Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM Historical Fantasy book out:
A tennis match? Starting a war between the Duchy of Avann and the Kingdom of the Westlands?
Only in a fairy tale.
When Prince Henry hurts a young ball boy who told him Danilo’s ball was inside the line, Danilo’s response is automatic. Punch the prince’s face, pick him up left-handed, and break the royal jaw. Unfortunately, there’s another “automatic” at work: a death sentence for whoever strikes royalty.
King Hiram can’t—won’t—change the rule of law to rule of royal whim. But he grants the Heir of Avann fifteen days to find words that will allow Danilo to live.
In those fifteen days: Magick. The gods, goddesses and gender-fluid deities on Deity Lane. Kilvar, the assassin. A purse which opens in a bank vault. A mysterious old man. The Lady of All. The Magickal Hand writing, rewriting. A fairy tale within a fairy tale. A huge horse called Brute. And at the end…perhaps the right words and a most unexpected love. Plus a deity-supplied dinner with just the right amount of garlic.
All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.
Eric is giving away two backlist eBook titles to one lucky winner with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:
Searching for Words:
Outside Deity Lane
Deity Lane sounded like a small street, which made him wonder—while the trio wended their way through the early morning traffic of people going to work, returning from work, or simply starting out to do something, anything, other than stay inside on what promised to be a glorious, sunny day—how the buildings housing everything associated with thirty-nine distinct deities could be compressed into a lane. He wondered even more when they stopped at the plain, worn, more than a little dirty, tall, narrow wooden arch with “Deity Lane” carved across the top.
He peered through the opening, looking at a street so narrow it would barely accommodate three thin men abreast, with sidewalks not wide enough for a man of ordinary width to walk without a shoulder brushing the fronts of the buildings.
The buildings themselves continued the themes of extreme narrowness, dirt and dinginess, and leaned so far forward toward the center of the street, the projecting dormers seemed likely to touch if anyone were to so much as brush against peeling paint and cause the slightest of jiggles. These were tired, ancient buildings with closed doors and shuttered windows, all on the verge of collapse, while above them thick grey clouds cut off sunlight and warned of an imminent storm. There was a faint sound which might have been distant thunder, and an ominous creak from the structure nearest the arch.
None of which was anything like what was adjacent to Danilo and his guards.
Danilo looked left of the arch, at the confectioner’s shop, and then right, at the wine shop, both facing the same wide sidewalk. He followed with a backwards tilt of his head, almost far enough to lose his balance, confirming what he already knew. All this was under a blue sky so brilliant it required squinting to admire it. Head down again, he stared into the dimness of almost-dead twilight only visible through the arch.
God-foolery was what it was, Danilo decided, and wondered why anyone would want to go in. He wasn’t given an explanation but it appeared people did.
A short, fat man, with a scraggly beard, frizzy white hair around the fringe of his head, dressed in worn clothes, with two small children in just as tattered clothing, each grasping one of the old one’s hands, pushed past them and stepped through the arch.
Danilo watched as they marched down the center of the street, becoming smaller and smaller as if they were disappearing into the distance of a far horizon. In no more than a blink or three, they were gone.
Danilo and his friends said nothing, with nothing to say. Deity Lane was their first option, perhaps the only one, to find the words.
He started forward, but Ivyn’s hand on his shoulder stopped him. “We go first, Danilo.”
On another occasion, Danilo might have mocked them with a quip which brought laughter, but he kept silent.
The guards drew their swords, and stepped through the arch, moving as they did when they entered a room, alert and checking for danger. What they found, three steps in, was something…different.
They stopped and froze in place, their silhouetted expressions showing how little they intended to do so. Danilo’s eyes widened as he watched the fierce struggle visible on face and body as their swords were forced, will they, nill they, back into the sheaths. When their hands lifted from the hilts, their bodies belonged to them again.
Danilo took a step but Jonar’s hand and voice lifted. “Not yet.”
If he trusted them with his life, he had to trust their judgment. Danilo stopped.
Jonar put his hand on the hilt of the sword, fingers curled around it but doing nothing more. He tightened his grip, the muscles in his forearm, wrist and hand showing his attempt to remove the sword. But his body was no longer his to use as he willed, and the sword didn’t move a fraction of an inch. The only part of his body which was his to command was the curl of his fingers. When he flicked his fingers and thumb open wide, body control returned.
“We will obey,” he said. However, Jonar-the-ever-mocking did not lift his head and address the sky, or somewhere above, as was customary with the Three, and presumably the same here in the Westlands, when addressing one or more of their many deities. Instead, with a mocking grin he tilted his head as if speaking to the depths of the traditional hells far below.
When no lightning blasted him, nor was an alternate Great Rift opened to gulp him down, he grinned, and gave a “come on, get your ass moving,” wave to Danilo.
Danilo went through the arch.
Three strides in, he was level with Jonar and Ivyn, who stood facing each other on the sidewalks, backs not quite pressed against the ancient buildings. He started a fourth stride, but a thick iron bar—otherwise known as Jonar’s arm—stopped him.
“You have two weapons still available, my lord. Make use of them.”
Danilo nodded agreement—as if he had a choice. Jonar moved in front, Ivyn behind. Three wary, careful steps forward for Jonar, two for Danilo, one for Ivyn and they found themselves…elsewhere. The guards moved to flank him.
If Danilo had ever visited one particular version of the many Worlds Beside known as Earth, the only possible words out of his mouth just then would have been, “We’re not in Kansas any more.”
Eric is a Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “His first sea voyage was with Noah.” He started reading at five with one of the Andrew Lang books (he thinks it was The Blue Fairy Book) and has been a science fiction/fantasy addict ever since. Most of his writing is in those (MM) genres.
The exceptions are his Another England (alternate history) series: The Rake, The Rogue and the Roué(Regency novel), Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture(Victorian), with no way out(Regency) coming out a month after Of Princes.
Two more fairy tales are in progress: 3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar(Eric is sure you can figure this one out), and The Truth About Them Damn Goats(of the gruff variety).
Now all he has to do is find the time to write the incomplete stuff! (The real world can be a real pain!)
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