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Kenneth J. Ester
May 19th, 2012, 11:32 PM
Practically doing the Church Ladies "Victory Dance" for being able to post finally. :o)

Ok, so I have written and self published my novel, "Hell in a Storm". After I published it, I started wondering if I should have posted it somewhere for others to read and criticize the crap out of it first. I would put a link to it, with a coupon to get it free, but I am not sure of the guidelines on that. lol So here is the first part to get peoples opinions....



HELL IN A STORM
Chapter One


The wind picked up; its unrelenting force driving the rain against the castle’s great walls. Lightning streaked through the angry clouds, accompanied by thunderous claps that would boom and rumble away into the distance. Before one flash could fade away, another replaced it.

The citizens of Mazwar took shelter in their homes and businesses, closed their doors, and braced them against the weather. Some said it was the worst storm in ten years. Old men said it was the worst since they were small children, though in truth, none could ever remember worse.

Only one man braved the storm. Hunched over, Father Enek leaned on his walking stick as he crossed the street holding a large Alkosch before him. A circular medallion with spiraling lines flowing outwards from the center, the iron Alkosch was the holy symbol of the Maklese Church. Between claps of thunder, the old priest shouted his warnings to any who would listen.

“—lord of darkness is upon us. Repent your evil ways oh citizens of Mazwar! Repent your vile thoughts oh sons and daughters of Castle Malroy! Repent your sins, for the darkness is upon us and soon God will judge your deeds.”

Another giant bolt of lightning lit up the sky, giving the rolling clouds a fiery accent. The priest had to shield his eyes from the brightness for a moment before thrusting the Alkosch back towards the sky. “Repent your wicked ways oh ye--”

A large spear of lightning struck the Alkosch, sending sparks clear across the brick paved road. For an eternal second the priest stood, outlined in a bluish white glow before the bolt of lightning was gone and the old man collapsed to the street. The Alkosch had melted the flesh of his hand and forged its wilted structure to his bones.

No one saw the priest lying there in the street. Nobody noticed the downpour of rain pelting his lifeless eyes, for the citizens of Mazwar were keeping to themselves, hunkered down in the safety of their homes. Safe from the worst storm that has ever laid waste in the country of Shayle. The worst ever seen in the land of the Three Kings.

Deep within the castle’s dungeons, there was another storm loose. There was no thunder and not a hint of lightning. There was no rain or wind. Yet, this storm could unleash a darkness upon mankind, the likes of which the world has never imagined.

King Harren Malroy sat in the high backed oak chair, staring at himself in the mirror created entirely from shadows where a dark figure stood holding it. However he tried, the King of Shayle could not make out any features of the one hidden in the darkness and had long since given up trying. Now it was as if the ghostly image did not even exist. All King Harren could look at was his own reflection.

Once, he had been a large man. He’d been a Ruler who reigned with power, in his Kingdom as well as in his own physical appearance. Now the sight of himself made him want to vomit on the spot. A gaunt face, framed his sunken eyes, with his forehead covered with liver spots. At the age of eighty-three, he supposed he should be glad he could still get around on his own two feet, as slow paced as that was, but it was not enough. He hardly filled out his purple shirt the way he once had. He always wore purple. He believed that purple, and gold are the two colors of royalty, but gold always seemed overbearing when he wore it. Lifting a hand to touch his bulbous nose it froze half way to his face. Seeing how his hand shook disgusted him beyond words.

“You are nothing more than food for the worms now Harren.” The shadowy figure said, its voice sounding like a thousand whispers. “The twelve children you fathered in your years are those worms. They dream of the day you will die, wondering who it will be that you have named to replace you. A one in twelve chance of gaining the throne is far better than no chance while you live. You know well that you will not live another two years in your health, but I tell you now, you will not live out the year.” With a quick flourish of its hand, the mirror faded away in a collage of wispy tendrils before the dark figure continued to speak in its haunting voice. “You can have your strength back Harren! You can have ten more years to rule and likely longer. Your hands will no longer shake. Your vision will be as good as when you were a young man!” The figure took a tentative step toward the king. “All you need to do--” It took another smaller step and leaned to look at the old king in the eyes. “—is to serve me! Give me your oath.”

Harren stared into the face. Up close now, he could actually make out the dark soulless pools that were the figures eyes. Harren’s voice shook as much in fear as it did with age as he spoke. “I serve you and I will retain my power as King of Shayle?”

