Free Samples from Mother’s Grave

I am terribly critical of my own writing. Even after it has been approved by the submissions editor, and checked closely by a content editor, and finally scanned by a line editor, I still see all the tiny flaws that I could have made better. It is all bullshit of course, just my mind torturing me. Below is the proof that this problem is all in my mind.

This excerpt is from my second book, Crossing Mother’s Grave. Popalia, our heroine, has charged forward into a cave expecting to find Katia alive after being waylaid by an orcish war-band. Seth and Raenyl doubt there are survivors but wielding the illusion of hope, Popalia convinces the brothers to push forward just a little further. Raenyl has begrudgingly moved deeper into the cave to scout ahead. This is what he finds.

Deep in the shadows, feeling forward along the wall, Raenyl was careful nothing fell over. Sliding his feet softly so nothing knocked across the walkway, he moved slow, fearful a tiny pebble could echo down the long hall and call unwanted attention to his presence. He looked backward again, relieved he’d left the torch so far behind. The light now served as a candle along a windowsill showing the way home on a dark night.

Slowly easing another ten paces, he gained a little better orientation. The red wall was light reflecting from within a larger cavern. Only a few more steps, and the wall he crept along fell away and down into a bigger, fire-lit cavern. The pathway he followed continued beyond the exposed trail where another black-mouthed tunnel waited, swallowing deeper into the sunless unknown.

Approaching the fall-away wall, Raenyl duck-walked the last few paces until he could see down into the cavernous room. Peeking with one eye around the wall, he saw the room easily could fit 100 orcs. Below, the cavern glowed alit by three widely spaced fire pits made up mostly of glowing coals.

Many orcs were gathered but not close to a hundred. Counting quickly, he saw eight ugly females, each with four swollen breasts; Raenyl observed some must be nursing mothers. Eleven little orc-offspring scurried in the low light, not including the rare orc baby tied in furry carriers that rested on a hip within breast range. Raenyl counted six males within the room—two of them being the big warrior types. Upon seeing the little orcs and the nursing offspring, hair stood upon the back of Raenyl’s neck. This was no raiding camp—this was the raider’s entire tribe.

A female with a crying baby on her hip tossed a log onto a fire. By the fire’s light, he could see through the murky smoke trapped in the high ceilings of the big room. Smoke used the tunnels as an exit out. Raenyl looked down below at the nearest pit. Aside a pile of wood at the nearest fire laid a naked and bloodied body of what his mind defined as once being a young woman. It looked as if her chest had exploded outward, and one breast was a mangled mess.

Raenyl felt his heart leap. He’d first thought it was Katia, but then one of the larger orcs lifted her over his shoulder. Long, dark hair fell from the lolled head. One of the female orcs brought over a long, iron bar. The woman hung like deadweight, and the stronger orc strained to support her battered body as the female orc tied the woman’s hands to the top end of the iron bar. Once done, horrified Raenyl watch as the dead woman’s feet were tied to the bar. Another male, one of the smaller males, was setting two forked poles into holes on opposite ends of the fire pit.

Raenyl’s mind began to flitter as he understood what was happening. The smell of cooked meat all made sense, and he felt instantly sick. Looking further toward the back fires across the room, other bodies roasted over their own personal fires.

There was only one thought in Raenyl’s mind. They had better be far away before this tribe added them to tonight’s meal.

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Tim Marquitz and the Demon Squad

[This is among my earliest book reviews. It is a bit raw and unrefined. I’ve kept this one to remind myself of how art grows and matures at a pace with the artist.]

 

The first Damnation Book I read was Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad: Armageddon Bound. For the events of this review, I will refer to it as AB. The second book I read from Damnation Books was Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad: Resurrection, which for this review I will call DSR. I am going to read the third one when it is released since I’ve enjoyed both books greatly.

I must give you a fair warning, this is dark fiction at its darkest. It is also dark humor at its funniest. If you are afraid of the dark, Tim’s book just might kill you.

How dark is dark? If your life ambition is to be more like Rick Warren, you might want to skip reading this one. But, if you think a succubus making out with a severed zombie-head is funny, these are the books you’ve been looking for.

I was in love with Tim’s idea by the time I’d read page 6 in AB. AB was a gruesome and gritty read from the very beginning. Neither of the stories gives the reader too many time outs, the action is always moving. Tim Marquitz weaves an action packed occult/fantasy tale with no comparison that I’ve yet read. I suspect as I read more of the Damnation Books there will be other daringly similar projects, but this tale is truly unique.

The premise of Tim’s idea is after eons of dispute at man’s expense, Lucifer and God call a truce. They leave the universe to another dimension to sort out their ills, but life here on earth continues as the status quo. The hierarchy of demons, without the strong rule of Lucifer, begins battling over who gets what.

Triggaltheron, or better known as ‘Frank,’ is a half-demon who resides on earth. He likes it here and he is content that Armageddon has been put on pause. He has even decided to help humanity by associating with a group of psychics, wizards, and a couple angels and other similar misfits that don’t want to see the world end or overrun with demons. They call themselves D.R.A.C. short for Demonic Resistance and Containment. Hence the name – Demon Squad.

But some angels from the Angelic Host – the servants of God– have gone mad in the absence of their loving creator. God’s last standing order before he left was to see to the end of the world. Hence the name – Armageddon Bound.

These stories are very fun as long as all the taboos that are broken don’t make you faint. Although some spots had me sweating bullets, I felt the story appealed to me personally. Tim has proven to have balls of steel in crossing as many lines of social acceptability as he did in writing AB, it compelled me to purchase the second book in the series which crossed even more lines than I thought even existed. It certainly stretched my imagination.

My only real complaint is DSR took a while to arrive from Amazon. I wonder if they had run out and needed to order more prints. That is good news for a writer, but sucks for the reader. When I got the book, I was saddened, the book was smaller. (Honestly, I think they figured out a way to fit more words on each page, because the story was packed.)

If you read AB, but you are an art snob, and didn’t think the quality of the writing in AB was good enough, there are evident advances in Tim’s storytelling ability in DSR. I didn’t think there were too many gaps in the first one; it was everything it promised to be – daring, violent, and dark. But the second one steps up to the next level, and I’d bet the third one will also be a little better than the second one.

The humor, which was great in the AB, is even better in DSR. Here was one of the spots in DSR that had me chuckling and telling my wife . . .

My life flashed before my eyes and I realized I was doomed. In brilliant colors, everything that ever meant anything to me ran across the screen of my mind. Not surprisingly, all I saw were boobs. Life had been good.” (page 74)

She wasn’t as impressed as me, but then, she isn’t quite as cultured in male priorities as some of us are. I would hope that before I die, like Frank, this could be my final revelation as well.