Hey, y’all! Would you like to read the first chapter of The Veihl Coast, Book Two of the So’ladiun?

Soooo, I’ve finally released the second book in my So’ladiun Series. I know, I know, some of you are saying, “What the you-know-what? Took you long enough.” Well, truth is that I had bit of this, that, and the other life throws at ya from time to time and couldn’t get the book ready. But it is here now, and I’m actually kind of partial to this installation in the series. It has a little bit of everything, and even if you’re not a fan of fantasy, I think you will enjoy the mystery and just pure fun of riding along on an adventure that will take you away from the “yuckiness” that seems to be flooding the real world at the moment. And just to give you a little bit of a taste of my madness, I have decided to let you guys read the first chapter. I hope you enjoy!

Chapter One
 
   The woman was going to be the death of him someday. He was certain of it.
   “Marissa, wait,” Clay shouted, trying to catch up to the fiery redhead weaving through the crowd of pedestrians choking the boardwalk of Jarit’s Cove. Frustrated, he squeezed through a narrow opening between two of the town’s elders which earned him dual looks of annoyance.
   “My apologies, ladies,” he said, reaching up to tip his hat as he passed, forgetting that Marissa had swiped it from his head in her fit of anger. He tugged on the mist-dampened locks of hair plastered to his forehead instead.
   “Marissa got you on a chase again, Clay?” one of the ladies asked.
   “Yes, Madam Valiance,” he said over his shoulder, hearing the expected giggles from the women. Marissa’s temper was no secret to anyone within fifty leagues of the town. “Marissa!” he called out again.
   The object of his pursuit glanced over her shoulder with a wicked smile. “You better take back what you said, Clay, or the hat gets it,” she said, raising her voice so he could hear her over the noise of the crowd around them. She held up a floppy-brimmed hat. It was his favorite hat, and she knew it.
   “Marissa, stop this nonsense . . . .”
Marissa studied him for a moment, then stepped off the boardwalk and into the street without concern for the riders and wagons trying to make their way through thick, slippery mud that rain for an entire week had created. She stopped next to a puddle and dangled his hat threateningly close to its murky surface.
   “You wouldn’t dare,” he said.
   “Wouldn’t I?” she asked, and he had no doubt she would soak it thoroughly without remorse if he didn’t do something fast.
   “Please, my beautiful darling,” he pleaded, knowing flattery traveled a long mile when trying to squash her anger. “I was only teasing about Freda. You know I love you.” He held out a hand for her. “Get out of the street before you get trampled.”
   “I don’t believe you, Clay. Saying breasts the size of Freda’s could keep a man’s face warm on a cold night isn’t exactly the words a man betrothed to someone else should say, do you think?” she growled as she stepped backwards to put distance between them. Her boots sank ankle deep into the soft mud.
   He bit back a laugh, trying with a gargantuan effort to keep his face serious. He hadn’t known she was behind him when he, Kole, and Anri were discussing the nicer parts of Freda’s female anatomy. “I promise I was not serious. You are the love of my life. I only want your breasts to keep my face warm at night,” he said, earning some heartfelt laughs from those listening nearby.
   Marissa’s face flushed blood red, and he wished on the grave of his departed mother that he could have said something a little less crass. Marissa was never going to forgive him.
   Several horses trotted by dangerously close to her, their riders not caring in the least if she was in their way or not. Growling under his breath in frustration, Clay stepped off the boardwalk and tried to grab her arm. “Please, let’s discuss this elsewhere, my love.”
She jerked back out of his reach. “Don’t call me your love,” she snarled, and turned to dash across the street unheeding of the conditions of the earth under her feet.
   And that was her first mistake of the morning.
   Reminding Clay of a scene in a humorous skit he had once seen by a traveling actor’s troupe, Marissa slipped and slid in the mud and lost her balance. She then veered headlong into the flank of a large ginger horse standing nearby, bounced backwards and landed on her butt with a splat in the soggy street. An unladylike oath of frustration spewed from her mouth as she pounded her fists into the mud, adding additional splatters of muck onto her ruined clothes.
   His hat didn’t stand a chance. She pummeled it into a sodden, muddy lump, then tried to stand, but her hands and feet slipped out from under her once again. She landed on her back, limbs sprawled wide in the mire.
   “Son of a mangy dog with worms,” she yelled in frustration at the dreary sky above as a ripple of laughter swept up and down the street from those who had witnessed her comical fiasco.
   “Well, I certainly didn’t expect that,” the rider of the ginger horse said with a small laugh.
   Clay flashed a quick look of apology at the rider who seemed no bigger than a child on her horse as he hurried to Marissa’s side. “Marissa, are you all right?” he asked, trying to stifle a grin and knew he wasn’t succeeding.
