Tuesday’s Butler-Banks Blog Featured Author – Kia Leakes

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From Iowa, but later relocating to Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was a multifaceted Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. Sharing stories with her cousins as a teen, writing books didn’t seem like something she would pursue until one day in college. Storytelling continues to be a major part of her very DNA, with the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world.

In her spare time, she likes to cook, dabble in photography, and assists with an internet/social networking group online. Loving to feed her book addiction, romance, fantasy and fiction novels are her world. Reading those particular genres help guide her as she finds the time to write and study for school.

Kai is the author of Sineaters: Devotion book one and the soon-to-be-released Sin Eaters: Retribution: Devotion book two, coming in June.

 You can find her at her website: kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes.

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“The Light Will Always Prevail, but when the Light and Dark are at war, sometimes the Grey can only be your salvation.”  ~ Kai Leakes

Thursday’s Banks-Butler Featured Author is Milton Davis.

Milton Davis bio

Milton Davis is owner of MVmedia, LLC , a micro publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Soul. MVmedia’s mission is to provide speculative fiction books that represent people of color in a positive manner. Milton is the author of eight novels; his most recent The Woman of the Woods and Amber and the Hidden City. He is co-editor of four anthologies; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology and Griot: Sisters of the Spear, with Charles R. Saunders; The Ki Khanga Anthology with Balogun Ojetade and the Steamfunk! Anthology, also with Balogun Ojetade.  MVmedia has also published Once Upon A Time in Afrika by Balogun Ojetade.

Milton resides in Metro Atlanta with his wife Vickie and his children Brandon and Alana.

Amber synopsis:

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Thirteen year old Amber Robinson’s life is full of changes. Her parents are sending her to a private school away from her friends, and high school looms before her. But little does she know that her biggest change awaits in a mysterious city hidden from the world for a thousand years. Why? Amber’s grandmother is a princess from this magical kingdom of Marai. She’s been summoned home to use her special abilities to select the new king but she no longer has the gift, and her daughter was never trained for the task. That leaves only one person with the ability to save the city: Amber! But there are those who are determined that Amber never reaches Marai and they will do anything to stop her. Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure that spans from the Atlanta suburbs to the grasslands of Mali. It’s a story of a girl who discovers her hidden abilities and heritage in a way that surprises and entertains.

 

Amber excerpt:

Aisha kicked the garbage can across the alley and screamed. She struck out with her fists, imagining Bissau’s face as the target for her frustration. A sound distracted her; she turned to see a group of people staring at her. She grinned maliciously then before the eyes of her unwanted spectators she transformed into a huge grey hyena. Her maniacal laugh sent them all scurrying away; Aisha transformed back to her true self before exiting the other end of the alley.

She underestimated Amber. Whatever powers she possessed manifested the moment they landed in the motherland. She had been overconfident when she knew better and now the girl and her mother were lost in Dakar. A quick sweep of the local hotels revealed they were not checked in. They were clever; they knew it would be the first place she searched. They weren’t familiar with the city, so they wouldn’t take a chance in seeking a stranger for help. Aisha was dumbfounded. Where would a person begin to look for another in this world? She would have to start with her own knowledge then go from there. In Marai each folk claimed its own section of the city. She would look for the American section of the city, if one existed. That would be where they would most likely go if they didn’t choose a hotel. Aisha spotted a man dressed in a large purple shirt and loose pants striding down the street towards her. There was a smile on his face; Amber smiled backed then approached him.

“Excuse me sir,” she said in her sweetest tone. “Where would I find the American compound?”

The man looked puzzled. “American compound? There is no…oh, you must mean the American Embassy.”

“Yes, that is what I mean.”

The man scratched his chin. “It’s a long way from here. Come, I’m walking to my car. I’ll take you there.”

“Merci, sir! Merci!”

Aisha followed the man to a dusty vehicle. She was used to automobiles now, so she climbed into the passenger side. They pulled away quickly.

“What’s your name?” the man asked.

