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Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Elysa Hendricks

Thanks so much to Long & Short Reviews for spotlighting my books and me this week. As much as I dislike writing essays (which why I don’t blog) it’s been fun. It’s given me a chance to share my love of writing and books with readers and other writers. I’ll leave now with a short excerpt from THE SWORD AND THE PEN.



While outside a storm raged, Brandon Alexander Davis wrote the final chapter of what he hoped would be his last Warrior Woman book.

Inch by inch Serilda fought her way forward. Lightning streaked across the rolling black clouds darkening the midday sky. In the brief light her sword flashed crimson. Thunder crashed drowning the screams of the men dying around her. The stench of death and gore stung her nostrils. Bits of flesh and bone along with a generous amount of blood splattered her face and body.

Despite Hausic’s wise counsel she’d launched a frontal attack against Andre Roark’s army.

She could see him. A few yards more and she’d break through his guard and cut him down. Arms burning from the strain of fighting for hours she swung again and…


Lightning touched the tip of my upraised sword. A jolt of energy shot through my body. Stunned I slipped on a puddle of blood and tumbled backwards. My sword flew out of my hand. A blade swept toward my neck and I faced death.

Regrets aren’t something I often consider, but at that moment I regretted my failure to reach my goal – burying my blade deep in Roark’s heartless chest - before I died.

Though I kept my eyes wide – better to embrace my demise and face my reward or punishment for my sins - I didn’t die.

Instead nothingness surrounded me. I blinked to clear the misty haze, but along with Roark, my troops and the battle that raged around me, vanished. Other than my own body I could neither see nor feel anything. How long I existed in that limbo I don’t know. In that place time had no meaning.

Had a great wizard plucked me from my world? Was this a place of safety or a place of death?

Though my chosen career involves death, I practice my skills with discretion. I take only righteous commissions and those I hunt are always given the opportunity to surrender. It isn’t my fault they rarely do so. Neither do I harm or kill innocents. I’m a mercenary with a solid code of ethics. I fight only for justice and freedom. Surely my few slips couldn’t condemn my soul to eternal boredom.

The voice I heard in my head gave me my first clue as to where I was and what I am. In the beginning the voice was faint, muffled, the words unclear, but with nothing else to do but listen – bodily needs seemed not to exist in this place - I deciphered the content.

Damn it woman. The voice spoke without real heat, just resigned frustration. I liked his strange accent. Deep and even, his voice hinted at long nights spent between the sheets. Why won’t you ever do what I tell you to?

“To whom do you speak?” I tried to shout, but no sound came from my throat.

I had Hausic counsel you to stage sneak attack from the rear, not make a frontal assault on Roark’s fortress. But no, you had to do it your way. Three weeks’ work wasted.

A frontal assault? How did this stranger know of my chief counsel’s argument against my decision? Our conversation had been private. Or so I thought. What spy of Roark’s had been listening?

My own fault for giving you a conscience, a sense of fair play and a stubborn streak.

I bristled at his assumptions. The monks that took me in after my parents died at Roark’s hands were to blame for my conscience, not this disembodied voice. My sense of fair play came from my father and my stubbornness my mother. Or so I believed. Unease slid down my spine.

If I didn’t have other plans, I swear I’d let that barbarian take your head off right now. Let’s go back and get it right.

I wanted to argue. To tell him I had gotten it right. The frontal assault was working fine. Roark was nearly within my reach. It wasn’t my fault I’d slipped on the gore left from the battle – was it? But at that point I had no voice – at least none my tormentor could hear.

And this time we’ll do it my way.

Before I could blink I found myself back in my tent a week earlier with Hausic repeating his arguments against a frontal assault on Roark. He sputtered when I pushed passed him and out into the night. Sword drawn I slipped around the tent, but found no one lurking about. The guards looked at me in confusion.

Back in the tent I slumped on my cot, sword dangling between my knees. Hausic pestered me with questions about my unusual behavior until I sent him away, the plans for the attack still unresolved. Perhaps a sneak attack was more prudent. Roark’s troops had been ready for the frontal assault. I would have considered the matter ended and gone on with my life if the voice had not asked, What is it now, woman? I’m already passed my deadline on this damned book.

Though I searched the small tent I knew the voice came from inside my head.

Donoval may be more brawn than brain but I never have this much trouble with his books.

King Donoval of the kingdom of Shallon was my one time lover, beautiful as an angel, strong as a bull and as dense as a rock - at least in matters of the heart. With more than a twinge of regret, I’d kicked Donnie out of my bed and my life several years ago. For all his faults he was spectacular to look at, honorable and a dedicated lover. But his demand that I choose between being a warrior or his bondmate was more than I could stomach.

Cooperate or I swear I’ll write you out of existence in the most painful way I can dream up.

Write me out of existence? The answer to what was happening that occurred to me was beyond my ability to believe, but once I thought it the idea wouldn’t leave me.

My breath stilled. Was I a wizard’s creation?

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