Smashwords Fantasy Sale 50% Off Rys Rising Series

Through the end of May, I’m running a Smashwords promotion on all titles in the Rys Rising series. These novels were the fifth through eighth books that I’ve written. They serve as the prequel series for my first fantasy series, The Rys Chronicles.

Rys Rising is an epic fantasy that tells of events 2,200 years prior to The Rys Chronicles. At this time, the ancient kingdom of Nufal is ruled by the magical tabre race. The tabre created the rys, but did not like the results. Tabre religious leaders were also split on whether the rys should have been made at all. This is source of internal strife within tabre society that complicates their ability to defend themselves throughout the story.

Nufal is under attack by the rys as led by Onja, an ambitious and powerful rebel. She plans to destroy the tabre utterly and install herself as the ruler of all. The series portrays this momentous time from both sides of the conflict, and often from the point of view of the humans serving their magical masters.

Save on Ebooks at Smashwords

I’ve activated 50% off coupon codes at Smashwords through the end of May. This creates an excellent opportunity to download a great fantasy series at a reduced price. The epic can be your mental summer getaway inside your tablet.

Read an Excerpt from Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II

At the outskirts of the camp, Amar halted his group and had men unload the two boxes of treasure. Amar proceeded to the center of the camp in search of Lax Ar Fu. Four men followed him, carrying the heavy boxes.

The Lord of the Kez was under a large tree where a freshly killed deer was hung up and being gutted. With the bloody spear still in his hand, Lax Ar Fu was flush with high spirits from the hunt and he turned to greet Amar with a disarmingly happy expression.

“At last my young rogue returns to his lord,” Lax Ar Fu announced in only a mildly scolding tone.

He held his arms wide and swaggered out of the shade. The hot sunshine sparkled on his hard bare chest draped in a fresh catch of gold necklaces strung with quartz and gemstone beads. His smooth scalp revealed every nuance of his skull and the black makeup around his eyes made his brow and cheekbones look especially strong.

Amar saluted him and dropped respectfully to his knees. “For the glory of Vu, I bring the Temulanka retainer and the ransom for the Sabar’Uto Princess,” he said.

Lax Ar Fu chuckled. “So you turned over your little pet that you kept hidden from me,” he remarked triumphantly, glad that Amar had given up something he obviously coveted.

“I did not hesitate in my duty,” Amar said. He remained on his knees but watched Lax Ar Fu carefully as he sauntered closer.

The men set the boxes down and opened them.

Lax Ar Fu said, “Rise, Amar, let us admire my treasure together. You have done well. I have much to teach you this summer. It will be good to have you close for a change.”

Amar got up. He watched impassively as Lax Ar Fu poked through the treasure boxes with the end of his spear. At the second box he commented that it looked a bit less than full. He then turned his black-clad gaze onto his notorious lieutenant. “Have you been stealing from your brothers?” he said.

“Why would I take so little?” Amar rejoined with a hint of offense.

Concern flickered across Lax Ar Fu’s features, but he quickly buried it with a leader’s confidence. “You were supposed to be here two days ago. Yesterday at the latest,” he complained.

“We paused to celebrate our triumph in teaching the Temulanka to respect Vu,” Amar explained.

“It must have been quite a celebration,” Lax Ar Fu murmured. “I suppose you took some time to play with your little princess before turning her ruined ass over to the Temulanka.” He laughed lustily as if Amar had played the funniest joke ever.

Amar disliked Lax Ar Fu talking about Demeda and he wished that thoughts of her did not bother him, which left him doubly irked.

Lax Ar Fu returned his attention to the second chest and squatted next to it. He shifted some gold and silver ingots around the box, mixing it with the jewelry, and said, “Either you let the Temulanka short us or someone has been dipping into my treasure.”

Amar walked around Lax Ar Fu and placed himself so that the box was between him and the Kez Overlord.

“Are you seriously accusing me of stealing from you?” Amar said.

