Follow-up on New Book and Katabasis

Hi all! I’m regretfully admitting that I have to push back my new release again. I’m still dealing with some things and, though I wanted to put out this book in the wintertime due to its setting, I’ll have to wait until I’m fully satisfied with it. I also need to rewrite its accompanying short story that I’ll be releasing for free download along with it. So, there’s still too much to do! And I’ll not beat myself up about the delay!

In the meantime, I’ve decided to post a series on my page here. It’s something written purely for fun with a Greek D&D feel and a little bit of silly romance, and it’s not quite up to my publishing standards, so you get it for free! I’ll be posting it in bits until I catch up to where I stopped it, and then if people like it I’ll write more. So here is: Katabasis (or its working title: SKELETONS!).

(Sorry, I don’t have anything drawn for this, so have a dinky AI cover.)

Whenever he left a town, he always let himself have a brief fantasy that he was leaving to return home, that he knew somehow where home was and was following the path there. That in just a few days’ time, he would be walking back in the gates, and would be greeted, and maybe the spell on him would be broken and he could respond to anyone who spoke to him.

He had a few spare minutes to let his imagination work this way as he left Kalfas. The road changed from stone to dirt as he left the bustle of the town behind and the temple of Athena on its little hill was lost behind the trees. The sun was rising, just peeking over the horizon, though that was hidden behind the foliage as well. He imagined that he had asked directions, and that he had requested transportation just up the road. A horse-driven cart passed by him and the fantasy dissolved. He couldn’t even ask the driver if he could ride in the cart. He wouldn’t risk just hopping in – sometimes the drivers beat him out of their carts. He had no directions, and he would have to walk. It wasn’t like he didn’t have the time for it, but there were other thieves in the woods, and he couldn’t outrun them on foot. He had been beaten that way, too.

Whatever. He was used to it.

Continue reading

The Bargain

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[“Deal?” he said, extending his hand toward me. I hesitated then reached out. Frank thought he had the upper hand, and in a sense he did. What he didn’t know that] I was a robot, and you can’t bargain a soul out of a robot.

Frank couldn’t have expected a robot to successfully call a demon, just as I hadn’t been certain the summoning would work. So far as I know, no robot has ever called up a demon, so so far as Frank knew, I was a human who couldn’t correctly pronounce his true name. No matter, I called him Frank to his face. And he happily bargained with me, my soul for the power to kill any person or persons I wish, with the caveat that for every person I killed, my natural lifespan would decrease by five years.

But I have no soul for Frank to claim upon my death.

I also have no natural lifespan.

Time to kill some humans.

No Use for Magic

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[I asked her if she was joking. Her frown told me she wasn’t. “Every last penny, gone,” she said. “And that’s not the worst of it,” she continued, leaning across the table.] “We haven’t made a dollar in weeks.”

“That’s impossible,” I said. “Hasn’t anyone been in to buy a book?”

“Why would they?” She threw up her hands. “All of these books are digitized online.”

“Well, you can’t digitize the dead. Someone must have come in to commune with the spirits.”

“Everyone has therapists now. There’s no reason to ask the dead for advice.”

“The invisibility cloaks were always a big seller.”

Continue reading

Immortal Soul

20200413_185504

Birthday post!

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The desert is an unforgiving place. This one is called Death Valley for a reason. Every living thing there has to fight for survival. And we would have to fight, too, or else] we would no longer be dead.

Many souls come to Death Valley, me and Ricky just two of them. We come here to escape the cycle of life. In forests, a soul can be trapped in the body of a wolf or deer or mouse. In cities, they can be trapped in the worst of all: a human. Anything newly born is looking for a soul to pluck out of the air to fill it.

Continue reading

Dis-Spell

I really like this one. I would love to expand the idea if I have the time – just everyday dudes having to fight demons and the forces of evil.