   “Do I look all right?” she spat. She rolled over on her side and held up mud soaked hands. “Help me up, you oaf!”
   A small laugh from above drew Marissa’s attention and Clay winced, knowing that the muddy spitfire was about to explode . . . which was her second mistake of the morning.
   “Do you find this funny?” Marissa demanded, glaring at the rider.
   “I’ve seen pigs wallow in the mud less than you, my dear,” said a second rider, a captain of the King’s Army who sat atop a mahogany bay that was not happy with being still. Agitated, the horse slung his head and pawed at the soft muck, creating deep ruts in the mud.
   “Are you calling me a pig?” Marissa sputtered.
   “Well, . . . ,” said the captain, but was interrupted by the first rider.
   “Captain, enough. My lady, he meant no disrespect . . . ,” she started to say, but Marissa was inflamed and launched into telling both riders just what she thought of strangers coming into her town and insulting her, and then proceeded to be very specific where they could stick their opinions and observations.
   Clay studied the soldier as he listened helplessly to Marissa accuse the two riders of running her over on purpose, wondering what brought the captain to Jarit’s Cove. Soldiers were a rare sight in the small fishing village unless it was one of their own returning home. He shifted his gaze back to the first rider who, despite her small stature, seemed to be in charge and scrutinized her closely. His eyes went wide when he saw the pin of a golden eagle on her cloak. This was no ordinary citizen. She was an official in the military or the government—he didn’t know which, and Marissa had no idea she was slinging insult after insult at someone who could possibly throw her in jail on a whim.
   “Marissa,” he said, trying to interrupt her but with no luck. He sent a quick prayer to Solisius, the God of Light, that the two riders were forgiving people because the love of his life was on a downhill roll with her tirade, and he knew that it could only end in disaster. He tried again. “Marissa!”
   “What, Clay?”
   She whirled on him ready to fight, but at the expense of his own welfare, he trudged forward.
   “I think we should let these good people go about their business. It was just an accident,” he said, not daring to point out it was her own fault since she had collided into the woman’s horse. He watched Marissa’s face flush red for the second time in just a matter of minutes and knew that she would consider his actions as some sort of heinous betrayal of her welfare and would no doubt blister his ears with what she thought of him all the way back to her parent’s inn. With a deep regret that the wildflowers she loved were gone for the season and he couldn’t appease her with a large bouquet, he reached for her hand to force her away if necessary before any permanent damage could be done. But the strong-willed fighter in her would have nothing of it and painfully slapped his hand away.
   “Marissa, is it?” the female rider asked. She tugged the hood from her head, revealing shoulder length, wispy brown hair that spiraled from the damp air.
   Marissa glared back at the rider. “Yes, that’s my name, Miss.” She spread her arms wide. “Look what you have done. My clothes are ruined.”
   “Marissa, it was an accident,” Clay sighed in resigned exasperation as he massaged the sting out of his hand from where she slapped him.
   “Shut up, Clay!” Marissa spat at him, confirming that reasoning with her was a lost cause.
   “I would be more than happy to pay for their cleaning or perhaps something new would be in order,” the woman said with a friendly smile, creating dimples on both sides of her pale face. To Clay’s relief she didn’t appear to be offended. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Elhrin Caddoch, and the shady-looking soldier with me is Captain Kyne Pittwold. Please accept my apologies for causing your fall.”
   Clay released an inaudible sigh of relief when he saw that Marissa finally realized that this woman was no ordinary citizen, and her fire fizzled out as if it were doused by the fine mist that drifted down from the dark blanket of clouds overhead.
   “No, no, I am sorry. Clay is right, it was just an accident,” Marissa stammered as her gaze located the eagle’s pin on the woman’s cloak. “Uh, maybe . . . .”
   “We should be going,” Clay finished her sentence, finally succeeding to grasp Marissa by the arm. He tugged her back towards the boardwalk.
   “Wait,” Elhrin called. “Marissa, I would like to talk with you.”
   “Really, Miss,” Clay said nervously, figuring they should make a hasty retreat, “we need to go.”
   The lady cocked her head to one side and nodded slightly. “If you must, but you forgot your hat.”
   She pointed at the miserable object lying half buried in the mud and waved her hand. The hat swept up into the air seeming of its own accord, popped back into a somewhat normal shape, and flew over Marissa’s head to land with a sodden thump on top of Clay’s head. Cold mud oozed down the side of his face.
   The slim soldier whooped with laughter as Marissa stared in shock at the hat slumping miserably over Clay’s eyes and ears. She then turned in amazement to the woman on the horse.
   “Now would you like to talk to me?” Elhrin asked, grinning wide.
   Marissa slowly nodded her head. “I most definitely would,” she said softly.
 
