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.

###

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.

Tree of Life

You know you’re in fall, when you begin to see the leaves fall around you. And though your hue may still be green, you know that there is a gust of wind coming with your name on it, that will carry your body to ground and your spirit to air. Will it be on a sunny day, or during a storm, we cannot say…and yet, it will be. Thus, all the more precious are these days on the tree of life. #lovewhileyoucan.

FutureScape: How are the World Economies evolving and how do I benefit?

How do you see the economic future of the world and of your country?

I pose this question, because I firmly believe that we are at a crossroads and each of must think seriously and logically about what the future may hold so that we can plan accordingly.  As is often said, a failure to plan, is a plan for failure.

So, are my two cents regarding where we’re headed.  Long term the World economy will be fine, but short-term, we’re in for some pain.

Europe:  The European Union, the grand experiment that it is, is in choppy water and doesn’t appear to be headed for calm seas anytime soon. And the bad news is that breaking up the EU and taking off a single currency might make things worse for inventors even if it actually helps the situation in the long run.  That’s because the markets hate uncertainty, and speculation of doom will run rampant if they are forced to part ways.

East Asia: China’s rapid expansion was not and is not sustainable, so there was bound to be some pull back. Japan, like the US, will suffer, but will continue to keep its head above water because of the productivity of its workers (Only in the US and Japan, do workers, unforced (child labor & extremely poor laborers) work so many hours and take so little time off (Although, in Japan its cultural, and it may have been that way too in the US before, US workers seem to be working scared these days). Australia will be fine.  Stable government, plenty of room for expansion, attracts lots of outside money, a young populace and folks want to move there.

South Asia: Pakistan is a mess and may not even exist 5 years from now.  I see India as a mixed bag.  The expansion of technology isn’t going to stop anytime soon, and India is at the center of that boom. unfortunately, I don’t see the markets of India keeping pace with the pace setters in IT, and I see much of the capital they earn moving offshore in the years to come (5 to 10). Meaning that college educated Indians will continue to make marked gains, but I don’t see much of it trickling down to the masses.

- South America: Natural resources abound and many of the economies are early in the growth stage, like India and China were 10 years ago. Because of the global economic slow down, exports may suffer, but look for SA countries to boom between 2017 and 2027, even Venezuela.

- Africa: There will be winners and losers. Within the next 10 years, educated folks will refrain from referring to Africa collectively when speaking about its economies. Countries like Botswana, South Africa and Nigeria will be seen fully as the global stars of Africa. Unfortunately, there is still not enough internal capital and political will, to avoid the severe influence of outside investors (China, US and EU countries).  But I do believe, and it just a belief at this point, that the “stars” of Africa will step up their investment in their neighboring African countries some time in the next 10 to 12 years.  Political and social unrest will continue to plague north africa.  I don’t see an end to it. In fact, if theocracy does continue to spread there, I see those countries actually going backwards. A mini-dark ages, if you will.

-North America: Canada is a lot like Australia, except that they appear to be much more tightly bound to the US and Economies. That’s not good and may, in my mind, cause some bumps and bruises along the way as the countries of west, hopefully work their way out of their current mess. Mexico’s fortunes roll with the US and South America. I do see the becoming less dependent on their citizens working abroad sending money home to float their economy, but they will, in my eyes remain the western version of India for some time to come.                                                   The United States of America  (how shall I say this?)  is not so united.  We’re like a ship sinking in shallow water, with plenty of life boats.  But we’re all gonna drown if these fools don’t get themselves together.  Everyone in Washington (well, almost everyone, we got a lot folks elected the last time around who are a little suspect) knows that in the short-term we have got stimulate the economy and in long-term cut entitlements.  Meaning that the central government needs to spend money (preferably building infrastructure like bridges and power grids) and we need have too many retirees coming unto the books and not enough workers to support them (thank you baby boom).  Any economist, worth his salt knows this. They also knows that this cutting taxes in a time of was is crazy.  Who does that? Check your history books, countries typically raise taxes to pay for wars.  But we are our own worst enemy, or shall I say our fear and political system is.  So many people in fear that someone is going to take something from them are easy targets for self-centered politicians and oligarchs to take advantage of.  And the declaration of personhood for corporations  hasn’t made this any better.

But here’s the kicker.  We all see the flatten of the world.  This will continue. But the next wave I see is the lowering of boarders, making it easier for workers to move back and forth between countries (physically or virtually).  If the suits have their way, this is the future.  The Romney’s of the world (i.e. Those with capital to invest that 99.9998% of you will never see) truly believe that protecting markets is just delaying the natural selection process between economies.  I’m sure if Romney is elected, visas granted to in demand jobs will go up. I also see tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas (it’s called “developing markets) to continue or increase. Of course, as Elizabeth Warren points out, the taxes paid by the workers of this country or any country paid to educate your employees, to pave the roads on which your trucks could run, to run the electric cables to your plants and to protect your boarders so that you might conduct business in peace. But the point of this post is not make a value judgement one way or another, but to simply suggest how we might respond to this changing world.

So, if things play out like I think they will, keeping your skill set global may be the best investment you can make.  Secondly, you must be flexible. If you have a skill set that is in demand globally, then you have to be prepared to use it.  Consider, how the middle east attracts engineers, they pay them very well there. And how the US attracts the best doctors in the world, we pay them well (well, at least we did comparably). So, if you don’t have a passport, get one.  The next realization, is that the US will continue to be destination for wealth earned around the world.  Rich folks will continue to buy property here (NYC, SF, Hawaii and the list will grow), because they know that compared to the rest of world, their money is safe here.  We have the strongest military by far (almost in a paranoid, psychotic way…but that points back to our fear issues) and we take care of our rich folks (we sell the dream and everyone plays the game).  Now, I say these things knowing that I and my personal safety benefit too, in the powers that be keeping the masses fat and happy.  Meaning, people take to the streets and riot when they’ve got nothing to lose and nothing to keep them entertained.  Our subsidized food sources and mass media are the modern-day version of Rome’s bread and circus. Keep the people fed and entertained and you too can rule for a thousand years.  So, the point here is, that I suggest for my US folks, is to think on how to benefit from the US remaining a haven for financial winners from around the world to stuff their cash?  Another thing to consider, is that the US worker is the first or second most productive worker in the world (along with Japan), so I firmly expect that whatever global economic meltdown that may be coming, we will see the US weather it better than most other countries.  That’s because we work ourselved to death around here.

So, what do you see?  How do you see society evolving to adapt to the growing global economy and the interconnectedness of us all?  You comments are welcome.