Earth Camp and A Gift to Save the Earth

The first story I’ve ever co-authored is now complete. In June, the first part, “Earth Camp,” posted on Lightning Quick Reads.

Scott Harpstrite and I tell the story of a futuristic Earth where a weapon destroyed most of the Earth’s atmosphere. 100 years later, a team of explorers are sent by the Solar Council to investigate Earth, look for survivors of the war, and test the planet’s habitability. What they discover rewrites their understanding of history.

Read “Earth Camp” here.Welcome

For December’s Lightning Quick Reads post, we conclude the story with “A Gift to Save the Earth.”

With a newly constructed time travel machine, the explorers from the Solar Council and some refugees from Earth embark on a mission to travel back in time and stop the weapon from ever destroying the Earth’s atmosphere. But can they change history?

Read “A Gift to Save the Earth” here.aurora-borealis

 

My New Horror Story, Trimixer, Now on Lightning Quick Reads

I’m warning you right now, this is not a light-hearted, feel-good story. Advance at your own risk.

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Scary does not need darkness.

It doesn’t require monsters, ghouls, or ghosts.

Not all evil lurks in human form.

The most ordinary day can become a horror story.

****

Aiden’s childish screams pierced the humid air as he ran through his sprinkler. Water warmed in the inflatable pool. The cool, cloudy morning had turned into a bright, hot day.

Steve stood on the edge of the wet grass watching his son play. Matted hair dripped water from his head, and his soaked green and blue swim trunks clung to his legs and made a sloshing sound as he ran. Steve’s wife, Annie, sat on the front porch step. She looked striking in her cutoff denim shorts and maroon bikini top. He could think of a handful of things he’d like to do with her instead of work, but none of them would happen during the day with Aiden awake. Oh, well. Nothing wrong with planning ahead for tonight.

Once they wanted to have another kid; a girl would have been nice. A boy and a girl, what more could they ask for? But after three miscarriages in a row, the hurt became too much, and they decided Steve should get a vasectomy. With Aiden turning seven, they didn’t want to start over with a baby. This would mark the last time Steve would wonder what it would have been like having two children.

A dull, splashing sound brought Steve out of his daydream. He looked down to see water droplets splatter the toes of his work boots turning the tan leather a reddish brown.  He remembered he had work to do. As he walked to the silo shed, Annie’s phone rang. “Hello. Oh, hi Clarisse. Thanks for calling me back. Hold on, I have to run in the house to find the paperwork.”

He passed the barn door and remembered he needed to take another bale of hay to the orphaned calf. He had thrown several bails down, so as not to half to climb the rickety latter to the hayloft more than every couple days. After carrying a hay bale to the stall where he kept the calf, pulling off the twine, and breaking the bale apart, he checked the water tub and found the calf still had plenty before setting off for the silo shed again.

He found the light on in the shed. He had finished chores at dusk the night before; had he left it on? Mistakes like that happened when he hurried. He flipped the switch off, turned on the fuel to his old tractor and worked his way to the rear of the Trimixer to open the silo shoot. He turned on the silo unloader and gave it a few minutes to fill enough for the cattle.

When silage piled to the opening of the shoot, he started the tractor and turned on the power-takeoff (PTO) to bring the silage to the front of the wagon. And earsplitting screech cut deep into his sole. Something must be grinding. He reached for the PTO lever, but the noise stopped.  The shrill screech happened again, this time much shorter, and stopped. The sound couldn’t have come from metal grinding metal as he first suspected. It came from a living creature.

****

Continue reading the rest of the story here, if you dare.

The Squire and the Slave Master–Cover Reveal!

Two of the most exciting days for an author are the day you get your cover and Release Day. Well, the first has finally come for The Squire and the Slave Master. Not only am I going to reveal the cover for the first time, but I’m also going to share an except. I originally shared this excerpt as a short story titled The Message on Lightning Quick Reads in July which had a theme of Freedom.

Before I get to the fun stuff, I have a little business/self-promotion to get out of the way. Muse It Up Publishing, the publisher for Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud and The Squire and the Slave Master, is celebrating its 5 year anniversary. From now until October 4 you can enter the coupon code 5YEARS2015  in your cart and get 50% off your total order. So take some time to browse around. While you’re there, you may notice Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud is already on 50% sale for $2.75. So with this coupon code you can have it for less than $1.40. If you haven’t read it yet, now is the perfect time before The Squire and the Slave Master’s Release Day.

