Night Terrors

Night Terrors

Night Terrors

Here’s a short scene I may add to Abhuman: Revelation. I wanted to explore what it might feel like to be stalked at night, in the comfort of your own bed–normally a sanctuary.


They always came at night.

When you were still and warm and peaceful. Your heart making a tiny patter, your feet warm, and your head heavy. That’s when they came. That’s when it happened.

The commotion in the hallway woke Cheska. Ngome City was as still as the vacuum of space during the night cycle. Even essential workers, who’s jobs demanded odd working hours, made every effort to glide through the city like silent ghosts.

Someone began yelling. “No!”

That’s what had disturbed Cheska’s slumber. Then loud thumps, hard crashes, and the sharp rapport of objects breaking.

Her heart, which had been barely beating a few seconds ago, now pounded in her chest. She wanted to sit up, to look around. But she was terrified, because she knew exactly what was happening.

Yesterday Wei Lu had been sentenced to the Core for being a deviant (a death sentence), but the Covenant didn’t stop there. When a deviant was discovered, they expunged all living consanguineal relations—all family members up to, what people used to know as, great grandparents. But in Covenant society one never knew their direct biological contributors; each child was carefully crafted in-vitro, their progenitors chosen from the optimal genetic match within the 10,000 or so meticulously curated residents of Ngome City.

And that was the terrifying part about someone being sentenced to the Core—you never knew if you might be next. The convict could be a direct relation. Then the next night, after they were sentenced, designated members of the community would sneak through the city, extracting and extinguishing all consanguineal relations.

It was for the good of her people—she knew that. Still …

Cheska heard powerful sobbing outside the door to their quarters. She kept her head pressed hard to her pillow, forcing herself not to look up. She pulled the blankets over her eyes and tried to conjure up the most recent qvid she’d gone to experience with her best friend, Azara. Dolphins. She imagined their rough skin and playful chirping. She longed to see a real one someday, but she didn’t think their gene bank had samples to seed Krijese with. Not that she would ever see them, even if they had the samples from Earth. It would be centuries before Krijese had oceans capable of sustaining large aquatic life.

Loud voices, more sobbing. The sounds were growing more distant—it was done. Whomever had been related to Wei Lu was now heading to the Core. At least their end would be swift.

Why didn’t The Covenant adopt a more humane process for dealing with deviants? After all, they now grew their protein in vats; partly in deference to the suffering of animals, but also for efficiency’s sake. Couldn’t they reform these deviants? It seemed wasteful to her, but then, Cheska was only fifteen. She supposed there was a lot she had to learn.

She also had everything to lose if they discovered her secret—she was one of them.

Long blends fantasy and science fiction into an exciting read. This is The Chrysalids by Wyndham on steroids!

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"... a splendid beginning to an intriguing new series"

Diana L. Driver

Author

Interesting character, riveting plot, and intriguing ideas make "Abhuman" a great read

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Abhuman: Revelation

The Verdant Dream - Part  1

 
I think, therefore I am. They were wrong.
Cheska lives in Ngome, a glistening domed-city orbiting the planet Krijese. Her people are hard at work terraforming the planet below, making a new home for themselves. Life is good. Life is safe.

 

Unless you’re Abhuman.

In Covenant society, genetic mutation carries a death sentence. But Cheska has done a good job hiding her powers.

Until now.

Cheska begins having the most vivid waking dreams of a handsome boy named Taro. She feels unnaturally connected to him. Distracted by these visions, she accidentally uses her powers in public. Now exposed as Abhuman, Cheska is forced to flee her home.

Taro tells her in a waking dream, that somewhere on the planet is a safe-haven for Abhumans, called Sanctuary. But when her stolen shuttle crashes, she’s forced to limp across a devastated planet.

When she finally meets the resistance, they explain everything:

She is not who she thinks she is.

She is not what she thinks she is.

And, she is supposed to save them all.

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Of Ice & Magic

FREE for Kindle – Aug 10th through Aug 14th

Amazon Best Seller: USA #3, UK #9, CAN #5

oficeandmagic_3d_200 Magic still lurks in the dark corners of the world, and at the ends of the Earth the last remaining life-forger, Fornulf, plies his trade, crafting legendary living-blades for those few nobles who can afford them.   Betrayed and on the run, Fornulf and his family must enlist forgotten allies and forge new alliances to rid their homeland of evil. To defeat the usurper and save his people, Fornulf is forced to make a choice no man should have to. – Filled with magic, betrayal, heartache, and courage, “Of Ice & Magic” defines Epic Fantasy. * A Novella (19,300 words) Listen to the author read the first chapter!

