The Dead of Summer Book Sale

It’s hot outside.

Really. F’ing. Hot.

It’s so hot, I’m putting Dirty Black Summer on permanent repeat.

It’s so stifling, spiders are invading my house to escape the beating sun.  Big spiders. Poisonous spiders.

It’s so murderously muggy, birds are falling to their deaths in my yard.

And I’m deadly serious about those last two.

In this summer of dying animals, roasting insects, and melted Kindles, you’ve got two choices for how to spend your leisure time:

1. Head outside and bake with everyone else

2. Grab an e-book and put your heart on ice

I’m here for you.

Introducing the Down the Dark Path Kindle series. Four e-books. The first in the series is $0.99. The other three are only $1.99 each.

DDP mini 1

Book I. Introduction to the darkest fiction epic you’ll ever read. Your price: $0.99.

 DDP mini 2 DDP mini 3 DDP Mini 4

What’s it all about?

In Malog, the sun never shines and the rain never ceases.

Sorcerers from the ancient world gather to plot the end of all things. A civilization better left in its grave crawls to the edge of resurrection. As Andelusia, the beautiful but unwilling sorceress, turns against herself, Graehelm’s last warriors stand on fields of bones to face the Furyon hordes.

If the Grae fail, annihilation awaits.

If Andelusia sips once more from the darkness, she will reign as queen to watch the world die.

Each book is also available as a sexy black softcover.

It’s never been easier to start your journey Down the Dark Path.

J Edward Neill

(Art by Amanda Makepeace and Eileen Herron)

Casting for Nether Kingdom the Movie

Nether Kingdom. Makepeace_DevourerofStars-500x358

The last movie book in the Tyrants’ trilogy.

Pretty much the darkest thing ever.

So the cast has to be perfect, right?  Kinda like this one.

 

Let’s get to it…

*

Andelusia

Emmy Rossum – She’s back again as Andelusia Anderae. She’s more powerful and beautiful than ever. Everyone wins. Except her enemies.

 

Unctulu

Timothy Spall – Notable for his excellent and creeptastic work in Harry Potter and Sweeney Todd, Tim will make a sublime, wicked, and barbarous Unctulu come to life.  Part-time assassin, full-time vulgar sadist, I wouldn’t pick anyone else to pull this role off.

*

Tom Hardy Daedelar

Tom Hardy – Ladies, feast your eyes. Good acting lovers, feast your hearts. Tom Hardy has the chops to pull off pretty much any role, but in Nether Kingdom he’ll shine as the quick-witted, womanizing pirate Daedelar. Is he good? Is he bad? Wait and see…

 

 

 

*

Nephenia

*

Christina Hendricks – Of Mad Men fame. She’s strong. She’s badass. And she gets to play the no-BS role of Nephenia, Princess of Yrul. No man stands a chance with her, save for one…

 

*

 

Thresher

Nathan Jones – Remember this guy from Troy? He was only onscreen for about a minute before Brad Pitt killed him, but he definitely left an impression. A massive, dangerous, inhumanly strong dude is needed for the role of Unctulu’s sidekick, Thresher. Lock Nathan behind a few hundred lbs. of iron armor and give him a sword big enough to cut the world in half. And afterward, he can pull off double-duty as the undead horror, Myklokain. Get to killin’, Nathan.

*

Voice of the Ur

Benedict Cumberbatch – Most of you know about him. He’s killing it in Sherlock, and more recently, his leading role in The Imitation Game.  But in Nether Kingdom, we’ll never see his face. He’ll be voice-acting only, a la Sauron in the Hobbit movies. Only this time, he’ll be even more diabolical. He’ll be the one and only voice of the world…ending…Ur.

 

*

Grimwain

 

Richard Armitage – Mass murdering, swashbuckling, king-butchering, nation-destroying. Leave your Hobbit and Robin Hood roles in the dust, Richard. As the wicked Lykaios, you’ll pretty much get to be the worst dude ever. Have fun. If I could act, this is the role I’d want.

 

Marid

 

UnknownMarid of Muthem. Finally, I’m stumped. We’ll need someone young, British, and believably cast as Andelusia’s lover. He’ll have to be innocent, yet full of wanderlust. Plus pitifully in lust with our heroine. Suggestions??

*

And reprising their roles from Down the Dark Path and Dark Moon Daughter:

*

Saul

Daniel SouthernSaul of Elrain. Crankier than ever.

 

 

*

 

Garrett

Henry CavillGarrett Croft. Good guys gone bad.

 

 

Archmyr

Lee PaceThe Pale Knight, Archmyr Degiliac.  Bad guys gone…well…badder.

 

 

*

 

Ghurk Ghurlain

Daniel RadcliffeGhurk Ghurlain. A quick role, to be sure. But another one who’ll get to crush on Emmy Rossum. Better than Hermione, anyway.

 

It’s gonna happen.

It’s only a matter of time.

Nether Kingdom – Spring 2015

J Edward Neill

The Junk Press

2015.

AKA: The busiest year ever.

Painting. Writing. Editing. Publishing. Not Sleeping.

