Okay, this is not the biggest news, although it certainly could be a precursor to some possibly big-Big-BIG news coming in the future:
I signed with an agent who is a veteran in the CBA.
This means, for the first time, that MERLIN’S BLADE is being sent to the bigger publishers, all of whom have been closed to me until now.
And this only adds to the fact that I still have two smaller publishers actively looking at MERLIN’S BLADE.
So… the next six months will be interesting. It’s still a VERY difficult market to catch a publisher, any publisher, but things have not looked this positive since I began writing in 2006.
And to celebrate, I’m giving a sneak-peek into a portion of MERLIN’S BLADE, chapter 23:
When Merlin opened his eyes, he found himself lying, wet and cold, at the edge of a small glade within a vast forest. And his eyesight was clear.
In the center of the glade stood a giant boar, grunting and snorting as he thrashed his feet in every direction. His massive bristled back reared eight feet high, his regal snout jutted two feet long, and along his flanks rippled muscles of incredible strength.
Merlin lay in awe… transfixed by the magnificence of the creature. Surely none like it existed in all creation. From its mouth curved two tusks, each the length of a man’s forearm. One swipe and anyone would be crushed or impaled.
But the boar wasn’t beset by men, rather by thousands of rat-like creatures, all carrying ropes, and running on two legs. One belt-high creature scrambled past Merlin, its stinking fur coated in slime and a fang-toothed smile upon its face. Merlin watched in horror as they skittered around the boar, trying to bind his legs. The boar slew dozens of them, but was soon bound and cruelly stretched upon the forest floor.
Out from the shadows stalked a stranger, taller even than Merlin, and he held a bronze sword. But he was not a man, but a beast in man’s shape. His skin was yellowed with age and his nose long, almost like a rat’s. His pupils were horizontal like a goat’s and his jagged teeth covered with strings of raw meat. Antlers grew from his skull, and his head was covered with a mane of thick silver-green hair.
A forked tongue slithered in and out of his mouth, and he turned to face Merlin. “Gett-est-thee gone, briiight one. Keep not Kernunnosss from his preyy. It is I who claim the throne of the Lord of the Forestsss!”
Kernunnos jumped at the boar and drove his blade into its back.
The boar shrieked in mortal terror and thrashed wildly.
The fallen leaves became slick with blood.
Bile rose in Merlin’s throat. He wanted the boar to escape and turn on these vile hunters. He pulled Uther’s sword from where he had dropped it on the grass and tested it, sharpened to a deadly edge by his father just that morning. He stepped forward to save the boar.
By then Kernunnos had stepped around the great boar, and he lifted his bronze sword above the taut belly.
Merlin winced as he looked to the anguished face of the boar, who strangely was able to grunt the plaintive words of “Hhheelllppp-Hheelpp-mmaaay”.
It was Merlin’s last chance. He ran forward and yelled, “Stop… you will not do this!” Six rats died under his swinging blade, and the rest backed away. He jumped into the center and started to sever the rope holding down the boar’s forelegs.
Before he could finish, however, Kernunnos ran toward him. “Ii warned youu and ssso your flessh shall be feassted as welll!”
Their swords struck with a clang.
Again and again their blades met, and each time Kernunnos pushed Merlin back by the ferocity of his attack. Whenever Merlin tried to gain an advantage, his sword met either empty air or a slicing parry. Kernunnos slowly pushed Merlin toward the rats, who now sported flint-tipped spears.
In desperation Merlin charged, but his foe leapt to the side.
Merlin tumbled to the ground with Uther’s sword flying from his hand. In panic, he stretched out and touched his fingers to the hilt.
Kernunnos had planted his foot on the flat of the blade, and try as he might, Merlin could not wrench it free. The amber-colored blade of his enemy jabbed toward Merlin’s face, and the rats trussed him and hung him by his hands from a tree.
He kicked at the silent rats, until he spied Kernunnos. Once again, the creature stood at the chest of the boar. This time he held Uther’s sword.
“No-o-o!” Merlin yelled.
Kernunnos’s goat eyes burned with glee. “You cannot sstop mee, briight one, and now I use your own ssteel. There is only one Lord of the Foresssst, and I will have revenge!”
Uther’s blade plunged into the boar, who squealed in agony and arched his bristled back to pull away, but in vain. He shook his head until blood poured from his mouth.
Kernunnos slit the boar down the front, and the rats rushed in to gorge their appetites.
Merlin wept, yet through his tears, he beheld an angel in a blinding white robe. He spoke, and his mighty voice shook the trees.
“BEWARE EVIL, MERLIN!”
The man disappeared in a flash of light.
And Merlin’s last memory before passing out was Kernunnos slipping toward him through a haze. And before his face he held Uther’s blood-stained sword pointing to the moon.