The Bridgefinders have won a battle they never expected to walk away from. The Slyph has been pushed back, and now faces open rebellion from Grellnot.
War is brewing on the Echo World, a war that has large implications for us. Within the Bridgefinders something rotten has taken hold, as one of their own starts down a dark path of jealousy, anger, and hate.
When a woman from a mysterious group known only as the Shrouded, comes with a warning, her appearance proves to be a tipping point as the Bridgefinders face a new challenge, the evil within.
~ Bewitching BT
“Marcus had to have heard that.” Jasmine was the first to break the silence. “I’ll get Heather outside. Make something up to tell him until we can figure this out.” Grabbing Heather by the arm, despite the start of protests, Jasmine quickly ran out of the room towards the exit.
“What was that!?” Marcus came barreling into the room, focus held up. Cendan could only wonder at what he thought of the scene in front of him. A dead flying grub of large size; the smell of pepper spray in the air; and Cendan holding a wall-light like a two handed club with bits of… whatever the thing was still sticking to the glass on the light.
Eyes narrowed, Marcus lowered his hand slowly. “Ok, talk.”
Cendan sighed. Jasmine should have stayed and talked to Marcus, not him. Got to think fast, he told himself.
“Well… Jasmine and I were talking about the map, about how we hadn’t seen any Bridges since that day, right? I was talking to EVA and realized her and the map were linked somehow. We came in here, and while we were seeing if EVA could find anything wrong with the map, that thing,” Cendan paused and pointed at the remains of the creature on the floor. “That thing came out of the map. You can see the crack it made. Jasmine had the forethought to spray the thing with pepper spray, and I whacked it.” Cendan held up the wall torch.
“Marcus, I think the map is broken. I think that it’s been broken since that day.” Cendan wasn’t looking at Marcus. His eyes were glued to the map in front of him. “I don’t know how to fix this yet…”
The blow came fast, hard. Cendan went down involuntarily, grabbing the side of his head as pain exploded.
“You broke the map! It was fine,” Marcus yelled, standing over Cendan, rage written across his face. Cendan was stunned. Through the pain, he fumbled to think to something; anything to say. Instead, Marcus continued.
“You and that damn machine broke it!” Marcus slammed his fist into the map, his focus, the ring digging into the wood. “I used to dream about that thing coming back online. I used to wish for it, and now, like everything with you, you’ve ruined it.”
Cendan slowly came to his feet. He could feel a small drip of liquid on the side of his face – blood? Maybe from the ring.
“Marcus, calm the hell down. That thing broke the damn map. Not me, not EVA – that!” Cendan pointed to the remains on the floor. “It probably got there the day the Slyph attacked and Sal died! Think for a damn second, Marcus!” Cendan watched Marcus carefully. He wasn’t sure what had triggered this rage, this level of anger, but he wasn’t about to get sucker punched in the head again. Marcus he knew would be angry about the witch, but violence?
Marcus’s face, tightened, his lips a thin line on an already drawn and sharp face.
“Don’t you talk about the Bridgefinder that you got killed. For the last two weeks I’ve sat and thought, each day realizing more and more that you, Cendan, you are the cause of all of this … this falling apart of the Bridgefinders.”
“Sal’s death, the map, the breaking of traditions, the tainting of Jasmine, all of it. It’s your fault. We should have let Grellnot damn well have you. I wish I could go back in time and take that focus of yours that day when you dropped it, the first night we all met. Take it and send you away. That would have been better than this!” Marcus held up his fist, white knuckled and pale. “I have been a Bridgefinder all my life. My parents were, and their parents before them. I honor this with my very life!”
“You, Cendan Key, you mock it. And now, your stupidity and carelessness have broken the very tool we need to keep this world safe.” Marcus spat on the floor. “That thing I’m sure was something you brought back from your little trip to the Slyph’s world.”
Cendan reached out to EVA mentally, but once again found her hard to reach. Prioritize! he told himself. Cendan opened his mouth to respond to Marcus, but closed it again.
Jasmine saved the day as she walked into the map room and stopped short.
“What is going on?” Jasmine rushed to Cendan, checking the mark on his face. “What happened?”
Not taking his eyes off Marcus, Cendan let out a slow breath. “Marcus here blames me for the map, sucker punched me in the head. Apparently I’m the worst thing that ever happened to this place.”
Jasmine turned to Marcus, eyes wide. “Marcus?”
Marcus pointed at Cendan. “I want him gone, Jasmine. Don’t you get it? Everything we’ve done, everything we’ve worked for, our parents worked for, everything the Bridgefinders is under threat because of him!” Marcus turned to walk away, but instead stopped and stared Jasmine down. “Where were you just now Jasmine? I know you were here..”
Jasmine grabbed Cendan’s arm. “Marcus, you’re being ridiculous. Cendan is—”
Marcus cut her off. “Gone Jasmine. I don’t care about anything. You’re staying, he’s going. Forever.”
Jasmine stood up straight. “Hell no. What is in your head? Cendan is a Maker, remember? You want to send away the only Maker we’ve had in over a thousand years?”
