Nathanial West and Twever

I always enjoyed writing the scenes between Nathanial West and Twever. Even though they are two of the most dangerous characters in the trilogy, when they are together they act just like naughty school boys.
The extract below from Scions of the Storm, sums the pair up perfectly.
Hope you enjoy
Alan
“Anyway,” said Twever, “you then add in the fresh herbs and serve with rice. It’s lovely.”
“Does sound nice,” agreed Nathanial.
Charlie looked on in disbelief at the two unarmed older men standing in the middle of the trail, calmly chatting away as if fifty armed men walking towards them were a common occurrence.
“It looks like our guests have arrived,” Twever grinned. “Do you want to do the talking?”
“Bollocks to that.”
“Succinct and to the point; I like it. Ok, I’ll do it.”
Charlie stopped ten feet away and held up his hand to indicate to the rest of his pack to do the same.
Nathanial stood silent.
“You will have to excuse Natti-boy, he can be an antisocial bugger, at times. A bit moody at times, also. Let me introduce myself. I am,” Twever struck a suitably dramatic pose, “Twever the Magnificent, the Beast of the Granite Mountains. You may have heard of me?”
“Nope,” replied Charlie.
“Oh,” a slightly deflated Twever said.
Nathanial smiled.
“You think that funny, do you?” Twever asked Nathanial and hit Nathanial on the shoulder.
Nathanial’s smile got wider.
“Hate you.”
“If I could interrupt you idiots,” called out Charlie, “what are you doing?”
“He may be an idiot, but, apparently, I’m insane, so I would be grateful if you could get it right.” Twever sniffed.
“Do you know what we are?” asked Charlie.
Twever looked at Nathanial. “Do we know who they are?”
“Yes.”
“Do you think they know who we are?”
“Doesn’t seem so.”
“Do you know who we are – eh, what is your name?” queried Twever.
“My name is ‘Your Death’ and I do not care who you are, fools,” Charlie replied.
“Well, ‘Your Death’ – that’s a daft name – anyway, Deathie-boy, I strongly suggest you look at us.”
Charlie felt the restlessness running through his pack. “I am looking at you, and all is see is two dead men,” he said, angrily.
“Try looking through a different set of eyes,” suggested Nathanial.
“Excellent suggestion, Natti-boy,” grinned Twever.
***
Ardo slowly moved into position behind the pack and settled down to wait.
***
“This is a serious matter, you cretins. You should take this seriously. I will show you ‘different eyes’,” growled Charlie as he started the change. He fell to his knees and cried out in agony as his body was wracked and torn by the transformation. His pack became more and more agitated by the smell of blood and, at the sight of Charlie’s warping body, one by one, they began the transformation themselves.
Nathanial and Twever watched on with disinterest. “He wants us to be serious,” said Nathanial.
“Then the creature is a fool,” said Twever, flickers of red starting to show in his eyes. “The last thing any creature should wish is for us being serious.”
Nathanial rolled his shoulders and neck. “It’s been a long time, Red Eyes, since we hunted.”
“That is true, Red Claw; however, these pathetic fools will be poor sport. They don’t even know who we really are.” The flickers of red in Twever’s eyes changed to flames of deep hellfire and his face started to twist into its demonic mask.
The pack leader of the Dev’ver slowly stood and roared its arrival into sky, its pack mates answering his call. Lowering its muzzle, he looked at the two weak creatures before it and hesitated, and for the first and last time, felt a flicker of fear within its linked souls.
There before him, their hearts burning bright, were two ancient and Greater Ones. There before him was Red Claw and an unknown but extremely powerful Fire Spirit.
“Do you need any of them alive?” asked Red Eyes as he flexed his fingers before they vanished.
“No,” growled Nathanial.
“Correct answer,” said Red Eyes as his hands reappeared with a wickedly curved sword in each.
Nathanial locked eyes with the creature that had been Charlie and started the change. His eyes never wavered as his body ripped itself apart and started to rebuild into a Dev’ver. Finally, with a shudder and a roar of challenge, Red Claw entered the world of men again.
“Come, Red Claw, let us be serious,” said Red Eyes.
The pack leader looked at the great prizes before it. If it could claim one of those hearts, it would gain great power; it would become great and gain a name. Howling its own challenge, which the pack picked up and amplified, the pack leader charged.
The Dev’ver known as pack leader rushed at Red Claw and took a wild swipe. With effortless ease, Red Claw batted the arm aside, reached out, and ripped the creature’s throat out, throwing the flesh in his claw contemptuously to the ground. Red Claw moved on, the useless creature’s heart not worthy of his attention.
Red Eye’s swords leaped and danced, cutting through flesh, separating heads and arms from bodies, his face a mask of demonic glee in which his eyes burned with a deep hellfire red, as he systematically worked his way through those standing before him.
Ardo heard the roars of challenge and, as the pack surged forward, he leaped into the fray, his mighty jaws and paws ripping through the neck and back of the rear- most Dev’ver.
End of the extract.