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Of Ice & Magic – Chapter 1

Of Ice & Magic – Chapter 1

Magic still fills the dark corners of the world. At the ends of the Earth the last remaining life-forger, Fornulf, plies his trade, crafting legendary living-blades for those few nobles who can afford them.
Betrayed and on the run, Fornulf and his family must enlist forgotten allies and forge new alliances to rid their homeland of evil. To defeat the usurper and save his people, Fornulf is forced to make a choice no man should have to.
– Filled with magic, betrayal, heartache, and courage, “Of Ice & Magic” defines Epic Fantasy.

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The old gods died. Magic died. I wept to see them gone. 

I had been born in a world overflowing with magic and gods, in a time when bravery was the most noble of virtues and a maiden the most treasured prize. Such is not the state of the world today. 

While I relax on a bed of velvet, safe behind glass walls which stand upon a finely crafted oak floor, people come to admire my beauty. They glimpse their faces in the reflection of my perfect skin and marvel at the lines and curves of my exquisite physical form.

True, I bask in their admiration, and their envy that they are not as well formed. Yet my home is but a prison.

I have lived, or should I say, existed, for a thousand years. I say that because living implies freedom and I have none. As the lights fade each night and my admirers retire, I slip into a world of dreams, a world filled with my past glories.

It began at the ends of the world, on an island of ice and magic which had risen up from the frigid sea. On that island a clever smith named Fornulf had built a forge into the side of a great fiery mountain. Not an ordinary forge, mind you, it was a fjor’tyna—a life-forge.  

Certainly he could make common weapons there; they were the building blocks of his marvelous works, but a life forge was a womb that birthed the most marvelous of artifacts. The most cherished of these were the fjor-sverds—the living swords. Some said Fornulf had studied under the ancient dwarven smiths, the sons of Ivaldi, but who can say.

Fornulf was an apt name for him as it meant ancient wolf. With his graying hair and silver beard he looked the part. He was cunning too. And I do not mean just in ways of smithing. No, he was too clever by half for any mortal man, though he spoke little, causing many to underestimate his guile. I warn you now, never underestimate a life forger; for only the wisest and most cunning of men can learn such art.

###

Under a full moon, Fornulf’s forge glowed with a hellish hue as the bellows sprayed water to cool the magma, great clouds of searing steam exploding into the air. This was no ordinary forge. Here on the edge of the ancient mountain, raging fire and horrendous heat were ever present as molten rock flowed from the depths of Muspelheim, the kingdom of Surt and home of the fire giants. While a normal forge must be stoked to breathe life into it, the life-forge had to be cooled, so water was pumped over the lava to regulate the heat.

Hues of sunset and blood illuminated the small stone room. Fornulf’s heavy leather apron hung singed and burned from a thousand such nights at the forge. The leathery skin on his arms and face was in no better shape.

On that moonlit night, Fornulf’s hammer rang against a blade as it struck the anvil. Sparks flew and the sword blade sang at its makers bidding. Fornulf’s son, Karl, had been his apprentice for six seasons. He was handsome and strong, and almost a man at seventeen years old.

Karl held the sword on the anvil with a pair of tongs, flipping it as his father struck the blade. Every so often Fornulf would thrust the blade back into the maw of the life-forge allowing the liquid rock to sear the metal. Karl would pump the bellows, causing the lava to scream as the water cooled its brilliant skin to black. Then the hammering and flipping would continue.

The blade had been forged of sky-iron, taken from a rock that fell from the sky. Such metal was said to have much magic. To that twisted lump, Fornulf added ores of gold and silver, and one thing rarer than all: powdered diamond. A life-forged blade was the most expensive weapon a noble could buy; no commoner could ever afford one.

Fornulf had come from the northern mainland, but now made his home on the island of ice and fire. He’d brought his new bride and their two babes to make a fresh start after a plague had taken his first wife and four of their children. He`d married again, in his mid thirties, but he was an old man now—fifty-one winters he’d seen.

Fornulf delivered one last hammer blow to the blade, then held it up to his eyes for inspection, scanning the yard-long length of fine steel, admiring the herringbone pattern and the runes incised on the blade. He nodded, satisfied with his work, then thrust the full length of the steel into a barrel of rendered whale oil to temper the blade. This was the most critical part of the process. The oil hissed, popped and bubbled as the metal cooled.

