Sample from ‘Making of a Warrior’ – Assassination Attempt

“I have received word of important business that will force me to leave the palace immediately. My sister, the Imperial Princess Royal Sofia will be your hostess for the remainder of the celebration. Please enjoy yourselves,” Stela made the announcement as Roderick and Jordan came to meet her.

As Roderick approached Stela, a large ice wall appeared behind him. He turned quickly hearing the noise. An arrow embedded in the ice. He looked around. “Get the Empress inside the castle,” Roderick ordered.

Jordan escorted Stela to safety along with a few guards. Those in attendance began to run in all directions. Felicia retrieved her sword. Harris was next to her, armed and ready.

“We need to remain calm,” Roderick called out to the guests. “We need to stay together for protection.” The crowd stopped running and began gathering in the middle of the courtyard.

Daniella joined Roderick. “What do you think is happening, Roderick?”

“I do not know, Duchess. Please stay close, we may need your help if we cannot find the attacker,” Roderick commanded.

“Of course. Do you think the Empress is safe? Perhaps I should go to her?” Daniella began toward the castle.

“No, stay here. She is safe within the palace. The attack came from outside.” Roderick wanted as few people around his sister as possible.

Sofia rushed down to join Roderick. “Where did the arrow come from, Roderick?”

“I do not know but stay here, get behind me.” Roderick pushed Sofia behind him.

“Use your power, my dear. You can hear him and his plans,” Braynard was beside her. “Concentrate on the voices.”

Sofia cleared her mind and focused, sorting through the voices. ‘I failed. The Imperial Prince Royal will have my head. She got away. I need to take someone’s life for the Emperor Consort.’ The voice was clear.

“He is here on behalf of Edmund, tasked with killing Stela,” she informed the Magister. “Now he just wants to kill someone, anyone.”

“Good, Sofia,” Braynard commended her.

Suddenly the courtyard became cold. The sound was deafening as the outer walls of the palace were surrounded by a thick dome of ice. There was no escape. They had to find the man before he found Stela.

“Roderick, are you okay?” the voice called out. Roderick turned to see Antonio approaching.

“Grandfather, what are you doing here? Hurry before the man strikes you down.” Roderick called out to the old man.

“His arrows are not faster than me. I think that is quite obvious,” the Benedictus pointed to the sheet of ice in front of Roderick.

“You did that?”

“He did, Roderick,” Braynard answered. “He also trapped the would be assassin within the walls of the palace. We just need Sofia to point him out now.”

“Yes, Roderick, I am a Magister. Braynard showed me what was going to happen at the celebration, so I needed to come. He saw you die, the arrow had reached its mark, and I could not allow that to happen.” He hugged Roderick.

“I need you to focus, Sofia. I need you to tell us where the voice is coming from,” Antonio instructed her. “Let the voice lead us to him.”

“What is going on?” Charity joined them.

“I need you to go protect Stela, Charity,” Braynard ordered. “She is alone with only guards. She will need your powers to keep her safe.”

“Of course. Where is she?” Charity asked.

“They took her to her salon,” Sofia responded. “I can hear her thoughts. She is worried about our safety. Let her know we are all fine. Keep her safe.”

Charity rushed off, heading to the palace. She sensed it. She turned as an arrow was headed toward her. She raised her hand, and the arrow met a fire ball. A shower of arrows followed, each met a similar fate. She reached the doors of the palace, they were locked.

“Let me in! The Imperial Princess Royal, Sofia sent me to protect the Empress,” she called out.

“Sorry, Imperial Highness, we cannot allow anyone in under orders of the Empress,” the guard responded through the door.

“Let me in, I have to protect her, you will not be enough.”

No response. She continued to ward off the arrows, which were now coming from multiple directions.

“I demand you open this door now, or I will be forced to take it down,” she gave them one last chance.

The guards on the other side remained silent. She focused, the air around her became heavy, the heat increased. The pressure around the doors grew until they were blown open. The heat rushed into the palace as Charity entered. The guards attempted to stop her, but the air around her had become too hot for them to do anything. She rushed to the salon.

