Sunday, April 29, 2012

Last Day to Get FREE eBooks!


LAST DAY to claim 2 (that's right, two!) SKULLDUST CIRCLE titles for FREE! 

Two great fantasy books
Please show William and I your support by downloading it to your Kindle, phone, eReader or PC. If you need the kindle APP for your PC, simply click the link at the top right hand section of my blog and it will prompt you to download it from AMAZON, FREE of charge!


Part two of In the Shadow of the Black Sun, Shards of S'Darin will be free. William is generating interest in his epic fantasy series by offering book 2 for free in the hopes that those who download it will also purchase Part one, A Dream of Storms for $2.99.

Also available is Embremere, the first book in a new fantasy series aimed at a more Young Adult audience. Read the sample and give that one a try as well.

    To celebrate the release of his latest short story "Tears of Blood", Gary Vanucci's, "A Rose in Bloom" will be free all weekend. "A Rose in Bloom" is Part 2 in the Wothlondia Rising series, (though they could be read in any order) detailing the backgrounds and personal histories of the main characters from the Realm of Ashenclaw and the full-length fantasy novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights: Beginnings. Do yourself a favor. Grab "A Rose in Bloom" for free, then grab the other short stories (Links on the right-hand sidebar of SKULLDUST CIRCLE) that have been released so far at 99 cents each. Great stories, great price.

    Thanks for stopping by here and please stop on over to check out Skulldust Circle to see what we five writers have going on at all times! 

    See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

    Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

    Cover art by William Kenney!

    All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted. All Stories related to In The Shadow of the Black Sun & Embremere are copyright William Kenney 2012.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Wothlondia Rising 4: TEARS OF BLOOD Preview

    A Sizable chunk of WOTHLONDIA RISING 4: TEARS OF BLOOD! I know that there are many fans of Saeunn, the gritty, sexy and fierce barbarian from Chansuk. And who wouldn’t like a female barbarian that would give Conan a run for his money? (Well, I suppose it depends on who wrote that fight!)

    This is a battle-fueled story that will sate both your blood-lust as well as tug at your heart strings. I hope you all enjoy not only the excerpt here, but the story in its entirety.

    Oh, and who wouldn’t want to read a book where the main theme is BARBARIANS vs. ZOMBIES!? (I didn’t think it was you…)

    TEARS OF BLOOD will be available this weekend for a paltry 99 cents!

    Saeunn became one with the horde as it rushed out of the village. With weapons in hand and an intense battle lust etched upon their faces, the barbarians of Chansuk raced to intercept the unknown threat. Saeunn was with her brother, Magreth, who wielded a huge battle axe. He led and she followed, her own greatsword drawn and at the ready. Saeunn’s weapon had been crafted by a village blacksmith only a few years ago and was gifted to her by her father when she reached adulthood after her sixteenth name-day. Needless to say, it was special to her. She had drawn blood with the weapon before, but only on a few occasions.
    Saeunn knew deep down that her father accepted her as a true barbarian—naturally gifted and uninhibited when it came to the kill. She did what she must on the field of battle and did not let guilt or trepidation rule her actions. She knew that Scarr witnessed and understood this from the first time she ever brandished her weapon. But, he never voiced it. He would never speak of it, especially to her mother.
    Once Huuna discovered that Saeunn was accompanying the counter attack, she would not be pleased… not one bit. She had visions of her daughter marrying a warrior and bearing him children, just as she had done, and had voiced that opinion often. That life choice did not sit well with Saeunn, the barbarian. And Scarr knew this, too. His daughter had always shown the fire of a warrior behind her eyes, though he attempted to discourage her many times for Huuna’s sake.
    Women were not often sent into the vanguard, but there were more than a few of the so-called ‘fairer sex’ who could make quite an impression in that very arena.
    Women of Chansuk were no ordinary women….

