Seven years ago, I was very excited to commission my first custom illustrated cover art, for the Daughter of the Wildings series. My artist, Mominur Rahman, did a fantastic job and I still love those covers even though at the time I hadn't learned very much about what makes a really effective, genre-appropriate cover image for romantic high/epic fantasy.
Now, seven years later, Daughter of the Wildings is the foundation of my growing career as an indie author, and I've decided it's time to refresh the covers, to bring them more into line with the growing romantic high/epic fantasy genre. I was so excited to get Yuriko Matsuoka, who did the art for the Defenders of the Wildings and Mage of Sea and Storm covers, to do the new Daughter covers, and even more thrilled with what she came up with for the covers of Beneath the Canyons and Bad Hunting!
I'm starting with new covers for those two books, then, as finances permit, I'll get new art for the rest of the books. The wonderful Colleen at Ampersand Book Interiors did the same cover treatments as on the old covers for these first two books. Then, when I get the rest of the series done, I'll re-do all the design treatments on the Daughter series and the Defenders series so they match.
I'm in the process of uploading the new covers. It may take up to a week or so for them to go live on all the stores. If you've already purchased Beneath the Canyons and Bad Hunting and want the versions with the new covers, sign up for my email list and watch for a future newsletter on how to get your hands on them!
Oh, and my newsletter subscribers already got sneak peeks at the Mage of Sea and Storm cover art! (It's amazing!) Sign up to see the cover reveals first, or watch this blog.
I am very happy to announce that Mages' Uprising, Defenders of the Wildings Book 3, is now available! Through Oct. 14, it's at a special release price of $2.99; after that, it goes up to the regular price of $3.99. Here's the scoop:
Once, Silas and Lainie Vendine, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages, had a home and ranch of their own and the friendship and respect of their non-magical neighbors. Then the mage-hating Chardonikans came and drove Silas and Lainie from their home.
Now, Silas and his children have been captured by the Chardonikans, who are intent on spreading their despotic rule through the Wildings.
On the trail of Silas and the children, Lainie and her companions approach the Broadgrass, territory of the hostile P'wagimet people, in search of the Chardonikan stronghold.
When the true extent of the Chardonikans' plans in the Wildings is revealed, Silas and Lainie must somehow work together, even though they're separated by the enemy, to defeat the Chardonikans, reunite their family, and protect the freedom of all the people of the Wildings.
Mages' Uprising is available at all ebook stores, only $2.99 for a limited time!
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Barnes & Noble
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Phew, okay, yes I'm still here! I've been up to my ears in final edits on Mages' Uprising, book 3 of Defenders of the Wildings, and I'm happy to announce they're finished! The book will be coming out later this week, I need to do the formatting and uploading and write the blurb, arg. I'll release it at a special price of $2.99 for a few days, then it'll go up to the regular price of $3.99. To make sure you don't miss out on the release and the special price, sign up for my email newsletter.
And in the meantime, here's the cover! (Newsletter subscribers got to see this a month ago, hint hint)
Art by Yuriko Matsuoko.
If you've read Mages' Exile, book 2, and you're wondering, this may or may not be a literal depiction of something that happens in the book. However, that may literally be Silas and Lainie's house in the background (sorry about that, you two!)
Also in the meantime, to keep you entertained while you wait, here's a sneak peek at the first chapter:
RATTLING AND BOUNCING, the rail wagons sped across the prairie. From the bench where he sat, shifting uncomfortably on the hard red leather upholstery with Vera curled up next to him, Silas watched the grasslands blur by. The smoke drifting in through the open windows made his lingering headache from the heavy aura of Regulator energy on the boat worse, and his arms, bound behind him with chains infused with Regulator power, ached and burned.
The wagon jolted and Silas’s stomach lurched. He closed his eyes and forced back a surge of sickness.
“Do not worry, Mr. Vendine,” said Dorbiza, sitting across the aisle from him. “That is a common reaction to one’s first ride on the rail wagons. One soon gets over it. Are you in need of a bucket?”
“It’s okay if you throw up, Pa,” Blake said from his seat towards the front of the wagon. “Mama says it happens to everyone.”
Silas fought back more nausea. He’d be damned if he disgraced himself in front of his children and his enemies any more than he already had, letting himself be chained like this. The memory of what had happened at the dock, when his six-year-old son had felt compelled to defend him and Dorbiza had threatened the boy, made him burn inside. One day, no matter what it took, even if it was the last thing he did, he would send that sheep-humping son of a bitch to stand before the gods to answer for his sins. “I’m fine,” he growled at Dorbiza.