She found Stela and Jordan inside. Jordan raised his sword as she entered. She focused the heat on his blade, he quickly dropped it. “I am here to protect Stela,” she said.

“What is going on out there, Charity?” Stela asked. “Was anyone hurt?”

“It seems the palace is under attack. Sofia claims he is here on Edmund’s behalf. You have to remain here until the assassin is found.” Charity approached Stela. “Everyone is fine.”

“I am sure he is gone by now,” Stela stood to leave.

“No, the Benedictus surrounded the palace in ice, he will have no escape. Sofia is trying to find him. It seems Sofia has gifts as well,” Charity answered.

“I do not know what is going on. The Benedictus too? It seems everyone has some sort of power.” Stela paced the room. She wanted to be out there, not stuck in this room.

****

Astrid joined Roderick and Sofia. “I picked a bad time to visit. Do you know where the arrows are coming from?” Kyle stayed close to Astrid. “Master Scientia, I see now why you wanted me here,” she said, turning to face Braynard.

“Yes, I knew you would be of assistance, Astrid,” Braynard responded.

“It seems there is more than one assassin,” Sofia offered. She was hearing several voices talking about their failure.

Astrid’s eyes fixated on the towers around the palace. Within moments several ravens emerged. They started to circle the palace perimeter.

“There is one up on the north tower,” Astrid advised.

“I see him,” Felicia said. She concentrated on the figure in the tower. ‘Jump,’ she thought focusing on the man cowering behind the stone.

They watched as the man jumped from the tower, hitting the stone below.

“One down,” Felicia laughed.

“There are three along the roofs of the barracks,” Astrid added.

“I got this,” Harris said. He moved from in front of the stands for a clear view. He could see two of them. He turned his hands, palms up as two fireballs formed, growing in size. An arrow was headed in his direction, he was focused on his hands. A sword had met the arrow before it hit its mark. He turned to see Felicia. Her blade inches from his face. He released the flames. The two men on the roof fell to the ground ablaze.

The Benedictus quickly encased the third in ice, eliminating the threat.

‘I will not fail him. I may not make it out alive, but I will have served my love well.’ Sofia heard the voice. ‘I had not planned on killing Duchess Emery, but she leaves me no choice,’ the voice continued. “There is one in the palace,” Sofia yelled. “He is with Stela. Her and Charity are in danger.”

“Who is he?” Felicia asked.

“I do not know, I cannot tell.” Sofia panicked.

“I have this,” Astrid looked up. The ravens quickly dipped in the sky and entered the doors of the palace.

Killing a character, the aftermath

Books have death, characters die. It is a fact of the literary world. I have received a lot of feedback, mostly upset, about a character that I killed in the first book. Deciding to kill a character isn’t usually an easy decision, especially a character like the one I offed in “Making of an Empress”. However, the character was written with the intention of dying. I did not realize, though, how well loved this character would become. I thought, this is an okay character but I wasn’t prepared for the backlash at his/her death. Most of those who have read the book have reached out to me and the first thing they say is “I can’t believe you killed…”

I think, at least for me, I saw this character as likable but not lovable, I underestimated this character’s influence. I knew when this character was developed death was in the cards. I really liked the character myself but this character had served the purpose for which he/she was written; their story had come to an end, though some would disagree.

I have been asked to write a book, or novella, giving this character’s backstory, more insight to the character so many love. It is a possibility once I finish book two that I might focus on this character’s story. I think it is a good story. Believe me, when I say, I am attached to every character I develop and deciding to kill one is difficult for me and not a decision that is taken lightly. Just to forewarn you there are other deaths in the other books.

Reviews

Reviews are what make or break a book. Writers can take reviews very personally, after all most have put a lot of themselves in the books they write. I have been fortunate my reviews have been positive up to this point but I know there will come a time when the reviews will not always be positive.