     ….Then she saw them coming.
    Cover art by William Kenney
    The barbarian horde collectively slowed for a split second as they beheld the living atrocities in greater detail. The things were bloated, rotting creatures. Skin adorned with sores and boils dripped from their bones. They were a truly horrid sight and an obvious blight upon the whole of Wothlondia!
    The first of the wretched creatures hit their lines. After the initial revulsion of having seen the things up close, the barbarians responded in kind.
    Saeunn and Scarr were amongst those in the second wave of attackers. Saeunn strayed from her group, purposefully giving ground as she wanted to swing her weapon wide. She rushed to meet a group of the creatures head on, barbarian fury pumping in her veins. Her first wide swing cleaved one in two across the stomach, barely slowing on the flesh or what was inside it. She recognized this abomination to be what the village shamans told her was a zombie, an undead corpse fueled with evil life gifted by the demon lords of Pandemonium. But this thing looked different from the creatures in the shaman’s tales. It was full of deadly disease and oozed a vile corruption from its tattered skin.
    A second and third pestilent wretch appeared and moved toward her. Part of her could not help but be impressed by the speed at which the bulbous creatures scrambled. She slashed her sword across in a downward, right to left motion, all but severing the head of the nearest zombie. It hung loosely by a strand of flesh, and then landed with a squishy sound upon the damp ground, followed by its body.
    The third zombie slammed into Saeunn, knocking her back a few steps and probing for flesh to bite with its keen-edged teeth. It continued, following its impetus, which the woman had anticipated for she fought on instinct. Saeunn rolled backwards with the creature’s momentum, extending her sword straight out while holding it tightly and near the top of the hilt, halfway up the weapon’s blade, giving her better control of its weight.
    The undead wretch skewered itself upon her sword. But instead of recoiling, the zombie continued to push toward her, further impaling itself and refusing to yield, wanting only to reach her flesh. Saeunn pulled her blade free, exchanging the placement of the weapon with her own left foot, which she used to keep the thing at bay. She shoved out with tremendous force, thrusting the creature rearward to gain space and using that inertia to once more propel herself into a backward roll. She sprung to her feet before the thing could move toward her and spun in a complete circle. Her greatsword followed the arc and slashed through the zombie’s neck with significant force, causing its head to fly away, rolling toward another fray not far from her. She paused to witness the battle for a split second as she was given a brief reprieve.
    Saeunn heard the slashing of swords and axes biting into zombie flesh. She listened to the screams of dying barbarians and heard the invigorating roar of battle cries that instilled a morale boost to the servants of The Champion.
    Saeunn followed the bounding skull of the zombie and watched as another of them charged, tripping over it and stumbling forward. It had the misfortune of sprawling into the devastating dance of the pair of axes belonging to her father, Scarr. He had managed to stay close to his daughter in the skirmish and kept an eye on her. He grunted a few times as he swung those axes in a rhythmic pattern, continuing to chop the zombie to pieces in a way that made it look as though he were dancing and not fighting. Not once did any of the creatures advance past his defenses and never did the man’s weapons cease their hypnotic pattern of destruction.

    I hope you enjoyed the sample! 
    See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

    Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

    Cover art by William Kenney!

    All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

    A ROSE IN BLOOM Excerpt for Sample Sunday

    I wanted to give you all another sample of A Rose in Bloom for FREE here to see if this will whet your appetite! This scene has a bit of intrigue and romance for anyone who enjoys that sort of thing. (a few of you ladies have asked me for some romance, so here it is!) This involves characters in my novels including Ganthorpe Randolph and Rose Thorne. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

     He strode respectfully past the women gathered in the antechamber of the brothel, who were all gawking at him, and he smiled back at them with his charming grin. Then he suddenly turned to Marielle, who was escorting him to the room.
    “Sorry for my delay,” he apologized as he tossed a golden coin toward her. She caught it and smiled, never even looking at it.
    “A peace offering?” she asked him sarcastically, rolling the coin over with her fingers.
    Cover art by William Kenney
    “Of course,” he answered, bowing before her. “My Rose is a delicate flower and is not to be plucked by any but me, as per our agreement.”
    “I have my own stream of coins—save it for your girl,” she answered, flinging the gold coin back to him. He caught it deftly, his hand navigating the space quickly. Then he shrugged, never really getting used to the boldness and candor of the woman. He certainly admired her business sense and merely nodded in response. She was a surprising one.
    “Besides, you may need it to stem a lashing,” she added with a chuckle, knowing Rose would be none too pleased at his tardiness.
    “Very well,” he finally managed to say, licking his dried lips before turning the corner of the hall and climbing the staircase to the next floor. Marielle watched as he paused at Rose’s door, removed a red rose from beneath his jacket, and then knocked lightly.
    “It’s about damned time!” he heard from within, and he grinned.
    Marielle quietly retreated, leaving him alone in the hallway. He opened the door and found the most recent of his infatuations sitting in a chair, drinking a glass of wine. She frowned at him as he entered and he handed her the flower.
    “You are rather behind schedule,” Rose interjected, expecting some kind of explanation, but none was forthcoming.
    “A rose for my Rose,” he smiled, bowing low and ignoring her remark. Then he moved in and kissed her. She shoved him away playfully before giving herself over to him. She kissed him deeply for a long moment as they fell to the bed.

