Friday, April 29, 2016

How About Some Free Books?

With Origin Of Might launching on 5/3, just a few days away, I wanted to celebrate by giving away more free books on Amazon, today only.


First up, I'm offering for the first time in a long time, Holliday's Gold for free through Amazon, today only.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JCVYFCC

So if you don't have Holliday's Gold, now's your chance to get it for free.

Also, if you didn't get Walrus of Death and Fanboys of Doom when I made them free a couple of weeks ago, well I'm giving you another chance there as well. But again, today only.

Walrus of Death - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KA8D8EC

Fanboys of Doom - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019HJ2XOK


That's all I have, my friends.

Continue to keep it real and I'll continue to keep it unreal.

Oh, if you're interested, you can follow me on twitter at @steevenorrelse . . . I don't have a lot of time to tweet, but when I do, it sure is a bunch of nonsense.

If you are even more interested, you can join my mailing list - http://eepurl.com/UPD2T

5 Reasons Why You Should Read Origins of Might

5. Pure, Superhero Goodness

Do you like superheroes? So do I. That's why I wrote Origin of Might. I write the kind of stuff I want to read, and I like to read about superheroes.

Here's a slight bit of superhero goodness, just a tiny taste, from Origin of Might.

OLIVER MASHED THE BRAKE to the floor and the car slid to a screeching halt. Just inches beyond the bumper lay the cell phone tower, rocking for a moment before coming to rest, the steel bars melted and burnt at one end where it had separated from its base. Before Oliver could so much as breathe; a woman in a purple body suit leaped atop the fallen tower and hurled lightning bolts at a man in red and yellow.

Great, Oliver thought. Just what I need, a pair of Mighties in my way.

The woman, Lady Lightning, had the power to create bolts of lightning out of thin air, and then throw them at whatever she felt needed to be hit by a bolt of lightning: Bank vaults, armored cars, and—of course—her arch nemesis, Spitfire.

Spitfire was the man in red with yellow boots, gloves, and cape. He had the ability to breathe fire. Great searing gouts of it. It was fairly obvious that it was Spitfire and his lava breath that had toppled the tower.

Oliver rolled down his window, leaned his head out, and gave the horn a couple of really good honks.

“Come on!” he yelled to the two combatants. “Take this somewhere else! Some of us are going to be late for work!”

4. This Ain't Your Typical Superhero Tale

Don't worry, I'm not trying some grand experiment with superheroes the likes of which will turn the genre so on its head that in the end it will be unrecognizable, and therefore unreadable. That's not what I'm doing here.

Instead, I'm using my love of superheroes to ask a question.

Here's a bit of the Afterword in the book to help explain:

Peter Parker. He is bitten by a radioactive spider and is then imbued with the proportionate strength and agility of a spider. Something we all dream of. But then when his Uncle Ben dies, something Peter, with his new powers, could have prevented, he realizes that he now has a bigger purpose in life. As the book says: “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!”

So he becomes Spider-Man and devotes his life to fighting crime. Yet, the guy still has to work. The dude is broke and he’s gotta get paid. When he’s not working, he’s fighting crime. That’s his life. That’s what he does. Day in and day out. There isn’t room for much else.

At that point, is it selfish of Peter to want to start a relationship with a woman? Would it be selfish of him to want to start a family knowing that not only would he not be able to give them much of his time, but that each time he goes up against the Rhino, or the Green Goblin, that it could be his last time on Earth?

I mean, that’s not fair to a future wife, husband, or child, right?

Well, what if Peter Parker had already been married with children when he got his powers? What if they were presented to him in such a way that he could refuse to accept those powers? What if the powers could go to someone else? Would it be okay for Peter to take those powers and then go out every night to fight crime knowing that to do so he would be ignoring the social needs of his family?

That’s the question I’m trying to answer, and it all starts here in Origin of Might.

3. It's All About Family


If you have a family, if you've struggled to get the bills paid and keep food on the table, if you've ever wished that you could have the power to fly and bend steel bars with your bare hands, then this is the story for you.

2. No Animals Were Harmed During the Writing of This Book

I think that speaks for itself.