Let’s start with the painting. I got it in my big, fat head that I could all-of-the-sudden graduate from creating terrifying landscapes and up my game to painting beautiful women. In a single bound. Bad idea, right? Previously I’ve painted stuff like this. Wish me luck?

So after about two weeks of drawing, brushing, agonizing, and touching up, I’m about 70% finished with my huge canvas, Andelusia. Lots left to be done. I’m terrible. But I figure, to Hell with it. Here’s the breakdown:

AndeP1

About three hours in.

AndeP2

Ridiculously tight corset? Sorry, ladies.

AndeP3

Background mostly complete. Hair undertones finished. Whew.

AndeP4

About seven hours in. Skin undertones started. Hardest part is making it look realistic.

AndeP5

About ten hours in. Hair started. Skirt started. Beginnings of black magic on her fingertips. Exhausting!

I figure 30-40 more hours and I’ll be done. Kidding. 4-5 more hours, tops. And then I’ll spend a lifetime kicking myself for every imperfection.

Such is art.

Next up: 101 Questions for Men – Part II in the Coffee Table Philosophy series, is due to hit bookshelves about 30 seconds from now.  My inspiration to write these evolved from a party I went to during which everyone was nose-deep in their cell phones. I tried to break the ice by asking philosophy questions…and lo, it worked! Just a few questions lasted us the entire night. And now I can’t stop writing them.

101 Questions for Men Cover

Due out in a few days. The cover is bit more aggressive than Book I.

Book III in the series, 101 Questions for Women, is also due out this month. It’s been the hardest to write. And the most fun. If these things keep earning interest, I’ll expand the series even more. 101 Questions for…anything you can think of. So check the series out. Seriously. I think there’s something for everyone in it.

And now for the real meat. The coup de gras. The sword on the world’s throat.

NK Book in Hand

The final proof copy. The culmination of 14 years of candlelit writing, shadow worshipping, and bad, bad dreams.

After a few mild post-production struggles and an overhaul to the ending, the moment is almost here. Nether Kingdom, Book III in the Tyrants of the Dead series, and darkest of all dark fantasy epics, will cover the world in shadows. Any. Day. Now. I hope you’ll love it. Big time.

So…

Thanks for clicking. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being here. If you’ve the time, check out my ever expanding library on Amazon. Come back soon to see the finished Andelusia painting. Stick around to catch the new cover of 101 Questions for Women. And keep your eyes peeled for the press release of my upcoming two-book series, Darkness Between the Stars.

Until next time.

J Edward Neill

 

 

 

Nether Kingdom Cover Reveal!!

Ur Knight NK Cover Sketch Ver 2 - Copy

It began eons ago.

I had a dream. A throttling, terrifying, I-remember-every-detail kind of dream.

A few days after I had it, I drove to a craft store, bought a giant parchment-paged journal, hand-painted the cover, and wrote my dream inside. I made maps of the places I’d imagined. I designed a Dungeons & Dragons setting based on the worlds I’d seen. I invented games using tiny fragments of the story I’d unlocked inside my head. I obsessed over it for a long while.

And then I let it go.

For many years, it lay dormant inside me. It became a fantasy never realized, a story I daydreamed of, but rarely spoke of. It was destined to fall into my mind’s cobwebs. And likely, to be forgotten.

In the early 2000’s, everything changed. On a frigid winter night, with no one else near, I experienced thoughts I’d not entertained before. Alone in the dark, I started naming the places I’d dreamed of. I drew pictures of people who existed only in my head. I knew I couldn’t hold it in any longer.

I decided to write a book. Three books. Almost a million words. Already 10+ years of my life.

The books:

Down the Dark Path

Dark Moon Daughter

Nether Kingdom

All three follow Andelusia Anderae, Garrett Croft, Saul of Elrain, and the terrifying agents of the Nether. I like to think of it as the darkest of all dark fantasy trilogies, but in truth it’s stuffed with love stories, tales of sacrifice, and allegories for redemption and the true meaning of courage.

And yet…

Behind all my machinations, all three books are based on a single dream. One evening’s nightmare, if you like. The books truest subject is man’s primal fear of darkness and the unknowable experience of death. And it’s not until the third and final entry in the trilogy that I get to show the true antagonist. The monster behind the curtain. The demon under the bed.

Ladies and gentlemen, the cover of Nether Kingdom:

NetherKingdomWebLg

Art by Amanda Makepeace. Conceptualized in the abyss.

Yes. That’s one of the Ur. Aka: One of the tyrants of the dead. Special thanks to Amanda Makepeace for breathing unlife into it. If you’re in need of spectacular custom art, please look Amanda’s way. She did two of the three Tyrants’ covers. And I love her for it.

Within the next six weeks, Nether Kingdom will hit stores in e-book and paperback form. It’s significantly shorter than Down the Dark Path, but longer and assuredly grimmer than Dark Moon Daughter.

With it, the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy will come to an end.

And I can lay this thing to rest. At last. Forever.

