Hi Everyone! Today, I'm giving the blog over to author K. Caffee as part of the October Blog Hop. K. is the author of the Follow the Torments series that you may recall, I reviewed in Write On! #6. Today, you have a chance to learn a little more about her and her books by reading on...
Born in Houston, K. Caffee has a long history of spinning captivating tales for a wide range of interested people. One of her earliest memories is being lost in a huddle of adults as a kindergartener on her way to a church choir camp. Whatever she tale she had been telling was captivating enough the entire group missed a rest stop, and the bus driver proved to be very patient when the 20 or so adults all requested an emergency stop about an hour after the scheduled one.
After several years of running various role play campaigns, K. Caffee thought her story telling days were done. She entered the work force, then school, but the stories were not done with her. The Followers of Torments saga ambushed her in 2014 with the ultimatum “write.. or don’t sleep.” As you can tell, despite a valiant effort to focus solely on school, K. Caffee lost the fight. And, now, despite still carrying an overloaded graduate schedule, she continues to write and more of the pukah who gave her the ultimatum in the first place are lining up at the mental doors demanding to be let in.
What free time she can pry out of the hands of her story and her school work she devotes to her two furry, feline owners, human family, and discovering new friends on Facebook, Twitter, or keeping up with documenting the various non-story thoughts she gets on her blog.
When you encounter a pukah, you can usually expect to have joy, laughter, jokes, and a faerie helper enter your life to add a touch of mischief that raises your spirits. However, not all are like that.
The Followers of Torments saga is the tale of one such pukah who has become everything his fellow faerie kin are not – a cold-blooded killer, a vicious fighting machine, and a slaver. The nameless child was born an orphan and reared in the slave pits of the Melkreschen Realm. It is from these dark beginnings that the tale grows and develops into a tale of personal discovery and possible personal redemption.
Along the way, the nameless one discovers that not everyone is as harsh or unforgiving as his masters, and that the goddess he pledges himself to is not the only deity who is watching over him. He also discovers who and what he is, and must ultimately make a choice that will radically alter his life, and the lives of those who are closest to him at the time. Will he choose to return to his comfortable ways, or will he choose to continue to learn?
Excerpt from Out of the Darkness, from the chapter “First Days of Freedom”:
Though he knew the routine of the Arena, he did not know what went on outside those confined walls. His sense of what was right demanded that he begin his exercise, but he was uncomfortable enough in these new environs that he resisted his impulse. Instead, he continued hiding in the shadowed nook watching the bewildering activity around him - the ebb and flow in the crowds through the area. While he watched, time passed which caused his stomach to wake and begin clamoring for its allotment of food. His throat answered with convulsive swallows as it began to become sticky with thirst. He ignored this with the sure knowledge that food and drink would be provided eventually. He did not understand that as a free man he was now required to provide these for himself.
As he continued to watch around him in complete bewilderment at the unregulated, unguarded movement of the crowds, a slight headache began to develop from the ever-present light from the ever-glowing buildings around him. The continual low hum of the crowds as people talked amongst themselves punctuated by an occasional screech from the nearby children at play added to the sensual overload and overall discomfort.
His dark-adapted eyes began to water once again from the (to him) punishing light. As he squinted to relieve the tear-refracted glitters of light, he felt a very small sense of relief as the overall intensity of the light dimmed. But there was nothing he could do about the constant noise. He tried putting his hands over his ears instinctively at first, but that only served to intensify the sound rather than mute it. He responded by uncovering his ears and hoping the noise would go away.
After several glass of lurking, his presence finally attracted the type of attention he had initially been afraid of receiving. A guard finally approached him with the air of supreme authority demanding, “What are you doing here? If you do not have business with the house, then move along!”
Nameless looked at the guard puzzled. Angrily the guard reached for his arm, “I said move along!”
When the guard’s hand touched his arm, the man finally moved. He exploded out of the nook, catching the unsuspecting guard’s hand and wrenching it around, dropping the guard to the street, and glowered down at him. Unthinkingly, his other hand struck, crushing the guard’s trachea, and causing enough blood to flow that people around him fled the scene screaming.
Some disappeared into the buildings, others continued up the street until they were out of sight. He did not understand what was going on, but his old understanding was that to live he could not allow anyone to touch him. Even when he had been moved between his cell and the Arena, or between his cage and the Sands, no one had ever tried to touch him. This stranger had tried to grab him. To his Arena trained mind, this meant he had been attacked. He responded as his training demanded. Eliminate all threats, win and live.
Out of the Darkness can be found at the following retailers:
Excerpt from Remember the Shadows, from the chapter “Not Leaving”:
“Help may I?” He asked.
The other jerked around, his heavier tread revealing him someone who had never been in the Sands, “Nameless?”
Nameless nodded, wary of the other man. The muted dark colors and heavy decoration of his uninvited guest’s clothes and his possessive demeanor set off alarm bells. Nameless steeled himself, forcing his eyes to meet the other’s squarely. He also managed to keep his legs from dropping him to the floor automatically in response to being in the presence of a self-assured master.
