Monday, February 25, 2013

News: Giveaway, Schedule, and City of Smoke and Mirrors

I'm admittedly a little late getting this news to you, but there's a giveway for my horror fantasy novel Children of the White Wolf through Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Children of the White Wolf by Darryl Fabia

Children of the White Wolf

by Darryl Fabia

Giveaway ends February 28, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Two copies are available.  All you have to do is sign up for Goodreads and enter yourself in the running.  That's it for a chance to win a free paperback.  But do it soon; the contest only lasts for a couple more days.

City of Smoke and Mirrors
In other book news, a year ago I had the pleasure of reading a manuscript by up-and-coming novelist Nick C. Piers.  That novel, City of Smoke and Mirrors, has now been released through Pro Se Press.
A humorous crime novel inspired by the noir genre, City of Smoke and Mirrors tells the story of a private detective who's a mutant armadillo, taking on mobsters, biker gangs, and a mysterious vigilante.  It's a fun read with lots of sarcasm, action, and a dash of darkness too.  I loved it and I highly recommend it.

Lastly, here's the site schedule for March 2013:

  • Wednesday, March 6 – Princess Clo and the Monster, Part 1 of 2
  • Wednesday, March 20 –  Princess Clo and the Monster, Part 2 of 2

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Master, Part 2 of 2

 Part 2
A great darkness fell upon the land, a darkness without shape, for it was the shadow of No One, who was no one at all.  Beneath it was the shadow of the giant who served this imagined master.  His master wanted food, so the giant raided butchers’ shops and fishing villages.  His master wanted blankets, so the giant stole all the sheep he could find.  His master wanted a castle, so the giant ripped one out of the ground and carried it to the forest where No One dwelled.
And in that forest, in that castle, No One’s smaller servants reaped the benefits of a suffering land, although the fly was too simple-minded to understand and the dog too dutiful to question.  The cat knew.  The cat understood.  She had more power than any other cat she’d heard of and she knew far too many cats for one lifetime which, as everyone knows, goes nine for cats.
The people of this land fled in search of help, off to neighboring nations, countries, kingdoms, fiefdoms, empires, city-states, and even scattered folk of rivers and mountains and deserts.  Yet whenever they tried to tell of who persecuted them, they could only say they were hurt by No One.  Everyone who heard this confused No One with no one at all and thought this land was crumbling under its own problems, that the giant was simply helping himself to looting the land’s corpse.  The cat’s verbal trickery had spread I power, and unlike Polyphemus who had fallen into a similar trap long ago, the desperate people under the cat’s dominion had no mighty father to smite those who hurt them.  The gods sent them no aid.  It was up to the people to help themselves.
One day the fly came buzzing to the cat, who sat in the castle’s main hall surrounded by all manner of meat, fish, beds, and toys suited for a feline queen.  Her body was beginning to fill a good portion of the hall.
“Cat,” said the fly, “I was in the market searching for a good rotten thing when I heard there’s to be a gathering tonight.  The people, they speak of a library front.”
Generally a cat doesn’t care about very much, and what little she cares about, she cares very little.  This cat, however, cared very much about keeping what she’d earned, and so she pressed the fly.  “Are you certain that’s what they said?”
“May have been a litigation front.”
“Are you certain?”
“Or a liberation front.”
It was as the cat feared.  She did not know if these people had discovered the giant’s true master and she needed to be certain.  “Fly, you must follow these people to this meeting and return to tell me why they have gathered.  And remember their words.”
The fly promised he would and buzzed off to do as he was told.  The cat waited a while, too anxious to eat, too paranoid for sleep, and soon the fly returned.  “Well?” asked the cat.  “What did you overhear?”
