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In the Spotlight: ANNWYN’S BLOOD by Michael Eging


Aldonzo—Prince, Fop or…Hero?

Annwyn's Blood CoverAnnwyn’s Blood has its share of heroes and villains that you recognize as soon as you see them chew up the scenery. However, one character in particular developed to be far more than we imagined when we began this journey. Aldonzo, the pampered prince from Southern Gaul is not your typical heroic character. Yet, as the story develops, he finds strength within himself to carry on following some horrific events. The following is an excerpt from Annwyn’s Blood, highlighting this fish-out-of-water prince.

“Sail to port!”

Aldonzo didn’t dare look up from scrubbing the deck. Ever since the previous evening, when he had been dragged aboard this miserable tub, his stomach had been turning in continuous knots. But he didn’t dare vomit. He’d seen a very graphic example the previous evening of what could happen if he did.

There had been an old slave aboard who’d suffered badly at the hands of the pirates—battered and bruised, cursed and tormented constantly. The extent of the abuse had been obvious to Aldonzo from the moment he had laid eyes on the wretch. But in the midst of the evening mess the oldster suffered a fit of coughing that ended in a vomit of bright red blood splattered across the Captain’s plate.

Fearful that he suffered from consumption (not to mention outraged at the slave’s audacity to spit up on the captain’s food) the pirates killed him on the spot before he could infect any others in the crew. So Aldonzo fought down the waves of nausea that washed over him. There was no telling what the pirates might think he could have.

He held no illusions why he, alone out of the entire expedition, had been kept alive. All the others had been merely soldiers. Even Kien, stout, dependable Kien, had been nothing more than another trooper to them. Aldonzo, on the other hand, was different—he was ransom material. He was nobility, from a rich, landed family with ties in both Britain and Gaul. The pirates knew well they could expect a healthy reward for his safe return.

Ha, he thought bitterly. Qualify that ‘safe’ return to mean simply in one workable piece. They beat him thoroughly to find out who he might be, and, much to his disgust and shame, he told them. He’d always imagined that in such a situation he would be filled with iron-willed resolve to oppose his foe, who would have to kill him before anything of use could be revealed. Some hero, he thought ruefully. But he had never imagined reality to be so brutal.

His left hand throbbed in its rough bandage where they had severed his finger to remove his ring.

So it was that when the lookout reported the sail of another ship, Aldonzo just kept his head down, his right hand scrubbing despite the splinters and lye, his left cradled against his chest. He fervently hoped the ship approaching would be one of Cynric’s war vessels. But even that hope hung by a thread. The Anglan king possessed little by way of a navy and lacked sufficient skilled sailors to use even what he did have. And even if he had, they seldom ventured this far from land.

He kept at his work, removing the accumulated filth of regular neglect, working his way aft from the stem to the mast and listening to the shouts and orders around him. Yes, it was a trader’s vessel and, yes, it attempted to evade this vessel crawling with unkempt reavers. The other captain probably knew this ship for what it was even before it sailed into smelling distance. Slow and cumbersome, the merchant’s ship would be no match for the faster raiders’ vessel. All around Aldonzo, the brigands prepared themselves for yet another plunder, yet more death.

From his position by the helm, the first mate shouted orders, and the distance between the ships closed. Aldonzo glanced up. The other ship teemed with passengers—Saxon settlers in search of a new life in Britain.

The other sailors hustled women and children below the decks. The crew and male passengers strapped on leather-covered bucklers and hefted weapons, arming for the impending attack.

Aldonzo put his head back down and slowly crept across the deck to the starboard side, away from the other ship. Deck crew cursed and kicked him as they ran past whether he was in the way or not. Others heaved ropes up from the hold and tied on the grappling hooks. Then the brigands clustered so tightly on the port rail that the ship heeled from the weight.