Despite the open windows, the inside of the wagon was hot and stuffy. Vera lay asleep, her head heavy and sweaty on Silas’s lap. Lulled by the heat and the constant, steady sound and motion, Silas started to doze off as well.
He caught himself, jerking his head up. It wouldn’t do to fall asleep when he and his children were in the hands of the enemy, being taken to gods alone knew where – if the gods even knew. If he fell asleep and the children were taken from the wagon, he wouldn’t know what had happened to them. Yawning, his head pounding, he forced his eyes to stay open.
At last, with a loud screeching and grinding, the wagons slowed down, then stopped. “We have arrived,” Dorbiza said. “I am certain, Mr. Vendine, that is the fastest thirty leagues you have ever traveled.”
Silas shook his head, trying to clear it. Thirty leagues? How long had it been? Not long enough for him to start feeling hungry or for the boys to announce that they needed to pee; an hour, or maybe a little more. In that short time, he had gone nearly a full day’s journey. No doubt, these rail wagons would be a great thing for the Wildings, allowing people and goods to cross the vast distances in a matter of days rather than ninedays or months.
But the price the Chardonikans were asking was far too high.
Watch for Mages' Uprising, Defenders of the Wildings Book 3, coming later this week at your favorite ebook store. And don't miss out on these special offers:
Beneath the Canyons is free at all stores at least through December, or maybe longer.
Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3 box set is on special for only $2.99 through this month, maybe longer if I continue to be happy with the sales it's getting.
And through October 31, get Mages' Home, book 1 of Defenders of the Wildings, for only 99 cents!
I'm happy to announce that Mages' Exile, Book 2 of Defenders of the Wildings, is now available. If you've read Mages' Home and are wondering if things can get any worse for Silas and Lainie, the answer is yes, they can! Some characters from the Daughter of the Wildings series make an appearance in Mages' Exile, and we get to know our villains better. Also, can you spot three famous Arizona locations in the book?
This weekend only, through March 3, Mages' Exile is available at the special launch price of $2.99. After this, the regular price will be $3.99. Available at your favorite ebook store:
Amazon.com | AU | CA | UK | Amazon International
Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo
Smashwords | DriveThruFiction | More Stores
To celebrate the release of Mages' Exile, Mages' Home is also on special this weekend for only 99 cents. The price goes up on Monday March 4, so don't miss this!
Amazon.com | AU | CA | UK | Amazon International
Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo
Smashwords | DriveThruFiction | More Stores
Hope everyone had a great holiday season! I'm still recovering from Thanksgiving and Christmas. But edits on the next book of Defenders of the Wildings are proceeding at a steady pace (Thank you pomodoro method!), and now it's time for the cover reveal! First, though, I want to let you know about a new Facebook group for readers of romantic fantasy, Romantic Fantasy Shelf. (If you aren't on Facebook, there's also a website starting up, also called Romantic Fantasy Shelf.) We're kicking off the group this month with a full month of games, giveaways, and author takeovers. (I'm on today, Jan. 5.) Come join us and discover lots of new romantic fantasy books and authors!
And now, on with the cover :)
Art by Yuriko Matsuoka. I've been really excited about this cover. Of all the Wildings covers, this comes closest to capturing Silas the way I see him in my mind. And I love the canyon background!
I'm looking to release Mages' Exile in February. To make sure you don't miss the release date, sign up for my email newsletters! No spam, and I won't share your address with anyone else. When you confirm your subscription, you'll get a link to a free copy of Tales of the Source-Breakers, a subscribers-only collection of backstories that go with Source-Breaker.
Um, okay. Finally back :D I've been busy, revising and editing Mages' Exile, book 2 of Defenders of the Wildings, and writing the first draft of my next series, yet to be named, set in the Islands of the Wildings world, the home of Silas's ancestors. I've also got a few more blog posts to write about our trip to Germany, which I'll try to finish soon.
In the meantime, here's a sneak peek into Mages' Exile. (My newsletter subscribers got to see this first, and they'll also get first look at the cover, a tiny snippet of which illustrates this post.) This scene shows why you don't take the kiddos along on your fantasy quests if you can possibly help it, though if you've read Mages' Home, you'll know that Silas and Lainie didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. (Note: this is not the final version; still some edits to go.)