Until I start the prequel – Darkness Between the Stars

***

Nether Kingdom

Spring 2015

J Edward Neill

NK Ebook File - Copy

Devourer of Stars

Devourer of Stars Teaser Image

Last week, J Edward Neill shared a History of the Ur, where you had the opportunity to learn about the villain of his fantasy trilogy, Tyrants of the Dead.

They move from star to star, swallowing every planet in darkness, building black towers on every surface, and turning oceans to deathly broth. Once a planet is blanketed in shadow and every living thing smoked out, the Ur eject clouds of star-snuffing darkness from their towers. The darkness consumes the planet’s star, and the Ur move elsewhere.

I had the pleasure of painting one of these diabolical interstellar shadows last year for the cover of the final book in the trilogy. What you see above is only a fraction of the painting Devourer of Stars. You’ll have to wait just a bit longer to experience all of his beautiful darkness. In the meantime, here’s small playlist of some of the songs that inspired me along the way.

A Jumble of Bones

skelly 

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a lousy kid. I haven’t been particularly good this year. Or productive. Or nice. I’d apologize, but I wouldn’t really mean it.

Can I have a few presents anyway? Pretty please?

This week’s entry is a mixed bag (of bones.) I’m starting if off with my private Christmas list. Mind you, I’m not actually expecting Santa to bring me any of this stuff. But perhaps if I write it down, you’ll read it and commiserate that you’re probably not getting anything cool either:

My list:

XBox 360 Version of Dragon Age: Inquisition (Origins rocked. The first sequel sucked. I wouldn’t have time to play it anyway. But hell…)

Several free nights at the movies. So I can see Nightcrawler, Horrible Bosses 2, Gone Girl, St. Vincent, and yes…even Mockingjay.

A new pair of MMA gloves. Because my old pair is ruined…and even writers need to beat the bejeezus out of things now and then.

 

Moving right along…

I’ve decided to do a little experiment with one of my short stories.  As of today, my popular short Old Man of Tessera goes up on Smashwords with a ‘pay whatever you like’ option. That means if you want to pay $0.00, you can pay $0.00, and I’m fine with it. If you feel like a few thousand words is worth $1.63, boom! you can pay exactly $1.63. It’s a neat-o option. Frankly I don’t care if I sell five hundred copies at $0.01. At this point, it’s all about getting my words in your face.

oldmantesseracover1sm

Click me. Buy me. $0.01 or $100,000.00…it’s your call.

Speaking of books…

In the last week, the cover art for Nether Kingdom – final book in the Tyrants of the Dead series – arrived on my doorstep. Graven out of the shadows by resident artist Amanda Makepeace, it’s the penultimate piece for the conclusion of my dark fantasy trilogy. I’ve showed fragments of it here and there already, and while I’m not yet prepared for the big reveal, I will offer a new glimpse today. That, and the promise of this cover being pretty much everything my dark little heart desires.

Ur Hand

The Ur…clutching hearts and seizing dreams since humanity dared its first breath.

The Ur appear throughout the Tyrants’ series (as well as in numerous other creative iterations of mine.) In the upcoming Nether Kingdom, they’ll make a final move to rebuild their haunted civilization atop the ruin of mankind. Someday I’ll write a short explaining how I dreamed the Ur in the first place. In the meantime, I can hardly wait to finish NK and get it out for everyone to see. It’ll be at least five minutes of bliss before I sit right back down and begin working on their origin story – Darkness Between the Stars.

Thus, as hoped for, the Jumble of Bones comes to an end.

Catch you later,

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Co -Author of Hollow Empire – Night of Knives

Down the Dark Path

Casting for Dark Moon Daughter the movie

Dark_Moon_Daughter-Boobs

 A few weeks ago, I geeked out and created a dream cast for a film version of Down the Dark Path. Upon reflection, it’ll probably take two movies to bring DDP to life (but definitely not three – a la Peter Jackson’s catastrophic dissection of The Hobbit.) No matter. Reality isn’t a problem.

The whole exercise proved so engrossing and fun that I’m taking it a step further. Therefore, if only in my dreams, I’m bringing Dark Moon Daughter – Book Two in the Tyrants series, to the big screen. Ultimately, I plan to write a real-life screenplay, but that’s years away, and by the time I get it greenlit, my current cast of stars will likely be halfway in their graves.

So…

Given complete and utter freedom, and without concern of money or actors’ schedules, my roster for Dark Moon Daughter is:

Andelusia

 
Emmy Rossum – Repeating her performance of Andelusia Anderae, the ridiculously good-looking Lady Rossum will have to dye her hair black, wear raggedy dresses, and wield world-melting magic. It’s cool. I’m sure she’s up to the challenge.

 

TheWarlock

 

Tom Hiddleston – Forget Loki. Forget anything even remotely comic-booky. In Dark Moon Daughter, Tom will be asked to play the angsty, tormented, and sinister Warlock. He’ll wear dozens of different costumes. He’ll narrate off-screen. He’ll conquer entire nations without so much as touching a sword. Bad men require great actors. Tom is unspeakably good for this role.