    “I have a proposition for you,” Ganthorpe began, as they lay next to one another a few hours later.
    Rose leaned up on her elbows and stared at him intently with her gray eyes.
    “I’m listening,” she told him.
    Then she rolled away to sit in the chair adjacent to the bed and tasted another sip of her fruity wine. A moment passed and she placed the glass down on the desk, stood and stretched and then looked expectantly at him. Her raised eyebrows instructed him to continue voicing his current notion. He swallowed hard, fighting through the obvious distraction she presented to him, her supple body shimmering in the dimly lit room, but he was up for the challenge.
    “I know that you have certain skills—”
    “Well, of course I do,” she snapped, cutting him off and responding to what she thought he meant. He shook his head and continued.
    “Not what I mean. You have a certain flair for… pilfering goods in the marketplace,” he observed simply, drawing an inquisitive look from her. “The Trade District, my dear,” he clarified.
    She turned a puzzled look his way and frowned, not quite sure what he was talking about. It was clear that he wanted to converse, though. She pulled a light silken robe over her elegant frame and sat in the chair facing him, still unsure what he was getting at.
    “You know my meaning,” Ganthorpe said, his eyes turning icy as they regarded her.
    Then she panicked, sensing something serious about him that she’d never seen before. His tone was altogether different, too, and somewhat intimidating. Rose tried to remain calm, steadying her breathing, but she could not help shooting a surreptitious glance his way. She slipped a small knife out of the drawer of the table behind her, thinking the man to suddenly be other than she had originally perceived him to be.
    “Is this some kind of threat?” Rose asked, wondering if she had stolen something from him inadvertently and that now, perhaps, he meant to make her pay. She’d been the recipient of many betrayals from others, promising one thing or another, but this one hurt most of all.
    He laughed in response to her question as if to dismiss the absurdity of the accusation. However, her paranoia was mounting and she did not see it as such.
    “Yes,” he answered, half smiling again and moving toward her.
    Rose, now terrified, dove at him clumsily with the tip of her knife extended. He slid to the side, caught her by the arm and forced her slash downwards and into the goose down that filled her bedding beneath the linens. He then twisted her wrist and placed his thumb in an uncomfortable area, forcing her to relinquish the dagger.
    “And no,” he finally added. He admired the speed at which she had launched the attack. Then he steeled his face again, trying to remain calm after the inevitable flood of adrenaline through his veins. “Did you mean to kill me?” he asked incredulously.
    Rose nodded slightly, then shrugged and winced in pain at the wrist-lock still held in place. He hadn’t even realized he still held her and so released her immediately, moving off the bed to stand away from her.
    “By the gods, girl—calm down! I’m not going to send you to Archinon!” he cried, throwing his arms up. He was referring, of course, to the home of the gladiatorial arenas in southwestern Wothlondia. That was where the law-breakers and other miscreants taken captive by the Watch were sent by caravan monthly to receive judgment for their crimes in one manner or another. King Tallaruk, Archinon’s fierce ruler, was a sadistic but fair king, Ganthorpe considered, thinking the man to be a bit like himself in this regard.
    “What then?” Rose questioned him, flustered and gesturing wildly to strengthen her position.
    “Keep your voice down,” he instructed in a commanding, whispered tone. He closed in on her again and stood facing her. Then he sat on the bed, beckoning her to sit too. She did so, reluctantly and vigilant, holding his gaze steadily, a tentative contemplation registering behind her gaze.
    “I have eyes everywhere in this city,” he began to explain. This confused and surprised Rose at the same time.
    “Who are you?” Rose asked him, whispering now.
    “I am Ganthorpe Randolph—the soon-to-be-Assistant Mayor of Oakhaven,” he announced clearly to her, boasting proudly as if the deed had already happened. Then he modified his tone and spoke words meant to gauge a reaction. “That could mean a much busier schedule and a public image that may add up to less frequent visits on my part,” he went on, watching intently the expression on the young woman’s face. He noted the hint of disappointment there, for he was extraordinarily skillful at reading even the slightest change in body language or mannerisms, as well as the most insubstantial of vocal fluctuations. It was one of his many gifts.
    “I am aware of these things,” Rose answered, pursing her lips and then biting the lower one as she turned away from him briefly.
    “Ah, but what you do not know—and what no one but a select few know—is that I run the Thieves’ Guild, an organization of pickpockets and rogues here in Oakhaven!”
    Rose spun back towards him, letting the information sink in. She recalled in the recent past having been approached by thugs and footpads on the street on numerous occasions, threatening her and worse, but she had never suffered any repercussions. She had simply ascribed their words as empty threats from wretched men. Now she was beginning to picture a different scenario.
    “I want you to join us… join me,” he went on. She grimaced at first and then placed a hand to her chin in a contemplative posture for a moment, followed by a long bout of silence. “I will tutor you personally in the ways of the underworld and you will have riches beyond compare,” he added as encouragement.
    “I—but, what of Marielle?” Rose asked, sincerely concerned with how her Madam might react to the news.
    “I will make it worth her while,” Ganthorpe replied, smiling that wide grin that seemed wolfish to her now, with just a hint of the boyish charm that was more familiar.  “I know what it is like, Rose, to have nothing and to have to steal to survive.”
    “I own enough coin now,” she lied, fending off his accusation, but Ganthorpe recognized the hint of falsehood beneath her words. He detected the slight variation in her voice, even though she’d masked it expertly. But rather than pursue that line of thinking, he shifted the focus of the conversation once more to something less antagonistic.