Due to an unfavorable wind, the fleeing ship wallowed a bit, wind spilling from her sail, and the pirates cut through the waves to close the distance. Aldonzo’s stomach churned with apprehension. The helmsman appeared not to be as skilled as he had thought, taking an unfavorable approach, but it only prolonged the gut-wrenching anticipation of the inevitable, and Aldonzo’s innards had had about all they could take.

A great shout broke from the pirates as the grappling hooks sailed through the air to the other ship’s gunwales. Some caught, some didn’t. But enough held to allow the raiders to start hauling the ships together by hand.

The defenders wasted no time hacking at the ropes, but the pirates constantly pitched out more hooks as archers picked off the defenders. Steadily, the ships rocked closer together, and with a great crash and grinding they struck sides. Brigands poured over the bulwarks to the other deck. The Saxons made a fight of it, but Aldonzo, peeking over a coil of rope, clearly saw they would not be the victors of the brutal engagement.

There were only a few experienced seamen on the Saxon ship; most of the rest were only farmers and had no sea legs. Their difficulty in keeping their feet on the pitching deck proved to be fatal. The Saxons briefly rallied near the afterdeck, but the stand was cut short when those pirates occupied with finishing off the Saxons in the fore completed their task and moved rearward to reinforce the aft contingent.

The entire battle lasted only minutes. Then the real killing began.

Mike Eging-9468sml
Meet Author Michael Eging

Author Bio
Mike has wanted to write since he was very young. His earliest memories are of carrying a battered old notebook around full of illustrations and stories. He would often transpose those ideas on his grandmother’s old typewriter. While in college, he was inspired by professors and visiting writers to BYU. Literary classics such as Song of Roland and Inferno were often in his backpack, along with Russian textbooks. Chapter 4 of Annwyn’s Blood was written during this time as a short story.

Mike works in Washington, DC since pursuing graduate studies in Russian History. He focuses in domestic policy issues. Recently, Mike has pursued an interest in writing screenplays for feature films with his first option being a medieval epic, Song of Roland. He continues to focus on a variety of script/movie projects, most recently a horror thriller, Feast of Saint Nicholas, and a political thriller, The Prince. Recently, he founded and launched Filibuster Filmworks with his partners to produce and develop feature films, television and other projects.

He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Lori and his wonderful children. He dreams of one day driving to Alaska in his old Defender with his kids and their dog, Marlin.

  • What's In A Name CoverAnnwyn's Blood Cover
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RRBC Spotlight Author, Nicholas Rossis


MEET THE AUTHOR & read an excerpt too! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Life As I Know It

Good morning, bloggers!!

I am SO excited to welcome this awesome guy to my blog! Nicholas Rossis is a wonderful member AND the Social Media Director/Guru of RRBC, always super supportive of fellow Indie Authors and he just so happens to be a VERY talented writer. He is truly deserving of being in the “SPOTLIGHT” and I’m more than happy to help put him there!  🙂

As always…sit back, relax and enjoy!!


The Power of Six

PowerofSix

The Power of Six is a collection of six short science fiction stories, originally written between July 2009 and March 2012. Shortly afterwards, I started work on my first novel, Pearseus. Although the stories seem to be concerned with various themes, there are certain passions that run through them. What is the nature of reality? Is there more to the world than we can see?

  • The first story, “Simulation Over” is based on a…

View original post 3,128 more words

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MEET “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR: Bruce A. Borders


Bruce A Borders-AuthorMeet author Bruce A. Borders and read an excerpt from his latest suspense novel “INSIDE ROOM 913”

 INSIDE ROOM 913— “Thrill Ride From Start To Finish…”

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR, Bruce A. Borders was born in 1967 in Cape Girardeau, MO. Bruce’s childhood years were spent in a number of states, including Missouri, Oregon, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
During his high school years, Bruce was a member of the football, basketball and track teams, involved in various non-athletic activities such as school yearbook production and photography, and won numerous awards for his artistic creations. Bruce Borders graduated Valedictorian in 1984.