Half-climbing, half-crawling, Silas left the winding path and headed straight up. Another measure and a half up, he pulled himself up onto a shelf cut into the slope, a good bit wider and longer than the ledge below. At the far side of the shelf, where the canyon wall rose again, five or six swordbeaks strutted in an agitated circle, spitting out curls of flame that hissed in the rain. In their midst, Garis sat on the ground, laughing and clapping his hands.
Silas’s heart skipped a beat and he stopped short. He suppressed an urge to run right over and pull Garis away from the swordbeaks; the last thing he wanted to do was upset the critters even more and provoke them into attacking. He held silent and motionless for a moment, observing the situation. It didn't look like the swordbeaks had hurt Garis, but they were clearly unhappy at his presence. A dark cleft split the canyon wall behind where Garis was sitting. The swordbeaks' den? No wonder the beasts were angry.
"Garis," he said, fighting to keep his voice calm.
"Look, Pa, fire chickens!" Garis shouted. The swordbeaks chittered, flapped their tiny forearms, and breathed out more fire.
Fire chickens. Silas closed his eyes, overcome by one of those brief, unexpected moments of sympathy for his own parents. “Hold still, Garis. Don’t scare them.”
“They ain’t scared, Pa. They happy and dancing!”
Great gods, what was he going to do? Silas studied Garis and the surrounding flock of swordbeaks, trying to work out how to get the critters away from the boy, or the boy away from them, without provoking them. He could slip a shield between the beasts and encircle Garis with it, keeping a strand of power extended to pull Garis and the shield out with, through the ring of swordbeaks. But wielding that much power with that much precision and control, without hitting any of the swordbeaks, in this place of wild magic while he was still suffering the effects of that weapon, wouldn’t be easy.
Still, it was the best he could come up with. Ignoring the discomfort, he began to draw power, shaping in his mind the shield he meant to make.
Watch for Mages' Exile, book 2 of Defenders of the Wildings, coming (hopefully) in January 2019! And in the meantime, stay tuned for the reveal of the amazing cover! To make sure you don't miss out on the release, and for early cover reveals, sneak peeks, special offers, and more, sign up for my email newsletter.
I'm pleased to announce that Mages' Home, book 1 of Defenders of the Wildings, is now available at all major ebook stores (and a number of smaller stores) for $2.99 or the international equivalent.
AU | CA | UK
Barnes & Noble
iTunes | Kobo
More Stores (This takes you to Books2Read, where you'll find links to a number of other international stores)
You can read the prologue and first chapter here.
Defenders of the Wildings is the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings, and Mages' Home catches up with Silas and Lainie some six years after the end of Daughter of the Wildings. They have a new home and the life they've dreamed of, and things are much better for mages in the Wildings now. But the Plain settlers aren't the only ones who hate (or used to hate) mages, and when a company from across the western sea comes to town, trouble soon rears its ugly head again. Only Silas and Lainie have a lot more at stake now than their own lives.
Defenders of the Wildings tells a self-contained story, and can be enjoyed even if you haven't read Daughter of the Wildings. (Though I hope you have, or will!) It's a three book series, Mages' Home to be followed by Mages' Exile and Mages' Uprising. It introduces a bunch of new characters I had fun writing, and gets us caught up with the characters from Daughter.
Defenders was originally 6 books, and I kept changing the order of books 1, 2, and 3 before I really got a handle on how the story went, then I combined them into 3 books. So there was a lot of work to do revising this series, and book 3 (formerly book 6) was nearly double in length by the time I finished the first big revision on it. It turned out to be a lot more epic in scope than I thought it would. But I think it's all come together pretty well :) The second revision of book 2 is proceeding apace. No promises on a release date, but I'm aiming for 3-4 months from now.
I've also started writing my next series, which is set in the Islands of the Wildings world, where Silas's ancestors came from, in a time period well before the migration of Island mages to Granadaia. This will be a trilogy plus prequel. It's still a long ways off; stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, I hope you'll pick up Mages' Home and enjoy starting this new adventure through the Wildings with Silas and Lainie.
I'm down to the last few editing passes on Mages' Home, Book 1 of Defenders of the Wildings, so it's time to show off the cover!