    Finished Cover
      “Besides, you can’t help yourself, can you?” He asked rhetorically, already knowing the answer. For he knew exactly how she felt, as he thought them to be truly kindred souls. He was slightly older than she, but the excitement of perpetrating the heist or the pick-pocket was without comparison.
    “I do have a strange desire to pilfer,” she admitted with a sheepish grin.
    “Well? What say you?” he asked her, crossing his arms over his chest. Rose simply moved forward, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
    “So, you don’t want to kill me anymore, I hope?” he asked, pushing her back to witness her reaction.
    “Not at the moment,” she winked. He could not tell if the threat was truly meant behind the smile that followed. It was one of the things that had attracted him to her in the first place. He was inwardly happy at the news and relaxed again, confident that he had made the correct decision in bringing up the subject after all.
    “There is nothing quite like the thrill of using your skills to relieve a wealthy merchant of his wares, eh?” he asked her again, raising an eyebrow. “Now, all I need is to teach you how to use that dagger of yours,” he added sarcastically.
    “I can use one just fine,” she retorted, producing a hidden blade from somewhere beneath the loose fitting silk robe she wore and holding it to his neck. It was a very thin knife blade, like that used to skin a piece of fruit, and was small and very lightweight. She had removed the handle, leaving only the sharp steel behind. “You see, I am not without certain skills of my own.”
    She pulled the knife away from his neck and tossed it on the desk.
    “I see that I have underestimated you, Rose,” he smiled, obviously impressed. Her actions further supported his decision to invite her. “It won’t happen again.”
    “A girl’s gotta protect herself, right?” she said, removing her robe, this time genuinely disarming herself. “Would you like to check me for further concealed weapons?”
    “Truly remarkable,” he laughed as he grabbed her by the neck and kissed her hard on the lips. “A Rose with thorns,” he observed, holding her at arm’s length.
    “You have no idea,” she replied. As she shoved him forcefully onto the bed, some of the goose down billowed out from the tear of her failed assault. They remained intertwined until the sun appeared from behind distant clouds in the eastern sky. 

    I hope you enjoyed the sample! See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

    Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

    Cover art by William Kenney!

    All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Embremere-New Young Adults fantasy by William Kenney!

    My friend and fellow author William Kenney has a new book out and is promoting it on Goodreads today. Please take a look at the post as I have copied it here for my audience to see and maybe lend him some support! Go buy it!

    Embremere-New Young Adults fantasy novel released today!

    William J. Kenney Event for William J. Kenney

    Date: April 18, 2012    09:11PM -- April 25, 2012    08:11PM
    RSVP by: April 25, 2012    08:11PM
    Venue: US
    Type: other
    Added by: William Kenney


    Help me celebrate the release of my new fantasy book, Embremere! Take a look at the cover and read a sample on the Amazon page. Enjoy!


    From the writer of the In The Shadow of the Black Sun saga.
    Book One: A Dream of Storms
    Book Two: Shards of S'Darin

    comes a new fantasy novel.

    The majestic city of Embremere had been built on an immense platform high above the surface of the lake, with the poor and
    criminal element creating their own society below it in a world they called The Under. Into this world, Grivvin Lo'Rynin is exiled. He is the last of the Wychan, Embremere's high order of wizards who have, over the generations, lost their power. And now he is an outcast.

    As fate would have it, a young girl named Lyrica pulls him from the churning waves that night, saving his life and dragging him along on a dangerous adventure facing whirlpools, dragons and the grey-skinned fish-men called the Cuda, who cruelly rule The Under.

    Can Grivvin survive in this strange land long enough to unlock the secrets of Wychan magic and seek revenge on the nobles that branded him useless?

    What dark secrets lie at the bottom of Lake Embremere?

    Cover, content and story all copyright William Kenney 2012 

    See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

    Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase my full length novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights, the short stories: Wothlondia Rising, and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

    All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2012 unless otherwise noted.