“Aisha.”

“Well, Aisha, your Momma should have taught you never to get in a car with a stranger.”

The man’s sinister grin was barely on his face when Aisha snatched her wicked dagger  from her clothes and pressed the tip into his neck. It was her turn to grin.

“No, sir. You should be old enough to know not to try to take advantage of pretty young girls. Now take me to this American embassy.”

The man’s fearful eyes drifted down to the blade. “You won’t do it. I’m driving!”

Aisha pressed the knife into his neck just enough to draw blood. The man whimpered.

“The embassy, fool!” she spat.

The man drove to a building that flew a red, white and blue flag decorated with stars. Aisha leaned closed to her reluctant chauffeur then kissed him on the cheek.

“Thank you for the ride,” she whispered.

She nicked his neck with her knife as she exited the car. The man yelled at her and shook his fist. Aisha had already forgotten him.

The military man at the door greeted her with a smile before looking over her shoulder at the irate man.

“Is there a problem, ma’am?” he asked.

“No sir, but you are very kind to ask.”

Aisha glanced over her shoulder as her involuntary ride sped away.

“I hope you can help me, monsieur,” she said. “My friends from America came to visit me today but it seems I lost them at the airport. I think they would come to the embassy if they were lost.”

The guard looked at her skeptically. “There were two Americans that came to the embassy earlier today. You say they are your friends?”

“Yes, monsieur.”

“Yet you miss them at the airport and then come here seeking them?”

“I must make a confession,” she said. “My friends would not know me if they saw me. I was to meet them at the airport to assist them in their travels. They apparently grew impatient.”

“They’ve made other arrangements,” the guard said gruffly. “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

“Please, monsier, I must find them,” Aisha pleaded.

The guard studied her a few moments before answering.

“You can talk with the receptionist,” he said.

“Merci, monsieur. Merci.”

Aisha went to the receptionist. The woman confirmed that Amber and Alake had indeed come to the embassy, but she wasn’t at liberty to say where they were staying.

Aisha thanked her then left  the embassy. So the duo had taken refuge in a local home. It would seem to be a good move, but there were few homes in Dakar that could provide two lodgers the comfort of a hotel. Her search would not be as difficult as Amber had surmised. She had no doubt she would see them very soon. She found another alley, ran then leaped into the air, her arms spread wide. She transformed into a falcon, a cry of joy escaping her mouth. Of all the creatures she could be, the birds of prey were her favorite. Their powerful bodies’ combines with their keen sight and ultimate mobility fascinated her. If there was any creature she could remain for the rest of her life, it would be such a beast.

She beat her wings, climbing higher over Dakar. It did not take her long to find the city section she sought. A line of mansions rimmed the ocean side, houses resembling the lineage of Marai. She circled, seeking obvious sign of where Amber and the others would be but there was none. They were smarter than that, but still even the most intelligent person can make mistakes, as Bissau proved in Paris. She descended and found a perch on a nearby office building. The midday heat did not bother her; she was a child of the desert and the falcon she chose to be was well adapted to the high heat. Now was time for patience. She felt sure she was in the right place. She would soon have what she wanted.

It was dusk when she saw it. A mystical flash rose from a sector of town south of her. She jumped from her perch, flying as fast as she could to the source before it waned. Someone used nganga nearby and she was sure she knew who. Despite her speed by the time she reached the source of the flash it had dissipated. Two homes filled her view, both splendid compared to the other homes in Dakar. There was only one way she could find which house was which. She transformed into her human female form, this time wearing the clothes of a local. She waited until darkness settled on the city before walking to the door of the first home. She knocked for a long while before giving up and proceeding to the next house. Aisha knocked then took on a sad expression. The door swung wide and was filled by a large man with a disapproving face.

“What do you want?” he barked.

“Something to eat,” she replied.

“No beggars here,” he said. “Now go before I call the police.”

“Just a little something,” she persisted.