Lax Ar Fu looked up at his brash young outlaw. He had easily detected the exposed claws behind Amar’s words. A tingle of excitement shivered along Lax Ar Fu’s nerves. He had a sense for when a man was going to challenge him. It had been years since the last time he had dispatched an uppity Kez brother, and Lax Ar Fu did not flinch from the primal call to defend his rank. Battles such as this were what he was meant for.

Amar kicked shut the chest and Lax Ar Fu had to snatch back his fingers. “I can hardly steal what is mine,” Amar said.

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Nook Audiobooks 50% Discount on Fantasy Series

Busy schedules sometime make it hard for fans of the fantasy genre to fit in time to read epic novels. Audiobooks, however, are easy to fit into downtime while riding a train, walking the dog, or doing mindless work. At Nook Audiobooks this month, you can save 50% off the regular price of the audiobook versions of Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I and The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II.

fantasy audiobook

Save 50%

Get the Union of Renegades audiobook for only $4.49 at the Nook store this month.

Continue listening to the saga and get The Goddess Queen for only $4.49 in the month of May.

Nook fantasy audiobook

No subscription is necessary for listeners to download audiobooks from Nook. Don’t miss this opportunity to get 35 hours of epic fantasy entertainment for a low price.

Union of Renegades introduces the hero Dreibrand Veta, who makes a fateful decision to abandon his position in an imperial army and seek his own fortunes in a mysterious land. He soon becomes embroiled in a dispute between two powerfully magical beings, known as rys. He sides with Shan, the challenger to Queen Onja. She has ruled the western tribal kingdoms as their Goddess for over two thousand years.

In the sequel, The Goddess Queen, Dreibrand leads Shan’s armies against Onja who has summoned an ancient horror to defend her throne. Enslaved ghosts with the power to kill answer Onja’s call, and only Shan can defend his human allies from her servants that cannot be touched by any physical weapon.

This exciting fantasy series was the first one that I wrote. I published the novels in 2006 and 2007, and the books remain popular to this day.

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Free Google Play Fantasy Book With Great Reviews

Don’t Miss This Fantasy Author on Google Play

The free series starter, Rys Rising, has maintained a 4.2-star rating out of 99 reviews at Google Play Books. Thousands of readers worldwide have enjoyed this gritty fantasy novel by an indie author. As a free Google Play fantasy book, it costs you nothing to give it a try.

Rys Rising dives into the history of the fantasy world created in The Rys Chronicles to reveal the origins of Queen Onja and the destruction of the ancient kingdom of Nufal. The novel builds into a 4-book fantasy series that tells a saga from many points of view.

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk

Always a Free Google Play Fantasy Book

My book marketing is based on the concept of the free series starter. You can always have a chance to download the complete first novel of any of my series to see if you like it. Some people get hooked and go on to buy the rest of my books and provide me with a meager reward for wasting years of my life writing novels instead of getting a haircut and a real job.

Download Rys Rising at Google Play for Free

When I wrote this series, I dared to push the narrative in ruthless directions. The story tells the story of the rise of the rys Onja, who becomes an unstoppable magic user who brings many peoples under her total domination.

The novel has resonated with some readers who craved a carefully crafted saga in a fantasy world. Here’s a sampling of some reviews from Google Play:


“Highly recommended for Fantasy fans. Rich in characters and a great place to escape to.”

“Fantastic book, looking forward to the next book.”

“Awesome read full of action and through enjoyment.”


Downloading a book to read from Google Play is easy for anyone with an Android phone or tablet. If you want to escape into a “Game of Thrones style” epic fantasy, choose Rys Rising at Google Play or look for it at your favorite ebook retailer.

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Smashwords Coupon Code for The Rys Chronicles Box Set

Fantasy readers worldwide can snatch up The Rys Chronicles Complete Series ebook box set at Smashwords for 45% off. This box set bundles all four novels of the series: Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power. Coupon code BW43M is valid through May 5, 2019.