1. I'm Indie as Crap

I do it all. I write, I edit, and I create the covers. Not because I'm just THAT skilled. No, it's because I'm indie as crap . . . in other words, I have to do it all myself because I can't afford pay someone else to do it.

So this is the "let's all take pity on the poor, broke writer and buy his books so that he can at least afford someone to edit his books and create a decent cover and in the end make him feel like a human being" part of the post.

I hope it worked.

Origin of Might hits the digital shelves on May 3rd. But you can preorder it now at Amazon and have it immediatly available to you on Tuesday.

Just go here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E056EZA.

It's only $2.99.

Monday, April 25, 2016

That's When the Penguin Walked In #19


THE SIXTH CHAPTER
Part Two

There came a tentative scratching at the tent flaps and the Dread Lord Hob sighed. The sheer meekness of the act was just the fuel needed for a kill crazy rampage, but Lord Hob kept his head.

“Come,” he said. His voice clear and commanding as he stepped to his chair.

The chair, a throne really, had been ornately carved from a massive block of white marble and needed more that ten men, or four ogres, to carry it about with them from place to place.

As the Dread Lord Hob sat upon his vast throne, the tent flaps parted and an eight foot tall ogre with skin like craved granite and wearing a simple loincloth made from the skin of some unlucky woodland creature entered on cautious, bare, feet. Accompanying the colossus was the nearly overwhelming stink of the thing, which wafted into the tent on swift winds and brought tears to Lord Hob’s eyes.

The amount of ground between the tent opening and the space before Lord Hob’s throne was about six paces for a man of average height. The ogre crossed it in two.

The thing went down on one knee before Lord Hob and bowed its head.

Lord Hob tried his best to look down on the ogre in disgust, but truth be told, even kneeling the thing towered over him in his throne.

“Dread Lord,” it began in a voice like a small avalanche. “Captain Branch has arrived.”

The Dread Lord Hob and all of his lofty titles attempted a reply but could only choke on the putrid smell that rose from the creature in great waves.

Ogres make great bodyguards and soldiers for a variety of reasons. First off, at an average height of seven-and-a-half feet and an average weight of three hundred and fifty pounds, the ogre is built like a tower of iron and muscle. You stand a half dozen side to side and you’ve got yourself a fairly impenetrable wall.

Beyond their impressive physical attributes, the ogre is a fiercely loyal creature, they aren’t afraid to die, and the art of killing is so ingrained in their society that it is taught in what would be the ogre equivalent of elementary school. There’s a casual savagery about them that Lord Hob finds both chilling and exciting at the same time. They know hundreds of ways to kill, and will at times use combat as a way to compete with each other over which one can find the most creative way to end an enemy’s life.

The problem with ogres, the extent of which cannot be stressed enough, is that they stink. Like nobody’s business.

Ogres don’t believe in soap. Or water. Or adding soap to water, heating it to near intolerable temperatures, immersing their tough, leathery bodies into it, then wasting away the evening with a favorite book and a good, long soak. Ogres have no word for ‘bath’, or ‘tub’; not to mention ‘wash’, ‘scrub’, ‘rinse’, or even ‘loofah’. It is said that nothing precedes an army of ogres like the stench, the likes of which can often be enough to drive an occupied force out from behind the walls in which they have become entrenched.

But Lord Hob could stomach a great many things, and he often prided himself on his preternatural ability to enclose himself in a small room with three or four ogres and resist the urge to vomit. He was, in fact, known for it. So, he choked back his desire to send this particular ogre off to dunk itself in the nearest body of water, and found the strength to respond.

“Send him in, soldier.”

The Dread Lord Hob didn’t know the ogre’s name, nor did he particularly want to. It was bad enough having to put up with their stink, so remembering the names of each of his personal guards seemed to him to be a little much. He had more important matters to occupy his brain.

Captain Branch entered the tent with more than a little trepidation. The Captain was not an ogre. While Hob could fully depend on the ogres to keep him safe or to depopulate a village, they didn’t quite have the intelligence for leading others, and Lord Hob believed in putting the right people in right positions.