The man grabbed her shirt. “Didn’t you hear me? Be gone. You’ll disturb Miss Josephine and her guests!”

Aisha’s eyes narrowed and she smiled. “Of course I will.”

Aisha’s foot sank into the man’s stomach. He dropped her and she landed on her feet. She stepped over the groaning man into the house.

“Bundu, who is it at such a late hour?”

Aisha saw a light appear on her left. Another light appeared on her right. She looked right and a saw a woman she did not recognize walking toward her as she tied her house robe belt.

“Who are you, child?” The woman demanded. “What is the meaning of…Bundu!”

The second door opened. A woman stepped out, a woman whose face was very familiar. The woman saw Aisha and her hands flew to her mouth.

A third door flew open at the top of the stairs. Bissau rushed out, his face twisted in anger. He jumped from the top of the stairs. Aisha grinned.

She waited until Bissau was almost on the floor when she transformed back into the falcon and flew by him to the room. When she transformed she stood before Amber.

“You’re journey is over,” Aisha announced.

Amber stumbled back. The necklace about her neck glowed with a strange light.

“That necklace will be mine once I’m done with you!”

She struck at Amber’s neck and was shocked when the girl blocked her blow. Her foot flashed out and Amber blocked it as well. She almost laughed when Amber punched at her face until she realized the punch was a feint. She barely avoided the swinging elbow meant for her jaw.

“You have some wrestling skills,” Aisha said. “Your Grandma taught you well.”

Aisha glanced behind her; Bissau and Aisha’s grandmother were running up the stairs.

“Time to end this!”

Aisha reached for her pouch. Amber kicked her elbow and her arm fell limp.

“Damn you, girl. I’ll…”

Bright light filled her vision as Amber’s elbow crashed against her head then everything went dark. When she opened her eyes the back of her head throbbed and Bissau, Amber and her grandmother were entering the mirror inside the room.

“No you don’t!” Aisha yelled.

She jumped at the mirror. Bissau reemerged and slammed into her, knocking her to the floor. She tried to stand but Bissau pulled her back down.

“We have unfinished business, shape shifter!” he snarled.

“Then it will remain unfinished!” Aisha reached for her pouch again. Bissau dodged her and ran toward the mirror. Aisha smiled; as soon as he opened his portal she would follow him. He did no such thing. Instead he picked up a nearby chair and smashed the mirror. Aisha screamed then fell onto Bissau, pummeling him with hands, feet, elbows and knees.

“Up the stairs!” she heard a female voice yell. “They’re up the stairs!”

Aisha halted her assault on Bissau. He lay unconscious at her feet, his beautiful face beginning to swell. She ran to the edge of the stairs and saw four uniformed men climbing up to her followed by the woman and her butler. She hissed in anger; she was back to where she started. But at least this time she had a lead. She hurried over to Bissau, grasping his arms with her hands. What she was about to do would weaken her, but she needed him, at least until she could locate Amber and her grandmother again. The transformation took longer than normal; once she was done she was a falcon again and Bissau was a mouse in her talons. She flew upward as the uniformed men reached the top of the stairs then glided out of the door into the humid night.

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Milton’s links:

http://www.mvmediaatl.com/amber-and-the-hidden-city.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Amber-Hidden-City-Milton-Davis/dp/098008427X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1397637761&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amber-and-the-hidden-city-davis-john-milton/1117794226?ean=9780980084276

 

#Afrofuturism, #blacksci, #diversityinsff, #amber

Wednesday’s Banks – Butler Author is Balogun Ojetade – Guest Post

Wednesday’s Banks – Butler Book Tour author, Balogun Ojetade, is an excellent writer and you would well to check out his work.  An excerpt of his work is shown below.

The Scythe Blurb

He has been given a second chance at life. A second chance at revenge. He is the bridge between the Quick and the Dead. He is…THE SCYTHE!

Out of the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, a two-fisted hero rises from the grave!