And the full wraparound:
The artist who did the covers for Daughter of the Wildings unfortunately was not available to do these covers, so I commissioned Yuriko Matsuoka. I love her vision of a more mature Lainie and an older and (possibly) wiser Silas.
Here's the blurb:
Once, they were hated and hunted by mage hunters and Plain folk alike. Now, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages Silas and Lainie Vendine finally have the life they dreamed of - a home and ranch of their own where they can live in peace and raise their family, and the friendship and respect of their non-magical neighbors.
When a company from across the western sea comes to Prairie Wells, bringing marvelous new inventions, Silas and Lainie figure it only means more prosperous times ahead for the town and for them - until an old and vicious hatred of mages rears its head.
As troubles stirred by unseen enemies divide the town, many of Silas and Lainie's neighbors turn on them. When danger strikes at the heart of their home and family, Silas and Lainie must fight to protect everything they love, everything they've worked for, before it's all destroyed.
Read the Prologue and Chapter 1 here (warning: contains mild spoilers for Daughter of the Wildings).
I've set a tentative release date of September 22. To make sure you don't miss the release and the very limited-time introductory price (release weekend only!), sign up for my email newsletter. You'll also get news about special offers, giveaways and book promotions, book recommendations, exclusive sneak peeks, and more, including a free copy of Tales of the Source-Breakers, a subscribers-only collection of prequel stories to Source-Breaker!
(First, I don't know why the date says 3/15; I started the draft that day but I'm posting this on 3/21. Anyway, on with the post.)
When Silas met Lainie:
“You need any help?” he asked the girl.
“No, thanks.” She got to her feet, brushing dust off her pants. She also wore a gunbelt with a holstered revolver; Silas had no doubt she knew how to use the gun. “I better get on with my errands before they start shooting again. Hey, Gobby!” she shouted at the group of arguing men in the street. “The same thing from my Pa! He ever catches you on his land again, he’ll shoot you so full of holes you can piss from ten places at once!”
The bearded man’s face broke into a leering smile. “Miss Lainie, you tell your Pa for me that this land ain’t owned by no one an’ I’ll drill wherever, whenever, an’ –” he leered more broadly “– whoever I want.”
Miss Lainie responded with a rude gesture. Gobby went red above his beard, and the men from the Bootjack laughed. One corner of Silas’s mouth quirked up; he liked a woman with spirit.
He offered her his arm. “I’d be happy to escort you while you do your business, in case there’s any more trouble.”
She eyed him head to toe, her gaze lingering on the large revolver holstered at his left hip. Though firearms were considered anti-magical and were therefore forbidden in Granadaia, no mage hunter would last a nineday in the Wildings without one. Silas had specially modified this piece himself; mundane bullets alone couldn’t be depended on to take down a strong and highly skilled mage.
“My Pa don’t like me going around with strange men,” she said.
“Well, then. I’m Silas Vendine.” He added the usual name-slip charm as he spoke his name, to make it harder to remember, though it didn’t always work very well with other mages. Then he grinned at her. “I may be strange, but at least now you know my name.”
Want to know what happens next? Download Beneath the Canyons for free as part of the amazing giveaways below!
Or, if you prefer, you can buy it for only $0.99 (yes, I lowered the price, but I don't know how long it'll stay this low!) at your favorite ebook store.
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This is posted elsewhere on the site, but just in case you never make it that far into the site, here's the first chapter of Beneath the Canyons (newly re-re-edited edition):
BITTERBUSH SPRINGS. FROM Silas’s vantage point in the rocky hills to the east, the town didn’t look like much, just a dozen or so wooden crates laid out in rows, brown and quiet in the hot summer sun. He reached out with his mage senses towards the town and the valley beyond, seeking the strange magic he had followed here.
There it was, strong, for him to have sensed it from several days’ distance, dark and alien, but at times mixed with flashes of more familiar kinds of power. A hell of a lot of magic for a place where no mage would dare show himself openly.
No doubt about it; something strange was going on in the Bitterbush Valley. And, with any luck, there would be a nice, big bounty in it for him from the Mage Council.
If not, some serious belt-tightening lay ahead of him. Five years of making a good living hunting renegade mages in the more settled eastern part of the Wildings had been shot to all the hells when a passel of greenfoot mage hunters flooded through the Gap from Granadaia, looking for quick, easy fame and fortune. Mostly what those amateurs had managed to do was chase away the smartest and most dangerous rogue mages, the ones who were worth the highest bounties.