He motioned to Karl who immediately went out, returning a short time later with a naked young man, perhaps eighteen, followed by an older man in dark grey robes.

“Are you ready?” Fornulf ask the naked youth.The young man nodded, shivering in the cold air, protecting his modesty with his hands.

No names were exchanged. True names held great power over the owner of them. When magical forces were called upon, as they were about to be, every precaution was taken. The older man in the grey robes was simply known as a vitki—a wise man. He was skilled in the way of galdr magic, the spells of which were chanted.

A middle aged woman in a green robe slipped into the room as well. She was a seithkona—a spirit walker. She carried with her a hide covered drum.

Karl ushered the naked man to a stout oak table, where he was instructed to lay down. Fornulf carried the now cold sword blade in his bare hands.

“You must take the blade and hold it against your body. Do you understand?” Fornulf asked him.

The naked man nodded nervously.

“You do this of your own free will?” Fornulf asked him.

The naked man nodded again.

“I need you to say the words aloud so that the gods may hear you,” Fornulf said.

“I do this of my own free will and offer my life force to the sword,” the naked man said evenly.

Fornulf nodded to the vitki and the seithkona. Aside from Fornulf, they were the only two practitioners of the elder arts on the island, so rare were their gifts.

From inside his robes, the vitki produced a wooden wand, carved intricately with runic patterns. He walked to one side of the table where the naked man lay, and began to chant. The seithkona did likewise, standing across from the vitki, joining the  chant beating her drum rhythmically.

The nameless, naked man, held the sword across his chest and abdomen, trembling. Drumbeats and resonant chanting suffused the room. The ceremony may have lasted for minutes or hours, for time has no meaning when the worlds of men and gods touch, as they did that night.

The sword began to hum, to vibrate, to glow; the galdr chanting and drumbeats infused it with eldritch energy. The naked man began to vibrate . . . and to fade. At the perfect moment, Fornulf drew a dagger across the naked man’s throat and blood flooded the table.

The blade burned brighter, and brighter, threatening to blind them all, and the naked man faded away, like morning mist under the light of the sun. Fornulf threw up an arm to shield his eyes from the glowing metal, but as quickly as the light had flared, it was gone. The vitki and seithkona fell silent and silence filled the room. No, not quite silence. There was something. The blade . . . whispered.

The sacrifice had been accepted.

###

The next day great shadows slithered against the backdrop of jagged mountains. Fornulf had stepped outside of his house and gazed up at them. The rock on the island was as black as ink, much darker than his native lands. The seasonal moss and lichen spattered the black canvas in patterns of greens and yellows. Fornulf’s forge lay at the end of a deep canyon on the side of a fiery mountain, where liquid rock bubbled up from the bowls of the underworld.

“Riders,” Karl said.

Fornulf brushed soot from his apron and tried to make himself presentable. He’d worked throughout the night, as he had to finish fitting the hilt and cross-guard for the sword. It was done now. The sword was polished and oiled, ready for its new master. His family were quick to line up in front of the house, anxious to meet the wealthy gothi, or chief, for the first time.

Six riders on well-bred horses galloped up the track to Fornulf’s modest farmstead. Perched arrow-straight on the back of white stallion, sat Torgny Magnisson, Chief of Aegisheim. He’d been chief of the South Farthing for only a few years, taking over when his brother had died. It had been a bitter succession, as his brother had a son and heir. Torgny had judged the boy too young and had assumed the mantle of chief for himself. Of course, Torgny was the wealthiest man in the entire South Farthing, if not on the whole island, and few would dare to challenge him, lest they find their debts suddenly called in, or fail to find favor in days to come.

Fornulf’s forge lay on the western edge of the Eastfjord Farthing, close enough to Torgny’s territory, but he’d had few dealings with him till now. He’d made weapons and armor for Torgny’s men, but had never crafted anything for the chief himself.

Clad in bright mail and backed by a fine blue cloak, Torgny slid from his stallion. He was balding, but wore a well-trimmed beard that had once been straw colored, but now hung streaked with grey.

Fornulf limped forward, an old injury acting up that morning. He gave a slight bow. “Lord, it is an honor to have you at our humble steading.”

“Of course it is,” Torgny said with a smug smile.

Fornulf hadn’t expected that and felt rather uncomfortable.