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The eBook version of “Stories for a Storm Filled Night” is now free offer for the next 5 days via Amazon

This is the just a quick post to say if you fancy trying one of my ebooks for free,  I ‘ve just placed “Stories for a Storm Filled Night” on a free offer on Amazon for the next 5 days .

Stories for a Storm Filled Night is a book of short stories and within it you will find the following tales

A Firm Hand

Takes place twenty years before the events in “Echoes of a Storm.”

I will come clean at the start and say I had great trouble writing this story because of the subject matter, In fact I nearly binned it twice, but in the end, I decided to finish it and add it to the collection. However, be warned it’s not a nice story, it’s not meant to be.

The Agreement

Takes place roughly three years before the events in “Echoes of a Storm.”

I always wondered what it would be like if Nathanial West, The Midnight Man and Red Claw sat down and talked. This tales tells the story of the time they did that. It also is the first story to feature King Hamish Peterson.

Jennifer, Nathanial, Twever, & Ardo Go on an Adventure

Takes place roughly two years before the events in “Echoes of a Storm.”

I wrote this story for a number of reasons, but mainly because I missed writing Twever. It does  however, give a lot of insight into these four characters and the early days of their friendships.

Brethren of the Night I & II

I had to include these two short promotional stories, when I realised that without them the next story would not make any sense.

The Chestnut Murders

Takes place during the events in “Echoes of a Storm.”

I have always wanted to go back and write about the Chestnut Murders as mentioned in “Echoes.” and this gave me the perfect chance. I already knew who the two main characters were going to be – Captain John Hughes and Jack Sorenson – as they were already mentioned in “Echoes”. The real question was – who was going to be the murderers and how did John and Jack catch them?

Wife

Takes place during “Scions of The Storm”

I wanted to give a bit more detail on the Siege of Idris and decided to write the events through the eyes of John Hughes Wife Alice. I think it adds a different element to the story.

Teash

Takes place twenty five years after the Siege of Idris

I wrote this story for Lisa W from Texas USA to thank her for all the help she has given me. It features two characters that without Lisa, would be dead and would not exist. Samuel Cregg and Shadow Killer.

A Dark and Hungry Storm

The final story in my book of short stories.

Quite simply this is the Prelude and the first chapter of Book three of “The Storm Series” Trilogy.

You can find the book by searching Amazon for “The Storm Series Alan Scott”

If you do download it for free (and I hope you will) could I kindly ask that you leave an honest review on Amazon. Reviews are the life blood of Self Publishers and all reviews (good and bad) are greatly received.

Thank you

Alan

A Storm Filled Night

A Storm Filled Night

Female Characters in Fantasy Novels

In ninety percent of Fantasy and Sci-fi books, there only ever seem to be three types of heroine:

1. The one that screams a lot, needs to be rescued a lot, and whose hair and fingernails are always perfect.
2. The five-foot nothing, smart sassy one, who, with a suitable quip, can kill five hundred heavily-armed and armoured six-foot deadly killers in two seconds flat.
3. The muscle-bound broadsword wielding one who will happily do battle in a skimpy chainmail bikini, regardless of the weather conditions or practicality.

There is nothing wrong with any of the above, and many good books include them; however, I wanted to write my female heroes as, well… real woman. So, I looked at fictional characters – such as Judy Dench’s “M” in the James Bond films, real life characters such as Margaret Thatcher, and various women that I know – to be my inspiration.