Inspired by the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, a tale of action, adventure, thrills and chills await fans of Dieselpunk, die-hard pulp fans and readers who just love a gritty story that packs a mean punch.

Enter a world in which Gangsters, Flappers, vampires, robots and the Ku Klux Klan all roam the same dark back streets; a world of grit, grime and grease; a world of hardboiled gumshoe detectives and mad scientists; a world where magic and technology compete for rule over the world.

Dieselfunk has emerged in The Scythe…and the Roaring Twenties will never seem the same!

 

Excerpt from The Scythe

 

“He who sleeps with an itching anus wakes up with smelly fingers.”

Ikukulu opened his eyes. Anesusu stood over him smiling. A horde of Agu stood behind him.

“Only a madman would go to sleep with his roof on fire,” Ikukulu replied, hopping to his feet.

“This is the sigil, then?” Anesusu inquired, pointing at the carving on the kuka tree.

Ikukulu nodded. “It is. It will require all of our blood to activate it.”

“Let’s get to it, then,” Anesusu said, drawing his knife.

Anesusu held his obsidian blade high above his head.

Hundreds of similar obsidian knives, with gazelle antler handles, were thrust into the air.

Ikukulu drew his coral knife. He slid the blade across his palm, rending his flesh and then pressed the leaking gash to the sigil for a few moments.

Anesusu followed him and then each warrior from amongst the Agu did the same until the sigil was covered in gore.

“The sigil is now activated and well-fed,” Anesusu said to his brethren. “The Jugu will be upon us in a few hours and we will send them to their doom. So drink; make love – preferably not with your own wife or husband, for you married warriors – and rest up…for at midday, we usher in a new era…a new world!”

A cheer erupted from the army of Agu.

Ikukulu turned away and sauntered toward the river. The ways of the Agu disgusted him, but the refusal of his own brothers and sisters to work with the Agu had forced him to ally with them alone – a dangerous undertaking, indeed, but one most necessary. He prayed that his punishment would not be too harsh and that the Abo would one day come to realize his level of sacrifice.

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Ikukulu and Anesusu stood at the edge of the Ogun River with three hundred armored Agu behind them.

The dawn air was cool; crisp; and carried the scent of sulfur and putrid flesh.

“The Jugu are close,” Ikukulu shouted, drawing his knife.

“Swords!” Anesusu commanded.

The Agu drew their knives and pointed them skyward. A white energy, like a bolt of lightning, coursed through the obsidian blades, from base to point. A moment later, the knives expanded into broadswords.

Ikukulu knelt, slamming the pommel of his knife into the soft earth. The knife twisted; shifted; stretched. Ikukulu stood, a razor sharp, coral scythe now gripped tightly between his fists.

A muddy, marsh- green mass thundered toward them.

Ikukulu charged toward the mass, his scythe, held low, cutting a swath in the red dirt behind him.

“Forward!” Anesusu ordered, pointing his sword toward the fast approaching mass.

The army of Agu followed their leader, keeping pace with his loping gait.

As Ikukulu came closer to the mass, the monstrous forms of the Jugu became clear. Their brawny, grey-green bodies stood upon seven foot tall frames and their thick skin was scaled and ridged like that of a crocodile. Their facial features were human, but their mouths were extended, tapering into a ‘v’, like the maw of a crocodile.

The creatures roared in unison, exposing their dagger-like teeth. They raised their arms shoulder-high, baring their razor-sharp claws.

The Jugu had no one leading them, for their Mistress, Kielgek, commanded her warriors – with whom she was psychically linked – from the Abysmal Plane.

Ikukulu leapt into the fray, his scythe slashing furiously. The coral blade met scale-armored flesh and Jugu fell.

With each death of a Jugu, Kielgek cried out in agony upon her dark throne.

However, with each death of an Agu, of which there were many, she roared in ecstasy. Her warriors fighting on the Terrestrial Plane roared with her.

“Fall back!” Anesusu bellowed, turning on his heels.

The army of Agu about-faced and retreated from the battle, sprinting along the edge of the Ogun River.