Okay, I’ve put it off long enough. Here’s the cover. Just like the first book, C.K. Volnek also designed this one.

The Squire and the Slave Master 333x500

Blurb

The award winning Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud (CLC’s Best First Novel 2014) chronicled Yara, Owen, and Cedric’s quest to revive King Kendrick from a dark, magical spell. After the adventure to save King Kendrick, for Yara, everyday life has grown monotonous. The dull work of learning her father’s blacksmithing trade, and the pressure from her parents to decide what she plans on doing with her life, has her nerves so stressed she snaps at her father’s slightest teasing.

Lucky for her, a surprise messenger from the castle brings the king’s request for her to join a collaborative mission between the Central and Western Domains of Wittatun to stop a recently discovered slave operation in a land to the west. King Kendrick and Owen want her to accompany the mission as a secret weapon disguised as a squire.

She has to keep secret not only her magical abilities from any possible traitors, but also her gender. The people of the Western Domain have a superstition prohibiting girls from sailing. But a chill wind carries the distinct odor of sabotage. Can one girl survive to destroy an evil rooted much deeper than mere slavery?

And now the excerpt:

“Sir, the third ship has arrived.”

Casimir didn’t turn from the window. “Yes, Bronislaw, I’ve seen it. Prepare your men for battle. Hold a few back as guards. If any of the slaves turn against us, execute them.”

The sound of Bronislaw’s footsteps faded as he exited the chamber.

A bird flew past the upper chamber and caught Casimir’s attention. I thought I killed all the birds. Oh well, I’ll get rid of this one too.

He raised his staff but lowered it when the bird redirected for the temple. A scroll of parchment dangled from its ankle. The bird landed on the altar in the center of the room. Casimir approached it with caution. It held up a leg, and he removed and unrolled the scroll. The letter didn’t have a signature, but it didn’t need one. He recognized the handwriting from years of correspondence.

I’m free. I understand what you plan to do, but it must stop. You aren’t powerful enough with magic. The temple will open a portal to the underworld, but you’ll never manage to close it and whose body do you think he’ll take? Someone so powerful won’t survive in a body with no magical experience. He will exhaust it in less than a day. Surrender your plan and join me in the swamp in the Southern Domain. Argnam already built the necessary accommodations there.

The paper flashed into flames on his palm. “You had your chance. I have a plan and a reasonable backup plan, which is more than you’ve ever had.”

The bird pecked at a pair of tiny beetles scurrying along the wall. With the flick of his staff, a green orb of light shot and hit the bird. A singed smell and a few feathers were all that remained.

From the window, he could see troops following the path from the beach to the temple. He watched the ships for the sign. A few flashes of light came in quick succession from the southernmost ship.

“Damn!” He thought back to the note. “It’s all right. I can still do this even though he doesn’t have the magician.” He held his staff high and returned a message in flashing lights. “Change of plans. We have to capture Mansfield. Alive.”

Three lines of slaves faced east in anticipation of the troops coming through the woods. Perfect.

Casimir closed the towering double doors as he exited the chamber. With his staff and a brief incantation, he placed an invisible barrier on the room. He took a piece of stone from a pile of rubble in a corner and tossed it at the door. In a flash, it became dust and smoke. Smiling, he left in search of Bronislaw.

Outside the door of the temple, the slaves waited for the pending battle. Bronislaw had taken a spot on high ground where he could overlook the battle soon to unfurl.

Casimir strolled up to him. “We have a new arrangement. They lost the magician. I need Mansfield alive. If you find him, bring him to me.”

Bronislaw nodded and signaled to his lieutenants.

He returned to the entrance of the temple and watched the battle unfold. The first troops emerged from the forest to an onslaught from the slaves. They had probably expected to hit them with a surprise attack, but the slaves had known. Casimir had known. Casimir always knew.

The second group emerged with their swords and shields at the ready. The slaves matched them well in strength but outlasted them in stamina. Most of the fishermen from Beroe had little or no battle training.

Mansfield’s men had one major disadvantage that greatly outweighed even their lower endurance or their lack of training. Twice Casimir noticed the soldiers relinquish an opportunity to slay their opponents.

They don’t want to kill. They see my slaves as innocent victims.