Branch, the Captain of the Dread Lord Hob’s armies was one of his Lizard Men, created by magic in the jungles of the South, and bred for war. He wore mail over leather, but no boots. The feet of the Lizard Men had such thick soles that footwear was not required. Besides, their razor-like toe claws kept poking through whatever they tried to put on their feet.

Captain Branch had a small sword belted to his waist and he moved it aside with one clawed hand has he knelt before the Lord Hob.

“I come as bidden, Dread Lord,” the Captain said, his eyes on the floor.

“Rise, Captain,” Hob said. “And tell me how the fares the battle.” He knew quite well how the battle had gone. “I hear not the clash of sword nor the screams of the dying. Has the fighting stopped?”

“It has, Dread Lord.” The Captain rose, but his gaze remained on the floor.

“Why, Captain? Have we won?”

“No, Dread Lord. We are in retreat.”

“Yes, Captain Branch, I know that we are in retreat. That was a test. I thank you, however, for telling me the truth. As a reward, you will continue to remain among the living.”

“Thank you, Dread Lord,” Captain Branch said, sounding as if he had just taken his first breath since entering the tent.

“Think nothing of it, good Captain. Now I bid you to tell me why my army has retreated.”

“We were winning,” Branch said.

“Yes, we were. And quite gloriously.”

“But then something happened.”

“Something happened?” Lord Hob said. “Something?”

“Something unexpected.”

“Something,” Lord Hob repeated. “Unexpected.”

Someone, actually.”

“Pray tell, Captain. Just who was this unexpected someone that caused my army, the grandest army in all of Gund, to flee before their terrible might?”

Captain Branch did not answer right away. Instead he kicked at rocks that did not exist, shrugged his shoulders a time or two, and even threw out the occasional “um” before stammering out his intelligible response.

“I’m sorry,” Lord Hob said. “You’re going to have to speak up, old boy. I didn’t quite catch that.”

The Captain cleared his throat. “It was The One, Dread Lord.”

Now it was Lord Hob’s turn to try his hand at speechlessness.

The silence hung in the air between them like a two ton mime. Lord Hob stared at Captain Branch as the Captain continued his intense scrutiny of the carpet fibers.

“The One?” Lord Hob said at last.

“Yes, Dread Lord.”

“That’s impossible.”

“He bore the Sword of Power, Dread Lord.”

“He?” Hob said. “A human?”

“Yes, Dread Lord. He is said to have appeared suddenly in the midst of battle. He wore strange clothing but wielded the Sword. He called down lightening and our army ran.”

The Dread Lord Hob; Scourge of the West, Defiler of the East, Plague of the North, and Overlord of the South stepped down from his throne and resumed his pacing, his hands clasped behind his back.

“Well then,” Hob said as the Captain tore his eyes from the floor to watch his Lord pace. “It appears that I have no choice but to take matters into my own hands.”

“Lord?”

“If The One has been reborn, and if he brings with him the full might of the Sword of Power, then I am the only one powerful enough to face him in combat.” He turned to the tent flap. “Guard,” he called.

The ogre entered, bowing.

“Yes, Dread Lord,” it said.

“Fetch me my sword.”

“Souleater?” the ogre said with a gasp.

“The same,” Lord Hob said.

“At once, Dread Lord.” The ogre bowed and rushed out on its task.

“Captain, prepare the army, we strike at dawn.”

“Yes, Dread Lord. At once.”

The Captain made to leave.

“Oh, and Captain,” Lord Hob said, stopping Captain Branch at the flap.

“Yes, Dread Lord?”

“Ready my dragon.”

To be continued . . .



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Friday, April 1, 2016

That's When the Penguin Walked In #18


THE SIXTH CHAPTER
Part One

The Dread Lord Hob; Scourge of the West, Defiler of the East, Plague of the North, and Overlord of the South was in a bad mood. But then, abject failure and acts of cowardice perpetrated by his dark legions tended to rub him the wrong way in even the best of situations. And this was not the best of situations.

Lord Hob, who had always thought of himself as a fair and even tempered man, brooded silently to himself as he paced alone inside his command tent. The tent was exactly seven paces wide, and each time he turned to the east side of the tent, he’d walk to his mirror.