This is the first 4-book series that I published way back in 2006 and 2007. What a long time ago! These novels continue to sell to this day, and I’m grateful for the many readers who’ve bought and enjoyed my novels over the years.

This value bundle normally sells for $8.99. At 45% off, you can get the fantasy series for only $4.94. Simply click the “buy with coupon” button to apply the discount automatically.

I like to toss up discounts at Smashwords from time to time to attract new readers on that platform. I can offer deep discounts at this ebook retailer because I earn the greatest share of the sale there compared to other retail outlets.



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Finding Stock Images for Book Cover Art

Top Places to Find Royalty Free Stock Art for Book Covers

While I’m editing the final manuscript of Werewolf Castle: Werewolves in the Renaissance 3, I need to develop the book cover art. Unless I want to commission custom art for a cover, I start the search for appropriate stock art for a book cover design. Although I have commissioned fantasy art for my book covers in the past, my werewolf series has been designed using stock art.

I use what’s known as royalty free stock art. This means that I don’t owe anyone any royalties based on the sales of the works made with the stock art and photos. For a single price, I gain the rights to use the images for commercial applications. The site that I choose to buy images from will specify the precise details of the royalty free agreement.

I’ve used some different sites over the years to find art for book covers and promotional banners. For the most part, they are quite similar in terms of price and terms. They even have largely identical collections, so I can’t really recommend any one company as standing out from the pack.

These are some of the major stock art providers online:

Generally, these companies require that you purchase credits that are then exchanged onsite for the images that you want. Pricing varies according to image size, resolution, and usage rights. The credit buying levels always seem to be cleverly designed to make one spend a bit more than would be necessary for what I need. But I always need to get a new image for something eventually so it works out. Pay close attention, however, to expiration dates attached to credit purchases. Paying for credits and then losing them would be a bummer.

All of the stock art providers include useful tools for customers. After creating an account, I can create folders, or light boxes as they are sometimes called, to save images to. This helps me organize my findings as I browse images that might possibly work for my design. For example, when creating the book cover for Journey of the Hunted, I collected images of a woman who would represent the female character who I wanted to feature on the cover.

An example of book cover art made with royalty free stock art.

I’m able to download low resolution or watermarked images to test in designs before I make a purchase. It’s important to use this approach to avoid spending money on an image that ultimately does not work for my design idea. I determine probably about 90 percent of the final design before actually buying the stock art.

Free Sources of Stock Art

Many websites draw in traffic with the promise of free stock art. Any web search will produce lists of different sites to visit for free to download images. I find the quality and selection available at the free sites to be inferior to paid downloads, but sometimes a free image will work for a background, or I get lucky and find a decent free image that works for a blog post or promotional image.

When I’m scrounging for free images, I like to use Pixabay.com. Search results here deliver free images and sponsored suggestions from Shutterstock.

Selecting stock images is by far the most time consuming process of developing a book cover design, at least for me. I have to sift through many images before making final decisions.

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Fantasy Authors Join My ProlificWorks Giveaway

Now accepting submissions through April 30th.

Connect With New Readers During Month-Long Promotion

If you’re not familiar with ProlificWorks (formerly known as Instafreebie), you’re missing out on an effective book marketing platform. The site attracts readers with ebook giveaways offered by member authors. In addition to individual ebook giveaways, authors can organize group giveaways that have a greater potential to attract traffic.

I’ve currently set up the Dark and Daring Fantasy Giveaway for the entire month of May. Submissions are open for titles. I approve most entries as long as they are complete stories and fit the theme in some way.

Submit Your Ebook Today!

Authors can join ProlificWorks for free, but you won’t be able to collect emails from readers who download your ebook.

Paid memberships enable integration with your email list service. You can make collection of emails from readers optional or mandatory. My titles currently have an optional status, and I still gain new email list subscribers every week.