The shadowy figure laughed, a deep and cynical sound that echoed in Harren’s head. “But of course you will keep your power. In fact you will have even greater power, for you will have my strength as well.” The shadow curled its dark hands into fists. “Serve me and you will be king of all that lies between the great seas.”

“I don’t know.” King Harren whispered. Sliding one of his feeble hands down his face, he looked lost. “I just don’t know.”

The shadow grew even darker, as if swallowing what light there was for them in the deep dungeon. King Harren could no longer distinguish a face as the figure straightened up in front of him, but somehow he was certain it was now snarling. His whole body began to shake with fear that he was very near his death. The dark figure had done nothing to give him that fear, but somehow Harren was sure of it. If the figure so wished, it could crush him where he stood.

“You, decrepit old fool!” The shadow hissed. “You will not live out the year without me. With me, you will live for many more years. You will have your strength again. The realm of your control will reach every shore. Yet you consider turning me away? Without me, one of your seed will expedite your death in hopes of having your crown. Of your twelve children, only one is not hoping for an accelerated death.” The shadow circled slowly around Harren once before finally continuing. “Serve me Harren, and you will retain power. Let me walk away and within the year one of your undeserving spoiled children will have you killed.”

The king silently wondered which child the shadow was speaking of. Could so many of them care so little for their father? Could eleven of the twelve truly be wishing for his death? It was unthinkable.

In the three lands of Jawiva, the kings have always chosen their heir to the throne. His children’s names, were written on a sheet of parchment, in the order he would have them reign. That parchment was sealed in an envelope and locked away in a small room, which was guarded and sealed as well. Touching his fingers to his chest, he felt the key beneath his purple shirt. It was the only key to that room.

For a long time the shadow stood in silence, allowing King Harren to consider his limited choices. When the king did not speak up, the shadow hissed at him. “You are as big a fool as those leaches you call your children.” The shadow spun around and walked away toward the deeper darkness in the corner of the dungeon.

“How can I be sure?” King Harren’s voice shook as he hurriedly uttered the words, fearful the shadowy figure would continue to fade, leaving him with a quickly fading future.

The shadow stopped and slowly turned around. It stood so close to the deeper shadows that the king could hardly tell where one ended and the other started. “What is it you wish to be sure of?” The question came in its usual echoing whispers.

“You offer me health and strength. You make promises of my kingdom growing. You promise that I can rule all of Jawiva instead of only Shayle.” King Harren swallowed the phlegm that was caught in his throat before continuing. “How do I know you even have the powers to give me these things?”

The shadow moved slowly back to him and when it once again stood in front of the king, it stood quietly, considering what the king had asked. Finally, after a long while, the disturbing voice came again. “I will do this for you in good faith.”

The shadow’s hand reached out, sinking into King Harren’s chest. The king tried to move back as far as his high backed chair would allow him to, afraid of what the dark figures hand might do. At first when the hand seeped into his chest, he was surprised that it did not hurt. Then a moment later, he realized it actually felt quite good. When the shadow finally pulled his hand back, the king sat with his mouth opened in wonder at how he now felt. He felt-- invigorated.

“That,” the shadow said, “Is only temporary. It will fade as the days continue if I am not there to strengthen it. As it fades, remember how it felt to have your health again and consider the fact it is but a small thing compared to what I can do.”

The king stared in silence at his hand that no longer shook. He felt the energy inside of him strong again. He did not believe he was ready to run up the stairs to the upper floors of the castle taking two steps at a time, but he felt he could make it up those stairs and not need a rest. When he finally lifted his head, the shadowy figure was gone.

Skodt
May 20th, 2012, 01:45 AM
Practically doing the Church Ladies "Victory Dance" for being able to post finally. :o)

Ok, so I have written and self published my novel, "Hell in a Storm". After I published it, I started wondering if I should have posted it somewhere for others to read and criticize the crap out of it first. I would put a link to it, with a coupon to get it free, but I am not sure of the guidelines on that. lol So here is the first part to get peoples opinions....



HELL IN A STORM
Chapter One


The wind picked up; its unrelenting force driving the rain against the castle’s great walls. Lightning streaked through the angry clouds,(angry looking clouds maybe? Clouds being angry kind of sounds odd.) accompanied by thunderous claps that would boom and rumble away into the distance. Before one flash could fade away, another replaced it.(Maybe keep the description of each seperate... The lighting streaked through the angry looking clouds. The repeated flashes replacing each other and never seeming to fade. The ligthening was accompanied by booming thunderous claps that rumbled into the distance.)

