Thanks, Chris, for having me back today. I’m so excited to talk about my new publication, Voyage of the Lanternfish.
This one is a pirate fantasy, and features all of the magic, monsters, and mayhem you might expect from one of my stories.
Today, I’m sharing an excerpt. I don’t usually go with these, but admit they boost interest in the story. This section occurs early in the tale. The characters have just fought a bunch of black cloaked assassins, and are leaving the city for good in a couple of wagons.
Johnny set a brisk pace away from the port.
Dan stuck his head out of the caravan. “What’s his hurry?”
“Even if there aren’t more assassins, the night watch isn’t going to ignore all that gunfire,” James said. “Besides, we even touched off the swivel gun. I don’t feel like answering questions tonight.”
“Well you’re going to answer some for me. Where the hell did you disappear to?”
James started to speak a couple of times, but stopped himself. “My father was the expert in all this espionage. I grew up an honest man, in a respectable trade. I don’t have his skills, but I have some he didn’t.”
“So are we going to Saphelon now?” Fala asked.
“No. My skills are all at sea. I’ve been trying to live up to my father for far too long. I’m nothing like him. It’s time to use myskills and take this war to sea.”
“How you fixin to do that?” Dan asked.
“That’s where Johnny comes in. He has some mates to make a crew. We’re buying a small ship and taking the war directly to Hollish.”
“About him. How do you know you can trust him?”
“I met up with him in a tavern. An assassin tried to jump us and he killed the man. His mates scooped the body up then dumped him in the current without a second thought. Anyone who can cover me like that deserves some consideration.”
“Well, I’m not convinced.”
“You can walk away any time you like. Besides, he’s in the wagon with the root monsters. Do you really think they’ll let him pull anything? I’m still careful about such things.”
“I ain’t walking away. You’ll need someone who can rig a sail, or read a compass.”
Johnny’s wagon turned onto a dirt road that headed up the river.
“Where is this ship?” Fala asked.
“There’s a repair dock up river. It’s moored there.”
“Have you seen it?” Dan asked. “Maybe we’re being led into a trap so his mates can take our gold.”
“It isn’t impossible. We rode up and looked at it from a distance. She’s an old sloop-of-war; two masts. She isn’t big, but she’ll get us where we need to go.”
The dock came into sight in the moonlight. “If it’s a repair dock, what do they need all those warehouses for?” Dan asked.
“Maybe they offload the ships so they can work on them,” James offered.
Johnny turned off the road and into a hilltop cemetery. A dozen men were digging up graves in the dark.
“What the hell is this all about?” Dan asked.
“Mal, stay on that gun,” James said. “Fala, keep us covered, but make sure we’re not in the way of that blunderbuss. Let’s park and find out.”
Johnny parked the wagon then set the brake. James pulled up beside him. A group of three hoisted a casket from the ground.
“What the hell’s going on here?” James asked.
“We have a ship, and a crew. Crew needs things. These are our own graves. Do you have a shovel in all this kit somewhere?”
Dan came out of the caravan and produced a shovel for Johnny. He kept a hand on the butt of his pistol.
The crew opened the casket, and it held kegs of gunpowder. Other caskets came up and provided pistols, cutlasses, muskets, and even a few rifles.
Johnny led them to a simple tombstone that read Johnny Jump Up. “This marks the spot.” He sunk the shovel in the earth then turned up the sod. “Lend a hand mate,” he told Dan. “Get that shovel from Biscuit Bill now that he’s done.”
Dan retrieved the shovel, but watched Bill open his casket. Along with the various pistols, there were cast iron pans and pots.
Johnny Jump Up’s casket held two more swivel guns, an extra firing lock, and a blunderbuss.
Biscuit Bill whistled, and two wagons pulled into the graveyard. The crew filled one with muskets, grapnel hooks, boarding axes, and various other equipment that came from the graves.
“Fill em back in as best you can,” Johnny said. “Might be the only grave you lot gets. Ought to keep em looking nice.” He used the shovel to sweep dirt back over his empty casket.
The crew piled in the back of the empty wagon, but some climbed aboard the equipment wagon. They all drove down toward the sloop.
The men hit the ground running. They swarmed the ship then started stowing all the gear.
I hope this snippet inspired you to check out the book. You can pick up your copy on Amazonright now.
An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancéis being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.
He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.
James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.
Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.
I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.