With his money running low, Silas had come west to the more remote parts of the Wildings, hoping for better hunting. Rumors of a mining rush in the Bitterbush Valley had caught his ear, and not long after he set out to follow the rumors, he had sensed the bursts of unusual magical power coming from the area. It made sense; a mining rush was indeed just the sort of thing a rogue mage might try to horn in on, looking for quick riches. Though that darker power didn’t feel like any ordinary mage.
Silas surveyed the valley again. It looked like good cattle country, grassland bleached gold in the hot, dry weather, well-watered by seasonal washes and a handful of running streams. A number of ranch compounds and farms lay scattered the length of the valley from north to south, and herds of cattle and sheep roamed the rangeland. All signs of prosperity that might also provide tempting opportunities for a renegade mage.
Silas settled his hat firmly on his head, made sure his revolver was loaded, and checked that the shield inside him concealing his power was solidly in place and seamlessly camouflaged. It wouldn’t do to let the rogue mage, if there was one, know that another mage had arrived in town.
His Island-dark skin was another matter. It could give him away to both mages and mage-hating Plain settlers as a member of one of the elite Island mage families back in Granadaia, but there was nothing he could do to change that. Anyhow, his skin wasn’t so dark that it couldn’t be mistaken for a deep tan, and during his years in the Wildings, he had grown adept at passing himself off as a descendant of the servants and slaves the Island mages had brought with them to Granadaia.
With an earnest prayer to the Provider for good hunting and a fat bounty, he nudged Abenar, his big gray speckled gelding, into a walk. Keeping to the trail marked by stakes hung with white feathers, indicating safe passage through the A’ayimat-controlled hills, they headed down the pass.
As the trail descended into the valley, it turned into a road that crossed the valley from east to west. Silas followed the road into town, where it intersected with a second road running north and south, then stopped to get his bearings.
On the north side of the crossroads, two saloons, the Bootjack and the Rusty Widow, faced each other across the street like two gunfighters squaring off. Laughter and a discordant jangling of competing hammerboxes spilled out of the saloons. The Rusty Widow and the bank both boasted tall false fronts and fancy painted signs that looked brand new. In an empty lot southeast of the intersection, a large sign proudly proclaimed, Future Site of the Bitterbush Springs Grand Music Hall and Variety Theater. Towards the north end of town stood a half-built building of imposing size.
It looked like a large amount of money had recently come to town, more evidence of the mining rush – and more bait for renegades.
Silas turned right and rode up the street in search of stabling and a place to stay. Next to the Rusty Widow Saloon stood a two-story building, also sporting a new false front with Mundy’s Boarding House painted on it in elaborate letters. A big sign in the front window read, Rooms to let. 2g per nineday.
Silas let out a low whistle. Two gildings a nineday was an enormous sum for a room in a boarding house in the Wildings, especially this far west. This was going to make a bigger dent in his funds than he’d planned on.
The saloons probably had rooms to let on their upper floors as well, but those were likely to be just as expensive as the boarding house, not to mention more distracting. Not that Silas was averse to enjoying the amenities to be found in such establishments, but for now he needed to concentrate on work. And since there didn’t appear to be a hotel in town, the boarding house it would have to be.
On the other side of the boarding house stood a stable, where a boy was tossing pebbles into a circle scratched in the dirt of the yard. Silas rode over and gave the boy a penny to watch Abenar and his belongings for a moment. He took note of the smithy behind the stable; Abenar badly needed new shoes. Silas hoped getting a horse shod in this town wasn’t as expensive as renting a room in the boarding house.
He pulled on his long brown duster, which he had shed in the heat of the day and draped over the saddle behind him, then walked back to the boarding house to inquire about a room.
A crash from inside the saloon across the street caught his attention. He turned to see a big-bellied, bushy-bearded man come flying backwards through the swinging doors of the Bootjack. The man landed on his back in the street, then leaped to his feet with surprising speed for a fellow his size. A second, much thinner, man charged out of the saloon and plowed into him, knocking him down again. The two men tussled in a cloud of dust, rolling along the street until they came to a stop in front of the boarding house, the skinny man pinning the bearded man face down with a knee in the small of his back.
“I ever catch you digging on my land again, I’ll draw an’ quarter you an’ chop you up for dog feed!” the skinny man yelled. “You hear me, Gobby?”