 

KingOrumna

Robbie Coltrane – You’ll know him best as the furry, hulking good guy from Harry Potter. But I think Robbie is perfect to play the corpulant, lethargic, and piteous King Orumna. Imagine him filling up a throne, stuffing his gullet with wine, mocking everything and everyone who attends his court. It’ll be beautiful.

 

 

GhurkGhurlain

 Daniel Radcliffe – While we’re on the topic of Harry Potter actors, I stumbled across another one well-suited for Dark Moon Daughter. Daniel is thin, pale, and dark-haired. He’s the quintessential Thillrian, meaning he’s perfect to play Ghurk Ghurlain. Yeah, ok…he’ll have to smear his face with Undergrave dust and read most of his lines in the dark. And yeah…he’ll be far from heroic. But being a Thillrian nobleman ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re forced to dig to the bottom of the world.

 

Ona

 

Jessica Brown Findlay – Who better to skulk the hallways of the fortress Midnon, crooning her miserable songs? What lovelier face to seduce the noblest hero? Downton Abbey’s JBF, especially the pale, haunted version we see here, was born to play the role of Ona. Treacherous yet impossibly honest, young yet guileful, the actress suits the role….or is it the other way around? 

 

Grimwain

Richard Armitage – And now for the serious stuff. Richard has always struck me as slightly aloof, slighty cold (in his acting roles, not real life.) It’s also known that he’s a skilled swordsmen, as proven in The Hobbit and his Guy of Gisborne role in the Robin Hood tv series. Given his skills, I’d cast him as the interminably cruel, utterly irredeemable Grimwain. He’ll get tons of screen time…and the chance to be the baddest bad guy who ever lived. You don’t have to talk much, Richard. Just get to butchering.

Mogru

 

Dave Bautista – He won’t get any lines. He won’t even get to show his face. But someone with a terrifying presence needs to play the horror Mogru. Imagine this dude decked out fully undead, fully armored in obsidian plate mail. He’s just a tiny droplet of the awful magic the Ur intend to release. And based on his skill shown in Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave can add just the right amount of thuggery and fear to Mogru’s dread-inspiring role.

 

Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro – He’s not an actor. I don’t want him to be one here. I only need him to be a part-time producer…and the costume designer for both the deathless Uylen and the horrific Sarcophages. His work in Pan’s Labyrinth inspired me in many ways. Need ya, Guillermo. Money is no object.

 

And of course, the roles these fine actors played in Down the Dark Path will need to be reprised:

Henry CavillGarrett Croft

Chris PrattRellen Gryphon

Daniel SouthernSaul of Elrain

Joanne WhalleySara Gryphon

So who’s up for helping me finish the screenplay?

Let’s do this.

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Co -Author of Hollow Empire – Night of Knives

Down the Dark Path

All Hallows Book Sale

Autumn…

Halloween…

…my favorite time of the year.

Because I’m crazy, I’ve decided to discount several of my novels. From today until Halloween at midnight, the Kindle and e-versions of Down the Dark Path AND Dark Moon Daughter have been reduced to an epically low price of $0.99 each. Both books are normally $6.99. Yes. I’m out of my mind. I know it.

So for those on the fence about investing in the darkest fantasy series ever, please push over your tombstones, crawl out of your graves, and get some. Here. Now. Today.  

Soul Orb DDP Cover Slightly Brighter

The tale of Andelusia Anderae and the world-ending struggle between Furyon and Graehelm…only $0.99.

Dark Moon Daughter New Kindle Cover

Seeking the source of her budding powers, Andelusia journeys to a land at the edge of the known world…only $0.99.

 

And for readers with non-Kindle e-readers, head on over to Smashwords and use these coupon codes to get either book for (yeah, you guessed it…) $0.99!

Soul Orb DDP Cover Slightly Brighter

Use Coupon Code HP95A to get Down the Dark Path for $0.99!

Dark Moon Daughter New Kindle Cover

Use Coupon Code DQ75B to get Dark Moon Daughter for $0.99!!

At 12:01 AM Nov 1st (Halloween’s unfortunate demise) prices will return to normal.

Much love,

J Edward Neill

Who am I…really?

Mask

Truth is, a time long ago I loved the simpler things in life. To sit in green fields and watch the sun come up. To strut through the city and chase pretty girls. To spend endless summer days making mischief with my friends. I was young, foolish, and utterly full of myself. Those were good days.

Those days are done.

After my accident, nothing has been the same. I don’t feel like myself most of the time. I think perhaps I’m sick, very sick. I hear voices telling me to do terrible things. And after all these years, I find myself listening. And why not? Better to accept what I have become than spend lifetimes waging war against it.

It doesn’t matter what I look like. I’ll tell you anyway. I’m short for the modern age, only 5’11”. I have dusky  hair and grey eyes. I suppose I’m what you’d consider athletic. The girls used to say I was lean as a whip, but nowadays men look at my ropey muscles and cringe. I’m faster than they are. I’m stronger. I don’t ever get hurt. Ever. They think it’s unnatural. It so happens they’re right.