Another group emerged from the trees. They almost exclusively donned long beards and, barring their sunburns, looked a lot like many of the more recently acquired slaves. Some of the slaves hesitated; others dropped their weapons.

Now we’ll identify my dedicated servants, those who recognize what they have gained by coming here.

Several slaves, most of them having significantly different appearances to the men from Beroe—taller, more muscular, darker skin, some thin with scraggly beards—turned their attention to the traitors. With their weapons lowered, they had no defense. A distant voice shouted, “No!” Heads and limbs splashed into pools of blood as men turned on each other, betraying their former lives for the promises of their master.

Earth Camp on Lightning Quick Reads

Since I always want my ability as a writer to grow, I often experiment with writing styles. For the first time, I tried writing a story with someone else. In my June post for Lightning Quick Reads, with the theme of ‘Camp,’ I’ve coauthored a story with my cousin, Scott Harpstrite. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but other than some ideas I wouldn’t have come up with myself, the story seem, in my opinion, to have an extra layer of depth. Check it out and let me know what you think.

http://lightningquickreads.blogspot.com/2015/06/earth-camp-by-eric-price-and-scott.html

Remember the Future–The Final Installment of Cloverleaf Project.

The three part short story, Cloverleaf Project, which I started in March, concludes with Remember the Future. You can read the complete story on Lightning Quick Reads.

Part 1: Thank the Lucky Stars

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Part 2: The Final Transmission

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Part 3: Remember the Future

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Also, anyone who leaves a comment on Lightning Quick Reads for the month of May gets entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. So let me know what you think.

Here’s a ‘just for fun.’ Each story has a dedication. The first person to comment here with the connection each dedicated person has to their particular story wins a free copy of my book, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud. If you already have Unveiling, you can win my upcoming release, The Squire and the Slave Master, instead. Think character names, story titles, phrases within the story…it could be anything.

Thanks for reading.

Thank the Lucky Stars on Lightning Quick Reads

Today I posted the first science fiction story I’ve written in several years on Lightning Quick Reads. The march theme: Luck–just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Find out how one genetically engineered human views luck. And is there a genetic code for luck? All this talk of genetics makes it sound deep. Don’t let it scare you off if sci-fi isn’t your thing. It’s actually quite soft on the science and set in a not too distant future. Just a chance for me (and possibly you) to get settled in for the fun to come. I plan on writing science fiction stories for April through June (at least). I hope you enjoy. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Lightning Quick Reads for February: Love

When I signed up for Lightning Quick Reads, and I saw the theme schedule, I got a little nervous when I saw the February theme of Love. Mainly because I don’t write about love. At least I haven’t… until now. Come on over to LQR, read my first love story, and please, while you’re there, leave a comment to let me know what you think. Who knows, maybe I’ll start writing romance novels. Then again, maybe not.

Foreign Exchange, My First Post on Lightning Quick Reads

For those of you not familiar with it, Lightning Quick Reads is a new short story blog created by Kai Strand. Each month features a new topic, and the participating authors will interpret that topic however they want in a short story. January’s theme is ‘GOALS.’ Today marks my first story. In Foreign Exchange, the narrator recounts a story from his childhood soccer team and his dream of playing goalie. I hope you enjoy it. While you’re there, check out some of the other author’s stories and feel free to leave comments.

http://lightningquickreads.blogspot.com/2015/01/foreign-exchange-by-eric-price.html

Guest Post: James J. Crofoot author of The Journeys of a Different Necromancer

I’m a fan of short stories, but I feel the world of literature has changed a lot since the days when Faulkner could spin a griping tale, sometimes stretching over several decades, in just a couple thousand words. Now, more people want the seven to eleven or greater volume collections of Martin and Goodkind. So I’m pleased to feature James J. Crofoot, who has published not just a short story, but a collection of related short stories into a two-volume series. The first volume is available now.

IMG_0775James J Crofoot Has been telling stories since he learned to talk. It took some years before he could put them on paper and later, on screen.

Playing sailor for a time in the U.S. Navy, he saw the bottoms of a couple oceans through water so clear and blue you would swear you could reach out and touch the sea beds. In the skies at night he saw the milky way as a strip of white across the sky and realized how easy it would be to fall in love with the being at sea.

He’s climbed and stood on the top of a mountain or two, in the Rockies and Appalachians, and gazed in wonder at the sight stretching before him.