You can get your copy of The Veihl Coast, Book Two of the So’ladiun at these online retailers:
 
 
 
Copyright © 2017 Laurie Y. Elrod

No, I Haven’t Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth, Just In A Hole

Hello, everyone, I hope you are doing well today! I just thought to give you all a little update on what is happening here on the home front. Straight to the point, the release of The Veihl Coast is being delayed, for which I apologize. Sometimes, the path of fate leads you down a different direction than you intended in order to get you where you need to be, as Gryph would say. I had fully intended to release the second book in the series long before now, but in the course of writing the third book, I realized certain issues in book two needed to be addressed and rewritten, sooooo, long story short, I’m writing and rewriting at the same time. I know this stinks, but in the end, I hope it makes for a better and more exciting story for you all to read. Thanks a bunch for understanding, and I’ll get it out to you as soon as I can. Y’all pray for me. I’m 140,000 words in on book three and have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Sleep, I need sleep……..
Have a blessed day!

~ Laurie

Long Time, No Write

Hi, all! It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to think about writing another blog post, (I’ve had good intentions, really I have) but I have been busier than a prostitute on buy one get one free nights. (I’m sorry! That was an awful joke. I apologize.) Anyway, I have been busy, dealing with a slew of this, that, and the other, along with trying to get all the kinks and wrinkles in the second installment of my So’ladiun series ironed out. It’s taking more time than I originally thought it would, and I’m still finding things I want to tweak. However, I wanted those who have asked about when I will release book two to know I’m working on it as hard as I can and to not give up on me. I don’t have a concrete timeline, but I will let you know when things are starting to roll. Soon, I hope (fingers and toes crossed). In the meantime, I thought I would share a short snippet from the book, tentatively entitled The Veihl Coast, but let me set the scene for you first.

An international trade conference is set to begin in the capital city of Muryne, and its walls are filled to near bursting level with thousands of citizens from all corners of the imagesCA3NL3CUcountry pouring in to take part in the exciting events scheduled to entertain the foreign dignitaries. Crime is on the upswing, stretching the city guard and local law enforcement’s abilities to stamp out all the sordid activity flaring up inside the city like erratic pockets of wildfire. So, when a series of gruesome murders start to occur, showing signs that the dark faction dedicated to Obsudius, the Brothers of M’gelidia, were most likely involved, Elhrin, assistant to the Minister of the Department of Specialized State Defense, and her partner, Kyne, are called upon to conduct an investigation to find who is responsible before the public realizes a serial killer is on the loose.

Hold on to your hats, folks! That is only the beginning. Like climbing over the first hill of a winding rollercoaster, the story will explode into motion and drop you into a whirlwind of a ride that traverses the country of Anderan.

Now, to the snippet:

“I tell you, miss,” Jyrah said as she unlocked a padlock and slid the rickety door of the stables grinding across its rusty mechanism with an agonizing squeal. “In this section of town there are all kinds of strange things going on constantly, but this was a first for me. I nearly lost my insides when I seen him hanging there with no eyes.”

