The Falcon of Imenotash
by Holly Bargo
The emperor of the Harudin Empire needs an heir and cannot produce one of his own body. He orders the most worthy of his worthless sisters to wed and produce an heir. That sister, Aridis, chooses Edan and offers him a promotion from captain of the palace guard of Imenotash to king. He accepts his queen's proposal. Their mutual respect evolves into attraction and--dared they admit it--love.
Displeased by his sister's choice and unable to dissolve the newlyweds' union, the emperor summons them to the capital city. Humiliation and degradation follow. The peasant-born warrior and the concubine's daughter have little opportunity to restore their honor and dignity, but they're keeping secrets from the emperor that may prove his doom.
A grunt of pain, followed by a metallic hiss, awakened Edan instantly. His sword pulled free of its scabbard and whistled through the air as he launched himself at the two intruders trying to subdue his lady’s guard. Although the men attempted to remain quiet, inevitably their fighting knocked over a small vase on the cupboard against the wall. Exploding pottery shards and the sounds of a struggle not entirely suppressed woke Aridis.
Sitting up, she blinked and quickly realized the situation. She scrambled off the bed and scuttled to the bedroom door. Flinging it open, she cried out, “To me!”
Four of her guard answered immediately, followed by six more who woke from their rest, weapons ready to hand. Since the quiet had been broken, the men called to each other.
“Surround her!” Edan snapped as he drove the point of his sword into one of the intruders.
Four of his soldiers immediately set Aridis in their center. A cry in the dark and then a wet gurgle announced the second intruder’s death.
Edan wiped his sword on the dead man’s clothes and commanded, “Ready the horses. We leave now.” Turning toward the four men who surrounded his queen, he said, “Pull on your cloak, my lady. We cannot delay.”
She shook her head, eyes wide. “We cannot leave like this.” Edan approached and two of the soldiers stepped aside for him. Looking down into the dark gleam of her eyes, he said, “Their bodies will give sufficient reason for our hasty departure.”
“This will surely offend the emperor.”
Edan’s teeth gleamed in the darkness. “He failed to assure your safety. I shall not.”
This fantasy romance novella contains mature content not suitable for readers under 18 years old.
Available On Amazon
Nominated for the 2018 Readers Choice Awards contest by TCK Publishing!
Please vote for it under the Fantasy Book Category at
An ending and a beginning
It's said that when one door closes, another opens. That's hogwash. One does not correlate to the other.
My service with Red Sun Magazine has ended. Although the magazine only published three extremely well-regarded issues in its first year of operation before closing due to lack of funds, I treasure the experience. Being the fantasy editor of a literary magazine gave me interesting and valuable insights into that aspect of publication. I'm proud and grateful to have been a part of it. Ben Richards, the editor-in-chief, intends to launch a crowdfunding campaign to relaunch the magazine, and I wish him good fortune in that endeavor, even though I am no longer able to uphold the commitment to serving on the magazine. We've become friends in a weird, long-distance sort of way.
That said, I have begun working on the next story: Iron Sun. This "New Adult" romance will follow Pure Iron, focusing on Kristoff, the bass guitar player of Iron Falcon. His heroine is Rachel, a high school teacher who witnesses the suicide of a bullied student. Some deep emotion dredged from my own history went into that scene. Anyway, you know the book will end with an HEA: the fun is in getting to it.
Daughter of the Deepwood is in the hands of my editor, who has taken my exhortation to be ruthless to heart. Her critical insight will definitely improve the book. I have set the release date for this book at March 31.
TCK Publishing notified me recently that The Falcon of Imenotash was nominated for their 2018 Reader's Choice award in the fantasy category. I've been spreading that news all over social media. It will keep popping up for a few more weeks, along with pleas to vote for it, because this is a popularity contest that I really want to win. Your support means a lot--and costs nothing. To vote, go here: https://www.tckpublishing.com/2018-readers-choice-voting-page/.
That said, not much is happening on the home front. My younger son graduated from tech school and now awaits orders. As soon as he receives his orders, he'll be on his way back home in Ohio for a visit before heading off to his first duty station, Elmendorf in Alaska. I'm leaving in less than two weeks to take care of family matters, so I hope my boy makes it home before I head to South Carolina. I expect to be out of the office for a month, so blog entries may be delayed or missing altogether. Your patience is appreciated.
Of interest, my parents' neighbors invited me to join them in the Passsover sedar. I am honored and excited to accept this opportunity to participate in an intimate family celebration. This will be added to a growing bank of treasured memories. Since I never take selfies, you won't see pictures. But you might get descriptions.