In my travelling he even managed to obtain a couple degrees, in business and electronics.

Through it all though, his first love has always been writing. Placing words upon paper and screen.  He has so many stories to tell, I really hope you’ll join me. If you like what you read, leave him a reply, and maybe join him on facebook.

The Journeys of a Different Necromancer 333x500The Journeys of a Different Necromancer started as a single short story. Then more just grew as the ideas took a life of their own. As a collection of short stories, it was pitched to the publisher of MuseItUp Publishing Company and the decision was made to collect them all into two book series. The first of which is now available. Check out this excerpt;

“I was with Xavier,” Thomas replied. With head bowed, he stared at his stew, sensing he would not be allowed to eat.

“Who?” His mother’s voice, her angry voice, the high-pitched voice.

Thomas looked up at his father to see a pipe halfway to a gaping mouth. “Xavier, you know, he lives in the tower. He wants to teach me to read and write, he wants me to be his apprentice.”

His mother sat down hard and stared at him.

“He’s got lots of books, scores of them. He showed me a book with lots of animals in it.”

His da sat back in his chair, silent. His mum folded her hands in her lap, also silent.

“Think of it,” Thomas continued excitedly. “Think of the things I could do if I could read. I could go and work for the prince in Targon, I could see the whole kingdom.”

“Go to bed, Thomas,” da said.

The boy gazed down at his untouched food. It smelled good and looked even better, but his father had spoken. Thomas got up and climbed the ladder to his loft. Deep into the night, even after his parents stopped their whispered arguing, he lay in bed thinking of the map Xavier had shown him of the kingdom. He would find a way. He would be…what word had Xavier used? Necromancer. He would be a necromancer and he would see the whole kingdom.

* * * *

In the morning, Thomas awoke to the smell of porridge. Having had no dinner the night before, he hurried down the ladder. There he found his da already eating. His mum ladled his share into a bowl and then got some for herself.

“We’ve decided you may learn to read and write. None of that dark stuff, though. You hear? No digging up of graves,” his da said. “We want more for your life, Thomas. Now then, what does this friend of yours want in return? We can’t afford to pay anything. I supposed he mentioned a price.”

Thomas looked at his mum as she sat down. She folded her hands in her lap and remained quiet.

“He said it would cost nothing. He just wants someone to teach. Xavier said he’s getting old and just wants someone to pass on some of ‘is…” Thomas paused trying to remember the word. “…knowledge.”

Da wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Then we’ll give it a try. Only til ‘arvest, though. You’ll be needed in the fields then. Anything after that and we’ll see.”

A month and a half, Thomas thought excitedly. I have a month and a half!

“No good will come of this,” his mum remarked. “Mark my words, that man never did any good for anyone.”

Thomas finished his breakfast in a gulp, and got up to run from the house. He stopped just outside the door to pick up his favorite stick and heard, his da say, “I want better for him, Sonya. This life is no life for my son. He’s smarter than this.”

* * * *

A month passed and Thomas studied. He studied geography; the world turned out to be a lot bigger than he imagined. He learned arithmetic, how to count to a thousand. Then moved on to reading and writing, eight to nine hours a day, he went through the books and scrolls. On the second and third floors of the tower stood skeletons of various animals, there he learned science, anatomy and biology.

The forth floor, however, Xavier said he needed to learn a good deal more before being ready for that.

“The villagers are shunning me,” he said to Xavier one day after learning the word. “They whisper about me whenever I pass. Even my friends. Yesterday, I waved to them and started walking, to tell them what I was learning, and they turned their backs and ran away.

Xavier looked up from the book he held. “People, for the most part, are very small minded. They shun what they do not understand or things that are different.”

“Was that the way it was with you when you first started studying to be a necromancer?”

“People always thought me to be a little different. Look, Thomas, you will see more, you will do more, than they can imagine in their empty heads. You will learn to create life from death.”

Thomas thought about these words for some time. He wanted to do more than just plant and harvest. He wanted to travel this world, especially the sea to the west, to see more than just this tiny village to small for a name. He decided he liked being different. He was already learning more that they ever would. Did not that make him better?

You can find this young adult novella at

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/352-james-crofoot

It is also available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Join me at:

Website – http://www.crofootwrites.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/jamcrofoot626

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/JamesJCrofoot