More than my body, people fear my mind. They think I’m crazy, but that term is so…vague. I have something inside me. It’s like poison, but it doesn’t kill me, not quickly anyway. No, I’m not insane. What some might call obsession is merely disclipline. I’m driven to do what I do. I’ve moved on to better things than happiness, relationships, or life. Religion, one might call my new way of thinking. Truth, I prefer to say.

I hardly feel human any longer. I can’t identify with people like I used to. It’s just that we’re all so damnedly fixated on staying alive, we’ve forgotten what it means to die.

* * * * *

I didn’t used to be this way. I swear. I was optimistic, ambitious, and faithful. Well…anymore I’m just not. I’ve been through so much. I’ve been kidnapped, imprisoned, threatened with death. My teachers have lied to me again and again. I’ve been walked on, hoodwinked, and abused. It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

So it’s high time I start living for myself. I was supposed to be married. It might’ve been wonderful, but the more I think about it, the more I know settling down isn’t for me. I want more from this world than a ring on my finger and a roof over my head. I want to live. I want to travel to the mountains, the forests, and every tiny little city in-between. I might be old and brittle before I do it all, but no matter. I won’t be kept. I’m in charge now. I and no other.

I know I don’t look the same as I used to. You probably wouldn’t even recognize me. I’m leaner, but stronger, if that makes any sense. My hair is black and my eyes…well…my friends tell me they’ve gone grey. I suppose it’s all the years on the road that’ve changed me. I’m no longer a child. I feel confident. I feel ready. The world is mine and yours, but mostly mine.

And yet, despite everything, all I want is to be loved.

 Faceless

Who am I…really?

Can’t say I know anymore. I’m the biggest actor on the world’s grandest stage, but in gaining my fame I’ve lost my sense of self. I’ve played kings, aristocrats, and knights, but I’ve also played soldiers, peasants, even women. I’m not a braggart. I’m not arrogant. But it’s true; I’m the best. Step outside your door and ask your neighbors. Chances are they’ve heard of me. Honestly, if you haven’t, where’ve you been living all this time?

 So it should come as no surprise that I’m looking for another role, another person to pretend to be. It was never about the show itself, but the applause at the end. And by applause, I mean you…yes you…standing there with your mouth open and your eyes wide. Maybe you’re in awe, but more likely you’re terrified. That’s good. That’s exactly the reaction I wanted. Because this isn’t really a play. It’s real life. And you never saw me coming.

I’ll be honest with you. Don’t take it as a sign that I care or that we’re going to be friends; we’re not. But the truth is it’s been so long since I’ve not worn a mask, I’m just as terrified as you are. I talk big and act bigger, but I’m not doing this show for myself anymore. I’m not the playwright or the director. I’m occupying the stage, but I’m not setting it. I’m working for someone else. The pay is awful, the hours never-ending. Doesn’t matter. I have to see this next act through to the end.

If I don’t, it’ll be my last.

 * * * * *

I’m so old I can taste the dust between my teeth. My bones pop when I walk and my body hurts all the time. When people tell you that growing old is like sailing gently into the twilight, they’re lying. At my age, pain is king. And with pain comes anger.

I couldn’t tell you when it was I began to feel my rage. One eve, I woke up from an impossibly long dream and knew my contentment was at its end. To see the world through my crusty eyes annoyed me. To ache with every damnable step filled me with frustration. Worse yet, whenever I saw another person, I just…I don’t know…felt the urge to end them.

And so it’s true. All I am is a husk of my former self. I’m tall and strong despite my brittle old body, but I’m so ugly no one will look at me. I’ve given up all sense of dignity. I don’t bathe or change my ragged clothes. I’ve not spoken to anyone in such a long time that my voice is but a creak and a whisper. Doesn’t much matter, I suppose. I don’t want to talk, not to you, not to anyone. My anger has become hatred. My loss of self fills me with loathing for everyone young, beautiful, and alive.

If I were you, I’d stay away.

* * * * *

No. I don’t have multiple personality disorder. Well…maybe sometimes.

Each of the above is a character sketch from Dark Moon Daughter, Book II in the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy.

With love,

J Edward Neill

Release Day – Dark Moon Daughter – New cover art!

Dark Moon Daughter – Book II in the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy

New ebook cover art now available!

Dark Moon Daughter New Kindle CoverA little background on the new cover: Andelusia Anderae, part-time heroine in the epic-length Down the Dark Path, takes center stage in Dark Moon Daughter. That’s the Black Fire roiling in her left hand. And yes, that’s the first official image of an Ur in the background. Note the white eyes (like stars). If you look closely, you’ll see its mouth opening up behind Andelusia as if to devour her.

The ebook version of Dark Moon Daughter is now available on Amazon here. Just click Andelusia’ cleavage…or the Ur’s eyes:

Dark Moon Daughter New Kindle Cover

The Smashwords version is here:

Dark Moon Daughter

By J Edward Neill
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 164,630. Language: English. Published: July 9, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Andelusia’s magic is meant only for suffering and death. One flicker of black fire, and the world will burn. One word uttered, and the Ur will butcher every living thing. In her heart, she knows what she must do. Fight them… …or join them.
 