Queen Alexandra Peterson – My Female Hero

The Early Years

Not a lot is known about the early years of Alexandra. All we really know is that she was forced into an arranged marriage at a young age to King Hamish Peterson, who once famously said, “If I can’t fight it or romance it, I’m not interested in it” (or words to that effect). Although King Hamish was not deliberately cruel or aggressive to his Queen, Alexandra felt alone and unloved in her marriage as her husband waged war, hunted, and claimed his royal prerogative on the willing women of the kingdom.

Because of her husband’s behaviour, Alexandra had a brief affair with her bodyguard, Nathanial West. As a result of that affair, she fell pregnant. Luckily, King Peterson thought Alexandra was pregnant via him and the resulting daughter, Princess Kathleen, was raised as his heir.

King Peterson then died from plague, leaving an unprepared Alexandra widowed and Kathleen seemingly fatherless.

To Be a Queen

With the death of her husband, Alexandra had to learn quickly. She was a single mother ruling a small kingdom in a violent and dangerous world. By necessity, ‘duty to daughter and realm’ became the basis of her reign as Queen, which she firmly ingrained in her daughter’s education and everyday life.

Being a widowed Queen, there were many suitors trying to claim her hand in marriage. It was while she was trying to fend off these unwanted attentions that she first showed the steel within her – by unleashing her Dev’ver bodyguard, Nathanial West, in his werewolf form upon an aggressive suitor (see the short story ‘A Mere Woman’ in Tales of Solomon Pace for full details).

Echoes of a Storm

At the start of the book ‘Echoes of a Storm’, we find Alexandra having just survived an assassination attempt on her life and the life of her daughter. This attack causes her to make a hasty decision that comes back to haunt her later on in the book.

Throughout the novel, Alexandra shrugs off her youthful ideas and becomes a powerful and confident woman, a determined Queen who can protect her daughter and kingdom from the evils of the world. This determination to protect her daughter leads to the dramatic ending of the book.

Summary

I have tried to write Alexandra as a real woman who does not need to be rescued every five minutes, does not wear skimpy outfits, and uses her assassins, armies, and generals to fight her battles, but does not shy away from using a sword or knife in defence of her daughter and kingdom.

My hope is that I have written a strong female character in a fantasy setting to whom women can relate to and empathise with.

Alan

A Good Book needs a Good Villain – The third and last part

The following is a chain of comments between me and Lisa W from my post “A Good Book needs a Good Villain – Part Two

Lisa W “I agree. Villains are a necessary evil (sorry for the pun) and the more viscous the villain, the braver the hero has to be to overcome it. Villains may be juicier to write, but I love my heroes”.

My Reply  “It all depends on the hero is it Batman or Superman?”

Lisa W reply “Both. They are very different – one with natural powers and works globally, the other with training and cool gadgets and works within Gotham City – but they accomplish the same thing – saving the innocent and bringing justice. The difference between heroes and villains are their choices. Batman has much in common with the villains in his tale, but he chooses to help others instead of being narcissistic. I think Solomon could have been a Batman, if not for his father”. (I should point out at this point, that Lisa has read all my stories and knows the character of Solomon Pace very well)

I have posted the above chain because Lisa makes an excellent point and one that goes beyond heroes or villains.

If you put the effort in to make your characters interesting, by giving them light and shade, by giving them hopes and fears, then readers (and we are all readers) will invest their time and energy into those characters, by talking about them and discussing the with their friends and colleagues, and when that happens your characters will take on a life of their own as people will be:

  1. Wondering what happened to that character when they were little to make them turn out the way they did.

  2. They will be discussing – what would happen if character x meet character y

  3. Discussing how heroic/ nasty that character is.

  4. Doing what Lisa did, and comparing fictional characters against fictional characters

When that happens, you as a writer has succeeded in what you do. : )

I do find it a shame that in the genre I write (Fantasy) – too many writers forget about the characters in their story because they too busy trying to create new worlds, 18 different languages and hence are stuck with one dimensional, boring, and heavily predictable characters.

Too many of them want to be Tolkien, Steven Donaldson or Stephen Erikson, they forget or don’t know about the great and wonderful writers that have come before or are out there:

Scott Lynch – The Lies of Locke Lamora

Joe Abercrombie – The Blade Itself, Before they are Hanged, Last Argument of kings

 Fitz Leiber – The Gray Mouser series

Brian Lumley – The Necroscope series

Alan Moore – Almost everything this man has written is pure gold.