“Grave news and yet no so grave,” said the fly.  “They mean to murder No One, which is grave.”
The cat was not satisfied.  “No one at all or No One the imaginary master?”
“I … do not know.  But No One is no one at all, right?  So it is not so grave.”
“No One is me,” the cat snapped.  She summoned the dog to her presence, who spent many a day guarding the castle, even though no master made him do so.  “Dog, head to this meeting where the fly has failed us and discover what this liberation front intends.”
The ever faithful dog promised he would and ran off to do as he was told.  Once more the cat waited, too anxious to eat, too paranoid for sleep, and she paced the castle so many times that she returned to her old size.  At last the dog returned.  “Well?” asked the cat.  “What did you learn?”
“Grave news and yet not so grave,” said the dog.  “Tonight they intend to sneak into the castle, which is grave, and assassinate No One, which is not so grave.”
The cat seethed.  “No one at all or No One the master?”
The dog whimpered.  “I’m sure they mean the master, who is no one at all.”
“No One is me,” the cat snapped.  She summoned the giant to her presence, who had been off rampaging because his master made him so.  “Giant, there is a meeting of people who conspire against our great master.  None of us are strong enough to stop them, but you are.”
The giant stared strangely at the cat and then tromped off to do as he was told.  A third time, the cat waited, too anxious to eat, too paranoid for sleep, and something kept her pacing, pacing fervently, pacing grooves into the stone floor and a path through the castle, pacing until her body became bony.  She had missed something, something important in that giant’s stare, and all the pacing in the world couldn’t work it into her mind.
Eventually the giant returned with a grim grin on his face.
“Well?” asked the cat.  “How did it go?”
“Grave and yet not so grave,” said the giant.  “These people told me of a plan to bring the mountain down on No One and I told them of my defeat and servitude.  They explained many things and I stopped them with a word that I would do their deed for them.  Grave for No One, but not so grave for me.”
The cat knew her error now—if the master was not strong enough, then he could no longer be stronger than the giant.  Worse, he had told the people and they had guessed and told him back.  “Then you know—”
“You are No One,” the giant bellowed, grasping for the near-skeletal cat.  “And soon you will be no one at all!”
The cat ducked the massive fingers and dashed madly through the castle she had paced.  The giant tore at its walls, its floors, its ceilings, and finally left its halls and went outside, where he lifted it over his head.  Then he shook it, hard as he could, and out came the fly, who buzzed in search of less troublesome places, and out came the dog, who ran looking for less deceitful pastures.  After that came the treasures the cat had collected—fish, meat, money, sheep—and all of it scattered to the four winds to give others either a fortunate find or a sheep-shaped blow to the head.  Only the cat remained inside the castle and her claws clung desperately to the stone walls.
“Out, cat!” the giant roared.  “Out to face your fate!”
“No,” the cat said.  “It’ll not return to that life.”
“So be it.”  The giant shook and shook.  He shook the castle until half the cat’s bones broke, and yet she still clung to the wall.  He shook the castle until from head to tail off came the cat’s hide.  He shook and at last the cat’s claws snapped from her paws.  Out of the castle flew the hairless, hideless, clawless, limp lump, but the giant took no notice.  He was on the lookout for a cat, not some red, crawling thing that was not a cat, could never have been a cat, would never be a cat.  He went on shaking the castle until it shook to pieces.  When he found the claws, he presumed the cat dead, and ran away laughing, off to do whatever terrors giants do best.
The thing on the forest floor did not laugh, but only shivered and dragged herself into the brush in search of shelter.  She would’ve gladly served the dog again to regain her bones, her hide, her claws, but no fairy godmother or goddess of cats was on her way to grant that wish.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Master, Part 1 of 2

