Friday, January 16, 2015

Excerpt & Giveaway ~ Everywhere the Road Ends by Scott McCloskey

Bullied at prep-school and unappreciated at home, all young Theodore Ellsworth wanted was to be like the heroes in his favorite fantasy tales. Whisked away to the Gossamer City and chosen to embark on a quest to save a kingdom, he thought he’d have his chance.

He was wrong.

Left for dead in a place where malicious spirits feast on the living, Theo has only just begun to learn that glory comes at a price. With his new friends fighting for their lives, Theo is thrown off course and embroiled in a murder mystery that must be solved before he can save his little sister from a gruesome fate. A crackpot inventor and a pure-hearted young knight are on the job, but Theo already knows the killer. He sees the Beast of Calharik every night, when he looks down in terror at his own bloodied hands.

Set against a backdrop of steam-powered robots, tall ships, and a seaside populace at the mercy of the rich, Everywhere the Road Ends picks up the action right where The Goldenwealth Light left off. Get ready for another exotic trip to the World of Ord, complete with new faces, twice the nail-biting action, and hours of page turning adventure!

Excerpt:

The orchestra was drowned out by the piercing wail of a dozen horns from outside. Startled, the children stopped playing immediately, some dropping their instruments. The courtiers responded instantly. Some were drawing weapons or barking orders, but most were crying out and looking for a place to take cover. In the chaos, tables were overturned and delectable cuisine from the finest kitchens in all the Goldenwealth was trampled and ground into the carpeting by scores of rushing feet.

Tessa blinked in disbelief. She’d heard that sound before, but only in historical reenactments and presentations. “Emergency horns? Here? But…they’re like museum pieces! Nobody ever has a need to use those things!” She whirled on Marchand, “What’s going on? Tell me!”

Marchand had two leather frogs at his belt. One held a wand, and in the other rested the scabbard of a curved sabre. His hand was on the hilt of the sabre. “It’s another assault. But…the perimeter guard never sounds that many horns. It must be big. VERY big.” He took Tessa’s wrist sharply and started dragging her along, “Come on, we have to get out of here!”

Tessa resisted, glancing back over to the dais where guards had already surrounded the countess and were bearing her to a safer area. “But my friends! Let go!”

Zaradi, her reactions honed by balthan training, was on her feet in half a second. She swished her hand through thin air over her shoulder three times before she cursed herself, remembering that her sword had been lost days before. Max had his wand out.

Marie clutched her teddy bear and felt a chill of fear scamper up her spine. “What is it? What’s going on?”
Zaradi put her hand on Marie’s shoulder and flashed her a comforting smile. Tessa approached their table, dragging along with her an impatient and agitated Marchand. Tessa drew her wand, but Marchand made a dismissive gesture.

“Tess, no. This is serious. You could get hurt out there.”

Marie was surprised at Marchand’s words. The last time she had seen Tessa fight, she was like a demon – holding off scores of bandits with a whole tree trunk. Was that not so spectacular after all?

Tessa batted Marchand’s hand away. “I am NOT eight years old anymore, Marchand! I know this is serious, and that’s exactly why you need all the help you can get.” She grinned and raised her wand up, gesturing to the rest of her companions.

Zaradi was punching her palm with one fist. She looked eager. “Whatever it is, just bring it on! I’m ready!” Sword or not, a good old-fashioned brawl was a language she understood well, and she’d been wanting to feel useful again since the ordeal at the Reflectia Woods.

Marchand looked the ragtag band over. The look in Tessa’s eyes was enough to tell him he wasn’t going to get anywhere trying to reason with her. He finally nodded and gestured towards one of the doors. “Alright, follow me. Get in the back if you’re using a wand. We’ll need to get used to working with each other in a pinch, so stay alert.”

As the group began to move, Marchand’s eyes fell on Marie. She was there, standing bravely with her friends, but she was trembling slightly. He would have insisted she be sent to a designated shelter area, but he had a sinking feeling he knew what that many emergency horns all at once meant. If he was right, one place was no better than the next to ensure anybody’s safety. She was probably better off staying with people who cared enough to defend her.

The Grand Concourse they’d left when entering the Château de Comtesse was nothing like it appeared now. In the darkness of evening, frightened citizens were scattering in all directions. The shouting was deafening. A little girl, much younger than even Marie, was standing alone with a plush doll of an escarot, crying her eyes out. Part of Marie wanted to cry along with her, but another part wanted to stand in front of her and protect her…just like her big brother would have done.

Tessa and the others were already running through the cherry trees toward one of the outer walls. Marie threw the child one last glance before she was swallowed up in a sea of rushing bodies.

Tessa had to shout to be heard as the party sped along. “Where are we going!?”

“Perimeter!” Marchand responded, “Hear the horns? There’s a lapse in the sound by the northeast quarter! We may not have adequate defenses posted there!”

Zaradi punched her palm again, adrenaline coursing through her veins. “So we’re gonna plug the gap? All right!”

“Is that wise?” Max called, “We’re not exactly a military unit! And what about Marie!?”

