Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Excerpt: Meet Samantha Twitch

A tiny bell tinkled, as Samantha Twitch opened the wooden door to the curio shop and stepped inside. The shop was cloistered off a side street in an area few visitors to Copenhagen ever saw. The old man behind the counter did not look up as she entered. Samantha could not tell if he was ignoring her or merely hard of hearing.

“Absalonis.” She spoke his name in a loud voice, announcing her presence.

The old man gazed up from an amulet he had been studying. “Oh, it’s you. You look different.”

“I was pregnant the last time I was here.”

He nodded. “And the babe?”

“Safe, in the care of a friend. Were you able to procure what I asked for?”

Absalonis walked the length of the counter and knelt. His gnarled fingers turned the dial on a floor safe and he withdrew an object wrapped in a velvet cloth. “This was quite difficult to track down. I had to barter several scarce artifacts for it.”

“The spell I gave you in exchange shall make you a wealthy man, Absalonis, so spare me the sob story.”

“It would, had I the last line of the spell.”

Samantha handed him an envelope. Absalonis grasped it, but she did not release it. She directed her gaze to the velvet prize. “May I?”

He passed the wrapped object to her and she relinquished the envelope.

Samantha unfurled the cloth and stared at the black marble rectangle.

“Don’t know why they call it a Druid Box. It doesn’t open. But my procurer swore to me that it was what you wanted.”

Samantha smiled. “It is.” She rewrapped it and placed it in her purse. “Enjoy your newfound wealth, Absalonis.” She pivoted and headed toward the door.

“Wait!” Absalonis cried.

Samantha turned. “What?”

“Tell me, just to satisfy my curiosity, what is it?”

Samantha gazed into the old man’s questioning eyes. “A map.” Then, she turned and left.

Halos & Horns: Book 2 - And A Child Shall Lead Them ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Excerpt: "Don't Mind the Troll"

The troll grunted. As he turned to leave, Mordred stepped in through the open doorway.

“Oh, excuse me. I didn’t realize you had a guest.”

“I was just leaving.” Hakmar turned back to face the Wards. “Heed my warning. The Fae are a force to be reckoned with.”

“The Fae?” Mordred asked. “My mother, Morgana le Fey, was one of the most powerful of your kind.”

The troll studied the warlock. “Aye, then you would be her half-breed whelp. You bear the stench of mortals.”

“I am not mortal,” Mordred replied, in a stern voice.

“Nor be you Fae, half-breed. Now move out of my way, lest I waste any more time on a coprolite like you.”

Mordred stepped aside and the troll left. “Charming fellow,” Mordred remarked. “Friend of yours… or may I go after him and fricassee him into troll stew?”

“Don’t mind the troll,” Julian replied. “They are always fulminating against something.”

Halos & Horns: Book 2 - And A Child Shall Lead Them ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

An Excerpt: The Devil gives the demon Lucifer a task

The Devil was seated on his ivory throne, grasping the human skulls of his armrests. He rose from the throne of bones and stood on his furred, faun-like feet. “Thank you, Asmodeus. You may go. I wish to speak to Lucifer alone.” The tri-headed demon bowed and retreated.

“Lucifer, your time amongst the mortals makes you an ideal candidate for this mission. I will provide you with a glamour to appear as the wizard Balthazar. I shall send you into the past, where you shall meet Caliban at the start of his reign and protect him until you can locate the real Balthazar and free him. If you succeed, I promise there will be a promotion in your future.”

“So all I have to do is pretend to be a wizard, befriend some barbarian king, protect this mortal from a Dark God and her followers, rescue a kidnapped sorcerer, and… did I leave anything out?”

“Did I mention the Serpent Cult?” the Devil asked, stroking his chin. “The Nagá worship a hypnalis as their high priestess. Along with the Shadow People, they serve the Dark Gods as well, in that era.”

“Right. Man-eating snake creature and two-dimensional dark souls denied entry to the afterlife. You know, Asmodeus really deserves a promotion a lot more than me.”

“You’re too modest, Lucifer.” The Devil grinned and tossed him his pitchfork. “Catch!”

Reflexively, Lucifer reached out and grasped the trident. As soon as he did, he vanished.

Halos & Horns: Book 2 - And A Child Shall Lead Them ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Excerpt: Meet Kita, the kitsune

The sun had set. The fox awoke and approached the pagoda. She stopped at the entrance. The fox stood on her hind legs and grew, morphing into a young Japanese woman. The kitsune opened the glass door and, as the pulchritudinous young woman entered the building, she left behind a fox’s reflection on the glass.

The director of the Japanese division of Nosferatu, Inc. had her back to the kitsune, as she perused a handful of typed papers. The vampire appeared to be an attractive Japanese woman in her late 20s. The kitsune knew better than to trust appearances. The taller, elegant woman turned and addressed the kitsune. “It is done, then?”