If you think you want to try out this marketing service, use this link to initiate a paid membership. Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of book marketing, and free ebooks attract new subscribers.

The giveaway will go live for readers on May 1st. ProlificWorks makes it easy for readers to open ebooks on their devices. It’s a popular site. I gain hundreds of downloads a month and dozens of new email subscribers without really doing much. I’m sure I’d get better results if I could pay more attention to book marketing.

Free Fantasy Ebooks by Tracy Falbe

I also provide free ebooks to email newsletter subscribers right here at my website. Check out my free fantasy ebooks.

Union of Renegades

The epic begins as Dreibrand Veta and the conquering Horde of the Atrophane Empire reach a mythic Wilderness that beckons with a magical call to glory. But Onja, Queen of the rys, a race far more powerful than the greatest human state, guards this land. She has the power to imprison souls and her genocidal rage is legendary. Everything is at risk for her desperate enemies, the union of renegades.

Rys Rising

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk

Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale

Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. Although wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting, he still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.

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What is an empath and how this identity motivates my writing

Empathy is a state of perception that allows you to actually feel the emotions of others (people, animals, plants, the Earth). An empath describes an individual who has a natural ability to detect and absorb the emotional energies of others. Neurologists have identified mirror neurons within the brain that give us the ability to feel or “mirror” the feelings of others. Mirror neurons could be the biological mechanism of empathy.

The perceptions and abilities of empaths range through a spectrum of sensitivities from highly sensitive to fully empathic. I believe that I fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

My research about empaths has informed me that I can cultivate and control my empathic sense. I’m trying to learn how to consciously evaluate the energies of others instead of just letting the external emotions bury me. Ultimately, I hope to improve my ability to insulate myself and recognize the difference between my feelings and outside energies.

I realized early in life that I had natural empathy for my surroundings. When I learned the word empathy as a child, I thought, “Oh yeah, I feel that all of the time.”

When empaths receive the emotions of others into their inner beings, that outside emotional weight bears down on them. It can feel like being an emotional landfill. For this reason, empaths must make a conscious effort to clear away or segregate external feelings to protect their physical and mental health.

Before empaths realize their situation, they typically suffer from overwhelming stress as they strive to please everyone around them. If they can make everyone happy, then they can feel happy.

How My Empath Identity Made Me a Novelist

I struggled in this state of stressful overload all of my life. Writing was my way of coping with the constant barrage of emotional energy. By creating characters and stories, I was processing all of the feelings overlapping with my own. When people ask me where I get my ideas from, I’m almost at a loss for an explanation because I’m buried in ideas and experiences every waking minute.

Writing stories gives me a space where I can process many emotions and attribute them to various characters. This activity is very therapeutic for me. I always emerge from a fiction writing session feeling cleansed.

Writing also grants me entry into what is known as a flow state. In a flow state, a person achieves pristine focus and the rest of the world drops away. When writing fiction, I transcend myself and find relief and even pleasure.

It took years to grasp that most other people did not possess empathic sensitivity in the same way as me. Most people experience empathy to a much lesser extent, and some not at all. People can cultivate a sense of empathy, which is an admirable goal, but it’s not the same as natural ability. Empathy for me is like the five senses. It just happens.

Expanding My Empath Skills

Now that I am actively researching the empath concept, I’ve learned techniques for processing the emotional overload. I’m currently developing my ability to sort my feelings into two piles so that I can identify which are my feelings and which are external feelings. I’ve found this practice to be very rewarding. It’s such a relief sometimes to recognize something as external because it helps me stay grounded in myself.

Identifying the sources of feeling also gives me an opportunity to process energy strategically. I can either deflect emotions or let myself digest them.

An Example of Deflecting Emotion

As someone who works from home, I have unfortunately been privy to an ongoing domestic dispute at the home next to mine. The owner of the home had moved in with his fiance and was fixing up his house to list it for sale. While he was doing this, his young adult son broke into the home and started squatting. (I witnessed the break in.)

