Title: Book of Death
Author: S. Evan Townsend
Publisher: World Castle Publishing
Length: 266 pages
Sub-Genres: Vampires, Paranormal Entities
They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called "adepts" and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if some of them discovered a power that other adepts could not match.
During the turbulent 1960s, when American adept Peter Branton agrees to go to Transylvania for the CIA, he suspects it's not about ball bearings as he was told. What he finds is a plot that could kill millions of people and plunge the world into eternal tyranny and bloodshed. Branton doesn't know it, but he's about to face the adept guilds' worst nightmare: practicing necromancers with a taste for human blood.
I'd never seen this type of meta before. At least I assumed that's what it was, as the wooden man inexorably walked toward me with a creak of moving wood, like tree branches in a heavy wind. It was raising its arms for another blow so I stepped back and shot an airbolt at it. I heard wood crack, but that didn't stop it. It swung again and its wooden fist pounded into my face, knocking me down and back on the sidewalk. Somewhere I heard screams and yells. A guy sitting on the sidewalk, his back to a storefront, muttered, "Wow, bad trip, man."
The Indian was bending over, its face expressionless except for the painted-on peace sign as it seemed to prepare for another attack. I shot fire at it, assuming old dry wood would ignite easily, and it did: the hippie dress went up in flames, and now the monster was a burning mass, still attacking me. It smacked me again with a flaming arm and I suffered from both the impact and the burns. Nearly screaming, I scrambled away on hands and knees. I don't think I'd ever been that scared. Still it came, oblivious to the fact it was on fire.
A motorcycle cop I hadn't noticed jumped off his bike, pulled his service revolver, and shot it into the Indian with six cracks of bullets being fired. It had no effect other than sending burning splinters of wood flying. The cop suddenly looked frightened, and was gripping his billy club but taking no further action.
People were screaming loudly now. I looked around, looking for an escape. If I could teleport away I might escape, but I could see no clear place to teleport to. Briefly I wondered what happened to Ernestine and if she were safe. I didn't sense the presence of another adept, but I didn't really have the ability to be quiet enough to do so. I just hoped she was okay.
The burning Indian smacked me again, hard, in the chest and I felt as if my feet left the ground as I was knocked into a car's side. I heard and felt sheet metal crumple and knew I'd hit the car hard. My vision was going gray. But I realized my shirt was on fire and that kept me from passing out; if I passed out I was probably dead. I pulled water from the air to douse the fire, but this took time and the Indian was on me again, even though it was moving very slowly.
I wondered if I'd survive until the wooden Indian had been consumed by the flames. It hit me again, knocking me to the sidewalk. There was an unpleasant smell and I realized my hair was burning. I used my bare hand to pat out the flames. This gave the Indian time to hit me again, hard. It almost felt as if I flew through the air and was slapped painfully to the sidewalk, the Indian still lumbering toward me.
In desperation I shot another airbolt at it. It must have been on the verge of falling apart because that hit blew it into flaming pieces that scattered over the street and also hit me, burning my skin or singeing my clothes. But it was no longer attacking.
Why Urban Fantasy
I wrote this novel which eventually became known as Agent of Artifice. My publisher took one look at it and said, "it's an urban fantasy." I had to google "urban fantasy" (up until then I was calling it a "historical fantasy spy thriller").
According to Wikipedia, for a fantasy to be urban: "The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city." To me, the archetypical urban fantasy is the Underworld movie franchise. But when I sat down to write the Adept Series, I didn't not say, "hey, let's write three urban fantasy books." Actually, I wanted to write a novel set during World War II using a universe I developed when writing a short story called "Lesser Magic." From there the stories grew.
I have an awful confession for a fantasy writer: I don't read a lot of fantasy/paranormal. In fact, I'm still getting over the idea that I wrote three fantasy novels. I never read fantasy before except for Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and some fantasies by Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein. The thing I liked about Heinlein and Niven's fantasies is that they had rules and were internally consistent. When I read other fantasies (and I, admit, I may have drawn my curve without enough data points), it seemed anything was possible and there were no rules. So when I set out to write fantasy (which, I didn't set out to do, really), I developed rules. Rules such as if my adepts (magic folk) use too much power, they get physically tired. Rules such as without their talisman, they are a lot weaker. Some spells take a lot of what I call "meta" such as healing yourself (they often simply fall asleep after) and some don't take so much. And probably the best rule was that you can't make offensive spells when you have a protection spell up. And you can't move, either.
So, you could say, I didn't choose Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy chose me. Why did it choose me? I have no idea. The first thing I ever wrote in what has become the "Adepts Universe" (where some people, called "adepts" can manipulate people and nature through spells) started out as a science fiction story. Sometimes when I'm bored I just start writing a story not with any idea of it going someplace. So I was writing this story set in the near future about a man on the run from . . . something (I hadn't determined that yet). I was setting up the scene (a motel room just south of the "Seattle-Portland megalopolis") when for some reason I typed: "I put alarm spells on the door and window and put the gun on the nightstand." I have no idea why. The scene continued:
It could have been a few minutes or it could have been hours later when the door alarm woke me. In my mind I saw the door fly open and two armed men rushed in. Warriors, I thought, that's not very imaginative. A bright light, part of the spell, slapped them in the face letting me clearly see their weapons, sawed-off shotguns, and as an added benefit prevented them from seeing me.
But writing that story gave me some history, some background, vocabulary, and some rules (do NOT let another adept learn your real name!). I wrote one of the favorite things I've ever written and you, dear reader, are going to be the first to get to read it:
The window alarm went off inside my cranium. Damn, the warriors had been a diversion. A roc, wingspan of at least six feet, crashed through the glass and ripped through the fabric of the curtain. It had large eyes designed for seeing in the dark and long, obsidian-like talons.
I had one bit of powerful meta I had been saving for just such emergencies. I had to let go of the gun with my right hand, leaving it in my left hand, and pointed at the great bird. Fire jumped from my fingertip, across the unused bed, to the creature, slamming it into the wall and igniting its feathers. The force of the spell knocked me into my bed and radiant heat from the arc of flame burned my hand. I swept my finger across the room to the warriors, leaving a line of fire of the wall. One man was beating a hasty retreat and I got him in the back. His clothes ignited then his skin. He screamed once before the flames entered his lungs and fatally silenced him. The other warrior stood still, perhaps in fright, and passively went up in flames. Both squirmed on the floor a sickeningly long time.
As it burned, the roc jumped around the room spasmodically, almost falling back out the window, and flailed its wings filling the air with flying black feathers. It smashed into the TV and the LCD screen shattered. One of the room's walls was on fire, the roc was ripping up the carpet with its talons, and the dying warriors were spreading the fire to the floor.
Alarms sounded and the fire sprinkler began spraying cold water like some indoor cloud burst over the room, furniture, bed, the broken TV producing sparks and smoke and immediately soaking all my clothes. I jerked back the slide on the gun and emptied the magazine into the roc. As each hollow-point mushroomed in its body it screeched like fingernails on a chalkboard. Its black blood spattered the walls only to be washed down to the wet rug to lie with the ejected shell casings. I heard the great bird's breath rattle out for the last time.
(I wrote this years before LCD TV screens.) Yes, I'm serious, before now, no one has ever read that. It's been sitting on my hard drive (or actually, a few different hard drives) for something like 15 years. (Rocs show up in Hammer of Thor renamed ruhkhk.) Why urban fantasy? Because it lets me write scenes like what you just read.
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Book-Death-S-Evan-Townsend/dp/1938961269/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1346972143&sr=8-8&keywords=s.+evan+townsend
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/Gnike_j2KSI