The kitsune, hands clasped in her lap, bowed and nodded. “Yes, Chiyoko. I have tracked down the baku that was responsible for the disturbance and constrained it. It is locked away in a hutch in my lair in the Dreamscape, where no mortal or kyuketsuki shall ever find it. I have fulfilled my part of our bargain, Chiyoko. Now it is time for you to keep your promise. I want safe passage to America for myself and my beloved. ”

“You have my word of honor, kitsune. No harm shall befall you or your breather.” A slight smile crossed Chiyoko’s lips. “Tell me, does your mortal know your true nature?”

The kitsune looked away.

Chiyoko laughed. “Always the deceiver. But that’s your affair. Truly, I wish you a fortuitous life in your new den, little fox.”

The kitsune bowed and departed. Chiyoko poured a snifter of freshly warmed blood from a heated decanter on her credenza. She sipped the life-renewing elixir and gazed out the window of the pagoda, affording her an expansive view of a portion of the Kyoto Prefecture. For a moment, she pitied the ancient creature, so powerful, yet made so vulnerable by such a foolish emotion as love. “I doubt the Western world will be to your liking, little fox, once your lover has learned the truth and spurned you.”

Halos & Horns: Book 2 - And A Child Shall Lead Them ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Friday, May 27, 2011

An Excerpt: Meet Cody Fenris

Lupe saw Lamia advance on them, and she growled before leaping onto the creature. The demoness swatted the wolf with a single blow and Lupe was sent flying across the alley.

Cody turned at the growl, in time to see his sister smacked in mid-air and now sprawled motionless on the ground. “No!” he cried, as his blood vessels constricted in anger. His heart raced and his body responded, triggering the transformation not due for at least another hour. He doubled over in pain, and Pandora watched, as her boyfriend’s body grew larger, bursting out of his clothes. Cody’s face contorted, as his body jerked in frenetic spasms. His jaw elongated and fangs ripped through his gums as the dreaded foul taste returned, permeating his mouth. His skin bristled as the wolf fur forced its way to the surface. Then, Cody felt the adrenaline rush. He was filled with a surge of raw, bestial energy. His mind clouded over. He pushed Pandora aside, not knowing who she was, and caring less. The werewolf was filled with rage. He did not recall its genesis, but some vestigial instinct told him the creature he faced was his enemy. He did not care why; the werewolf was satisfied to have any outlet for its fury. He lunged at Lamia, ripping into her with his razor-sharp claws.

Halos & Horns: Book 2 - And A Child Shall Lead Them ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creatures of the Night

In Paved With Good Intentions, Keith B. Darrell's 2009 debut humourous fantasy novel, readers were introduced to wickedly funny assortment of angels, demons, witches, warlocks, vampires, and even a golem. Little did they realize he was laying the groundwork for the next wave of paranormal characters they'll meet in And A Child Shall Lead Them, Book Two of the "Halos & Horns" series.

Meet Asabi, a teenage boy who, as an emere can travel between Earth and the Heavenly realms at will; Siofra, a young Irish changeling who skins cats when she's bored, Cory Fenris, a young Gypsy cursed as a werewolf and his sister Lupe, who can turn into a wolf at will; Cassiopeia, an angelic ingenue; Kaya, a Japanese girl destined to become a dreaded hypnalis - a woman who shapeshifts into a human devouring serpent; Ó hAirmheadhaigh, the pookah; Kita, the Kitsune fox spirit; the baku, a Japanese creature that devours dreams and nightmares; the Dark Gods, eldritch abominations so bizarre their true visage drives men mad, the Shadow People, dark souls denied entry to the afterlife who appear as shadow-like creatures seen mostly in peripheral vision. Did I mention the gremlins?

Halos & Horns: Book 2 ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

Demon or Warlock? That was only one of the questions lingering in the minds of readers of Paved With Good Intentions, Keith B. Darrell's debut humourous fantasy novel in 2009. "'Who's the father?' was probably the question I was asked most about Paved With Good Intentions," the author admits. "Then they would ask about the sequel, and I would reply, 'What sequel?' I thought it was over." Readers disagreed.

Other questions remained. Was Sharon truly cured of her vampirism? If her memory had been wiped clean, why did she utter Pandora's name? Would Samantha and Lou ever be reunited? Would Mordred seize control of Nosferatu, Inc.? Was there something more sinsister to Julian and Angelique, the mysterious Ward siblings? What had the Dreamwalker shown the angel Gabriel to make him betray his friend Lucifer and keep him from the woman he loved? And what woud be the ultimate consequences when the father of Samantha's unborn child was revealed?

On May 25, the wait is over! And A Child Shall Lead Them, Book Two of the "Halos & Horns" series, answers these questions and more! From the deserts of the Middle East to Stonehenge in England; from the towering Manhattan skyscrapper office of Nosferatu, Inc. to the mystic Old Stone Mill in Newport, Rhode Island; from Bardsey Island off the Welsh countryside of Gwynedd to the pagodas of an ancient village in the Kyoto Prefecture of Japan; from the gates of Heaven to the depths of Hell; and from the nightmare realm of the Dreamscape... the answers unfold.

Softcover edition. 362 pages.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Launch Date

May 25, 2011.