The citizens of Mazwar took shelter in their homes and businesses, closed their doors, and braced them against the weather.(Maybe you should mention howling wind? So they have a reason to bare the doors.) Some said it was the worst storm in ten years. Old men said it was the worst since they were small children, though in truth, none could ever remember worse.

Only one man braved the storm. Hunched over, Father Enek leaned on his walking stick as he crossed the street holding a large Alkosch before him. A circular medallion with spiraling lines flowing outwards from the center, the iron Alkosch was the holy symbol of the Maklese Church. Between claps of thunder, the old priest shouted his warnings to any who would listen.(If only one man braved the storm who is there to listen?)

“—lord of darkness is upon us. Repent your evil ways oh citizens of Mazwar! Repent your vile thoughts oh sons and daughters of Castle Malroy! Repent your sins, for the darkness is upon us and soon God will judge your deeds.”

Another giant bolt of lightning lit up the sky, giving the rolling clouds a fiery accent. The priest had to shield his eyes from the brightness for a moment before thrusting the Alkosch back towards the sky. “Repent your wicked ways oh ye--”

A large spear of lightning struck the Alkosch, sending sparks clear across the brick paved road. For an eternal second the priest stood, outlined in a bluish white glow before the bolt of lightning was gone and the old man collapsed to the street. The Alkosch had melted the flesh of his hand and forged its wilted structure to his bones.

No one saw the priest lying there in the street. Nobody noticed the downpour of rain pelting his lifeless eyes, for the citizens of Mazwar were keeping to themselves, hunkered down in the safety of their homes. Safe from the worst storm that has ever laid waste in the country of Shayle. The worst ever seen in the land of the Three Kings.

Deep within the castle’s dungeons, there was another storm loose. There was no thunder and not a hint of lightning. There was no rain or wind. Yet, this storm could unleash a darkness upon mankind, the likes of which the world has never imagined.(Seem's you jumped from the event of the preacher is their a signifigance to it?)

King Harren Malroy sat in the high backed oak chair, staring at himself in the mirror created entirely from shadows where a dark figure stood holding it. However he tried, the King of Shayle could not make out any features of the one hidden in the darkness and had long since given up trying. Now it was as if the ghostly image did not even exist. All King Harren could look at was his own reflection.(Your jumping around awfully quick with no seeming direction. From the outside storm, to a storm in the basement, then to a King in his throne room. Yet nothing has been explained about any of the scenes.)

Once, he had been a large man. He’d been a Ruler who reigned with power,(Don't all kings rule with power? Maybe you mean like an iron fist.) in his Kingdom as well as in his own physical appearance. Now the sight of himself made him want to vomit on the spot. A gaunt face, framed his sunken eyes, with his forehead covered with liver spots.(and his forehead was covered in liver spots) At the age of eighty-three, he supposed he should be glad he could still get around on his own two feet, as slow paced as that was, but it was not enough. He hardly filled out his purple shirt the way he once had. He always wore purple. He believed that purple, and gold are(were?) the two colors of royalty, but gold always seemed overbearing when he wore it. Lifting a hand to touch his bulbous nose it froze half way to his face. Seeing how his hand shook disgusted him beyond words.

“You are nothing more than food for the worms now Harren.” The shadowy figure said, its voice sounding like a thousand whispers. “The twelve children you fathered in your years are those worms. They dream of the day you will die, wondering who it will be that you have named to replace you. A one in twelve chance of gaining the throne is far better than no chance while you live. You know well that you will not live another two years in your health, but I tell you now, you will not live out the year.” With a quick flourish of its hand, the mirror faded away in a collage of wispy tendrils before the dark figure continued to speak in its haunting voice. “You can have your strength back Harren! You can have ten more years to rule and likely longer. Your hands will no longer shake. Your vision will be as good as when you were a young man!” The figure took a tentative step toward the king. “All you need to do--” It took another smaller step and leaned to look at the old king in the eyes. “—is to serve me! Give me your oath.”

Harren stared into the face. Up close now, he could actually make out the dark soulless pools that were the figures eyes. Harren’s voice shook as much in fear as it did with age as he spoke. “I serve you and I will retain my power as King of Shayle?”(Is this not Mazwar anymore?)

The shadowy figure laughed, a deep and cynical sound that echoed in Harren’s head. “But of course you will keep your power. In fact you will have even greater power, for you will have my strength as well.” The shadow curled its dark hands into fists. “Serve me and you will be king of all that lies between the great seas.”