It was a glorious mirror. It stood eight feet tall and three feet wide, and each time he would come to it, the Dread Lord would pause and gaze deeply at his reflection. It was the only thing, the sight of himself resplendent in his white armor and black cape, that kept his bad mood from graduating into a full on rage.

Being the fair and even tempered man he’s always thought himself to be, it was uncommon for the Dread Lord Hob to progress any further, emotionally speaking, than an all over feeling of intense annoyance. But today he feared that if he didn’t get himself under control he would go immediately from his tent and commit horrible acts of violence upon his cowardly horde.

Not that he was opposed to violence, just the opposite. Lord Hob was known far and wide for the brutal and creative ways he’d been known to inflict bodily harm upon others. But he preferred to the one in charge of his emotional self when violence was on the table. If someone was to die by his hand it would be because it was the logical thing to do, not because he was in a tiff.

He stopped once more at the mirror and patted at his perfectly cut and sculpted jet black hair. Not a strand out of place. That made him smile and he resumed with his pacing.

The Dread Lord Hob was a man who could keep his emotions in check, something he’d always felt a certain sense of pride in, most especially after rising to the title of Overlord of the South when his predecessor, the Dread Lord Glatchington had mysteriously died a most violent, and don’t forget mysterious, death.

The Dread Lord Glatchington was a man who had known about rage, having spent most of his life deep in the thick of it. Lord Hob, Glatchington’s second in command, had borne witness to many a foam-mouthed murder spree in which anyone in reach could find their life snuffed out for no other reason that passing by when Lord Glatchington had dropped a spoon or found his soup too hot.

It was from Glatchington that Hob learned how not to behave. And so he resisted the urge to give himself over to the rage that skittered within reach. But still, punishments would need to be handed out. Lord Hob would just have to wait until he calmed himself before deciding on what was fair and just.

His pacing brought him once more to his mirror and as before, he paused. He ran a hand over his strong, squared chin. He needed a shave. Yet, the stubble made him look somewhat . . . Roguish. Rough and tumble. Sexy.

Then a stench hit him that would have knocked most men flat on their backsides. But the Dread Lord Hob was not most men. Besides, Lord Hob knew what the stink signified.

Only an ogre could produce such a foul odor.

To be continued . . .



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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

That's When the Penguin Walked In #17


THE FIFTH CHAPTER
Part Three

Herbert shuffled him from the room and the two made their way down a long, stone hallway. Torches crackled in brackets along the wall, spaced a few steps between each, lighting their way in a flickering, bobbing way that made their shadows dance along the stonework around them. Dominick quickly got lost as the two turned this way and that, each hallway looking just like the last apart from the occasional tapestry or statue.

“You will be made to stand before the Triumvirate,” Herbert said as they walked. “The Crier will announce you, then each of the Triumvirate in turn. You must bow your head to each as a sign of respect.”

“Okay,” Dominick said, hurrying to keep up.

It’s not that Herbert was walking fast, but Dominick had never been in a real castle before and he found himself stopping to inspect the odd statue or work of art.

“Then there will be a reading of the Prophecy,” Herbert continued. “At the conclusion of which you will be asked if you vow to pledge your life in the protection of Riat, Haven, and all of Gund for as long as you draw breath.”

“Wait,” Dominick stopped. “What?”

Herbert had gone half a dozen steps before he’d realized that Dominick was no longer following. He turned back.

“Why have you stopped?” Herbert asked. “We will be late, we must go.”

Dominick did not move. He looked at Herbert, his mouth hanging open.

“What?” Herbert said.

“No one said anything to me about this being a lifetime gig.”

“Well . . .” Herbert said, spreading his hands.

“I mean, I agreed to get rid of this Hob guy, but beyond that . . .”

“Beyond that is between you and the Triumvirate, I am only a simple clerk and I do what I am told, and what I’ve been told is to make you presentable and then take you before the Triumvirate. Once that is done I can go back to my small desk. Until then, you need to come with me.”

“Well,” Dominick said, his head thrown back in defiance. “I don’t know if I want to now.”

Herbert crossed his arms and tapped his foot.

Dominick put a hand on the hilt of his sword.

Herbert did not look impressed.