Every week the father would come by the day before trash collection and fill up the bins and get into a huge fight with his son because he did not want him there. This went on for weeks. I overhead profanity-filled arguments that were very vile and heartbreaking. The final fight culminated in violence. During the final episode, the emotional tornado was so extreme that I went outside so that I could stand barefoot on the ground. (This grounds a person to the Earth.) I said aloud, “Not my feelings!” and felt a liberating clarity as I rejected the overflowing sewer of emotions. It was a glorious and empowering moment to push away the anger and despair of two dysfunctional people.

The son is still squatting there, and the father has not been back for a few months. Everyone in the neighborhood is hoping that the home will be listed and sold eventually, but that remains a long shot with a loser squatting in the house.

An Example of Processing Emotion

The devastating wildfire that destroyed Paradise, California, affected me deeply. Having lived in the neighboring town of Chico for 12 years, I was very familiar with this town. At one time, I even looked at houses in Paradise but rejected the location because it was obvious that the entire place was doomed to burn. I of course followed the news about the deaths and survivors very closely and eventually took some time to invite in the collective agony of that disaster. I consciously let it overwhelm me and gave myself time to cry. Then, I consciously shifted the feelings away from me. I chose not to deflect the devastation because I wanted to honor the suffering.

Hurricane Katrina was another disaster that burdened me significantly. It occurred before I learned some skills for sorting and processing energy. When Katrina happened, I simply slogged along in misery for a long time even though I was thousands of miles away from the disaster.

The truth is that there is misery all around us. I notice it, but I have to keep myself somewhat aloof. Part of me is processing the daily tragedies and joys that unfold around me, but for the sake of my health I have to maintain some distance.

Fiction writing remains a place where I can let myself feel everything in a psychologically safe way for me.

Escape into the magical worlds of Tracy Falbe by downloading a free series starter. These three ebooks are free worldwide.

Select from PDF, Epub, or Kindle format.

Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale

Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. Although wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting, he still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.

Free Epub

Free Kindle

Free PDF

 

Rys Rising: Book I

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk. Indulge yourself and read this sumptuous epic told from many angles.

Free Epub

Free Kindle

Free PDF

 

Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I

The epic begins as Dreibrand Veta and the conquering Horde of the Atrophane Empire reach a mythic Wilderness that beckons with a magical call to glory. But Onja, Queen of the rys, a race far more powerful than the greatest human state, guards this land. She has the power to imprison souls and her genocidal rage is legendary. Everything is at risk for her desperate enemies, the union of renegades.

Free Epub

Free Kindle

Free PDF

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Nerves Before Battle – An Excerpt from Free Fantasy Ebook Union of Renegades

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since I published my first novel, Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I.

It’s an ambitious epic fantasy that launches a four-book series that creates a seven-year saga.

The excerpt that I present here depicts the moments before one of the early battles in the rebellion against Onja…

Taischek shifted in the saddle, his bones creaking with the leather, yet his blood pumped youthfully as he thought about his hated enemy. Sacking Dursalene was going to upset the Sabuto so much that Taischek almost wished he could stay behind to witness their prolonged distress.

General Xander and Dreibrand flanked the King as the war party waited on the edge of the woods near the town. They had only to gallop across a few pastures to reach Dursalene, which appeared to still be ignorant of their presence.

The night grew old and the dawn approached, and Dreibrand watched his warding crystal, waiting for the signal. Xander fidgeted on the other side of the King.

“This had better work,” the General growled impatiently.

“It will,” Taischek soothed his surly friend. “Shan would not lead me to ruin, especially while raiding the Sabuto. I am rather looking forward to seeing what he will do.”

“If he can really do anything,” Xander complained. “Has anyone ever seen him do anything like this?”