“I jest, good smith, I jest!” Torgny said, clapping both hands on Fornulf’s shoulders. “Thank you for welcoming me to your home.” Suddenly Torgny’s nose twitched and he recoiled, his face twisting in disgust. “Gods above, what is that smell? Rotten eggs?”

“Ah, apologies, Lord. Vapors from the depths of the earth. We have grown accustomed to it living here. Like the urine pits of the weavers, the vapors are our burden.”

Torgny’s face wriggled under the assault, but he seemed to master his disgust. “You’re a brave man, Fornulf.” He smiled.

“May I present my family, Lord?”

Torgny made a sweeping gesture. “By all means.”

“This is my wife, Hildegund”

Torgny gave a nod to Hildegund and followed along with Fornulf’s introductions.

“This strapping young man is my son, Karl.”

Torgny gave him an appraising nod. “Strong. Good stock, eh?” he said looking at Fornulf. “He’ll make a good warrior I’d wager.”

Fornulf cleared this throat. “I hope he will make an even better fjorsmythr, Lord. He is my apprentice.”

“Indeed, a much rarer resource,” Torgny said.

“And this,” Fornulf said, “ is my daughter, Berengara.”

Torgny’s eyes grew wide at the sight of Berengara, and he said nothing for a moment. Fornulf’s daughter had that affect on men, such was her beauty—so like her mother.

Seeing Torgny’s discomfort and Berengara’s, Fornulf spoke up. “I’ll be looking for a husband for her this year, Lord. If you know of any good matches, I’d be much obliged for your counsel. She’ll be sixteen in a couple of moons.”

“Marriage?” Torgny said, trailing off. “Of course. Yes. She is … lovely.” He seemed to shake himself out of his fugue. “I will see what I can do.” He turned to Fornulf “Now, to business, good man. I believe you have something for me?”

“Yes, Lord.” Fornulf motioned to Karl, who produced a clean sheepskin bundle. Fornulf took the bundle reverently and turned back to Torgny. He inclined his head and unwrapped the bundle.

Lying on the wool side of the sheepskin, the completed sword glistened. Its handle carved of walrus ivory, and inlaid with tiny sapphires. Inset silver wire wound around the ivory, and runes representing hail and ice lay boldly stamped on the cross guard and hilt of the blade.

 

“You’ll notice it’s imbued with the runes for hail and ice, as you requested. As you use the sword, it’s will and yours will become one, it’s powers shaped by the union of your two life forces.”

HITorgny nodded absently.

“But what are these runes carved down the central groove of the blade?” Torgny asked.

ulfberht

Fornulf smiled, nodding. “Those are runes for ULFBERHT. He is the fabled fjorsmythr, the first of us, and my own master. His school is one of legend, and there is only one apprentice at a time. Ulfberht is now dead, and I have assumed my master’s fjorsmythr mantle. My son, Karl, is now the only living apprentice. Every sword that I forge bears Ulfberht’s name to honor his memory and his gifts to mankind.”

Torgny said nothing, he just stood, mouth agape.

“Have you a name for it, Lord?” Fornulf asked.

“Magnificent,” Torgny whispered.

“Its name, Lord?”

Torgny shook his head, appearing bewitched for the second time today. “No- I mean, yes, I have a name for it. Isbrunna.”

“Iceburn, that is a beautiful name, Lord.”

Torgny motioned for the blade. “May I?”

Fornulf held out the blade. “Of course, Lord.”

Torgny held the sword like a child with his first honeycomb. He was giddy with delight and Fornulf thought the Chief might actually cry. Torgny stepped back a few paces and swung the sword in a few arcs, marveling at the balance and lightness.

“It feels alive in the hand!” Torgny exclaimed.

“They do, Lord.” And of course, that wasn’t just metaphorically speaking—the swords had a soul, a will, if only a shadow of its former self. “Your sword’s power will blossom as you use it. As you and the sword become accustomed to each other, your mastery of its power will grow. Like any new skill, Lord, it will take some getting use to.”

“Have you made many?” Torgny asked, never taking his eye from Isbrunna.

“No, Lord. Only a handful these last thirty years. Only nobles such as yourself have the silver to pay for the materials.” What he didn’t add, as the chief well knew, was the fact that such a blade demanded a living sacrifice—a willing sacrifice. A man had to pay a fortune for a someone to give his life willingly to a blade. Those who did might be down on their luck and were offered fortunes, or position for their family, in exchange for their sacrifice—a price very few wanted to pay. It did not mean offering their lives, it meant offering their souls. The sacrifice would then dwell inside that weapon until it was destroyed, or until the end of time itself.