While in school, Bruce held three part-time jobs—a store clerk, a janitor, and a dental technician, working about 60-70 hours per week. After graduation, he became employed full time as a dental technician. Other jobs have included restaurant manager, carpenter and grocery store cashier. For the past sixteen years, he has worked as a commercial truck driver, logging more than two million miles.

At the age of fifteen, Bruce decided to become a writer. He began by writing songs, news articles and short stories. Eventually, books were added to the list. Over the years, he continued to write and currently has a catalog of more than 500 songs, numerous short stories and over a dozen completed books. Bruce writes on a variety of subjects such as fictional novels of legal issues and westerns. Titles include: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Journey, and in The Wynn Garrett Series – Mistaken Identity, Holy Terror, Remote Control, Judicial Review, Even Odds and Safety Hazard.

"Thrill Ride From Start To Finish..." ~ Michael Carrier (Reviewer)


“Thrill Ride From Start To Finish…”
5-Star Review~ Michael Carrier


Excerpt from
“INSIDE ROOM 913”

“I see we are on video,” Cynthia said, eyeing the camera mounted in the corner up near the ceiling.

“Oh, yeah,” Janet said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “The cameras are only on the first level. And there aren’t very many of them. Only four, I think. They watch the main doors and the lobby area. I never really think about them.”

The idea of being filmed while she worked was slightly unsettling to Cynthia. Not that she had anything to hide necessarily, she just felt awkward knowing someone could be watching. It was good to know the surveillance didn’t cover the entire building.

“You won’t even notice them after the first couple of days,” Janet predicted.

Cynthia wasn’t so sure and found herself continually glancing up at the ceiling, self-consciously straightening her hair and fixing her clothes any time she caught sight of one of the cameras. As if the tension of starting a new job wasn’t enough, now she had one more thing to worry about. And then there was the ever-talkative Janet, of course. The upside of that was, since Janet liked to talk so much; it should be easy to find out anything and everything about Room 913.

The slightly ditsy aide may have been a chatterbox, but she was right about one thing, the service elevators definitely were slow. Real slow. And a little scary. The jerky motion and periodic clinking noises reminded Cynthia of an old wooden roller coaster. The kind that was notorious for falling. She grimaced, hoping they didn’t suddenly start racing down some unseen track.

At least they didn’t ride too far at any one time, stopping on each floor with Janet going up and down the hall, blabbing away, rattling off the names of the tenants along with their room numbers.

“Should I be taking notes?” Cynthia asked with a half-worried frown.

“Nah,” Janet told her. “There’s really not that many people here. You’ll learn their names – eventually. Even if you forget, they will remember you. Most of them anyway,” she laughed. “There are a few who have trouble remembering their own name. But almost everyone here is normal – as sane as you and me.”

Deciding to reserve judgment on just how sane Janet was, or was not, Cynthia wisely kept silent.

Oddly, she noticed, many of the doors on the lower levels were open but as they moved on to the higher floors, most of the tenants’ doors were closed. She mentioned her observation.

“The upper stories are hotel residents who can pretty much manage on their own,” Janet explained. “While the lower floors are for the assisted living. They like to use us to run errands and other things. Nothing too strenuous. We might take out the garbage, vacuum, hang a picture on the wall, type a letter, find their meds, or anything else they have a problem with. We’ve even been known to help wash the dishes on occasion. So, you’ll spend most of your time on the first three floors. That’s the people we assist the most. Ha! I guess that’s why it’s called assisted living, huh?”

“Probably,” Cynthia agreed.

“Oh! Did they tell you,” Janet said, “about the guy in Room 913?”

“Sort of, but not really. Only that we were not to go inside – or talk to him.”

“It’s not so much that we’re not allowed,” Janet said. “We can’t. The door hasn’t been opened in years, and even if you try to talk, he won’t answer you.”

“So, you’ve tried?” Cynthia asked. Then she almost laughed out loud. Of course Janet had tried, the girl couldn’t stop talking.

“I’m not admitting to anything,” Janet said.