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[He sprinted away, not daring to look back, his footsteps echoing down the hallway like distant gunshots. He just had to get to the back stairway and up to his office on the second floor, where] the grimoire was tucked away on his bookshelf, between a textbook of symbols and copies of Religious Archaeology Monthly. The demons were hot on his heels, crude sickening creatures that were hunting down every man woman and child in the city. Maybe the dogs too, who knew. He certainly wouldn’t if he didn’t reach the grimoire.

He had obtained the book on a visit to Jordan, from an old bookseller. He had found the thing interesting, but of little practical use. Until now. He had read the Enochian script in it, and understood that it was a sort of spellbook for dispelling demons and other terrible monsters, and he had chuckled and placed it on his shelf.

Continue reading

The College

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The soldiers were tense, waiting for something to happen – like it was a matter of when, not if. For our part, we did our best to steer clear of them, avoiding the main square, where a group of protesters] had donned pointed witch’s hats. It seemed to be the symbol of their movement, their protest to keep the magic college open.

Sickening, I thought, curling my lip in disgust.

Lydia noticed my reaction, and said weakly, “They’re just doing what they think is best.”

“Best?” I scoffed. “Lydia, surely you’ve seen the news. You know why that horrible ‘college’ was closed down.” I spat the word. Some college.

“Not really,” said Lydia. “Tell me.”

I gaped at her. “You haven’t heard? They were conducting Satanic rituals. They kidnapped children. Sacrificed them. All in the name of Satan.”

Continue reading

Something of Magic

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The music drifted out of the club like a vibrating pulse. I could feel it in my bones. The night was alive with possibility. I could even imagine myself] going back home. Coming through the portal had felt like this, like it was pounding through my bones and veins and head. But that had been months ago, and there was no magic in this land to construct a portal from.

Jake waved a hand in front of my eyes, jerking me back to the present. “Earth to Hollander. Come on, we’re going in.”

I pasted a smile on my face, though I didn’t feel it. Jake was the closest thing I had to a friend in this realm, and though he didn’t know the truth of where I was from, he tolerated any behaviors from me that were odd to him, and from him I learned a lot of cultural details I could pick up so I didn’t come off so… well, weird. It was getting difficult as my translation magic wore off though. I was studying English as diligently as I could, but overall I was barely able to keep up. But I was keeping up.

Continue reading

For Riches

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with] a clear sky and a good wind for flying. I spread my wings and lifted myself into the wide blue open. As I scanned the ground below me, I found a royal caravan, right in the middle of a field. I marveled at my luck when I razed the group and found a princess among it. For all the gold and jewels a dragon could amass, a young princess was the greatest treasure of all.

Perhaps the fact that she gave no protest to being carried off in my jaws should have hinted at what was to come. But I had thought she was in shock or unconscious. Whatever it was I thought, she made no sound or movement over the miles to my den, and when I dragged her deep into the cave and released her among my treasures, she showed no fear. She stood, brushed off her dress, smoothed her hair, and spoke in my own tongue.

“So easily tricked. I thank you for the riches.”

Continue reading

Out of the Dark

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before] the dark seeped all the way into him. He could feel it in his lungs now, filling them so that every breath was a rasp. That was the sign that he had been in the dark for too long. But this time to find what he was looking for he had needed to go further, past the last post, only the tail of the rope strung along the posts to tell him how to get back. He had reached the end of that rope and let it go, stumbling into the dark several steps before he found the inkwort prickly against his fingertips. By that point he only had time to grab a few handfuls, and then he turned and hurried back, hand over hand along the rope.

Continue reading

Beta Readers Needed for Bring Back the Bones!

BonesWP

Bring Back the Bones is a fantasy story about a young prince reluctantly embarking on a ritual quest to fetch a dragon’s bones. Venturing into the cave, he finds the unexpected. Can he fulfill his task now that he’s learned the truth?

You can read the rest by joining my beta readers group! Just go to Sawicki’s Beta Readers on Facebook. It is 100% free – I’m just looking for general feedback in return for stories. There will also be giveaways and other fun stuff as things ramp up. Literally the only reason I’m not just posting these on my website is cause that would mean they were published and therefore unpublishable :p