demons, angels, and another 5 star review

The Martuk … the Holy Blog Tour rolls on with an amazing 5 Star Review.

If you enjoy books with a new twist on a familiar plot similar to Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code”, then you will most certainly love “Martuk . . . the Holy” by Jonathan Winn.  This intense, gripping tale will keep you turning pages, biting fingernails, and re-evaluating your beliefs until the final sentence.

I’m not sure if Winn’s book can be classified into a single genre . . . or even a sub-genre. It’s multi-faceted and that’s part of the appeal. The fact Martuk . . . the Holy is a debut novel is impressive beyond words.

Martuk is a tormented immortal with roots in ancient history. Before you start thinking Adrian Paul and the TV series, “Highlander”, let me assure the differences are vast. Martuk . . . the Holy is a dark story filled with demons, angels, beastly abominations, …

And that’s just the beginning!  You can read the rest over here.  Plus there’s also a very generous Excerpt.  One of my favorites, actually.

Seriously, guys, this review brought tears to my eyes.  Not that praise should matter, but … hell, sometimes it just does.

This was one of those times.  :)

the drip, drip, drip of the blood

An excerpt from The Elder, the second book in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction inspired by Martuk … the Holy:

 

I found him gazing at the small cistern.

The water in the basin waited, clear, calm, powerful.  The polished stone of its base as smooth and dark as the shadows that surrounded it, the charred and broken bones trapped within its perfection feeding its power.

The water would speak.  Would foretell that which was to be.  Would show this man, this Tall Priest, my beloved, the nightmare that awaited him.

It must not.

He circled it once, twice, three times, the ritual begun.

“Please,” I implored him, “don’t.”

I stepped toward him.

A blade came from his sleeve then, the metal at his wrist, his slender arm over the shimmering basin.

“The Gods wish to take me from you,” he said.  “And for what?”

“The Darkness,” I whispered.

He paused, his eyes on mine.

“The Darkness,” he repeated.

“It knows my heart.”

“And is your heart so easily bought?”

I couldn’t respond.

“Tell me,” he continued, “what does your heart say?”

The words on my tongue, the ramifications of my choice clear, I hesitated.

This man, my beloved?  A man who shared my secrets, my laughter, my terrors and worries and dread.  My happiness.

Or power.  Life everlasting.  The chance to rule for countless generations and sit for an eternity with the Gods.

My heart wept as my head, my ambition, my greed, spoke.

“You must go.”

“Then let the Gods tell me themselves,” he said as he sliced his wrist, the drip, drip, drip of the blood staining the clear water.

 

The Elder Final-cover

 

 

… silent and never ending

A small snippet from Martuk … the Holy:  Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk … the Holy:

 

I cared not for them.

They wanted words of comfort.  Wise words.  Words that would guide them and still their nervous hearts and quiet their many fears.  They wanted their teacher and I wanted their blood.

I took the bread and shoved it in my mouth.  It was easier that way.  It stopped their annoying kindness and halted the screams waiting in my throat.

A great desert, I thought.  Yes, I wanted to be in a great empty desert far from life and people.  A desert where I could scream and sob and no one would care because I would be known to none.  A desert that could swallow me and my pain.

I looked at them again, these men.  Looked into their eyes and saw nothing.  Looked into their hearts and saw even less.

I wanted to go.

Take me away, my angels, I silently prayed as I chewed and chewed and chewed the bread, my fingers ripping away more and shoving the stale dough into my mouth.  Take me away from these people who know me not.  Take me far, far away.

Behind me, they stood.  The innocents sitting before me scrambled back at the sight of my angels, these winged ones.  Words were being said, but I listened not.  Perhaps there were tears, but I cared not.  I just wanted to be no more.

Take me, I begged, my voice and my tears and my rage silent and never ending.

Take me.

And they did, these angels, the world going dark as their wings closed around me and the disciples screamed.

The lie that ended his life

excerpt from Martuk … The Holy

I looked so small.