In a blur of motion, Gobby twisted out from under the other man and dropped him with a blow to the jaw that sounded like an axe thunking into wood. “You threatening me, Redlun? Cause if you’re gonna threaten me, you better be ready to back it up!”
“Yeah, he’s threatening you,” said a man with an extravagant mustache who stood in front of the Bootjack. His right hand dropped to the holster at his hip and came up holding a six-shooter aimed straight at Gobby. “An’ I’ll back up his threats for him.”
Bullets were about to fly. Silas’s first instinct was to throw a protective shield around himself, but he suppressed it. The bullets dropping harmlessly to the ground, slowed by their passage through the shield, would give him away to any other mages who might be around and to the Plain folk of the town. He had more important things to do than deal with a bunch of Plains trying to hang him. Instead, he stepped back into the shadows of the covered wooden sidewalk in front of the rooming house and edged out of the possible line of fire. Without knowing anything about the dispute, he would do better to not get involved.
A handful of men burst out through the swinging door of the Rusty Widow, the saloon next to the boarding house, and stood clustered on the sidewalk, watching. Gobby, now also holding a gun, got to his feet and turned to face the mustached man across the street. “Well, Winnard? You think you can beat me?”
“I can –”
A gunshot exploded from the group in front of the Rusty Widow. Winnard tumbled back against the wall of the Bootjack and collapsed, blood spreading across the right shoulder of his shirt. More men came pouring out from both saloons, and wild gunfire erupted. A handful of stray bullets hit the wall of the boarding house next to Silas; he dove aside, holding onto his hat, and hit the sidewalk.
From up the street came a wild burst of magical power, panicked and uncontrolled, strong enough that Silas could feel it even through the shield on his own power. It felt familiar; he recognized it from the flares of magic that had led him to Bitterbush Springs.
He started to raise his head to try to spot the mage, then a bullet split a board in the wall of the rooming house not one arm-length above him. He pressed himself even flatter against the boards of the sidewalk as the shootout went on, praying to the Defender that the gunfire would stay away from the stables and Abenar.
Then, for no reason Silas could discern, the shooting stopped. “What’s all this, boys?” a deep, resonant voice called out into the sudden silence.
Silas raised his head. Three men lay sprawled in the street. One was writhing in pain, the other two were still. The shooters who were still standing had all lowered their guns and were looking at the Rusty Widow. Silas turned his head to follow their gaze.
A tall man with a hearty build, handsome, pale face, and luxuriant black mustache was standing in front of the saloon. He wore a finely-fashioned black suit and black flat-brimmed hat. Two house ladies bedecked in lace and ruffles appeared behind him, clinging to his arms and peering around him into the street.
“Redlun an’ Winnard threatened me, Mr. Carden, sir,” Gobby said. “Me an’ the fellas was just defending ourselves.”
Silas stood up, making sure his hat was still in place, and brushed dust from his long brown coat. He kept close to the wall, in the shadow of the overhang, curious about this man who had the power to stop a gunfight just by appearing.
The black-suited man turned and put his arms around the house ladies. “Go back inside, my dears. No need to worry yourselves.”
The ladies retreated into the saloon, and Carden stepped down from the wooden walkway into the street. He stopped in front of Gobby, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you went into the Bootjack again, Gobby,” he said in a genial tone. The crispness of an educated Granadaian accent underlay his informal Wildings speech. “You know damn well that’s rancher territory. You’re stupid enough to keep going in there, you deserve whatever you get.”
“When are you gonna start paying us for the ore that was taken off our land, Carden?” shouted Winnard, the wounded man in front of the Bootjack. The right side of his shirt was soaked with blood, but judging by the anger in his voice, he was a long way from dead.
“If you have a difference with me, Winnard, I’d be happy to discuss it peacefully,” Carden replied. “There’s no need for anyone to be shooting anyone else.”
Two men helped Winnard up, then they and several other men from the Bootjack walked over to Carden and started arguing with him. Gobby and some of the men from the Rusty Widow joined in. A whip-thin, bandy-legged man with a silver sword-shaped badge pinned to his shirt came over as well, but he stood back and remained silent.
Silas couldn’t make out what the men were saying, but their argument wasn’t what interested him the most at the moment. Taking care to avoid attracting any attention, he walked up the street towards where the burst of magic had come from.
If you want to read the rest of the story, Beneath the Canyons is available to download for free - yes, that's F-R-E-E! as part of these fabulous giveaways:
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