Welcome to the sixth day of The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow blog tour. It will run until August 17th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:
A plague has covered the land, a single word on the lips of the frightened masses: the Widow. Washing a wave of terror over the countryside and then disappearing like a thief in the night, the Widow holds a kingdom in the palm of her hand. The eyes of Chaos have settled on Prima Terra and heroes must rise. Xeno Lobo, enigmatic and cryptic, hunts the Widow, seeking an object taken from him years before. Will he be able to stem the tide of violence and horror that sweeps the land?
A few questions for the author:
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
The title is borrowed from the plot and the characters. The series is actually part of much larger epic fantasy story line that I have been working on for a very long time. It follows characters who have been removed from one dimension and inserted into another with no knowledge of their past.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The cover is actually a photo taken by my brother while he was visiting Europe a few years back.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why? How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
I have to admit that I don't have characters who are my least favorite, especially in a story this short. I generally try to write characters in which I am invested. Otherwise, the whole process becomes tedious, like going to lunch with someone you don't like. There are clearly heroes and villains, and I have a tendency to like and write characters who blur that line.
Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:
The halls of the Tower of Darkness were bathed in shadow. The narrow corridors were draped with murals and texts older than time. A minuscule window that lined these pathways was stained in black glass.
The tower rose high into the skies, higher than the greatest reaches of the frozen clouds that circled it. As the citadel neared the stars above, it became progressively smaller and smaller until only one room remained: the Widow’s chamber.
The room was situated with only a throne of obsidian and a cold steel table on which an iridescent orb resided. Beside the throne lay the slumbering were-beast and the pearl whelp that resided atop her throne of death.
She moved about the room like a dancer amidst a song, her head tilted back and golden hair spilling over her shoulders like a waterfall. Her arms reached out into nothingness and a hum echoed in the dim chambers as she made her way.
The spinning stopped as she neared the orb and in one movement, she brought her head over it. Her hair spilled over the sides of it. She muttered to herself incoherently. As she pulled back, the orb had gone from a swirling mass of indistinguishable colors to pitch black, the change extraordinary.
“Mighty orb of darkness, what do you see?” she called into the darkness. The orb imploded upon itself, the darkness reverberating within the shadow until it stilled.
A voice emanated from it, a dark voice that boomed from wall to wall. “A force approaches. A man bound to the Light, a servant of the enemy of the Towers of Darkness.”
“Enemy of the Towers of Darkness, how enjoyable,” she cooed.
Her voice was elegant.
The voice came again, as monotone as it had previously been. “The servant brings a second, and soon a third. These forces align against your reign, against the reign of the Towers of Darkness.”
“Karian, the Widow, fears no mortal, especially enemies of the darkness,” she laughed at the orb manically. She danced about the room again, the were-beast lifting its head as its master gallivanted like a child to a tune that had ensnared her soul.
She danced and danced until she came to a stop abruptly, her hair tossed across the face. Her brow was furrowed, lost in thought, her finger raised in question. “Who is this servant of the Light? Has he, she, a name?”
“The name that slices through the darkness is Xeno Lobo. He has defeated the Nighen, your carrier of death to the south, in Me’lein,” returned the voice.
“Xeno Lobo,” she whispered to herself, her eyes closed. Her left hand began to glow, the darkness swirling about her and then in a blink of an eye, a sword materialized.
The blade was etched in shadow and death, the hilt carved from human bone. The guard was a gnarled, twisted form of a shadow woman. She spun the sword with the practiced hand of a swordswoman and slammed it into the stone of her fortress. Splintering the rock, she turned back to the orb, chest heaving.
“Yes, they speak of Xeno Lobo. The caretaker of the crest of Devon,” replied the voice without inflection, without care.
She looked across her room and saw the twinkling jewel crest that rested upon her throne, the golden chain sparkling in the moonlight. The sight of it drove her mad, swinging and striking the walls with her blade. The whelp rose from its perch, searching back into the darkness.
It screamed the whole way.
“But I took that damnable thing from him once. Why does he wish for more pain, more regret?” she queried madly.
“I do not know, Mistress Karian, but I do know that he comes here for that crest. You are the bearer of his pain and regret.”
She calmed, the sword vanishing from her grasp. The darkness embraced her once again. Her body fell to the cold floor, hair spilled about her face. She remained there, cackling madly as the shadows encircled her.
Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.
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