The Dead Boy, his golden corpse fixed in the far corner, approached cautiously and gazed with me at my body on the altar.

I thought I was more.  Bigger.  Stronger.  More powerful. 

But this?

Torn, filthy cloth sticking to my sweaty skin.  The Elder only now removing the golden cup from my dead lips as the guards approached.  The black form an ethereal vapor slithering from my neck to slide its way down my throat, red drool sliding from my mouth and running down my cheek.

To see my life reduced to a pliant bag of bones being pulled and dragged from the stone, my skull smacking the bloody altar with a crack, was sickening.  My dreams, my hopes, my plans … done.

Will they come?

The Dead Boy watched me expectantly.  As if I, being older and therefore somehow wiser, had the answer.

Those in the fog.  There.  Will they come?

I glanced up and, yes, there was the Veil, a low murmur emanating from its murky depths, shadowy figures wandering aimlessly.  Or waiting.

There were no claws reaching to grab us.  No malice.  No anger.  No vengeful spirits hungry for our souls.  The figures who lingered were kind.  Gentle.

You must go to them, I answered, wordlessly.

The Dead Boy’s eyes grew wide, the finality of this task overwhelming him.  Frightening him.

Go to them? he repeated.

Yes, you must take the first steps.

So young he was, this tiny ghost whose hand would easily be lost in mine.

He had seen perhaps five, maybe six summers by the time they covered him in gold.

Five, maybe six summers before he drank the brew which deadened his senses, the poisonous concoction hidden within muting but not erasing the agony of the hardening metal suffocating him.

Five, maybe six summers before the gold peeled the skin from his flesh with each breath, the inside of this sarcophagus of skin and bones stained red with his seeping blood, the syrupy liquid running to pool around his delicate toes.

Yes, I answered.  Your hand.  Reach out.  Go to them.  Those who love you will come.  Guide you.  You’ll be safe.

He came, suddenly, the Priest.  His presence interrupting my sight.

Although he towered above me, my gaze the height of one who’d seen perhaps five, maybe six summers, the hooded eyes, the smooth, dark skin beaded with sweat, the pink tongue darting behind a quick smile were all unmistakably clear. 

And so close, he was.  So close I could smell the skin and see the lashes ringing the eyes.  Lap up the salty drops sliding down the bronzed skin of his long neck with my own tongue.

“You’ll be safe,” the Priest had said as he bundled the boy in his arms.

“You’ll be safe” he had whispered as he snuggled him close while walking him away from all he knew.

“Safe,” he had promised as he offered him to those who would feed him the wine, paint him in gold, stain his lips red, and create the golden corpse he would soon become.

“You’ll be safe” had been the lie which had ended his life.

The Dead Boy backed away from me, fear in his eyes.

I reached my hand toward him, but he ignored me, slipping back into the sarcophagus.  Back into the security of his dead body.

He was lost to me.

How about now?

One thing I’m learning is that the world moves a bit slower than I do.

Let me explain.

I write quickly, the words tumbling onto the page with the patience of a sledge hammer.  Almost as if I, too, am eager to see what happens next.  

And I decide quickly.  I do my due diligence, of course.  Ask pertinent questions, judge the answers via my BS detector, weigh it in relation to my current and longtime goals, and then say Yes or No.  I don’t take weeks and weeks to get there.  I do it in a matter of minutes if not seconds.  My brain just works quick, you know?  

In short, those pieces of my life that I have some modicum of control over move quickly.  And if something I write or say or decide turns out to be too many kinds of wrong to count, I quickly admit the mistake and move to fix it any way I can.

When it comes to those pieces of life that I don’t control — that part of my own personal pie graph taking up more and more slices by the day –, well, things … move … very … very … slow.

Those I work with — or hope to work with — have other scripts to read, other decisions to make, complicated schedules to coordinate.  Family, friends, associates, colleagues all wanting their time and attention.  Big decisions about big projects, you know?  My wants and “needs” taking a necessary back seat to their lives and (true) needs.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I get it.  I do.  And when I need to be patient, working with a long-term goal in mind, I’m as tenacious as they come, my efforts in some cases stretching over years.  