Dominick threw the clerk his most stern of looks.

Herbert continued with his unapologetic arm crossing and foot tapping.

Dominick practically wilted.

“Done?” Herbert said. “Can we go now?”

“But, I’m the One. Shouldn’t you, like be afraid of crossing me or something?”

Herbert cocked an eyebrow.

Dominick sighed.

“Yeah, okay,” Dominick said. “I’m coming.”

After more twists and turns the two stopped before a pair of arched, wooden, steel banded doors. The doors were so massively large that Dominick worried that a giant ape might be waiting for them on the other side.

“Wait here, please,” Herbert said. “When the doors open, go on in.”

Then the red-faced man with the banana nose walked away down a side hall, leaving Dominick alone with his thoughts.

Naturally, the first thought that leaped immediately into Dominick’s rattled brain was the total and complete change his life had come to in such a short amount of time.

Just this morning the most pressing challenge Dominick had had to face was which gas station to use to top off his tank on the way home from work. There were two choices, both of them with their own separate issues.

First choice was the Gas Guzzler, which was normally three cents a gallon cheaper than everyone else in town. But it was on the left as he was heading home, meaning that Dominick would have to cross traffic, both ways, to get in and out.

Second choice was the Shop-n-Gas, which was on his right, so he’d have an easier time getting in and out, but they only had two pump islands, and all the pumps were normally in use. Combine that with no real parking to wait for a vacant pump and they weren’t the best alternative.

Dominick had been wrestling with that particular dilemma all morning. Now it didn’t really matter.

The thought of gas and his nearly empty tank meandered into that of the car itself. It was still sitting in the Happy Hamburger parking lot. What would happen to it? Would Raymond, the pixie who’d been standing in for him, take it back to his apartment? Could Raymond even drive?

And what about his apartment? Rent was due tomorrow. Who was going to pay his rent? Raymond?

Dominick was suddenly finding it difficult to breathe when the doors opened to a fanfare of trumpets.

To be continued . . .



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Thursday, March 17, 2016

For Harold's Birthday - A Short Tale


Once upon a time, in the land of happy thoughts and sweet dreams, there was a badger named Harold. He was a mean badger with a nasty disposition. Harold’s idea of good fun was to find one of the kindest, gentlest, sweetest creatures in all the land, and then be mean and awful to it until the sweet little creature cried great tears of sadness and misery.

One day, while Harold was out kicking over ant hills and stomping on daisies, he ventured deep into a dark forest and came across a tiny little bear cub named Steeven. Steeven was awful cute, and as sweet as could be. Never was a more innocent creature found in the whole entirety of the great, wide world.

And so Harold, being the mean little badger that he was, crept up on silent claws to where Steeven was sleeping peacefully and with great beauty upon a field of roses. So cute and perfectly pure was this little bear cub, that the roses drew their thorns into themselves so as not to poke such an adorable creature that was Steeven, the tiniest, fluffiest, most delightful bear cub in all the land.

Harold watched in anger at the perfection that was Steeven. Harold’s anger grew with each step and he slunk closer and closer to the sleeping, angelic bear.

Soon Harold was close enough to Steeven that he could have bit the small bear on its round little bottom, and so he did.

Steeven leaped into the air, his cherubic voice calling out in pain and great anguish. Harold watched and laughed his wicked little laugh.

Satisfied that he had dealt a perfect being a painful blow, Harold left Steeven to cry amongst the roses and slunk away, his fiendish laugh echoing through the trees, drowning out the tear choked sobs that came from the adorable little bear cub.

Not long after, Harold came out of the forest and into a land that was flat and filled with fields of wheat. Harold took two steps into the wheat and was suddenly crushed by a grand piano that fell from the sky.

The End.



For Harold C. Jennett III, because he's all kinds of awesome and stuff, and it's his birthday.

Happy birthday, Harold!

Go look at his art at: http://haroldjennett.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

That's When the Penguin Walked In #16


THE FIFTH CHAPTER
Part Two

The second time Herbert had come into the room it was to bring Dominick food. He bore a tray with a great wheel of cheese, a loaf of crusty bread, and a meaty gravy in a wooden bowl. Dominick, having grown up on processed and fast foods, had never tasted anything like the meal he’d been presented in that small room. He had to admit that the food made the waiting that much easier, and he was, in fact, sad when he’d cleaned his plate . . . Or in this case, tray.