“Well, then I count myself very lucky that you sailed to our little island, Fornulf.”

“It pleases me to know my work will bless your household, Lord.”

Torgny handed the sword back to Fornulf who wrapped it up in the sheepskin. Torgny snapped his fingers. “Kraka.” A wiry man with a wild and frizzy head of red hair, and a matching beard, retrieved the bundle.

“Now, if only my leatherworker can craft a scabbard to do Isbrunna justice …” Torgny trailed off.

“Your man Sigurd is a fine craftsman, Lord, I know him well. You’re lucky to retain him.”

Torgny produced a pouch from beneath his blue cloak, handing it to Fornulf. “For your work, Fornulf.”

He took the pouch and was surprised at its weight. It had to be much more than he was promised.

Torgny must have noticed Fornulf’s surprise and said, “A little extra for you.”

“Lord,” Fornulf said bowing.

Torgny glanced back at Berengara again before he turned on his heel and mounted his white stallion. “Gods keep you well, Fornulf and family.” Torgny waived and set his horse to a canter. His men quickly followed.

“What a lovely man,” Hildegund said.

Fornulf opened the pouch, eyes wide. “And generous too,” he said suspiciously as he considered the weight of the pouch in his hands, “this has to be twice what we agreed for my fee.”

Now that was strange …


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COVER REVEAL FOR FOLKLORE

COVER REVEAL FOR FOLKLORE

Folklore_Cover_Boxshot_thick_cheatFolklore is the first of the Northlore trilogy. It is an eclectic mix of stories and poems, all inspired by traditional Scandinavian folklore.

The purpose of this collection is to create new tales that take inspiration from the myths and fables of Northern Europe. They should stay true to the principles of the original tales (so no flying trolls, or Elves with Laser vision, for example) but they should be original (not retellings).

The stories take place in several countries, and cover a time-frame from the Viking period (“Hold the Door”) right up to modern day (“The Edge of Darkness”).

This is not the first release from Nordland Publishing, but it is our first anthology. We are a small Norwegian company, and we are delighted to say that we received contributions from many parts of the world.

Folklore combines the work of a wide range of contributors; from previously unpublished amateurs, to award winning poets and best selling authors.

– Follow the North Road.

[NOTE from Hugh:  one of my short stories is included in this anthology. Article re-published with permission from NordLand Publishing. Link to original article]

Draugr’s Saga – Viking Fight Scene

Draugr’s Saga – Viking Fight Scene

Draugr
Below is a fight scene from my Draugr’s Saga novel (to be published). If you like the History Channel’s show Vikings, or AMC’s Walking Dead, then you’ll love this.

In Norse mythology and Icelandic folktales, the Draugr were a cross between a Zombie, a Vampire and a Lich. These were not the stupid shambling beasts that you see in most of popular culture today. These were cunning, evil and vindictive. They were said to be able to grow as large as a troll, and would haunt a man for ages. It was also said they could transform into mist and seep under doors (like vampires).

This particular scene has no supernatural elements, only good old fashioned swordplay (and spears and axes).


Aedan stoked the fire as the men rode up to their camp. One with grey in his brown beard, slid of his horse and tied it’s reins to a branch.

“Good morning, traveller,” Aedan said politely.

The man’s eyes darted around warily, spotting Orvar and Chivonne.

“Where’s the big troll who was with you?”

Aedan affected a look of surprise, then said,” Oh, yes. Him. Sadly he couldn’t swim.” Aedan gestured to the river. “He tried to cross the Shure this morning. The poor bastard drowned. Too proud to admit he’d sink.”

The grey-beard looked unconvinced. “Jarl Ivar bid us come to take you back. If you come willingly, then no need for trouble.”

“Of course,” Aedan said. He noted three more men sliding of their horses, closing the distance between them and the camp. All bore shields and spears, only the old grey-beard had a sword. “No need for trouble. I have yet to break my fast. Will you break bread with us first?” The men looked at each other hungrily, one even licking his lips. Aedan had no food, but he wagered neither did they; likely dispatched with little preparation.

by: Scorpia Roslin

by: Scorpia Roslin

As the three men neared the fire, a cry like an angry bear shattered the silent tension. Aedan watched two heads fly up into the air, clearly severed from their owner’s necks—Geir. Aedan caught a glint of sunlight off Shield breaker’s wide axehead. It was a weapon few men could wield. In the hands of Geir, it became a godly instrument of doom.