A lot will begin on that day, even though I'll be away from this blog, recuperating from some broken ribs. May 25 is the release date for And A Child Shall Lead Them, the second book in the Halos & Horns series, picking up where Paved With Good Intentions left off.

Also, at midnight, in conjunction with the "Splash Into Summer Hop", we'll be giving away a free copy of And A Child Shall Lead Them. The contest will run the whole week I'm gone and the winner will be announced shortly after I return.

But through the magic of the Internet, computers, and a bit of witchcraft, excerpts from And A Child Shall Lead Them will appear each day during the entire week I'm gone (I hope). Meantime, catch up with Halos & Horns and buy or download Book One, Paved With Good Intentions.

Click to Buy on Amazon
Paperback $14.99Kindle edition $2.99

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gabe & Lou Get A Face Lift

I've given Paved With Good Intentions a face lift. The Kindle edition will be sporting this new cover next week. What do you think of it?

#6 on Amazon's Top 100

Thanks to everyone who helped make Issues In Internet Law #6 on
Amazon's Top 100 Digital Law Bestsellers!

(Of course, Amazon's rankings change hourly, so look quick, lol).

Friday, May 13, 2011

May is National Short Story Month!

Did you know that May is National Short Story Month? To celebrate, I have published 35 eStorybooks this month: 34 short stories and one novella. But don't feel left out! You can celebrate National Short Story Month, as well. How, you ask? Easy - by reading 35 short stories this month! ;)

First Book Blogger Review

The first review of Paved With Good Intentions by a book blogger has appeared. Here's the link to The Book Diva Reads' blog and the review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Box of Chocolates

I’m a writer. I’ve written nonfiction: books, textbooks, magazine articles, professional periodical pieces, and newspaper articles. I’ve written fiction: novels, novellas, and short stories. My genres include speculative fiction, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, sword & sorcery, science fiction, dystopian fiction, apocalyptic fiction, horror, slice of life, political and sociological fiction, satire, humor, drama, gothic mystery, western, children’s fiction, and young adult. I even wrote a chick lit piece.

The good side of my versatility as a writer is if you keep reading my work, the odds are you’ll find something you like. But – you knew there was a but coming, didn’t you? – I write stories for grown ups, like myself. Even though I may pen a children’s tale or a Young Adult story, I am not a “Young Adult author.”

Many of my stories, even those not specifically written for them, may be enjoyed by kids and teenagers. A few even have important moral lessons woven into the tales. But some are not suitable for children. They may deal with mature themes like racism, drug abuse, prostitution, violence, rape, or sexual situations. They may have profanity or epithets. Sure, the kids have probably seen all this on cable TV, heard it rap songs, and talked about it among themselves. But, still…

The question I’ve wrestled with is how to indicate a story may not be appropriate for all readers, either due to their age or sensitivities. Catcher in the Rye is required reading in some schools, yet banned in others because of its profanity. I am completely against censorship but I do think people should know what they’re getting, be it films, songs, or books. With that in mind, I’ve placed a Ratings Guide for my short stories on my blog. You’ll see little color coded triangles next to each story. “A” is for All Ages. “M” means there are mature themes not suitable for young children but appropriate for most Young Adults. “L” means there is strong or offensive language used. “V” means graphic violence. And “X” designates explicit sexual scenes or situations.

I know most writer abhor the idea of content labeling. Then again, most writers have labeled themselves through their writing. When you pick up a J.K. Rowling book you know you’re not reading a Harold Robbins escapade, and vice versa. In my case, to paraphrase Forest Gump, my writing is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’ll get.

So what are your thoughts?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

eStorybooks - A Bold New Idea

Something big is about to happen.

Think of it as Phase 2 of The E-Book Revolution. Phase 1 was the transition of print books to electronic form. People all over the world are reading novels on Kindles and Nooks, and even on smart phones, but let's face it: tiny smart phone screens were designed for lighter reading than "War and Peace". But they would be perfect for reading a short story, wouldn't they?

Author Keith B. Darrell has coined the phrase “eStorybook” for individual short stories published in eBook format.

Sometimes you want a full-course dinner; and other times you just want a candy bar. It's great to curl up at night with an eBook, but for those times when you can't squeeze in a novel, you can still fit in an eStorybook. Whether reading an eStorybook on your smartphone, during a cigarette break, or on the train ride home, you get a complete entertainment experience in a bite-sized portion timed for your busy lifestyle.

Starting this month, Keith will began releasing a stream of eStorybooks for varying ages and crossing multiple genres. The first eStorybooks will published for Kindle e-readers and available on Amazon.com’s Kindle store, with plans to produce eStorybooks in EPUB format in late 2011.

The stories will come in all different lengths - as long as 15,000 words or as brief as 2,000 or less. The wonderful thing about short stories is length is not important (that's why they're called short stories); it's the beauty of the prose and the impact of the story that readers value. And what a value! Every Kindle eStorybook will be priced at 99 cents - the lowest price Kindle allows. Amazon keeps 70 cents and approximately 29 cents goes to the author. Less than the price of a candy bar.

So watch this blog for updates on new eStorybook releases. Support the author and purchase them as they are released. Spread the word. Phase 2 has begun.