“I don’t know.” King Harren whispered. Sliding one of his feeble hands down his face, he looked lost. “I just don’t know.”

The shadow grew even darker, as if swallowing what light there was for them in the deep dungeon. King Harren could no longer distinguish a face as the figure straightened up in front of him, but somehow he was certain it was now snarling. His whole body began to shake with fear that he was very near his death. The dark figure had done nothing to give him that fear, but somehow Harren was sure of it. If the figure so wished, it could crush him where he stood.(Ok, I see you are still in the dungeon. Yet I feel you should say the kings chair was down there. The way you tie in the two is kind of weird to me.)

“You, decrepit old fool!” The shadow hissed. “You will not live out the year without me. With me, you will live for many more years. You will have your strength again. The realm of your control will reach every shore. Yet you consider turning me away? Without me, one of your seed will expedite your death in hopes of having your crown. Of your twelve children, only one is not hoping for an accelerated death.” The shadow circled slowly around Harren once before finally continuing. “Serve me Harren, and you will retain power. Let me walk away and within the year one of your undeserving spoiled children will have you killed.”

The king silently wondered which child the shadow was speaking of. Could so many of them care so little for their father? Could eleven of the twelve truly be wishing for his death? It was unthinkable.

In the three lands of Jawiva, the kings have always chosen their heir to the throne. His children’s names, were written on a sheet of parchment, in the order he would have them reign. That parchment was sealed in an envelope and locked away in a small room, which was guarded and sealed as well. Touching his fingers to his chest, he felt the key beneath his purple shirt. It was the only key to that room.

For a long time the shadow stood in silence, allowing King Harren to consider his limited choices. When the king did not speak up, the shadow hissed at him. “You are as big a fool as those leaches you call your children.” The shadow spun around and walked away toward the deeper darkness in the corner of the dungeon.

“How can I be sure?” King Harren’s voice shook as he hurriedly uttered the words, fearful the shadowy figure would continue to fade, leaving him with a quickly fading future.

The shadow stopped and slowly turned around. It stood so close to the deeper shadows that the king could hardly tell where one ended and the other started. “What is it you wish to be sure of?” The question came in its usual echoing whispers.

“You offer me health and strength. You make promises of my kingdom growing. You promise that I can rule all of Jawiva instead of only Shayle.” King Harren swallowed the phlegm that was caught in his throat before continuing. “How do I know you even have the powers to give me these things?”

The shadow moved slowly back to him and when it once again stood in front of the king, it stood quietly, considering what the king had asked. Finally, after a long while, the disturbing voice came again. “I will do this for you in good faith.”

The shadow’s hand reached out, sinking into King Harren’s chest. The king tried to move back as far as his high backed chair would allow him to, afraid of what the dark figures hand might do. At first when the hand seeped into his chest, he was surprised that it did not hurt. Then a moment later, he realized it actually felt quite good. When the shadow finally pulled his hand back, the king sat with his mouth opened in wonder at how he now felt. He felt-- invigorated.

“That,” the shadow said, “Is only temporary. It will fade as the days continue if I am not there to strengthen it. As it fades, remember how it felt to have your health again and consider the fact it is but a small thing compared to what I can do.”

The king stared in silence at his hand that no longer shook. He felt the energy inside of him strong again. He did not believe he was ready to run up the stairs to the upper floors of the castle taking two steps at a time, but he felt he could make it up those stairs and not need a rest. When he finally lifted his head, the shadowy figure was gone.

Overall I like the idea. The story sounds really well thought out. The writing could use some touch ups thats for sure, but the idea and direction is good. Good luck on the book, if a link gets posted Ill give it a read through.

Kenneth J. Ester
May 20th, 2012, 04:34 AM
Thanks for the input. I agree with some of what you say. Others you may be right and I may be wrong, but I will try to explain my point of them.

The storm outside was just to set the stage. Sort of set a mood. Yet it continues throughout the book. In reading the entire book, it would explain that the shadowed figure is a High Demon and he is the one causing the storm. He keeps it going and each lightning strike brings another demon up from Hell. So as well as setting a tone for Mazwar, the storm is also a tool the demon uses.

As for Mazwar... This is how it works. Jawiva (also known as the Land of the Three Kings) consists of three kingdoms. Dovera, Shayle, and Angor. Mazwar is the Capitol of Shayle.