“You do not need to know who I am. Those I represent, however, sent me to negotiate for your removal from the Melkreschen Realm in a peaceful manner. Lobach has paid his price for letting you go, as has Demak. You can either go peacefully, or painfully, but you will be leaving this realm.”
Nameless let a small smile play across his face, the same one he used when he faced someone in the Sands who showed enough talent to make his matches enjoyable. “No.”
“The fact you are leaving is not under debate. How you leave is what I am to negotiate.” The stranger’s voice grated out.
“No is not an option. Do you want me to spell out what would happen if you were to stay?” The stranger insisted, the monotone of his voice cracking a little, his eyes boring into Nameless, as if to break down his resistance.
“No.” Nameless replied once again, cross his arms, the smile growing and beginning to light his eyes with excited expectation.
“Then you will leave?” the other asked, the monotone veneer vanishing in surprise.
“Do you know any other word besides. ‘no’?” growled the stranger.
“You speak what all want. I leave here not. Leave will when Silk to Quae Sija Arena moves only. Try might, try fail will. Know words enough, well enough you to tell ‘leave not am’.”
The other man, rocked to his heels by Nameless’ almost eloquent reply, frantically reordered his thoughts. He had been informed that Nameless was a typical Champion with barely enough vocabulary to understand the demand for him to leave the realm. The fact that he intended to bring his Silk – the other escaped convict – back to the Arena where he should never have left was surprising.
“So, you will not leave, you will not listen, and you have every intention of bringing your Silk back to the Quae Sija Arena for proper sentencing?” he asked cautiously. He settled himself onto his heels, his arms crossing then dropping back to his sides, his eyes never leaving Nameless’ face.
“Know of sentence nothing. Silk Debuts tonight. If survives, he trains for Trials. Graduate to Runner I have, Trials first Silk will be. Honor She who saw my Trials if return Her Arena do. Leave not here, train here will.”
Remember the Shadows can be found at the following retailers:
Into the Sunlits excerpt from the chapter “Waiting”
Raonal mocked a pout. “So your mark is unique to you, and you like showing it off. If she discovers you are missing, wouldn’t having that mark just leave a direct path to where you are?”
“She always here.” He touched his chest over his heart, then tapped his temple. “and here. I nothing, She all things.”
“Master, I think the Maker, the Sun, and the Stars would have something to say about that. The sun gives light for all things to thrive and grow. The maker created everything that lives by the sun’s light, and the stars take back what passes, so that it may be given back to the maker for His use again.”
Nameless felt a stirring deep in his heart; something responded to the litany that had never responded to Her presence. He blocked the sensation from his mind, and focused his thoughts on the Web Mother. “She everything is to me. By Her will live I. By Her whim thrive I. I honor always Her, and Her bidding do I.”
Raonal gave him a sharp glance. “That is no way to live. No one lives by another’s whim. They live by their own.
“Why does capturing and enslaving others honor her? It is an evil, vile act. Even when the packs war and our enemies are captured, it is not a permanent enslavement. Oh, it can feel permanent, and you can make it such, but it does not start that way. From what you have told me, the only way out of your clutches is to die. That is wrong, so very, very wrong.
“You can always put down that life, and give into the circumstances that surround you. When you give into the drudgery of life, you stop living. Oh, the body may go on for a while, but you have died. Grasp the exciting, the strange, the unique! You are yourself, not some extension of another. Be yourself. Breath the air around you because you want to, not because someone else tells you that you have to go on. No one should ever be forced to live. If life has lost its joy, and they refuse to look for it, then they deserve the right to go back to the maker for a chance at something better.”
Nameless did not think, did not acknowledge how much the words Raonal said struck deep within him. He lashed out, and struck the pukah across the face. Snarling out. “Know this, Silk. You live my whim. You learn teach I. ‘Put away life’ accepted not. I only right kill. You decision die allowed not.”
Raonal glared at Nameless. “Try me, pukah. You tell me to call you master, but who am I really calling that? You? Or whatever thing you…”
Nameless did not even bother letting Raonal finish his thought; he snapped off a vicious snap kick, breaking Raonal’s knee. Raonal fell to the floor, howling in surprised pain. Nameless followed the kick with a stomp to the shoulder, grinding down into the grating feel of snapping bone trapped between his heel and the hard wood floor. Raonal’s howls redoubled in volume, and he tried to curl the rest of his body into a ball. Nameless refused to allow him any respite while he systematically broke every major joint in his body. The only part of the pulped body he did not attack were the spine, ribs and skull.
Raonal lapsed into unconsciousness when Nameless broke his other knee, his howls dying off suddenly. Nameless backed away from his work, but decided to finish administering his punishment. He knew when Raonal woke there would be many questions asked. He intended this punishment to drive home to Raonal that no one ever insulted the Web Mother when he was nearby.
Into the Sunlits can be found at the following retailers:
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