Marchand couldn’t answer. He was leading the group straight into a potential combat situation. Marie was a child. Tessa was contrary, and if they’d all gone along with the traveler, it meant the rest of her friends probably were too. They were liabilities. All of them.

Marchand was being selfish, and he knew it. He wanted more than anything to command troops in battle. He’d waited through years of training and education for his chance, only to be told that there were no ships to sail when he finally came out of port. It was brazen and shameful, but tonight, he was going to have his way. Besides, all of Tessa’s friends wanted to help.
Everything would be fine. That’s what he kept telling himself.

The group reached a deserted guardhouse, its occupants already on the move for the outer walls. It would take too long to don any of the armor stored there, but there were plenty of weapons, ripe for the taking. Tessa chose a light sabre, similar to the weapon Marchand carried. It was sharp and more importantly, fast in the face of more than one opponent. Zaradi eagerly chose the broadest, most hulking and intimidating sword she could find – heavy enough that even she needed two hands just to pick it up. Marchand offered Max a sturdy blade, but he held up his hand in uncomfortable refusal.

“I’m…no good with anything like that.” He put his hand on Marie’s shoulder and brandished his wand, “I’ll hang back with her and support you.”

Everybody nodded in agreement and wordlessly moved on. A flight of stone stairs led to the upper parapet of the walls. There had been plenty of yelling, but no sounds of combat. Whatever was coming at them probably hadn’t breached the outer walls yet, so there was still a good chance of sizing up their opponent from above, and maybe hurling some well-placed spells into their midst. Marchand voiced some of this plan to the group, hoping to give them all a boost of confidence.

It was short lived.

All of them were stopped in their tracks by the scene outside the walls. Tessa was born and raised in Kell, a city that had long since tamed the surrounding countryside and made it safe for travelers and citizens alike. Even a small pack of dangerous wild animals was all but unheard of. She was starting to get used to things not making much sense lately, but this sight went against everything she’d ever known and loved about her home. Her mouth hung open and a shiver ran over her shoulders, as if she’d just walked over her own grave.

There were trogloyaks – the hulking, hairy, tusked monstrosities that were so completely purged from Kellian lands long before she was born that she had never seen a real one before. There weren’t ten, or twenty, or even a hundred. It was like an ocean composed entirely of the fiendish things, as far towards the horizon as the light of the twin moons would allow her to see. They were brandishing everything from crude axes and swords all the way down to bare tree limbs and even just their meaty fists, as if there weren’t enough weapons left in all the world to arm them all. They barked, howled, screeched, chanted, and emitted every other sort of guttural squeal from their foamy lips that their limited intelligence was capable of producing. Uncountable beasts, standing in a place where they should – where they could never be.

“This…” Marchand whispered aloud, “this can’t be…the scout patrols…the sentries…why didn’t we know? What happened to our advance guard?”

It got worse. Towering above both the trogloyaks and the walls of Kell were three yurt. The idea that a yurt could be armored for war was ridiculous. Their docile nature wasn’t suited for combat, and the sheer cost involved in fashioning armor plates for them was inconceivable. All the same, this trio of beasts had an uncharacteristic madness in their eyes. They wore cobbled-together “armor” plates made from barred windows, heavy steel doors, chunks of stone, and decrepit barding from long-dead escarots that probably carried knights from ages past into battle. They looked like walking piles of junk. Four story tall, indestructible piles of junk, whipped into a frenzy and turned loose on Kell. Tessa was so dumbstruck she didn’t even realize she was staring until she felt the heaviness of Marie’s arms wrapping tightly around her waist. Terror wasn’t a strong enough word to describe the mood.

“G-goddess…” Max choked, his blood running cold, “…what…what are we going to do…? They could just…just walk right over the walls and jump up and down on everything.” He looked over his shoulder. A fair number of brave citizens were massing on the village’s side of the wall, readying wands and whatever weapons could be spared to assist the soldiers. Max didn’t have to count them to know they were outnumbered at least fifty to one. Probably a lot more.

Zaradi stepped in front of the group, gripping her blade with clammy palms. Her knuckles were trembling slightly, but as her ancestors were her witnesses, she was not about to give an inch. “They won’t just walk right over the walls,” she growled, balthan fury boiling through a thickness in her throat. “N-not…not so long as I’m alive.”

Tessa placed her hand protectively on Marie’s head and began stroking her hair. “Are you out of your mind, sword girl??” She admonished. “Just who the heck do you think you are? Everybody seems to be forgetting this lately, but we’re just kids! Even if you weren’t contrary enough to kill yourself before they do it for you—even if you were the greatest warrior that ever lived, there’s like, a hundred and fifty of them for every one of us! Besides, we are supposed to be accompanying the traveler! We need to get back there and save him! It may already be too late!”

Tessa knew she’d said too much the moment the last bile-encrusted sentence escaped her dry lips. Marie had started crying. She held the younger girl in a protective embrace, understanding Marie’s desire to see Theo again more than she wanted to admit.