Hugh Cook – Chronicles of an age of darkness

To name but a few.

Right I had better stop there or a I will be ranting on and on and on lol.

Alan

Any Questions About My Books or Characters – Please Ask Away.

I know occasional when I’ve read a book I’ve wanted to ask the author – why did you do that? Or what made you go in that direction with that storyline?

Hence, if you have any questions or queries about any of my books, characters or storylines then please feel free to ask away.

I will do my best to answer all sensible questions : )

Alan

A Character Profile of Tremendous Twever, The Beast of the Granite Mountains, and Ardo

Warning: this will contain major spoilers

 Twever and Ardo appear in Echoes of a Storm, Scions of the Storm, and one story in A Storm Filled Night. Ardo appears in A Dark and Hungry Storm and When Ardo met Ozzy, a short story.

Well, what can I say about Tremendous Twever, the Beast of the Granite Mountains and his invisible pet, Ardo?

 The pair came about for two reasons:

 1.   I needed someone for Nathanial to talk to as an equal

2.   I needed Ardo for Jane to use to kill her attackers.

Originally, they were just bit players in Echoes, however, with Nathanial hiding away for most of Scions, I needed someone to take a bigger role in the book, and these two pushed their way to the front. I am so glad they did.

Twever

Taking Twever by himself for a moment – I am really quite proud of the character of Twever. His personality and speech patterns are very much West-coast Scots, though without the Scottish dialect, and slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect!! He was also a joy to write, as I could get away with anything with Twever, due to his clownish behaviour. However, beneath all the fun and silliness, there was a very dark and sinister side to Twever, and I was very careful to drop that aspect into the story, every now and again.

What Twever also allowed me to do was show a more human side to Nathanial West. You could never say the pair were best friends, but they were equals and Nathanial could talk easily to Twever about what was happening to him regarding the Midnight Man, etc. My favourite scene between the pair has to be the sandwich-making scene from chapter seven in A Day in the Life of Twever (or Two Fiends Do Lunch), as it sums up their relationship perfectly.

As I have said previously, the thing I am most proud of with Twever is the Twever/Katrina storyline. I still think this is the best storyline I have written to date. At its heart, the storyline is a love story, a very honest and a very gentle love story, that threads itself through a very dark book. The end to the storyline is very sad and (it’s confession time again) I have to admit that my eyes were slightly moist when I wrote the conclusion to it.

Ardo

What can I say about Ardo? Well, he (and he is most definitely male) is a large four-legged invisible creature. He is owned, if that is the correct word, by Twever, whom Ardo likes to call “the Idiot”. Since no one except Twever (and one other person) can see Ardo, there is some debate as to what type of creature he is. Some people think he is a dog, while others say he is more cat-like. When asked, Twever just says, “He looks like an Ardo!!”

Ardo’s hobbies are: getting his ear scratched as much as possible, watching people have sex – he likes the faces they make – and killing small fluffy woodland creatures. Lisa W., the lady who proofreads my work, summed Ardo up brilliantly with – ‘a Hannibal Lector mentality with the emotional depth of a five-year-old in the body of a hellhound’.

Ardo died, along with Twever and Katrina in Scions of the Storm; however, when it came to writing A Dark and Hungry Storm, I had created a character called Rosie, who was a small girl and a total innocent. There was no way she would survive without a protector. I was struggling to work out how I was going to protect her when I suddenly realised I had not killed Ardo!

Yes, he had been badly wounded, but he was an Earth Spirit (or, at least, partly an Earth Spirit) and had been buried in the earth – so that was perfect! Ardo would survive to protect the little girl (as long as she scratched his ears!). I was then hit with a barrage of ideas regarding Ardo and everything clicked into place. I had been mentioning a character called Death Claw, who had vanished hundreds of years ago, and, suddenly, it made sense that Ardo and Death Claw were one and the same. From there, the storyline wrote itself.

Just like Scions, the end to A Dark and Hungry Storm is very deliberate. We have Ardo/Death Claw fighting to save Rosie from those that are trying to hurt her – or to put it another way, we have the savage beast protecting the innocent from the evils of the world, something Twever and Ardo had been doing throughout the entire storm series!

Alan