Love and Beastiality

Okay, so my post has nothing at all to do with beastiality, but I thought that title might earn me a few more hits ;)

Yes, there are swords in The Beast of Maug Maurai. Yes, there are knights and battles and spillage of blood and various bodily innards. But, fair reader, there is also goodness and humor and, yes, that gentlest of all human virtues, love. Medieval-style,  romantic love that twines with the story of our dread Beast. For those of you interested in the gentler of the human emotions, this excerpt from is for you:

“I am nothing.” The silks and linens that draped the canopy’s frame dampened the sound. Sir Jastyn Whitewind’s voice sounded small and flat.
Maribrae, awake by only the thinnest of threads, stirred and mumbled. “You are the blazing star of my heavens.”
It always surprised Jastyn that she could speak like this even at the edge of sleep. The layer of poetry that surrounded her rarely fell away.
“A star,” he said in the monotone of impending sleep. “That’s the right of it. I am nothing but …” He wasn’t at Maribrae’s level, he had to search for the correct words. “I am nothing but a distant star, a winking light in the distance … something interesting to look at, but providing nothing, doing nothing. Being nothing. What will be my title when I am dead? Jastyn the Irrelevant.” He let the words rest in the silks for a time, considering them. “If I were a candle, I could give light to those in the darkness. I could … I could bring day to the night. Even a touch of heat. I could re-light the hearth fire, illuminate a room, help magicians reach great heights. But a star … a star does nothing. Is nothing. Can do nothing.”
Maribrae’s hand found his and she sighed, forcing herself away from the banks of sleep, fighting the panic that rattled her heart when Jastyn spoke like this. “Fuel of my heart’s fire. You are the brilliant Western Star. Everyone who looks upon you knows where they are by your greatness. Your shining example is a guide to peasants and kings alike.” Jastyn smiled and nudged her playfully. She continued. “The world would grow colder and darker without Jastyn Whitewind.”  She draped her arm across the firmness of his chest. “What is a candle, that can be destroyed by breath or gust? That relies on the frailest patch of wax and thread to live? Even a distant star blazes eternal, outstaying mountains and civilizations. A candle brings light to naught but a tiny corner. A star gives its light to the world.” She kissed his ear gently. “Do they not say that stars are the lanterns of Eleyria? Do not the immortals hold these aloft to lend light to Blythwynn’s vigilance?” She rose from the bed, parting the silk canopy and taking his hand. “Come my love.”
The two walked across the floor of the tower, the stones still warm from the dying hearth fire, the faint light from the sconced candles casting an orange hue on their naked bodies. They passed the wafting wall hangings depicting the heroes of myth that Jastyn adored. Past a tapestry of Roebi and Ynnebelle, legendary lovers of Laraytia’s past. Past wooden plates bearing the images of The Forgotten Heroes and the Raging Eight. She brought him to the unglazed window, out onto the meager ledge. There were few lamps or torches on this side of the castle, so on that clear spring night the sky was absolutely powdered with stars. The moon, Blythwynn’s Eye, was a smudge in the southern skies.
“Stare upwards,” she whispered. “Ignore everything but the canopy above.”
He stared upward, distractedly at first, longing for the warmth of his bed. He gazed at the familiar constellations. The Spike. The Witch. Homunculus. He knew each of the immortals that made up the points of each constellation. They were as familiar as his room, or his armor. As familiar as the woman at his side. The peppering of stars so similar to the dappling of freckles across her body, her face.
But as he gazed at the dark roof of the world, he noted new details in those old stars. Shapes and subtleties that he had never seen, or had seen once and forgotten. Stars that were not immediately visible appeared. Like tiny forest creatures that peek out when observers are still and silent.
He noted the beautiful chalky veil. The faint smudges and specks that grew brighter when examined, that made the enormity of the night sky seem even larger, infinitely layered. It was endless. One could disappear among those stars, lost in a stormy sea of light and darkness. Murdered by the magnificent beauty, by the mystery and complexity of it all. Somewhere in the west a streak of light arced across the sky, burning for a moment, then fading to nothing.
Maribrae’s touch pulled him away from the black swirling sea, away from the ungraspable sophistication of the universe. Away from the power of those stars. Back to the cool stone balcony of Tower Duleun. To the simplicity of the castle called Daun Sanctra.
“I love you Mari,” he whispered. “More than Roebi loved Ynnebelle.”
“And I love you, Jastyn.” She stroked his face. “More than that.”
The smell of perfumed herbs upon her neck was more powerful than he had remembered. In her eyes he could see the night sky, the scattered stars spilling onto her nose and cheeks in reverse, white skies and dark stars. Her lips parted in a look of such vulnerable beauty, such heartbreaking innocence, that he had to fight off tears. There was expectation there. A query. He took her chin in his hand and kissed her then, closing his eyes and falling into the sweetest darkness he could imagine. 