 

* * * * *

 
New cover art for the softcover version will be out any day now. Look for updates here at Tessera AND at my Down the Dark Path web abyss.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Casting for Down the Dark Path the movie

StormIn the beginning, I dreamed a story.

The dream began deep below the earth. In a mine at the world’s bottom, I saw slaves chiseling away at obsidian stone, unearthing an artifact destined to destroy the world. The image remains as clear as though I’d dreamt it only yestereve. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the slaves’ horror…and the storm brewing. What they’ve done has doomed millions to die, and they know it.

It’s a far different opening scene than the beginning chapter of Down the Dark Path the novel. It’s raw, unedited, and perhaps the way the story was meant to be told.

Someday, hopefully not long from today, I’ll sit down to write the screenplay for DDP. I’m thinking a pair of movies, rated R, the type of films for the anti-Twilight, more-mature-than-Harry-Potter crowd. There’re be no one-liners, no slow walks, no good-guys-get-off-scot-free battle scenes. DDP the movie will get back to our 13th Warrior, Willow, Conan the Barbarian roots, with a little LOTR epic-ness heaped on top. Yeah, I know. Hollywood will laugh in my face. That’s ok. Doesn’t matter.

In order to make this thing happen, I’ll need actors. Good ones. Gritty ones. Believable for  a story about a world-ending medieval war ones.

And so…here’s my dream cast.

AndeEmmy

Emmy Rossum – I’m not the type to ever have celebrity crushes, but if I were… Emmy is beautiful, talented, and in every way perfect to play the role of Andelusia Anderae. Hers would be a tough role. She’d have to pull off the lone feminine hero in a war stuffed chock full of horrific male villains. I’d like to think she could handle it.

*

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GarrettHenry

Henry Cavill – In the role of Garrett Croft, I’m not looking for the shredded Man of Steel guy (though I’m sure the ladies are). I’m talking about the subtle, reserved guy from The Tudors. He’s tall, his acting chops are solid, and he’s dangerous-looking enough to pull off the role of deadliest swordsman in the world.

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RellenChrisPrattChris Pratt – If I were younger, handsomer, and infinitely more talented, I’d cast myself as the sarcastic, brooding, hopelessly head-over-heels for Andelusia Rellen Gryphon. But since I’m not, you get Chris Pratt. Honestly, this was the hardest role to fill.

 

ChakranDavies

John Rhys Davies – If I could go back in time and make this movie in the late 80’s, I’d pick Pat Roach (Willow’s General Kael, Temple of Doom’s huge Thugee.) But John Rhys is more than capable of growing a wild beard and playing the psychotic Emperor Chakran. No echoes of Gimli here. Just a Furyon with a sword capable of butchering millions.

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LeePaceArchmyr

Lee Pace – He played the wicked Thranduil in The Hobbit series, and even more recently, the diabolical Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy. In Down the Dark Path, he’ll be asked to step up the evil even more. Playing Archmyr Degiliac (aka: the Pale Knight) will call for a quiet, sublimely calculating performance. Plus we’ll need a black wig and plenty of training with dual swords.

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BrucedConan

Conan Stevens – You know him best as The Mountain from Game of Thrones and Azog from The Hobbit. But in the role of Bruced (Broo-sed) Conan’ll be asked to play a cheery good guy with a penchant for beating evil’s ass. He’s seven feet tall. I’m sure he can handle it.

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SaulDaniel

Daniel Southern – From The 13th Warrior, only one dude possesses the beardness and grumpy badassness required to play Saul of Elrain. Yep. This guy.

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DacinJason

Jason Momoa – Much to every woman’s dismay, we’re going to ask Jason to keep his shirt on and grow a crazy/ugly beard. It’s the only way to play the role of Dacin of Dageni. But when you see him dressed in black Furyon armor carving his way through dozens of Graehelm knights, you’ll love him even more. I promise.

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A few secondary roles:

Christopher Lee – As the voice of the warlock/ghost Revenen (who’ll need to be mostly CGI)

Joanne Whalley – She’s aged nicely, and will serve as an authentic and wise Sara Gryphon (Rellen’s mom)

 James McEvoy – Maybe…if we can get him to tone down the Scottish accent, we’ve got our diminutive warlock, Dank.

 Sure, there’re plenty more roles to fill. I’ll need the vicious traitor, Nentham Thure, the wise, conflicted Furyon, Arjobec of Dageni, and the blustering, plaintive Gryphon captain, Marlos Obas. But that’ll all come later. Hell, by the time New Line Studios finally approves my pitch, a whole new crop of actors will be up to bat. My only hope is to get this done while Emmy is still in the biz…

Until next week,

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Author of The Sleepers and Old Man of Tessera

Down the Dark Path

Nether Kingdom – Prologue

What follows is a free excerpt from Nether Kingdom – Book III in the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy.

The first two books are available here and here and here.