Marcus barked a short laugh. “Maker? He’s only making a mockery of us. Of all of us. Don’t you see it, Jasmine? In the short time he’s been here; this talk of magic; breaking things; getting Sal killed. He’s the cause of all the pain we’ve had.”
Jasmine and Cendan exchanged glances. Marcus didn’t know about Heather at least. Whatever was going on with him that knowledge would probably push him even farther down this dark path he was on.
“Cendan isn’t going anywhere, Marcus.” Jasmine answered quietly. “I don’t know where you are coming from, you’re one of my oldest friends, and I’ve been proud to call you such, but this… this is insanity.”
Marcus grimaced in response. “Jasmine, I know you and he once dated, but get away from him. Just… stay here, and he leaves.”
Jasmine looked at Marcus and blanched. She turned to Cendan and whispered. “I think Marcus is… jealous.”
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
Oddly enough the core idea came from a failed book that I tried to write before, I modified the idea a bit, added a bit more detail from another idea I had once, and there it was! This being the second book in the series, I had a decent idea of where everything was going, though as usual, the story took me to places I wasn’t expecting.
3. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?
Oh gods yes. Usually I read, or depending on what else is going on in my life, I’ll concentrate for a bit on ‘day job’ stuff. Usually an idea or thought will come to me in a few days at the most, and I’ll be off and running once more.
4. Your all time favorite book? ?
It’s horribly cliché but ‘The Hobbit’
5. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
Simply because that was the first true ‘fantasy’ novel I ever read. I was in 2nd grade (I was horribly precocious in those days.) and I read that book. Fell in love with the genre.
6. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project? ?
8 months. And I never finished that book. I got about halfway, and took a good long read of the draft, and realized it was just failing. The idea was weak, the characters were kinda annoying, and it just wasn’t a good story. I’ve still got it here, maybe one day I’ll revisit it. I even have the cover art done for it, but it just wasn’t any GOOD.
7. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? ?
Yes, that aforementioned book I spent 8 months on. It was a slog, and not a fun one. I had to do something else. Anything else. I changed my mind after I decided to write the first book in my series. I pushed that out in record time, really record time for me. It was fun to write.
8. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ?
I usually take it in stride. Not all stories are going to make everyone happy. If it’s fair criticism, and something I’ve seen more than once, I’ll try hard to ‘fix’ that in the next book. Sometimes a reader or readers can see something missing that we can’t, the whole ‘forest for the trees’ thing. Though some bad reviews are people being a pain, I’ve dealt with that as well. (Have a whole blog post about it.)
9. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
Outside of ‘The Echo Worlds’ series, I’m working on a post-apocalyptic series as well. It’s fun to write something different than I normally get into.
10. What made you decide to go the self-pub way? ?
I just wanted to get the stories out there. I truthfully have never had any desire to chase down a ‘traditional publisher.’ I’m totally fine with that.
11. What would you say was the toughest part? ?
Editing! Har har. And marketing.
12. Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting? ?
A bit of yes and no. I’ve done the hire an editor thing, but it cost way to much and I wasn’t overly happy with the results. I do have a ‘cover artist’ I hire on a consistent basis. I now rely mostly on a word plugin and some damn good beta readers to help me get through the editing and formatting woes.
13. Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks/Omnilit, some other distributor? How did you decide which one(s) to go with? ?
I’m really just an Amazon author. I’ve tried other venues and not sold anything there. And I mean 0. Not a single book. In Months. So I left them and went back to Amazon only.
14. If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change? ?
I would proofread a lot more my early works. Yes, they were that bad.
15. What’s one characteristic of an author who self-publishes, one word that would describe them? ?
Masochistic! (Kidding!) Driven. I think anyone who takes this step is driven to do it. Even those of us (like me) who sort of fell into it.
Fun facts: :
1. Name your favorite fruit. ?
2. Coffee or tea? ?
Man.. I like both, but Coffee. Though as I get older, tea seems to be better for my stomach!
3. Favorite season? ?
4. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
Mid to late morning. It’s my most productive time writing wise. I’m not a night writer.
5. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ?
Boyscout, all the way. Made it to Life, missed getting Eagle because we moved around a lot in my late teens and aged out.
6. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
7. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
Dark Green. That sort of Hunter green.
8. Drama or comedy? ?
Comedy. There’s enough drama in real life these days it seems. I’m pointing at YOU Election 2016.
9. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
10. Cats or dogs? ?
11. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
Dinner by candlelight. Clubs stress me out!
1. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ?
It’s terribly cliché again, but when I come home to my family. My wife and kids mean the world to me.
2. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?
Being a Dad. It’s awesome, and also one of the most frustrating, eye-twitching, satisfying things I’ve ever done.
About the Author & Links:
Josh Cook grew up in a highly literary family, with an English Professor mother who taught rhetoric. Having a long term love to fantasy and science fiction, Josh began writing three years ago. Outside of writing, Josh enjoys politics, cooking, hiking, and a good argument.