I started thinking about how I would handle negative reviews. After shedding a few tears, lol, if I was smart I would determine if the review provided some tips to improve future novels. If so, I would be stupid to not do my best to address those issues. If the review was just a chance for someone to bash my work for no justifiable reason, I would forget it and move on.

Realize that critical reviews help writers improve. If all a writer ever receives is positive feedback, the writer is lead to believe he is doing well. I want to grow as a writer and constructive criticism will help me achieve that goal. Just remember when offering less than positive feedback, someone has put themselves into the words you are reading. Try to make the feedback, constructive and not destructive.

FE Women’s Club Spring Bazaar

Today was the FirstEnergy Women’s Club Spring Craft Bazaar. It was an amazing experience. I was honored to have fellow FE employee and author Angelica Leigh by my side. We were both fortunate to sell many copies of our books. I was surprised how well the book sold. Angelica sold all the copies she brought, I was so happy for her. I left with only six books left so I was pleased with how well I did as well.

I enjoyed talking about my book with those who stopped by to purchase or just discuss how I came up with the idea. At the beginning of the day I was quite nervous, by the end of the day I felt like a pro. I am so blessed to work for a company that supports local artists, craft people, and writers.

I can’t wait for the fall craft bazaar!

Why Historical Fantasy

I remember when I first started telling friends about my book. The first thing everyone said was “oh like Game of Thrones”. It annoyed me but then I realized most of my friends probably didn’t follow historical fantasy and that was their only point of reference. While it is great for someone to think of Game of Thrones when you talk about your book, it is not Game of Thrones, it is simply the same genre.

I have always loved the medieval period, don’t ask me why I couldn’t really tell you. There was just something about the period that drew me in and has kept me interested all these years. I don’t know if it is the pageantry of the period, the manners of the nobles, or just the simpler times they lived in, something just pulls me in.

There is just something about damsels in distress and valiant knights coming to their rescue. Grand castles with dark secrets. Kings who rule with an iron fist and a lustful heart. It is all just so exciting. Imagine what it must have been like to live in that time. It would suck if you weren’t born into the right social standing but imagine being the child of a noble. The possibilities, the social events, and the chivalry.

As I got older I started studying the middle ages more. I was surprised to find the typical images associated with the time period were nowhere near what life was really like for those who lived it.

Granted we have certainly skewed the true day to day life of those who called the middle ages home. We remove the truth about the unsanitary conditions of most large cities (they were typically built along waterway to allow waste to be easily removed). The streets were typically filled with human waste, combined with the smell of meat rotting in the butcher’s shop (no refrigeration).

The castles weren’t as glamorous as we like to believe either. Indoor plumbing was not yet invented so residents simply relieved themselves in assigned areas within the castle. A simple hole in the floor was their relief. Some castles had these holes lead right to the moat that surrounded many castles (imagine the smells). Others had special staff that were required to clean the holes (certainly not a job I would want). The smell of ammonia was often quite strong in palaces – an attempt to cover the smell of the waste.

Medicine was barbaric and most injuries and illnesses resulted in death. Infant mortality was outrageous and childbirth was particularly difficult on the mother. Science was starting to emerge but religion still dictated much of the medicine practiced. It was believe sickness was brought on by evil spirits so the religious would try to remove the demon, which usually didn’t work out so well for the patient. Leeches were used for bloodletting, the belief was all illness was in the blood and removing the bad blood would bring the patient back from the brink.

Even with the darkness of the time period it remains a favor of authors, readers, screenwriters, and viewers alike. We simply make the period more romantic, more magical, than it actually was. While I have studied what the period was really like, I still love everything about it and knew it had to be the setting for my first book.

Making of a Warrior

I have set Making of a Warrior up for preorder on Kindle, available through Amazon. I have a release date of June 14, 2017. If I don’t set up a deadline I will never finish it, so I needed to get a date set. The book is currently available for 2.99 but the price will increase closer to release date based on the backend costs.

So head over to Amazon and check out the new book. Also, check out my author page, I added a book trailer for Making of an Empress.

Frank David – Author Central