I was going to explain that I mentioned he was sitting in a high backed chair in the dungeon, but when I went to look at it again, I see what you mean. I never considered that I did not make it clear enough that in the depths of the castles was where Harren was speaking to the Shadowed figure. But I can see how you might not realize it. I should have worded that different I think. lol Though it may be too late, I do explain it more later in the story when one of his daughters travels down to find him and the shadowed figure speaking again. Hey, better late than never right? lol

As for the link, I am not sure how to do that. I went to the rules here and it says we can put one link to our site in our signature, but I cant figure out how to do that. The last thing I wish to do is get banned because they feel I am spamming by adding a link to my book.

At the moment, my book is published with a distributor and hopefully, if it is formatted correctly, they will send it out to most Ebook stores in the next week or two.

Skodt
May 20th, 2012, 06:55 AM
There is a lot of intraciate details I guess would make sense the further I read. Like the cities and kings. Just so many city and kingdom names were thrown out so quick it was hard to wrap around them. Congrates on the publish and congratz on the finished book.

Silen
May 20th, 2012, 07:50 PM
I like your story line, i would avoid the use of "Ish" "outlined in a bluish white glow" but other than that sounds pretty good! Congrautlations on finishing

Fin
May 20th, 2012, 08:49 PM
There were a few scattered run-on sentences, some misplaced commas, and some words that took away from the tone. Some of the sentence structures could have been revised, and some of the wording took away a lot of effect it could have had otherwise. These problems stretch throughout the story.

As for the story itself, honestly, it kind of upset me. I was into it at first. I liked the scene you painted in the beginning. I wanted to know what was going to happen and where it was going. Then you took it all away from me. The little voice inside of my head was yelling, "What?! I don't care about these new characters! Take me back to the priest with the Alkosch!" I then skimmed through the rest of the chapter, searching for their reappearance, but my search was unsuccessful. I wanted to stop reading right there.

But I didn't, I read on, just to see if these new characters had anything worth while. Maybe they did. But I was too preoccupied with wanting to be back there with Father Enek, even though he's dead. Throughout the reading, my inner voice just kept interrupting. Surely the dead priest will make an appearance again, it said. Surely the Alkosch has some signifigance!

As you can see, this is probably not the effect you want. I get that you were trying to make the scene of what's going on outside of the castle. But it's really not a good idea to bring in a character/object and get the reader hooked on him/it, just to have him killed an instant later and never mentioned again. I wanted to know what the deal was with him. I wanted the Alkosch to have some type of meaning. I was hoping that the King would have someone burst into the room screaming about it. I wanted the shadow to mention it at least once. Frankly, I don't care that the priest died. But surely the Alkosch had some hidden meaning after you put so much emphasis on it.

My advice for you is to scratch that whole scene out. Maybe it's just a personal preference. But I think you should find some other way to paint that scene outside. Oh, and I think you should introduce the King before anyone else. Don't put so much emphasis on something that doesn't even matter. It's like spending five paragraphs describing a wall. After reading it, you'd think, surely the author has something planned for this wall. I feel that maybe I could have connected better with the King and whatever his situation was(see, I already forget), if I wasn't wondering about what just happened before that. This can't be the effect you want to have on your reader.

Jon M
May 20th, 2012, 09:15 PM
Read part of this last night. There are quite a number of what I think are cliche phrases / typical (and unoriginal) word-pairings. For your perusal:

braced ... against the weather
driving ... rain
took shelter
braved the storm
claps of thunder
darkness is upon us
bolt of lightning
eternal second (what?)
hunkered down
safety of their homes
laid waste

Some offenders worse than others. Because of this, and because what I read seemed like typical fantasy, my interest waned.

RoosterSmith
May 20th, 2012, 11:49 PM
Really good! I hope to God that you have already written the entire story and are going to post them in segments...

Looking toward to reading the next one, great work!

You could call me an optimist, but the King hasn't really excepted the deal....

He probably will though.... don't spoil it!

I'm tweeting this out, more people need to read this!

@RoosterSmith

CharlesAnthony
June 4th, 2012, 04:44 AM
Congrats on getting it published! I'm working on doing the same, and it's incredibly difficult. I wish your book the greatest success, and to be honest I didn't read anything wrong with what you had originally written. Good work!

SamJS
June 5th, 2012, 08:08 PM
Practically doing the Church Ladies "Victory Dance" for being able to post finally. :o)

Ok, so I have written and self published my novel, "Hell in a Storm". After I published it, I started wondering if I should have posted it somewhere for others to read and criticize the crap out of it first.

It may have helped with the polishing up, however it would have taken away the incentive for anyone to buy it if they could read it somewhere else for free.

Best of luck Kenneth.