Rental Child

fall-651020_960_720“Finish up Johnny.  The men are here.  They don’t like to wait.”

“What men?” asked five-year-old Johnny.

“The men from the child rental place.  They’ve come to take you back.”

“They’re going to take me away?” Johnny asked, his eyes growing wide.

“Of course!  Goodness, you didn’t think we were going to keep you, did you?  Silly boy.”  Joan grinned at him.  “Now hurry up.  They’re very busy men and they don’t like to be kept waiting.”

Continue reading “Rental Child”

Wreckers Gate – new back cover copy

wreckers gate-create space

Quyloc knows it’s a trap as soon as he hears the screams of the tortured man. Every man in the squad knows it too, including their commander, Wulf Rome. Quyloc also knows there’s no point in arguing: Rome will lead them in anyway and not a single soldier will refuse. Wulf Rome doesn’t leave men behind. It’s what his men love about him.

Somehow Quyloc, Rome and a handful of soldiers survive the trap and flee into the lifeless dunes of the Gur al Krin desert where, when the wind blows, the sand burns. But the Gur al Krin isn’t completely dead. Something lies waiting, buried deep beneath the sand. A voice calls to them – promising them power, promising them revenge – and they follow it deep into the heart of the desert. A firestorm forces them to seek shelter in a cave and during the night a huge, monstrous creature bursts up through the floor of the cave, killing the rest of the soldiers and delivering to Quyloc and Rome a simple message: He waits.

They follow the thing deep underground to a massive, ancient wall. There is something sticking out of the wall, what looks like a shriveled, clawed hand. Ignoring Quyloc’s warning, Rome pulls it free, not realizing that he has just cracked a prison built thousands of years ago to hold a god and his immortal followers.

In the war to come, Rome and Quyloc will learn that allies who offer aid cannot always be trusted, that the weapons given to them to fight a god cut both ways and, ultimately, that their enemy is not who they thought he was.

Wreckers Gate

Dancing Panda Bears?

Day after day I post excerpts from my new book (which I am understandably excited about, on account of how positive early feedback is) and I keep thinking: Is this too repetitive? Is there something else rattling around in my skull that I could share instead?

What about videos of dancing panda bears? Is that what people want?

Unfortunately, I have no videos of dancing anything. I could probably find them on the Interwebs, but then so could you. (Since you’re reading this, I assume you have access to the dang thing.)

I don’t have anything interesting in the way of multimedia to offer the Interwebs. No videos of myself doing anything entertaining. (Trust me, I’m as dull as they come and only slightly more photogenic than your common house plants.) I don’t play music except on my stereo and that doesn’t seem all that impressive. I can’t draw, except for stick figures that all look the same. I don’t, paint, sculpt or pottery-make. I’m good at making rice, but that doesn’t seem all that cool even to me.

In fact, it’s becoming quite clear to me that I have no discernible talents except for writing and even that is debatable. Perhaps I should have taken up the xylophone at a young age. By now I expect I would be quite good at it.

I’ve been at this writing thing for better than a quarter century now (don’t ask which quarter) and, for better or worse, I’m stuck with it. Which means you’re stuck with it.

Well, that’s all for now. I apologize for wasting your valuable time with my rambling and for the fact that the title might have mislead you into thinking dancing pandas could be found here.

Book 5 sneak peak

Rome and Quyloc hit the glistening web of the Veil and it was like plunging into an icy lake. A sudden, freezing, heart-stopping shock and then they were through, feeling as if they’d been torn in half. The pain was intense, disorienting.

Quyloc fought to get to his feet but one leg was still dead from being touched by one of the Children and he could not make it work. Piercing his chest was what looked like a black snake, as big around as his thumb, covered in slightly iridescent scales, with numerous barbs protruding from it; multiple smaller snakes emerged from his torso, wrapping around him, pinning his arms to his sides. He still had hold of the spear, but it was pinned to him as well and he could do nothing with it.

Retaining its grip on the snake the pierced Quyloc in one hand, the hunter held its other hand palm out to Rome, who had made it most of the way to his feet. A clicking sound came from it and another barbed snake shot from its palm, piercing Rome’s chest and knocking him backwards so that he almost fell. Rome grabbed at the snake with his one good hand – his right arm hung limp and dead at his side – and tried to pull it free. He grunted with pain but made no headway. A second later a half dozen smaller snakes burst out of his torso and snapped around and around him, pinning his arms to his sides as well. The hunter tugged and Rome fell to the ground.

From his knees Quyloc looked up, into the harsh, bladed face of the hunter. It stared down at him. There was no way to read emotion on that angular, alien face but he sensed triumph radiating from it and in the cold, red eyes was the knowledge that this time he would not escape. Quyloc went cold inside.

Gathering both snakes in one hand, the hunter crouched and slapped the ground with its palm twice, the impact hard enough that Quyloc nearly lost his balance and toppled over. The hunter stood. Quyloc felt a rumbling from the ground and then something broke from the ground beside the hunter.

A large, hooked beak rose up slowly, dirt cascading from it. Huge, opaque eyes blinked open, fixing on the hunter. It pulled the rest of its body free. It was broad and squat, its head tapering smoothly to a thick neck then down to a sinewy body rippling with muscle. Its four legs ended in long, hooked claws, broad as spades and as long as a man’s forearm.