Nether Kingdom is by far my darkest work yet. In writing it, I plummeted into my mind’s lowest caverns, wandering paths I never knew existed.

The full version of Nether Kingdom will arrive in time for Christmas 2014, just in time to darken the holiday season.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

 *** 

Servants of the Sleeper 

A

An hour before dusk, they came to Mooreye.

    As the sunlight drew back from the crumbling towers and broken streets, the two stalked the grounds as though they were the city’s new masters, free to despoil the kingdom of the dead. They moved like smoke, soundless as spirits, drifting through alleys and hollowed homes. The shadows of a thousand burned-out buildings lay heavy on their backs, and save for the plaintive caws of the quarreling crows, all was quiet in their wake. Mooreye lay dead, a tomb for the fallen, a stark reminder of what the Furyons had done.

    Just before nightfall, the pair began their work. Their stage was Mooreye’s grand courtyard, in whose center a pale tower speared from the weeds, and whose sides were fenced with iron spikes taller than any man. The first of the graverobbers, a bulbous beast of a man named Unctulu, licked his lips and wormed into the loam, his fingers like hungry larvae searching for their next meal. Nearby, Thresher drove his rusted spade into the dirt, sloughing aside huge gobs of soil. Their work was rapid and inelegant, for none were near to question it. No one had been to Mooreye since the Furyons destroyed it, and none were likely to come after the robbers’ work was finished.

    No man, no matter his origin, could claim such hideousness as Unctulu. As he knelt in the twisted grass and speared his maggoty fingers into the earth, his sparsely-toothed grin split his face like a festering scar across a pale, misshapen melon. Worse was his cadaverous skin, quivering over his bones, flapping beneath his half-rotted raiment of leather and rags. His only possessions were his bag, stuffed with all manner of moldering food, and his belt lined with some twenty cork-sealed vials, clinking constantly as he dug. Unctulu was heedless of the sweat rolling from his hairless, malformed head, and unaware of the gurgling, toad-like sounds oozing from his throat. Had anyone asked him, he would have told them he relished his disgustingness, that it was ‘not ‘Tulu’s job to be pretty.’

    Compared to his companion, Thresher seemed a titan, moving ten times more dirt than Unctulu. He said nothing as he tore great shovelfuls of soil away, and he never tired. Thresher’s face lay hidden behind an eyeless, featureless iron mask, and his body beneath rusted, lobstered mail. How it was Thresher saw the world, and how he exhumed so swiftly, none would dare ask.

    “Ah, Thresh, this is too easy, yes?” Unctulu gurgled. “A month more and we’ll be back home, feasting like kings. Well, you might not feast, but I will.”

    If Thresher heard, he gave no sign. Wordless, he continued to dig. His armor groaned and shuddered, but he moved as though completely unencumbered, gouging out great chunks of black earth with each stroke.

    “Slow, slow.” Unctulu patted a mound of soil. “I can smell it, can’t you? The grave’ll be as shallow as the Sleeper said. Easy work, after so long to get here.”

    Five shovelfuls more and Thresher hoisted his spade over his shoulder, laying it to rest beside the steel greatsword on his back.

    “Good, good.” Unctulu lapped up a strand of escaping saliva. “Yes, yes, this is the spot. Pale bones, we’ve found. Right where Master said.”

    The evening sky dimmed to a deep, somber gray. Burbling, Unctulu rummaged through his bag and produced a spherical lamp. “Yes, Thresh. Much better.” He stoked the lamp until it glowed like a tiny moon. “My eyes…not like yours. Need a little light for digging.”

    In the lamp’s pallid light, Unctulu clawed a last few fistfuls of dirt away from the hole Thresher had dug. “Look, look.” He shivered with satisfaction.

    “This is the one.”

    Half-covered in rotted clothes and decomposed beyond recognition, the corpse beneath Unctulu’s fingers was laid out in awkward fashion. “Buried right where he died.” Unctulu’s smile broadened. He dug the dirt out from between each rib, each spinal disc, each brittle bone from collar to knee. Smacking his lips, he removed a vial from his belt and poured its contents along the length of a protruding hip. The foul liquid fumed and sizzled, melting the rest of the dirt away. “Now, now,” he cackled. “Looksey, looksey, Thresh. What have we here?”

    Greedily, he ran his fingers along a leather belt looped around the corpse’s hip. Two empty scabbards were affixed to the belt, one to each side. Unctulu tugged the belt and scabbards loose, afterward dousing each with a second phial of black liquor.

    “See, see…” He slid one finger across the faint symbols etched on the scabbards’ steel caps. “The Raven. The crossed swords.

    “The marks of the Pale Knight.”

    The scabbard and belt were no ordinary items. The courtyard was no ordinary plot of land. The dry, dead grass and all the streets of Mooreye had been the site of a great and bloody battle. “Every grave, every cairn.” Unctulu grinned hideously, “Grae or Fury, dead and gone. But not this one. Of all the corpses here, this one’s different. Thillrian, he is. The worst of them, right where he should be.”

