but you can pre-order the book at amazon.
Well, it’s been 2 weeks since I announced my signing with 47North and I’d just like to take a moment to say thanks for everyone who offered their congratulations.
The support has been pretty much universal, but there have been questions, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to go through them.
What’s happening to books 1 and 2?
They’re being re-released in Sept of this year with new covers and some edits inside. The story remains the same, but the edits will change a few bits and make a few things easier on the reader. If it make you feel better, think of them as my Director’s Cut.
When will book 3 be released?
Are there more Hellequin Chronicles books to come?
Yes, I have notes for lots of them. So there’s going to be no shortage of stories.
Will Prison of Hope, book 4, be released in 2014?
I have no idea. Ask me the question after book 3 is released and I may have a different answer. But I have to write it first.
Will there be any novella’s?
Yes, yes there will be. I’ve got notes for quite a few of those too. One of which, Infamous Reign, will be hopefully released this Halloween. I’ll go into more details soon, but it’s turning into quite the enjoyable little story. And hopefully it’ll be a nice way to get ready for With Silent Screams.
I think they were the main questions I received over the past fortnight, but if you have any others, feel free to ask and I’ll put them in my next blog.
So, now onto the results of the competition.
Firstly, thanks to everyone who entered. Because there were so many people taking part, I’ve decided to not only give away a Paperwhite to the winner, but also signed copies of Born of Hatred to the next 2 names picked.
And without further ado. My lovely assistant, Harley, will draw a name from a hat.
Firstly, the two runners up, who both get a free signed copy of Born of Hatred.
and the winner is:
Congrats to all of the winners. You all have 14 days to let me know where to send your winnings.
Okay, so for the last few weeks you may have seen some posts on Facebook or twitter about some good news. Well, now is the time to tell you all about it.
First, The Good:
With Silent Screams has a release date.
It’s February 2014.
I know some of you will look at the date and groan in horror. Well there’s a reason for it. I’m proud to announce that I have a three book contract with 47North, the fantasy, horror and sci-fi imprint of Amazon Publishing.
Now they’re going to re-publish books 1 and 2 in Sept this year, with new covers and a few edits here and there and then publish book 3 next Feb.
It’s a pretty major thing for me, and I for one couldn’t be happier. They’ve all been incredibly helpful and very nice to work with, and I’m really looking forward to see where the future takes me.
Now, I know the wait is long, especially for those of you who got a copy of Born of Hatred last December, and for that I can only apologise. It sucks and I’m sorry.
Hopefully this next bit will make up for it.
To celebrate The Awesome, and to say thank you to every single person who purchased a copy of the book and made it a success, I’m going to run a competition for those of you who have read Born of Hatred.
This is open to anyone, worldwide, and the prize is… a Kindle Paperwhite.
That’s right one lucky, lucky bugger is going to win a brand new Paperwhite. And what do you have to do to win this, I hear you ask?
It’s very simple, you answer this question.
In Born of Hatred, what two mythological beings did Nate visit in Canada?
For anyone who has read the book, that should be quite easy. And for the rest of you, go pick up a copy now:
Once you have the answer, e-mail me via the Contact button on the front page, or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter. 1 name will be randomly chosen on 20th June 2013. Good luck.
There’s going to be a bit of a re-occurring theme going on with this and the previous posts, but I’m almost done with this draft of the book. Once that’s done I have a bunch of edits to do, so unfortunately I don’t have a release date for you just yet. But I do appreciate everyone being very patient.
I also know that I said there was going to be a competition to win something cool, and there will be, but I’m sort of waiting on a few things before I go ahead with it, so as soon as I get the okay, you will all know what you can win and how.
In the meantime, if you have any interest in winning something very cool, read Born of Hatred. The question I’m going to ask will come from that book.
I know it’s all very vague, but I promise all will become clear in the near future.
I saw the new Star Trek last week and it’s fantastic. If you have any interest in Star Trek or the first movie in the re-boot, go see the new film, you won’t be disappointed. I was even impressed with the 3D, something I don’t normally care about even slightly.
I took Mim (my eldest daughter) to go see The Croods at the weekend too. It was good fun, although incredibly formulaic; new younger person intrudes in the family, causing friction with dad who was in charge. Everyone in the family begins to love him, except dad, which leads to a clash between the two. They make up and work together. Despite that it was funny, and silly and made me laugh a few times, which is the important thing when it comes to kids movies.
And then next week it’s Superman. Which had better not suck, it’s been far too long since a good Superman film (a non animated one).
Also, finally got round to watching Archer Season 4. I love Archer, which if you haven’t seen before, shame on you. It’s probably the funniest TV show on at the moment, although it is definitely not for kids.
Speaking of TV, Michael J Fox is back with a TV show, the trailer of which looks awesome. I’m glad to see him back on TV after so long, Spin City was one of my favourite comedy shows when it was on.
So, that’s it from me for another week. I hope you all gave a good weekend. I’m off to do some more writing.
It’s time for another book update.
With Silent Screams, is now on approximately 109,000 words, so I have about 10k left to do. And then the editing process begins. Yay, edits. So, it’s coming along quite nicely at the moment. In fact the person who’s read it said it was the best thing I’ve ever written, so I’m pretty excited about it.
It also means I may actually write a full blog post when it’s done. But let’s get the book finished first.
And now for a slight announcement. In a few weeks I’ll be running a competition to win something very cool, and the only way to win is to answer a question about Born of Hatred. So, if for some odd reason you haven’t read it yet, you may want to. And if you haven’t actually purchased it then it’s currently only $3.99 (£2.70), so you’ve got even more of a reason to buy it apart from the over 100, 5 and 4 star reviews (which I’m very grateful for)!
That’s it for another week. Normal service may resume next week, or it may not. Until then, have a good weekend.
Okay, I’ve been asked a few times this week to come up with a way to let everyone know when there are updates on the next book.
Now, I don’t really have a permanent solution at the moment as my brain function is almost exclusively working on With Silent Screams, but I’ve come up with an idea.
For most of you, the best place to get regular updates will be my twitter, facebook, or facebook pages profiles, I post to all of them fairly regularly and in amongst the thoughts about how awesome Bioshock Infinite is, are usually a few posts about how the book is coming along. Links can be found along the right hand side of this page.
But because not everyone likes using either of those things, I’ve come up with another way. I’m going to create a With Silent Screams page to go alone with the other two book pages I have on this blog. When an update comes along, I’ll post it in there. Hopefully, that way everyone can get their updates without having to search or wonder what’s going on.
So, where am I with the book?
About 83,000 words have been finished, so there’s not long to go now. Within the next few weeks, I should have some more details about what’s going on and when the book will actually be released.
In the meantime, I’ve got my author photos being taken on Saturday. I did briefly consider having a shave, but screw it, the Grizzly Adams look is still in right?
And then on Sunday, I’m off to the London Book Fair, which I’m quite looking forward to. I don’t have a booth or anything, I’ll just be wandering around listening to people far smarter than I talk about writing. Should be fun.