If this type of thing strikes your fancy, then please have a look at my novel, The Beast of Maug Maurai: http://littleurl.info/fbm

Thanks very much!


Map Quest

So, I thought it might be fun to post a few things about The Beast of Maug Maurai. And yes, my standard for fun is not what it used to be.

I figured I would start with some maps from the fictional world in which the story is set. (Can you tell I’ve been reading grammar books lately? I had to struggle so that the last sentence wouldn’t end with a preposition.)  

These maps are in the book, but I worked a long time making them and thought I should put them up here for posterity. I’m not sure about the stained glass Duchies map. I almost scrapped it and started a new style but I had spent so much time on it that I just polished it as best I could and threw it on. Err, I mean, carefully and lovingly added it to the other two maps already in the book.

Here’s the world map first. The world is named Celusia. Those of you who know me well can understand where that name came from.

Map bigness is just a click away…
The middle kingdom called Laraytia is where the story takes place. Laraytia is currently at war with Gracidmar, to the east, and in a sort of cold war with Durrennia, to the west. And it’s not sending Christmas cards to the Kingdom of Annecia either. In fact, Laraytia doesn’t play well with most of the other kingdoms, but for now, it is only actively killing people from Gracidmar.

Laraytia is divided into seven territories. Duchies, if you will. Our story takes place in the Duchy of Nuldryn. So here’s a map of said Duchy, in a completely different style from the world map:
One click makes you bigger, and one click makes you small…

Yeah, it’s supposed to look all faded and smudged. This is the western side of Nuldryn, where the property values are high. The landfills are on the East side ;) . The big green blotch at the top is the forest of Maug Maurai, where most of the action takes place. Although Grae Barragns spends most of the first book, The Culling, wandering between Kithrey, Daun Sanctra, Braeth and Tyftin, with a stop at Maeris for good measure.

Now that I look at it with fresh eyes, it almost looks like the forest is trying to eat Kithrey and Daun Sanctra. I guess I should rephrase that to say, ‘I intentionally made the forest look like it was eating Kithrey and Daun Sanctra to symbolize the cancerous evil that lies in the forests of our hearts. An evil that devours everything in its path and nihilistically destroys all hope.’ Ahem. Or something.

Our last map is the map of the duchies of Laraytia. As I mentioned, I’m not sure this works, but I refer to the different duchies quite a bit and needed a reference. If anyone wants to make me a nicer one I’d be happy to replace this one =).

… click on the edge so you don’t smudge the glass.

Thoughts on these maps? If anyone sees any glaring problems I’ll fix them and update the book. Thanks for checking these out. They were a lot of fun to work on.


I Kindle, Therefore I Am

The Beast of Maug Maurai, Book One: The Culling

That’s right. Book one of the three part novel is out now and available at Amazon.com. Here’s the link to have a look: 

Click to look inside. Pull up a chair and see if you like it. If you do, please let others know. If you don’t, please lie to others. 

Any thoughts on the cover or the book itself? I’d be happy to hear about them!