“I bet you did,” Elhrin answered as she waited for the squat woman to finish wrestling the door open. Talking with Jyrah, the innkeeper of the Canal Street Inn, had been an endeavor in patience, and Elhrin’s was beginning to evaporate. She and Kyne had been at the inn for nearly an hour, sitting in the common room and listening to Jyrah’s overly loud voice jump from one complaint to another about how no one cared about the rundown state of the waterfront district, and the city guard did nothing to protect the innocent, hardworking folks from the cutthroats and thieves slinking about the streets. If it hadn’t been for Kyne rudely interrupting the woman, they would still be inside, choking on thick tobacco smoke. Elhrin swore every individual who passed through the inn’s doors owned a freshly lit pipe, and wouldn’t have been surprised if the rats she saw scurrying along the baseboards had pipes clamped firmly in their teeth, as well.

“Ugh,” Kyne gagged on the horrible stench wafting out of the stable door. “Is he still in here? What is that smell?”

“What smell?” Jyrah frowned, making her wrinkled face almost comical since she didn’t possess any bottom teeth. She disappeared inside the shadows of the stables, but her loud voice carried back to them clearly. “There’s nothing in here but some curing meat up in the rafters. We don’t get much livestock down this way. Most of our patrons come off the docks. I couldn’t tell you the last time one of those stalls harbored any cattle.”

Kyne leaned in to speak quietly in Elhrin’s ear. “If that smell is coming from the meat they serve here, remind me not to eat in this place.”

“I wouldn’t eat here, anyway,” Elhrin whispered, as she stepped just inside the stable door to wait on Jyrah to light a lamp. The stench was almost unbearable, but she was able to keep her displeasure to herself.

After several unsuccessful strikes, Jyrah managed to light the wick of a rusty lamp hanging on a nearby hook. She picked it up and turned to point at an exposed rafter over their heads between the front and back wall. It was well away from the loft, which meant suicide was definitely not a possibility. “Right there is where he was. Horrible sight, I tell you, just horrible.”

“Do you always keep the stable door locked?” Elhrin asked.

“Of course, I do. There have been too many scoundrels trying to sneak in here and sleep for free or steal my stuff.”

Elhrin scanned the dusty and cobweb infested interior, seeing nothing but a few tools and broken furniture. Not much worth stealing. “Was the door locked when you came out here that morning?”

“Yes, it was. That’s what’s so puzzling. There’s not another way in here, but through the door.”

“Madam, do you mind if I look in the loft?” Kyne asked.

“Help yourself.” Jyrah offered the rusty lamp. “You might need this.”

Taking the lamp, Kyne climbed nimbly up the ladder to the loft. The light he carried cast his distorted shadow onto the ceiling as he moved around the creaky floor. Elhrin wasn’t sure, because Jyrah was still talking, but she thought she heard him gag again. She could only imagine what the meat above looked like if it smelled worse than a rotting corpse.

“I told that man from the investigative place I don’t see how anyone got in here. I keep the key in my room all the time and nobody needed it that I can recall, and he wasn’t here when I locked up right before dinner time.” Jyrah crossed her arms over her ample bosoms. “I distinctly remember we needed two roasts to put in the pot that night so they would be ready by morning, and I didn’t come out here again until right after dawn the next day to get some potatoes. I keep them in the bin over by the back wall.”

“Jyrah, you’re needed in here,” a voice yelled from outside.

Elhrin and Jyrah turned to look out the stable door. An old man stood at the back door of the inn.

“Vic, can’t you handle it?” Jyrah screeched so loud, dogs somewhere down the canal started to bark.

Elhrin winced, resisting the urge to slap both hands over her ears.

“I swear, you old bag of bones, I can’t leave you for five minutes before you come hunting me down.”

The old man waved a frail hand at her, beckoning her in, then turned his stooped body around to shuffle back inside. He slammed the door firmly shut behind him.

“You’ll have to excuse me, miss. That old man can’t do nothing right. I don’t know what I ever saw in him thirty years ago,” Jyrah grumbled. “Look around all you like. I’ll be back shortly.”

“There’s no hurry,” Elhrin said, grateful for a break from the woman. “I know you’re a busy lady. We’ll come back inside when we’re done out here. I still have a few more questions for you.”

“That will be fine. Just lock up when you’re through.” Jyrah waddled across the stable yard and climbed the shabby steps to the inn, straining the time-worn treads to their limits.

“Kyne,” Elhrin called up to the loft, “did you find anything?”