Cynthia grinned. “Seriously though, the guy never comes out?” Her inquisitive side was taking over.

“No. I heard he hasn’t been out of that room since the day he was put in there way back in the sixties.”

The sixties? Just how old is he, anyway?

“I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know he hasn’t been out since I came to work here.”

“Does the man have a name or is he just the guy in Room 913?”

“Oh, I’m sure he has a name,” Janet laughed. “But, I don’t know what it is. Come to think of it, I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard it or not. I don’t remember if I have.”

Probably too busy talking, Cynthia was thinking.

“Everybody just calls him the guy in Room 913. Even Mrs. Kirkwood. You’d think if anybody knew his real name, she’d would. She’s been here for longer than I’ve been alive, like twenty-five years or so. Actually, longer than that probably. I used to think she owned the place but I don’t really know.”

Cynthia held up her hand, trying to stop the incessant chatter long enough to get in another question. “If the guy, whoever he is, hasn’t been out of the room, and no one has seen or heard him in all these years, how do we know he’s even alive? I mean, how long can he survive without basic things like food, new clothes or,” she made a face, “soap?”

Janet was chomping at the bit, eager to answer, but strangely waited until Cynthia had finished. “He is alive. We deliver a tray of food every single day and it always gets eaten. We pick up the empty tray the next day. Come on,” she urged. “Let’s go up to the ninth floor and I’ll show you.”

As they headed back to the elevator, the girl continued her banter. “We also deliver other things he needs, like razors, stamps, and envelopes – all sorts of things. Oh, yeah,” she added, “and soap!”

“How do you know what he wants if no one is allowed to talk to the man?”

The elevator was making its slow ascent as Janet explained. “He leaves a note sometimes, with the empty tray.” She went on, relating more unimpressive details of mostly useless information.

At the risk of opening a verbal Pandora’s Box, but wanting to find out as much information as she could, Cynthia waited for Janet to take a breath. Quickly then, she asked, “So how did Mr. Man In Room 913 end up here? And who pays his rent? He can’t have a job. So, is he some rich guy? And isn’t someone, somewhere, missing him? Somebody out there must know who he is. No one ever visits him? Doesn’t he have any family?”

Janet gave her a sideways look and frowned. “You sure ask a lot of questions. You training to be a private eye or something?”

“No,” Cynthia said, wondering why Janet seemed so hesitant all of a sudden. “They are just normal questions that anybody would have, I would think. Aren’t you a little curious?”

“Well, no. Not really,” Janet said. “Most of what you asked I already know.”

“You could share some of your vast knowledge,” Cynthia said pointedly. The sudden tight-lipped behavior seemed totally out of character from what she had seen in the short time since meeting Janet.

###

Thank you Rave Reviews Book Club for voting me this week’s “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR! And, a huge thanks to all the members who agreed to host me on their site! ~Bruce A. Borders

Thank you, Bruce, for guest posting and sharing this gripping excerpt from INSIDE ROOM 913 with us here at 4writersandreaders. I‘ve already got your novel OVER MY DEAD BODY in the queue on my kindle. What a great excerpt from INSIDE ROOM 913.  I’m heading over to Amazon right now to download my copy. Readers, I know you’ll want one too—just follow any of the links below, grab your copy and start reading. And, please leave us a comment below. Bruce and I would love to hear from you! ~ Bette A. Stevens

INSIDE ROOM 913

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EZZOH2S

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/inside-room-913-bruce-a-borders/1116894465 

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/354707?ref=BruceABorders

Sony https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/bruce-a-borders/inside-room-913/_/R-400000000000001119674 

iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/inside-room-913/id705782049?mt=11&uo=4

Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Inside-Room-913/book-Gl7mhSHMlEaw344JW7YjaQ/page1.html?s=l47AMsNTcUurHRDYJUAVtQ&r=1

Connect with Bruce:

@BruceABorders

http://www.facebook.com/BruceABordersBooks

http://bruceabordersbooks.weebly.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752197.Bruce_A_Borders

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