    Unctulu rose. Beside Thresher, hulking and silent, the bloated man stood a full head and half shorter. “Now is the time, Thresh.” He looked up. “Give me the item.”

    Thresher reached for the plate covering his left shin, finding a narrow seam betwixt the joining of two greaves. With fingers locked in a coal-colored gauntlet, he withdrew the object hidden therein. The night trembled, the breeze stopped blowing, and the last of the day’s light faded away.

    The object was to blame.

    It was a gnarled, needlelike tine, thick as a man’s thumb at its widest and sharper than any dagger at its point. Long as a thighbone, it looked fashioned of polished obsidian, but in truth its make was unknowable. When Thresher held it high, it made the shadows move, stirring the darkness like stew inside a cauldron.

    Unctulu looked longingly at the tine, his throat welling like a toad’s. “It’s time, Thresh. Remember what we’re here to do. Now and only now, you’re to let me have it. If I don’t give it back, you’re to butcher me, but otherwise I’m to use it.

    “Just. This. Once.”

    Thresher released the tine. Unctulu grasped it from its thicker, duller end and waved it from side to side as if to carve a lesion in the night. When Thresher reached for his sword, Unctulu grimaced. “Oh, all right. Well and well. Good and good. I’ll play nice.”

    Thresher left his sword in its scabbard. Sniffing the air and swiping the saliva from his chin, Unctulu hunched over the exhumed cadaver. “If you’d eyes, Thresh, I’d tell you to close them. This’ll not be pretty.”

    Unceremoniously, he stabbed the tine into the soil, wounding the dirt next to the corpse’s ribs. The tine punctured soil and loose stone as though they were water, sinking down to half its length. Gurgling, Unctulu left it in place, sharp end pointed to the heart of the earth, the other aimed straight at the star-pricked sky.

    “A long way we marched,” he drooled. “And all for one man. How many nights have we blackened the road, Thresh? How many times did the Grae almost catch us? I’d sooner raise up the whole city than this one cruel carcass. But it’s as the Master wishes, and so we’ll do as we’re told.

    “We’ll bring him back.”

    The tine lay half-buried in the loam. Mist arose from the punctured earth, the grey vapors swallowing the open grave and slinking across the bones like a tongue. Unctulu’s lantern light played across the mist. It gleamed white at first, then blue, then lavender. Unctulu held his breath as the vapors thickened, the mist winding in ever tighter circles around each bone, adhering to the marrow like mortar.

    “Look, Thresh. It’s working.”

    A tremor rattled the courtyard. The grasses near the grave withered and turned to ash. Where once the cadaver’s brittle bones had lain bare to the night, fresh tendons reknit themselves, and muscles, raw and red, took shape. Layer upon layer, pale flesh stitched itself atop a template of veins and sinew. Organs pumped to life, and a new heart spasmed, thumping a black rhythm in a body eight years dead.

    Faster than Unctulu could swallow ten breaths, the body became whole. The deep shadows lessened, and the night’s natural sounds resumed. Unbroken, the tine expelled itself from the dirt and rolled to a stop at Unctulu’s feet.

    “Disgusting, wasn’t it? It’s different watching it happen to someone else.” Unctulu snatched up the tine. “Ah…well…I suppose you’ll want this back.”

    Thresher snared the black tine and slid it back into his greaves.

    The body stirred.

    The man in the grave seized a sharp breath and exhaled.

    “Look at him.” Unctulu gave a three-toothed grin. “Not jealous, are you Thresh? Seems eight years in the dirt leaves a man in better shape than eight hundred. Worry not. You’re still prettier.”

    Thresher tilted his head. Behind his iron mask, thoughts unknowable roiled.

    “You want to know?” Unctulu asked.

    Thresher remained still.

    “Of course you do,” said Unctulu. “This’ll be the last of the ones Master raises, leastways for now. No one wanted him during his first life, and no one but Master wants him now. Look at him, whiter than his bones, waking up from his nightmare. Well…if his dreams were rotten, he deserved it. More than any other, I’d say. More even than me.”

    Thresher tilted his head again.

    “That’s right, Thresh. Don’t you know who this is? This be Archmyr Degiliac, mass murderer, ruin of the Furies, butcher and raper and slaver. The Pale Knight, they called him.

    “And they’ll call him worse yet.”

***

Copyright 2014 – J Edward Neill – All rights reserved

 

Caption Contest (Part 3 of 10,000)

Oops! A week without skulls! What has the world come to?!

This week, let’s dip back into freebie-ville. It’s simple. You blow up the comments section with a funny caption of my favorite animal in the entire world (her name’s Sticky Buns). Whoever makes me laugh the most wins a free, signed, softcover copy of Dark Moon Daughter, which releases in about two weeks. It’s pretty easy to make me laugh. So if more than one of you bust my gut, I’ll consider multiple free copies.

 

IM000021

Sah-wing and a miss!

So let’s review. You make fun of this: IM000021 and if you win, you get this:  Dark Moon Daughter Final Front Cover Large (600x900) (600x900)

Contest ends on Midnight -Friday, April 4th.

Boom.

Love,

J Edward Neill