Ikukulu whirled about and took off, running closely behind Anesusu.

Ikukulu could hear the Jugu galloping behind him, hot on his heels. He felt their foul breath on the back of his neck.

The Agu ran a few yards past the tree bearing the sigil and then turned to face their enemy.

Ikukulu dived forward, rolling past the tree.

The Jugu stampeded toward Ikukulu and the Agu.

Suddenly, as if the air had devoured them, the Jugu vanished.

Ikukulu turned toward the Agu. “The Jugu have been sucked back into their abhorrent world. You have done well, warriors! Now, quickly, we must fell the tree to seal the portal forever. Anesusu and I will beat back any Jugu who try to pass through until you bring the tree down.”

“Work swiftly, my brothers and sisters!” Anesusu ordered.

Ikukulu stood a few feet in front of the tree. Anesusu stood beside him.

A vertical sliver of darkness rent the air. A scaly, grey-green head emerged from it, roaring.

Ikukulu severed the Jugu’s head with an upward slash of his scythe.

Something slammed into Ikukulu’s back with the force of a battering ram. He stumbled forward, his left arm, which held his scythe, disappearing into the black sliver. Something on the other side of the sliver grabbed a hold of him, piercing the skin of his forearm in several places.

“They have my arm,” Ikukulu gasped. Cut it off, Anesusu!”

“I promised you that no harm would come to the Abo from the Agu, my friend,” Anesusu said. “I must honor the truce.”

“If you don’t sever my arm, the Jugu will pull me into their world!” Ikukulu shouted.

“I keep my promises, Ikukulu,” Anesusu replied. “I will not do you any harm.”

A strong yank pulled Ikukulu’s shoulder and half of his face into the darkness.

“You have betrayed me!” Ikukulu spat.

“To betray, you must first belong,” Anesusu snickered. “You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Goodbye, Ikukulu.”

Ikukulu vanished from the Terrestrial World and the foul world of the Jugu welcomed him.

Balogun

You can purchase the Scythe and other works by Balogun Ojetade at https://www.roaringlionsproductions.com/. All of his works are also available on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Scythe-Balogun-Ojetade/dp/099140730X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Guest Blog: Colby R. Rice Author of Ghost of KOA

For over one hundred years the Civic Order and the Alchemic Order have held a shaky truce, peppered by violence and mistrust. But when Koa, a Civilian-born insurgency, bombs an Alchemist summit, the truce is shattered. Now, Koa is rising. War is coming. And all sixteen-year-old Zeika Anon can do is keep moving as she watches the lords of alchemy slowly overtake her home.

But when clashes between Koa and the Alchemic Order put a final, deadly squeeze on the remaining Civilian territories, Zeika finds herself in the crosshairs of fate. She must walk the line between survival and rebellion against the Alchemists. On one side of the line awaits death. On the other, the betrayal of her civilization, her loyalties, and herself.

GHOSTS OF KOA is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic survival tale, set in the streets of a dying city that has been crushed by alchemic law. Layered with the elements of gritty crime drama, dark urban fantasy, hard sci-fi, and horror, GHOSTS OF KOA is a wild ride to the end of a young girl’s sanity as she struggles with an impossible choice: to keep one step ahead of a war… or to be consumed by it.   #afrofuturism #blackscifi #diversityinsff

Also, please check out her blog at:  Colbyrrice.com

Ghost of KOA

And check out her website.  Be prepared to be blown away.  Colby R Rice

What’s My Writing Process?

What’s My Writing Process? Tagged in Special Blog Hop by Alicia McCalla

Published on Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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I’m participating in a special year-long blog hop to explain my writing process. I’ve been tagged by the awesome  Scifi and Urban Fantasy author Alicia McCalla. Here are my responses:

What am I working on? I’m working on a series of Short Stories Related to Sacrifices and To Wrestle With Darkness, which I will release later this summer as a promotional called the Apocrypha. These stories take place between the first two books of the trilogy and the third and final book. The Characters in my books are, shall we say, very gifted. You have Michael the Alchemist, who can transmute matter from one state to another, or from one element to another. He can also see the dreams of others. Then there’s his cousin, Akina, who can walk through time and space as easily as we might walk across a room.