Zaradi shrugged off the comments and kept her attention focused on the advancing horde. “Do you have a better idea?”

For a time, nobody spoke. The throng of trogloyak bodies was visible in every direction. A ‘miraculous escape’ required a miracle, and they had used their last one just making it to Kell. They stood there, avoiding eye contact with one another as each of their troubled thoughts turned to when and how they were going to meet their end.

A horrifying crunching noise could be heard coming from the main gate, as if a great gout of stone had been torn from the wall.

Marie looked between the solemn faces of her friends. They all wanted to apologize to one another for getting into this mess, but nobody could find the words. Taking in a long breath, Marie finally spoke.

“B-Brother…never gave up…on me.”

Maxwell Fableton, who had never been to Kell before, swallowed through a lump in his throat. He adjusted his glasses, tilted his brimless, pointy green cap forward on his head, and held up his wand. “I, uhm…don’t think I want to just stand here and wait for them to come get me.”

Zaradi managed a dry smile and squared her shoulders. “I chickened out on you all once. It is not going to happen again. Not ever.”

Tessa clenched her quivering fist and stared down at it. She’d already made two promises. One was to that nerdy jackbeans who she’d kissed and then left to die. The second promise was to herself – so long as she could still make a fist, she would keep her first promise. She looked around at all of the familiar faces. Everybody wore a determined stare so intense that it shamed her to think she’d nearly given in to despair. A wave of confidence rolled through her like the warmth of an affectionate summer sun. Turning, she addressed Marchand formally.

“Captain, your troops are waiting. Let’s do this.”
Marchand turned to review his ‘squad’. His fiancé, a contrary balthan, a scrawny apprentice lorewarden, and an unarmed little girl. Behind him, he heard the song of steel and the joining of battle.

“Alright, here’s what we’re going to do…”

See my review here.
|  Goodreads  |  Shelfari  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |


And before you go....
Enter to win 1 of these 2 great prizes.

1st prize:  an ecopy of The Goldenwealth Light & Everywhere the Road Ends  by Scott McCloskey (mobi & epub available)
2nd prize: winners choice of an ecopy of The Goldenwealth Light or Everywhere the Road Ends by Scott McCloskey (mobi & epub available)



Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law.
Entries close at 11:59pm Jan 29/15.
Winners will be drawn Jan 30/15.
Winners will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

24 comments:

  1. Would love to read and review these books, you can never have enough fantasy:) Good day to you all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. Hi jonel! Thank you for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for another greast give away Jonel :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fantasy is a genre I really love, so this seems like something I would enjoy reading a lot. The excerpt made it interesting.

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/01/the-syrian-virgin-review.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am lookinf forward to getting to know this series

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello and a good weekend to you. I love the cover and it sounds like an interesting read.

    sherry @ fundinmental

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi :)

    Your book looks interesting and fun >.<

    -Emily-Ann

    ReplyDelete
  8. Books look great, like something I need to add to my classroom library :) Thank you for showing me another fabulous new author :)

    Cassandra :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the sound of this one! Thanks for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds wonderful! Love fantasy!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the cool giveaway invite. I entered. (Fingers crossed 😁)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for giveaway Invite..I entered.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This book looks awesome! My TBR pile is getting longer. Good luck to all who enter!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello, this looks like it is my Kind of Book.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The books look wonderful. And that cover... wow!
    Thank you for hosting the giveaway. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi! :)

    Thank You for the chance, Jonel, this one sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I’m a vampire and i know you will be surprise to think that how i can write aticles on these site if am a vampire i can change any time any day to either human or vampire .Yes it is true. How I become a vampire with the help of the richvampirekindom@gmail.com I will tell you later,I live in north India here we are called PISACH. My day changed from that day when I met a sweet handsome Man He is also a pisach called richvampirekindom@gmail.com . I will not tell u my exact location. But I will tell you how to become a vampire,my English is not so good so excuse me.They learned the procedure from a secret book.This dark art has been revealed by a rich hindu landowner who find a book from the library of a dannish king and with the help of vampirelord which is email is richvampirekindom@gmail.com .. If u become vampire you can still be a ordinary man but you will get more power and gain more height,you will become much younger than your mates of same age, you never become bald, you don’t need any sex, you will always satisfied.But to become a vampire a very difficult task . I give you the procedure, I will no longer be responsible for your nature but you will become lone like me.i was soooo much amazed at first when i contacted the richvampirekindom@gmail.com 1 ) Atfirst i become very scared and afraid to offer the sacrifice to them just to be a full blooded vampire but i later changed my mind and strong in spirit and i did what was needed and now am not just an ordinary vampire but a very rich and famous weathy one too, i have powers and many doos. no human life needed for you to be a full blooded vampire just get them what they want and i promise you u will be sooo glad- so if u all out there really want to become a rich and famous vampire like me then contact our lord the most lord of all lord at these email richvampirekindom@gmail.com if you also want to know more about it then email me asap on my email to help you with information to become a full blooded vampire jeromesamson022@gmail.com

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