But, OMG, when it comes to the projects I’m working on now, the waiting that goes into the smallest, tiniest step forward is torture.

And this is good for me.

You see, in the past I would have worried, pacing endlessly, checking to make sure my phone had a dial tone or that the internet was working, certain THAT was why I hadn’t heard anything.  Now, I put the headphones on and get back to work, well aware that the necessary pieces are in place and moving and I have no control over how quickly they move.  I’ve learned that, in cases like this, patience is a virtue.  Honestly.

Besides, when one thing hits — and it inevitably will –, everyone will be curious about the next thing.  And it’s best to have that next thing ready and waiting instead of saying “well, I’ve got a great idea about … “

No one wants the idea.  Well, they do because ideas are the lifeblood of what we do.  But they prefer the script.  Or book.  Or play.  Or Pilot.  And, from a legal standpoint, as a writer, it’s best to have the idea executed in order to protect it, i.e., ideas aren’t copyrightable;  the execution of those ideas are.  

So the point of this Post?  

Heck if I know.  

Maybe I just wanted to publicly pat myself on the back for feeling like such a clever boy.  Probably.  And, let’s face it, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a pat on the back.

So, how about now?

 

Cirque de No Way

Balance.  It’s really all about balance, isn’t it?

Although the focus of this blog is obviously my work as an author, a fiction writer, the majority of my life these days has been, by necessity, devoted to screenwriting.  They whys of that I can’t explain right now — firm believer in jinxing potentially good news by premature blabbing, so I’m keeping my trap shut –, but suffice it to say there are people whose work depends on my getting them rewrites, supplemental material (log lines, tag lines, synopsis, etc), and all the other rigamarole that comes with it.

But in there is the work that needs to be done on Proseuche.  

And Red and Gold, the third installment of The Martuk Series which, coincidentally, is now being adapted into graphic novels.

In there is a TV pilot (finished) in need of an episode-by-episode Season Map.  

And in all of that, too, are at least three more scripts with strong titles I’ve scene mapped (I guess those are called Treatments, right?) and just need to sit down and write.  

And have I mentioned the plays?

You see, there’s a lot to do. 

But what I’m learning is there are some plates worth spinning and some I should just let fall.  I’m one person and spending eight, nine, ten hours a day writing may not be the best thing.  Yes, it gets work done, but is it REALLY necessary to get EVERYTHING done all at the same TIME?

No, it’s not, I’ve decided.  It just isn’t.

So I’m learning to prioritize.  Deciding what can wait and what absolutely is worthy of my considerable focus right now this minute.

And it’s a smart thing to do … I think.

So, to strangle an already battered and bloodied metaphor (via my headline for this post), I’m peeling off my tights, giving ‘em a quick wash, and hanging ‘em out to dry, momentarily happy to let the plates fall and join the ranks of those in the less popular — though certainly more crowded — circus known as Cirque de No Way.

(yeah, it probably sounded better in my head … Apologies)  :) 

Almost.

It starts as an image.  

Of deep, dark wood and flickering candles.  And then smells, sounds.  Furniture polish warmed by tiny flames.  The buzz of whispered secrets in hidden corners.  Paris in all her quiet chaos just beyond those heavy metal-banded doors.

I can see this all so clearly, but it’s not yet ready to live.  For whatever reason, the page isn’t ready for it.  Or it isn’t ready for the page.  Either way, it refuses, and I respect that.

So I move on, recording other sights and sounds and smells, cataloguing Martuk’s upcoming journey, often surprised by where he takes me.  All of this is recorded, my thoughts filling first one page and then two, Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk … The Holy, taking form.

And then, as always, one morning I’ll open my eyes to find Martuk waiting, this tortured immortal ready, having found the courage to continue his story.  Finally.

Until then, I’ll just write another movie.  :)