He’d been pushing the few remaining bread crumbs around on the tray when Herbert stopped in for the third time, bringing with him a shirt of chain mail. Dominick found wearing it very uncomfortable, but he figured if he was truly going to go into battle, he would take the discomfort over the chance of being stabbed.

Now, pop in number four, and it was time. Time for what exactly, Dominick did not know.

“Sir?” Herbert said.

It was only then that Dominick realized that he’d been standing as still as a statue, lost in his own thoughts.

“I’m sorry?” Dominick said.

“It’s time.”

“Ah, okay . . . Thanks, Herbert.” Dominick strapped on his sword. “And what is it time for, exactly?”

“To meet the Triumvirate.”

“Okay, yeah, right.” Dominick put a hand to his chin. “And who are they?”

“The Triumvirate?”

“Yes.”

“You don’t know who the Triumvirate are?” The man’s face lost all color.

“No?” Dominick said. “I’m sorry. Should I?”

“You are the One, are you not?”

“That’s what they tell me.”

Herbert only looked at him, his mouth hanging open as the color crept back into his face.

“Look,” Dominick said, going to Herbert and placing a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t know what they told you about me, but I’m new here. I don’t know much about anything about this place.”

“New? To the palace?”

“No, to your realm,” Dominick said. “I come from Earth.”

“Earth?” Herbert said, his expression changing to one of amused distrust. “What’s that?”

Dominick held up his lift hand and showed Herbert the symbol of the microchip and the tree.

“Ah,” Herbert said. “You are from the Old World. We get visitors from the Old World now and again, though you are the first I have met personally.”

Dominick tried to respond, but Herbert continued.

“The Triumvirate are the five men and women who rule the lands of Haven. One from each of the races on Gund.”

“Gund?”

“Our world,” Herbert pointed at the floor. “This world.”

“And Haven is what, this city we are in?” Dominick said.

“Haven is our nation, you are in the city of Riat.”

Dominick sat back down in the chair, which he found rather difficult with the sword still belted at his waist.

“Okay, you’re throwing a lot of names at me here, but I think I can keep up,” Dominick said. “Tell me about these races.”

“There are five races on Gund,” Herbert said. “Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, and the Fae.”

“Fae?”

“Fairy folk,” Herbert said. “Pixies, Brownies, Dryads and the like.”

“And these trolls,” Dominick said, throwing his best concerned look at Herbert. “Are they friendly?”

“As friendly as the next guy, I suppose,” Herbert said.

“What does a troll look like?”

“Taller than a human, covered in fur.”

“Ah, okay,” Dominick said. “Bigfoot. I saw them out on the battlefield.”

“Yes, they do have rather large feet,” Herbert said, smiling.

“What about the lizard men?” Dominick asked.

“The lizard men are an unholy aberration of nature,” Herbert spit — actually spit — “Lord Hob will have much to answer for on that one when the time comes.”

“So, wait a minute,” Dominick said. “The Triumvirate? That’s three. You said it was five?”

“Well, yes,” Herbert said. “Originally the Triumvirate was made up of only three people. One human, one elf, and one dwarf. Then, a hundred years or so ago, the trolls and fairies decided that they were being misrepresented. There was a war and everything.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah. Trolls can get quite huffy when they feel they’re being insulted, and the fairies . . . Well, the pixies can be downright scary.”

“Wow.” Dominick didn’t know what else to say.

The two stood there together in the room in an uncomfortable silence. Each one waiting for the other to speak. Neither did, so the silence stretched out between them like an ever expanding gulf.

Dominick coughed into his hand.

Herbert cleared his throat.

Dominick scrutinized the stonework on the ceiling.

Herbert started at his boots and then began to whistle.

Dominick took that as a queue to get things moving. And he knew just the right way to do it.

“So . . .” Dominick said.

“Yes, the Triumvirate,” Herbert said, snapping to attention. “This way please.”

To be continued . . .



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