“Maggots, lots and lots of maggots.”

Well, guys and gals, I hope you enjoyed that brief bit of raw storyline. This snippet was tame compared to the rest of the book. A breather, if you will. (I may share another excerpt here and there, who knows?) And, like I said before, the story is still in the rewrite and edit stages, and subject to changes, but one day I will have it ready for those of you who are waiting, I promise. Now, I have to go do mom things. I’ll talk at ya later. 
Have a blessed day!
~ Laurie

 

Don’t Think You Have What It Takes? Think Again.

You know, when I started writing my first book there was no agenda. I mean, it was just to see what I could do with a story idea. I wasn’t a trained writer, just an unemployed mom and wife who had a dream one morning and was only going to write the dream down so I wouldn’t forget it. Now, why would I do that? I have never wanted to write down any of my other dreams I thought were cool or fun. But I did, and like I said so many times before, it went way beyond what I had meant to do.
hopeThat particular morning, I sat down at my computer and started typing, but the first line was nothing like I had expected. It was a line of dialogue, and I sat there wondering where in the world the idea to write a sentence of a person speaking had come from. That wasn’t in the dream. Well, here it is—Gryph spoke to me. No, I’m not crazy. I didn’t hear an actual voice. But the thing is, I wasn’t supposed to write that dream down verbatim as it had happened just so I could remember it later. I was supposed to tell a story.
Isn’t it funny how one can stumble upon an unexpected, unknown passion? My friends and I have discussed, many, many times, how some people are born knowing what they want to do with their life whether it be a doctor, fireman, actor, singer, or something else and they follow that passion. I wasn’t one of those lucky souls. I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself . . . for over forty years. And that sucked right out loud. I mean, I had ideas of things that I thought I would like to do, but thought all of those things were out of my reach, or it’s too late, or I’m married with children and don’t have the time. Well, hello, brain? Shut the hell up! It’s never too late  . . . ever . . . unless you’re dead. Then you missed your boat. Sorry about that.
The thing is, the mind can be a person’s deadliest enemy, saying all kinds of crap to throw obstacles in your path and adding fuel to your fears like gasoline to a fire–I know from experience–it took me years to finally muster the courage to publish my book. It is a scary thing to throw countless hours of hard work, anxiety, self-doubt, and rivers of tears out into the world for people to judge, and I have no illusions that I am a super duper outstanding writer that will give bestselling authors a run for their money. Heck, I’m just a storyteller who wanted to share a story with others. That’s it. That’s all.
BUT, I have every right to my dreams, follow my passion as do you and anyone else. We are not supposed to flounder through life and then lie on our deathbeds wishing we had just done that one thing we always wanted to do but didn’t because of . . . what? Time? Money? Didn’t think it was in us? Can’t get out of our comfort zone? Nope. Nada. None of that is a valid reason. We all have it in us. It doesn’t matter if we are an absolute genius at what we do or we are barely talented, we ALL are special and deserve that absolute joy that our passions bring us. AND, we should never, ever think that doing so is being selfish or irresponsible. No guilt. No apologies. It is OUR life and we should live it. We only get the one chance, and we better not blow it.
I will step down off my soap box now. Y’all have a blessed day!

Job 22:28 — You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you.

 

Once In Awhile I Might Come Up With Something To Say

Every now and then I kick around the idea of starting a blog, but then think what in the world would I say that could be remotely interesting to anyone. Heck, I’m boring as hell to myself–yawn! See? But EVERYBODY seems to think if you are a writer, then you better be blogging. Is that for real? You can’t be a writer and not talk about this, that, and the other whether it’s interesting or not? Ahh, okay. I give.
Hey, I’m not knocking the dedicated bloggers in any way, shape, or form. As a matter of fact, I have a few favorites that I love, LOVE, love to visit and read what they have to say. They are informative and helpful, and sometimes make me laugh. I enjoy those sites, and I do seek out others who like to share information and good stories. That aside, I’m just wondering if I need to be blogging. Like look at what I just wrote….probably offended 99% of the internet universe right off the bat. Maybe, for me…I’ll just talk about the weather….cold, ain’t it? Nah, I’ll come up with something. Hopefully, not as stupid as this first test post, and I’ll try not to be offensive….hopefully.