Part 1

Once there was a hunter off in the woods with his dog, who was also his servant.  When he shot a plump pheasant with an arrow, he ordered the dog to fetch it.  When he wanted his traps checked, he sent the dog to check them.  When he wanted anything at all, he told the dog to do it.
As the hunter sent the dog to check traps on this day, the dog turned back to his master and said, “Why must I do what you tell me to do?”
And the man said, “Because I am bigger, smarter, and stronger, which makes me your master, and if you don’t do what I say, I’ll lash your hide clean off your back and sell that instead of fox pelts.  Now do as I command.”
The dog did as bidden, but not happily.  He found the traps, remembered where they were, and then padded up next to a cat he knew, who he often ordered around when the hunter made him saw.  He told the cat, with her sharp claws, to the pluck the dead animals from the tripped traps and bring them to him.
The cat licked her arm.  “Why must I do what you tell me to?”
And the dog answered, “Because I am bigger, smarter, and stronger, which makes me your master, and if you don’t do what I say, I’ll tear out your claws so I can pry dead creatures from the traps myself.  Now do as I command.”
The cat did as bidden, traveling to a trap and teasing it open.  At one trap she found a fly she knew, who she often ordered to alert her of fresher kills than those lingering in the hunter’s traps.  She snatched his tiny body between two claws and told him to find her a meal, for she would be hungry when her work was done.
The fly squirmed.  “Why must I do what you tell me to?”
And the cat answered, “Because I am bigger, smarter, and stronger, which makes me your master, and if you don’t do what I say, I’ll tear off your wings, leaving you crawling in the dirt, and no one will know what to call you, for you won’t be a fly anymore.  Now do as I command.”
The fly did as bidden, or at least he tried to, but his sense of dead things was all a mess thanks to the dead thing in the trap nearby.  He didn’t see why the cat couldn’t just eat that, but then, he was only a fly, and knowledge of the grand scheme of life was too perplexing for his tiny mind.  So the fly flew and flew, around one tree, and then another, and not far from the traps, he sensed it—the recent death of some animal, its fresh demise wafting on the wind from a cave in the side of a forested hill.
Into the cave he went, and on and on went the cave, until the fly heard a great rumbling and found the source of the stench—a cave within the cave.  This not quite as vast cave whistled and howled, but the fly was too simple to have the good sense to fear the unknown.  He only feared hands and birds, and a cat he called his master.  So into this cave he went and recognized great teeth, and between the teeth, great hunks of old meat, far too much for him to bring back.  He buzzed one way, and then another, and he couldn’t decide which meat to tell the cat about.  Just when he had almost made up his mind, he sensed it—a hand, mightier than any swatting hand he’d ever dodged.  He flew out of the cave as the hand swatted down on its mouth, and then the whistling became a voice.
“Away from me, tiny pest!”  Another hand, swinging faster this time.  The fly panicked, uncertain, too simple to come up with a plan, and so he flew into another small cave.  This one didn’t whistle or howl, and seemed empty enough.  The voice boomed again, from within the cave and without.  “Out of my ear, little one!  Go away before I kill you!”
“I can’t go,” the fly said.  “My master sent me here to find her a meal.”
“Oh?  And who is this master that dares vex a giant?”
The fly was good-natured and too simple to lie, so he told the giant the truth.  “My master is the cat who lies beyond this cave.”
The small cave rumbled, and so did the big one.  The giant rubbed at his ear, but his hand couldn’t pry the fly loose, so he went stomping out of his home in search of the cat.  This search did not take long, as the cat was still prying a scrawny squirrel from a trap for the dog, and even her feline speed couldn’t save her from the pinching fingers of a giant when it scooped up all the ground around her.
Her pursuer glared with eyes the size of a man’s head.  “So you are the one who dares vex a giant?”
No cat would ever take a fall for her thrall, even if she had sent him on his mission, and so she passed her blame along, hoping to do the same to her fate.  “It’s my master’s fault.  He keeps me so busy that I had to send the fly off to find my meal.”
“And who is this master that dares vex a giant?”
“My master is the dog, off checking traps within these woods.”
The cat had hoped the giant would release her once she had marked the dog, but he kept her in his giant-sized grip when he marched off to find the dog.  This search did not take long, as the dog was still checking traps for the hunter, and he was too stunned by the giant’s approach to try escaping.
The giant ground his teeth in the dog’s face.  “So you are the one who dares vex a giant?  Or is there some other master beyond this one?”
No dog would ever betray his man, even if it was somehow the man’s fault, and so he took the blame upon himself and lied to hide the hunter.  “My master is no one.”
The giant nodded.  “So I’ve found the last in the chain, the one who has no master and seeks to vex me from peaceful sleep.”
The simple fly batted at the insides of the giant’s ear.  “Of course he has a master!  I’ve seen him order that dog around a dozen times today alone.  I never knew his name before.  No One.  What a strange name.  I’m learning so much about the grand scheme of life today.”
Not to be shown as a lackwit compared to a fly, the giant released the dog.  “Then take me to this master.  Bring me to the place where No One lives.”
Somewhat confused, but not one to question a command, the dog trotted deeper into the forest and led the giant to a cave in a hill across from where the giant lived.  “Here, sir.  No one lives in this cave.”
The giant tread cautiously into the mouth of the cave, where darkness obscured the cave’s backside only a few feet from his face.  “I see no one.”
The cat, much quicker in mind than the others, seized on the giant’s words and squirmed in the giant’s grip until she pried herself loose.  “You see No One?  Strike quickly, for No One is a fearsome foe!  Do it before he strikes first!”
Not to be seen as weak, the giant reeled back his fist and plowed his knuckles into the cave’s darkness.  He punched the cave wall with all his might, shaking loose boulders and stalactites, and an avalanche of heavy and pointed rocks rained down on his head and shoulders.  The giant collapsed and hit his forehead on the ground outside the cave, knocking himself out.  After a few moments, his eyes blinked open, and he found the dog and the cat standing over him, while the fly buzzed around their heads.
“No One has bested me,” the giant said.
The dog and fly were about to speak, but the cat swatted them both into silence.  “That’s right.  The master above us is the master above you, a master bigger, smarter, and stronger than you.  We do his bidding in fear and you should do the same, or next time you might not wake up from the mountain crashing upon your head.”
The giant swore himself to the service of the great No One, whose words were parsed to him from the cat.  Without a master at the top to vex them, the animals put their differences aside and only commanded the giant.  Their every need and desire were seen to by the largest creature to ever serve no one at all.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

News: February Schedule

February schedule is below.  I've also added this to the Schedule page, as apparently I hadn't updated it since November.  We are past 2012, of course.

  • Wednesday, February 6The Master, Part 1 of 2
  • Wednesday, February 20 –  The Master, Part 2 of 2