Dreibrand’s Atrophaney heritage surfaced. He had an aversion to this negative talk before a battle and retorted, “Yes! I have seen Shan’s magic. He kept Miranda from freezing to death on the glacier from many hasas away. Shan challenges Onja, and you would doubt that he can break a wooden Sabuto fence?”

Sighing, Taischek calmed the warriors. “Settle down, young Dreibrand. No one doubts Shan. Xander just lacks patience and is quick to grumble.”

Xander snorted.

Day broke quickly once the sun passed the Rysamand but Shan had yet to signal. With the day brightening, the Temu knew they would soon be spotted so close to the settlement. Shan had to hurry.

Every bird chirp seemed like a squawk of alarm from Sabuto spies and the horses stomped, reflecting their riders’ nerves. Taischek monitored the crystal in Dreibrand’s hand and continually glanced at the foreign warrior for an explanation.

“Oh, this is ridiculous,” Xander hissed. “Sire, we must leave.”

Taischek’s heart sank. He really wanted to raid Dursalene, and he had really believed in Shan. He did not understand how the rys could have failed, but he could not waste his warriors on a raid that could not succeed.

“The time seems longer than it is,” Dreibrand offered. He had played a part in many great battles and victoriously stormed many eastern cities, so his nerve was slow to dissolve. He had battled on fields turned muddy with blood and the Sabuto town distressed him little.

Dreibrand’s confidence encouraged Taischek, who decided to wait longer and was soon rewarded with the desired signal. Dreibrand held the glowing orb aloft so some of the Temu could see the bright blue light and know the time had arrived. Excitement rippled through the warriors and raised weapons clattered in the morning air. Dreibrand tucked away the warding crystal, tightened his grip on Starfield’s reins, and drew his sword.

Smiling to Taischek, he said, “Shall we?”

Download the entire novel Union of Renegades for free

Or find it at your favorite retail outlet:

Also available in Audiobook! Enjoy a 19-hour audio adventure for only $8.99.

Mp3 audio files delivered after payment. Pay with Credit Card or Paypal.

See more about my fantasy audiobooks.

 

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Coupon code Dec2018 saves you 30% on fantasy ebooks

Through the end of the year, use coupon code Dec2018 and save 30 percent off your ebook or audiobook order at Brave Luck Books.

While I keep working on my next novel, continue one of my series or send ebooks as gifts.

Digital downloads are an elegant solution for last minute gifts when you don’t have time to ship a physical gift.

How to Send Ebooks as Gifts

Checkout at my website provides the option of sending digital downloads to a gift recipient. At the top of the form where you enter payment details, the form asks you if the purchase is a gift. If it is, select “yes” and then enter the recipient’s email.

Whether sending a gift or getting an ebook for yourself, enjoy coupon code Dec2018 at my website for 30 percent off.

How to Use the Coupon Code

When you add an ebook to the shopping cart, enter the code

Dec2018

where the cart says “Got a code?” right next to your total.

Do this before you hit Checkout.

Shop by Series

Werewolves in the Renaissance (This page has the free ebook Werelord Thal and the sequel Journey of the Hunted for $2.99.)

Rys Rising Series (This page has the free ebook Rys Rising: Book I and the sequels Savage Storm, New Religion, and Love Lost for $4.99 each.)

The Rys Chronicles (This page has the free ebook Union of Renegades and the sequels The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power.)

Fantasy Audiobooks

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New Release! Refugee Trail novella blends fantasy with dystopia

After a four-year drought, I’m thrilled to announce the publication of a new story.

It’s a novella set in a world thrown into disarray after the impact of a comet.

About the Story

Myles Rulong leads a band of survivors into unknown lands. They were driven from their ancestral home by the brutal Lashers waging a campaign to capture resources. A comet had hit their fair world of Deos, and the planetary disruption had brought cruel drought to a once bountiful continent.

Myles and his people are now bereft of their ancient Kadolia magic. Their Elders say that the magic came from their homeland and that it is gone forever. They are scrambling desperately through badlands to stay ahead of Lasher slave hunters when a faction of survivors wants to turn back and surrender. Myles struggles to keep his people united, but annihilation looms until he senses the return of his power.