Guest Blogger James Gault
What book(s) have you published? (Include cover images of up to four books with buy links.)
I have some ELT books still in print but these are my novels.
The combination of eleven-year-old hot-headed Tania's determination and some rather careless advice from her somewhat cynical English tutor is a recipe for trouble for everyone: her parents, her teacher, her classmates, the Prague police, and even the Russian-Italian Mafia criminals she stumbles across. There is a mystery to be solved and Tania is going to solve it, no matter what the collateral damage.
Anna Petrovna (Anja) had a plan, and she was about to put it into practice. All she wanted was a husband, a family and a good comfortable life. But in a country governed by corruption, violence and greed, was that an unobtainable ambition?
Anja was a young woman full of confidence in her abilities, and success was hers for the taking. We follow Anja's trials and tribulations en route to power and wealth. She's making her way in a dark and secret world, where no one and nothing is what it seems, and where ends are to be achieved by whatever means will do the job. Can Anja negotiate this murky world and remain true to herself?
She thinks she knows what she wants, but does she?
She thinks she knows how to get it, but does she?
She thinks she knows herself, but does she?
Do you favor a particular genre? If so, what attracts you to that genre?
My three published novels and the one I’m currently working on are in some sense detective mysteries, but it would be misleading for me to classify them as just that. I always try to introduce a bit of humour, and there are philosophical and political themes in there too. In Teaching Tania and in Ogg, I am exploring the need to question and contest accepted ideas, while in The Redmeption of Anna Petrovna, my main aim is to expose and address the problem of political morality and corruption. All this sounds rather heavy, but I hope my writing is more in the nature of political satire with a hint of slapstick comedy.
What book--not necessarily your own--would you recommend to a stranger? Why?
I never recommend books to strangers, because how can I know what their tastes are? Reading a novel is a contract between the author and the reader, and the readers only sign on the dotted line if they are getting what they want, and we don’t all want the same things. I do write book reviews, which are, in a way, recommendations to strangers. But unlike many professional critics, I don’t assume my tastes are theirs, or even worse, what theirs should be. I say what I wanted from the book and whether I got it. Readers can then make up their own minds.
What do you like most about writing?
Any kind of praise is very welcome, but if you let others read what you’ve written you’re going to get criticism at some point. So really I write for myself. I enjoy creating the characters and putting them into situations to see how they react. If I think of something witty as I write, then I have at least brought a smile to my own lips. If others find it funny, that’s a bonus. That’s probably not a very commercial attitude to take, but I believe that success comes from finding readers who like what you like.
What lessons have you learned as a writer?
Up to very recently, my image of a novelist was someone locked in solitude in a badly lit room with a quill pen in hand. Or at least the up-to-date equivalent, with a bit more illumination and the feather scribing instrument replaced by a laptop. That’s how I used to work up to about a year ago: scribbling away on my own and sending stuff out for the odd success, multiple rejections or publishing myself. What I’ve now learned is how much writing is a collaborative exercise. So now I have editors, Beta-readers, publicists other writers working with me. We share ideas and help each other. It’s a nice balance between the loneliness of the initial creative exercise and the social fun of the discussions that follow.
What else would you like to share with readers?
I think what I’d most like to ask readers to do is to give new writers and independent writers more of chance. The established publishing business is a closed shop, with major publishers refusing new submissions and dealing exclusively through agents. Of course publishers need to make money and they want to minimise risk so the favour the established best-selling authors, or the growing celebrity fiction fad where they know people will buy the books. They also have the bookshop market tied up, so smaller publishers cannot get shelf space. But with Amazon, Smashwords and other on-line outlets, and the growth of e-books and print-on-demand, new writers can by-pass this and get their works out there. So if you’re a reader reading thirty or so books a year, why not make at least one or two of them books from small publishers or independents? Search for new writers in the genres you love. It’s not a big gamble, you can read the first page of the sample chapters and if the author hasn’t grabbed your interest by then, well, he doesn’t deserve you anyway.
Author name James Gault
Facebook URL https://www.facebook.com/jgaultbooks/
Amazon URL www.amazon.com/James-Gault/e/B004JJOXW4/
Website URL www.voxlit.com
James Gault was born in the west of Scotland to working class parents just after the Second World War, and was the first member of his family to attend university. After a career in Information Technology and business, about twenty years ago he moved to the Czech Republic to follow his early love of writing and language. He worked there for ten years teaching English and writing English language textbooks, before retiring to the South of France to concentrate on writing novels and short stories, most of which have political and philosophical themes. As well as his novels, he has published magazine articles, philosophical essays and a prize-winning short story. He is the founder and publisher of the Voice of Literature on-line magazine.