Wreckers Gate giveaway

Hi everybody! We’re making a big push to promote my fantasy series and I could sure use your help. I’m giving away free copies of book one of the series (books 2-4 are done and the final book is on its way). If you or someone you know likes to read fantasy, message me and I’ll send you a copy. (Or click on the link to go to my website where you can read it off the site or download it. There’s also an audio version if you’d rather.)

Even if you don’t read fantasy, please share this on your wall for others to see. Help me spread the word!

Thanks, Eric
PS There’s no catch. The book is completely free. But I do ask people to write a review on Amazon after reading it.

Free copies of Wreckers Gate

Hi All,

Wreckers Gate, book one of The Devastation Wars fantasy series, recently underwent what in Hollywood terms would be considered a reboot. This needed to happen primarily because by book four of the series (which I am writing now) the story had taken some unexpected turns and parts of Wreckers Gate just no longer fit right. Also, most of Wreckers Gate was written a good ten years ago and I’ve improved enough as a writer that it deserved a reboot.

Those of you who already read the original version don’t need to worry. The story was not fundamentally changed so what you read is still relevant.

Anyway, from now through Monday, you can get free electronic versions of Wreckers Gate from Amazon.

This is a Kindle version, but Amazon has an app so you can read it on pretty much any device.

Additionally, I have a handful of paperback copies to give away as well (U.S. only). Go to TheDevastationsWars.com and give me your contact info and I’ll send you one.

Thanks for reading,

Eric T Knight

It’s the cows you have to worry about

Hopefully my earlier post established that, when it comes to encountering cattle while hiking or camping, it isn’t the bulls you need to worry about. It’s the cows. Specifically, half-wild cows with more horns than patience. And back in the old days on the ranch, when I was a kid, half-wild cows were something we had in abundance. This was largely due to the fact that we were on the underside of poor and the animals we could afford were of a low quality, somewhat rambunctious nature.

I remember one time when we were gathering the creek pasture. The idea was to drive all the cattle down into the creek and then downstream back to the house. Along the creek here and there were thickets of mesquite. Most of those thickets you couldn’t ride a horse through because they were too dense. The cows knew this and they liked to wade deep into them and then stop and hope you’d just go away and leave them alone.

As the youngest rider, I generally got the jump of rousting those cows out. I’d hand my reins to my older sister, Kim, and go in on foot. I’d get a stick and bang on the trees, maybe toss a couple rocks, and the cows would generally come pretty peacefully.

But this time it was different.

Deep in the thicket was this one bony old cow who apparently wasn’t interested in being pushed around anymore. I yelled and threw rocks at her but she wasn’t budging. Which annoyed me. I had a mesquite limb about as big around as my skinny little arm and I stomped over and smacked her with it. Right on her bony ass.

At that point she was supposed to run off like they always did.

Instead she bellowed, spun on her heel and charged me.

There was nowhere to go and she was way too close for anything fancy. So I did the only thing I could.

I hit her with that stick as hard as I could. Right between her eyes.

The stick snapped in half and she skidded to a halt, right in front of me. I could have patted her on the nose.

Then she snorted, turned and charged off in the other direction.

I still don’t know why she didn’t clobber me. There was no way that little love tap I gave her actually hurt her. Where I hit her cows have this bony ridge that is just about as hard as a rock. We slaughtered our own beef on the ranch sometimes and I’ve seen a bullet at close range skip right off that spot and not even daze the animal.

I guess I just got lucky.

Worst of all though, was if you got between one of those half-wild cows and her calf. The corrals could get pretty dangerous because we usually worked the cattle on foot and one of the tasks we were trying to accomplish was separating the cows from the calves so we could brand the calves. The cows didn’t like that much at all and we all got lots of practice running for the fence with a mad cow on our heels.

But they could even give you trouble on horseback. My sister had a horse named Dandy that I often rode. Dandy was a palomino, a tall, good looking horse and fast. When he wanted to be. Which wasn’t often because Dandy had another trait and that was laziness.

We were driving a herd of cattle back to the ranch house one time. I was riding in the drags, which is what you call the back end of the herd, where the slowest and the laziest cattle drag behind. There was this cow with a good set of horns and a bitty little calf, only a few days old. Cute little guy. But he was too young to understand that Dandy wasn’t his mama. He kept getting confused – from way down there all herbivore legs look the same I guess – and following my horse instead of his mama.

Well, I could see that mama cow was getting more and more upset by this. She was the skittish type, prone to snorting and rolling her eyes in a crazy fashion. She kept shaking her horns and making little charges at us. Every time she did, I’d pull on Dandy’s reins, jab him with my spurs and try to get him to move. Because I could see where this was going.

But we were on our way home and Dandy’s head was full of thoughts of the corral where he could lose the saddle and the annoying gnat on his back. So each time she came at us, he’d just kind of toss his head a little bit, maybe sidestep, but not much movement other than that. Why should he be afraid? She was only a cow and he was a horse.

Finally this old cow had had enough. She snorted and came at us for real. I tugged on the reins and kicked but, as usual, he didn’t really move except to kind of turn sideways.

I finally gave up trying to get Dandy to move and just lifted my leg, stirrup and all. Well, she gave him a good, solid thump right in the ribs and all of a sudden Dandy woke up. I don’t think it really hurt him, but it sure did surprise him.

For the rest of the ride all that cow had to do was turn her head and look at him and he’d start dancing sideways, just as anxious as he could be to get the heck out of there.

So watch those mama cows when you’re out there and if one snorts and rolls her eyes, find a high spot and quick.