How does my work differ from others in my genre? My books differ from Science Fiction writers in that while my characters are truly gifted, each is flawed in some way, like so many of us. Actually, it is my hope that every person who reads my book sees them self within at least one of the characters.

Why do I write what I do? Not to be vain, but I was made for this. As a child, I used to make up stories for brothers and I to act out during our after school playtime.  I’d daydream all day about the adventures we’d play out. I guess, I was a bit of a dungeon master, well before such a term was in use.   I see writing as a big part of my purpose in this life.

How does my writing process work? I’ve always enjoyed the creative process, but it wasn’t until I was on the student newspaper staff at GaTech (The Technique), that I truly developed a writing process.  Sitting in the student center music room, I discovered that listening to music while I wrote ushered me into a waking dream state that really enhanced my writing.  My go to album (remember those?) was Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.  Sure, things like being at the beach or vacationing somewhere new inspire me, but listening music is something I can pretty much do anywhere, to jump-start my writing. Once I’ve written a piece, I like to let it lay for a bit and then return to review it.  If when reviewing it, I can’t believe that I wrote it, then I know that it’s pretty darn good.

Next Up: Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade

Echos

Originally posted on AlanDJones.com:

I am an echo. The evidence of lives gone on, I am what remains of their joy, their pain, their tears.

I am an echo. A reverberation of all the love spoken into me.

I am an echo. The source of nothing, except a willingness to serve as a conduit.

We are an echo, resounding through the darkness, lest any of us think we are our own creation.

ADJ

Please visit http://www.alandjones.com to purchase the book Sacrifices, and to see other works.

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Sacrifices

                Everything has a cost, the universe is resolved in this.  And so it is too with our very own lives; for each action a price; for each decision, a consequence; for each path, a toll.  Even for the very air we breathe a star had to die to produce the elements and complex molecules needed carry on the chain of life.

                Every aspect of our lives carries a price. Seeking an education costs leisure time. Not pursuing an education costs one future opportunities. Having children will costs resources. Not having children will carry the expense of not knowing what could have been and will with certainty break a chain which had remained unbroken since the dawn of creation.

                Thus, it is from this perspective that I have written Sacrifices.  Yes, it is an adventure story, but it is also a study in properties of sacrifice. Here we define sacrifice as the act of one yielding for the sake of another. To offer up a piece of your existence back to the universe to reflect back that which was freely given. In my book Sacrifices, each of the central characters are faced with the choice to offer up their own unique sacrifice for the sake of the others. In some cases the sacrifices are overt, while others remain hidden for years or are never revealed.  And yet each cause has an effect.  The lives of these four sisters mirror the evolution of the civil rights struggle, but their story shares commonness with any tale of sacrifice.  Ageless and descended from melding of angels and humans each of these ladies could have easily opted to live lives of opulence and ease.  But in the end each chose to heed the spirit within despite the cost. And while these instances are often transformative for the beneficiary, they are always so for the one offering the sacrifice.

               But you need not look to works of fiction to find such heroes. The one who endures the job he or she knows is killing their body and spirit for the sake of their loved ones is heroic.  And so are the countless number of mothers who have sacrificed their own happiness, for the well being of their children. And even the writer who shares a bit of themselves within every word they write. They too have a place in this ageless story.  Be mindful too, that sacrifice does not always reference a taking on things.  In fact, it can be argued that the more typical sacrifice is that of self denial, be it leaving a little in the pot for someone else or something as simple as turning away from temptation.  In the end, sacrifice is really about taking your place in line when called.

                And so it is, and every shall be until time is no more, when the properties of light and mass are merely a memory of the eternal, as our spirits look back at this very moment and smile.