Read this exciting survival adventure today!

$0.99 Ebook

Choose from Epub or PDF format. Sold worldwide.

Payments processed by Stripe or Paypal (you choose) and instant downloads delivered by Sendowl.

Also sold at:

Read an Excerpt

Myles came down from his tired horse and strode the rest of the way. Into the heart of the camp he stalked with a swelling line of people behind him. Tristine had Wangen and his cohort encircled by her followers. In the center, she confronted Wangen herself. She was tall for a woman, and her eyes blazed with righteousness. A green head scarf held her blonde hair back so that it framed her unforgettable face like the mane of hill lion.

Her followers let Myles barge into their ring. Wangen’s expression soured at his arrival, and Myles reflected an equal measure of dislike.

“You’ll not stop me,” Wangen boasted loudly. “You can’t make us follow you to certain doom in cold mountains.”

A group outside the circle shouted in agreement. Their cries of support restarted the arguments that they were having with other members of the tribe.

Amid the rumble of dissent, Tristine said, “Certain doom lies behind us.”

“We must find a way to live among the Lashers,” Wangen insisted. He stabbed a finger toward the Mundol Bane where snowy peaks intruded upon the slate sky to the north. “You place our hope and that rocky unknown? We will perish in the snow,” he complained. A chorus of fearful agreement echoed him.

“We will find shelter in valleys and passes to new lands,” Tristine declared, certain that she would be the one to find the way forward.

“Wishing won’t make it so. We must turn back,” Wangen said.

“There will be no going back,” Myles announced sternly. His first words quieted the crowd. He had not yelled, but his tenacious will came through in every measured syllable. His father had taught him how to speak. Myles missed the sound of his rich voice that was now only a memory.

More softly, Wangen said, “You can’t keep me with you.”“We must stay united,” Myles insisted.

“Then come with us,” Wangen said, speaking loudly again. “Show us your wisdom as Chief and admit you made a mistake. We’ll forgive your youthful transgression.”

Myles’s fingers flexed with the urge to attack. Many foreign men had died by his hand. Only the fact that Wangen was Kadak restrained him from violence now.

“The transgressions have been done by the Lashers. My duty now is to find a new home for us even when the known routes are blocked,” Myles said, knowing he peddled dreams to those who lived nightmares.

“Bah!” Wangen said and flapped his big hands disrespectfully at the young Chief. “We can go home if we bow to the Lashers,” he said.

“Our homes are gone,” Tristine reminded harshly. The memory of flames lit her blue eyes.

“We can rebuild,” Wangen argued and turned to address more people. “There is no shame in going back. We were the last to fall to the Lashers. They will respect that. Peace can be made,” he shouted, seeking more allies. Those already convinced by Wangen entreated others to listen.

Myles grabbed Wangen’s arm and spun him around. The barrel-chested man flared with barely caged aggression.

“The Lashers deal out only death at best and slavery at worst. They have no need for peace. We must leave this place forever,” he said and believed utterly in that truth.

“Even a slave’s life is better than the bitter death awaiting you in the mountains,” Wangen said.

“Enough of this!” Myles cried. “No one is turning back.”

“Then make me stay with you,” Wangen challenged. He knocked Myles’s hands away and pushed his chest against Myles. The grim need to fight one of his own people sickened Myles, but the stark necessity of it could be delayed no longer. He would not let this coward split what remained of his people and weaken them further.

Read this exciting survival adventure today!
$0.99 Ebook

Choose from Epub or PDF format. Sold worldwide.

Payments processed by Stripe or Paypal (you choose) and instant downloads delivered by Sendowl.

Also sold at:

I’m planning the paperback release in the near future. Stay connected to be notified when Refugee Trail is available in paperback. Subscribe to my newsletter.

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