As the four men nearest Aedan wheeled to assess the threat, he pulled Draug’s-Bane from beneath his bedroll and lunged forward, piercing grey-beard’s waist with his long-seax. The man gasped as he slumped down. A mortal stroke to be sure. Chivonne had drawn a small seax from beneath her brown, woollen dress.

Geir was howling like a berserker, his great axe making wide, deadly arcs, as he swung it in a defensive circle. The other two closest to Geir, had dismounted and were reluctantly trying to attack him with their spears.

Aedan didn’t have time to watch, as one of grey-beard’s friends snarled at him and thrust his spear. As Erik had taught him, he sidestepped, and instead of moving back, rushed forward, getting beyond the spear’s point, and effectively rendering it useless. Now his foe couldn’t make quick stabbing motions. Aedan grabbed the spear with his left hand, and pulled, at the same time he thrust Draug’s-Bane through the man’s neck.

A third man took this opportunity to thrust his spear at Aedan. The spear tip glanced off Aedan’s mail hauberk and shoulder and slid across his left cheek, carving a deep channel in Aedan’s flesh. This man should have been less concerned about Aedan, and not have underestimated Chivonne, who then took her opportunity to bury her small seax in the man’s lower back. He gaped, but made no sound. His face took on a rigor of unimaginable agony as he fell to his knees, then to his face.

Aedan wiped the stream of blood coming from his cheek with the back arm of his tunic, and turned to find Orvar. He was fighting the fourth man closest to camp, and their only target; Geir had pinned down the last two near where the horses had come in.

by: Lucas Durham

by: Lucas Durham

Aedan was actually a bit surprised at how poorly Orvar was fighting. The spearman had hit him several times, judging by the state of his trousers and the manifold red-streaks. Orvar might soon be killed. Instead of taking time to close the distance and take on the spearman, Aedan drew his belt axe and threw it at the man. The blade didn’t connect, but the weight of the axe-head rang off the spearman’s helm, dazing him long enough that Orvar was able to finish him by clubbing him savagely. It was only then that Aedan saw Orvar had no weapon, save a heavy branch he’d picked up.

He turned to see Geir striding toward them, all signs of life near where the horses had been, extinguished. The horses themselves had bolted during the battle, all save the grey-beard’s horse, which had been tethered.

“Cut off their heads, quickly,” Aedan said.

“What?” Orvar asked.

“I’ll explain later.”

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by: RUshN

by: RUshN

Free Short Stories on Smashwords

Free Short Stories on Smashwords

Several of my short stories, including the Best Selling “Yggdrasil Codex” are now available on Smashwords for FREE! You can download ANY Yggdrasil_Codex_Cover_V3_300webook format you like, and feel free to share them with anyone.

I’m foregoing the revenue from my short stories to allow more fans to try my work. Once you have a taste, I’ll have you hooked! With no added chemicals! LOL

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I’m also producing self-narrated versions of many of my shorts and novel intros. You can find those on Podbean: http://hughblong.podbean.com

The Yggdrasil Codex

The Yggdrasil Codex

Thanks for stopping by! I’ve been writing for many years, but mostly non-fiction. I’ve even won two literary awards! I have to toot my own hornI’m my own publicist ;IMG 3076 My interests in fiction are varied. I started off as a young fellow reading Fantasy, such as Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. I later went on to read science fiction and general genre fiction. I have to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of literary fiction. I’ve heard Genre Fiction described as “Ordinary people doing extraordinary things” and Literary fiction described as “Extraordinary people doing ordinary things”. I like a good plot and action. I don’t have anything against good characterization, but I don’t want that to be the core of books I read or write. Over the next few months I’ll be working on short stories as well as grinding away at a full length novel. I’m done with all my non-fiction commitments for the year ( just finished Northern Plant Lore), so for at least the next 6 months I’ll be focused on my fiction full time. I have a really cool short story on Amazon right now for Kindle, it’s called the Yggdrasil Codex, and is only .99¢ In this life there are a great many profound questions that have yet to be answered: Are we the first intelligent life in the universe? Why are we here? Man continues to ask these questions, apparently to deaf heavens. But what if someone, or something,did answer? Amazon Best Selling Book - Silver In the short story The Yggdrasil Codex, two University researchers stumble upon an incredible secret encoded on ancient Scandinavian runestones. Their discovery leads them into the world of modern code-breakers and ultimately leads to a revelation with galactic consequences! * Author update: This short story became an Amazon Best Seller!

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