Hi, I’m E.C. Jarvis, author of The Blood and Destiny Series and I’m your host for this stop in the Hunt.
If you would like to find out more about the Hunt, please click here - http://vfcscavengerhunt.weebly.com/
Somewhere on this page is a hidden number. Collect all the numbers from all the authors’ posts, and then add them up. Once you’ve added all the numbers, and if I am your last author, please head to the official website and click on the ENTER HERE page to find the entry form. Only entries will the correct number will qualify to win.
The author I’m pleased to be hosting for Virtual FantasyCon’s Blog Hop Hunt today is author, Lesley Donaldson.
Lesley writes books and saves lives. A vampiric unicorn that farts rainbows inhabits her soul. Between twelve hour emergency nursing shifts and twenty four hour parenting shifts, she redefined herself as an author and published’ Growing A Rainbow: The Premature Journey of a Two Pound Hero in two thousand and fourteen, supporting the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation. Not satisfied with being a ‘one-off’, Lesley debuted, the following year, her first fiction - The Queen’s Viper. In this dark fantasy, the villainous anti-hero Viper battles humans, immortals, and an elusive inner darkness in a captivating story that spans both Elizabethan and modern timelines. The Queen’s Viper is a semi-finalist in the two thousand and sixteen Kindle Book Awards, and the book received multiple five star reviews.
This ‘born again’ writer holds degrees in Human Biology and Nursing Science from the University of Toronto. She proudly parents a child with enhanced needs, and is an often, companionable wife. She loves traveling with her family and is a bobby medievalist. She also co-authored, From Blog-to-Book (with Doris Chung), published by Publisher-PS, described as a ‘must-have’ book from Dan Morris of Blogging Connected Prime.
In two thousand and fifteen, Lesley was a panelist at Ad Astra, Toronto’s premier fan convention for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature. You can find her on panels at CanConSF in this September, as well as in the online conference Virtual FantasyCon in October. She has also been an Hour of Power speaker at Blissdom Canada in two thousand and fourteen, a contributor to Preemie Babies, one hundred and one, Urban Mommy online magazine, and other online blogs. She blogs about prematurity and special needs parenting on http://realwomendrivestick.com/and about her author’s journey on http://writerlesleydonaldson.com/
June third, two thousand and twelve: dawn.
The unforeseen sinkhole gave birth to four hundred years of hatred. London exchanged its concrete crust for an ancient soul, the prisoner trapped within the oblivion. The hole started as an innocuous golf ball sized pit. A hotel employee in kitchen whites smeared with grease tossed his cigarette butt towards it without notice. Within minutes of his departure, the indentation expanded into a bottomless crater the width of a man’s arm span.
Chunks of asphalt tumbled into the void as bony hands clambered to the surface. Stale earth choked the immortal’s first breath of freedom. Her hacking cough transformed into a bitter cackle. She shielded squinting eyes from the morning sunlight, weak behind heavy clouds, then gasped. Her skin, once captivating with its luminescent hues of purple, bleached to bone-white.
When she adjusted to the light, her new environment replaced the harsh memory of the faces she last saw before powerful magic incarcerated her. The cream-coloured building in front of her, with its rows of windows, wasn’t the same wooden Banqueting Hall of her entrapment. She scanned beyond the small lot and its strange metallic carriages to the houses bound together in rows.
Her instincts told her that this was Camberwell, where her journey to betrayal had started.
Her heart told her how to seek revenge.
The immortal stumbled upon her first step in this unfamiliar world. Her tattered Elizabethan clothes fell away in ragged strips. Sunlight cleaved deep valleys in her emaciated body. Behind her, a solid bottom appeared in the hole, as if protecting itself from her return to its depths.
Her supernatural senses rushed the future that had been denied her into her head. She dropped to her knees, stunned by the barrage of modern sounds: cars on the main road, thick electrical cables humming overhead, the roar of a giant bird with fixed wings in the sky. She didn’t know how long it took her to adapt to the din. One sound in particular caught her attention. At a third floor window, a boy of about seven years of age pressed his hands on the glass. His shallow breaths hammered against her ears.
“Mummy,” the boy didn’t turn away from the immortal as he spoke, “there’s a white lady in the parking lot.” Although the glass muffled what he said, the immortal understood him. She created a psychic connection to the openness of his youthful mind. Through his memory, the immortal perceived Mum sitting on a bed, and Dad in a small room behind a door. Mum stabbed a slender black box at something the boy’s mind called the TV.
“This is London,” his mother said. “It’s full of 71 white people. Come away.”
The fog of the boy’s breathing obscured his view of the immortal. He adjusted his head and squinted through the clearing made by his nose. The immortal wasn’t yet capable of making herself invisible. Through him, she saw herself glaring with hateful, black eyes.
“Uh-uh.” He shook his head, studying her harder. “She doesn’t have a car and there’s something wrong with her eyes.”
He looked at Mum for an answer, but she didn’t reply. Mum found the station that she wanted and settled on the foot of the bed. Flags of white, blue and red decorated her outfit. The immortal recognized the crosses symbolic of St. George and St. Andrew, the patron saints of England and Scotland, combined into one flag the boy knew as the Union Jack.
The boy wiped the window clean with his sleeve for a better view of the immortal. Seeing both his vision and hers in her mind demanded all of her concentration. Long wisps of fragile, grey hair clung to her skull. Unsure of herself, the immortal froze.
“She doesn’t have any clothes.”
“Not now, Willie.” Mum focused on the news announcer detailing the manufacture of the queen’s Jubilee barge. The report cut to a live shot of the royal boat moored on River Thames under less than enthusiastic skies.
“Oh, honey,” said Mum, tilting her head towards the bathroom door as she spoke to Dad, “come see the boat. It’s so beautiful!”
“Of course it’s beautiful,” he replied in a gruff voice, “it’s the ruddy queen’s. D’you expect her to be floating in a dinghy manning her own pole?”
“Hurry up, would you?” Mum tapped her red shoe on the stained carpet. The words Keep Calm and Carry On glittered across the toes. “I want to get a good spot. I wish you’d let us come yesterday. There’s been people camped out since before midnight.” Thousands of people would ignore the bleak day and line the river’s banks for a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond anniversary during her Jubilee Flotilla.
“The sun’s just up. We’ll have plenty of time to catch the train. The whole city hasn’t jumped into the river. Let a man curl one off in peace.”
The boy faced into the room, oblivious to his parents’ discord and to the presence of the immortal in his mind. “Mum, you should see what she’s doing.”
His mother’s chest heaved with exasperation. “Is she breaking into a car?”
“Is she pointing a gun at you?”
“Then I don’t care. We’re here to participate in a monumental day for England, not spy on visually impaired people who live near a hotel.”
Her disregard interrupted his fixation on the too-tall, scary-looking woman in the parking lot. The boy turned from the window and said, “But Mum-”
“No ‘buts.’ Come away right now or I’ll ground you for the rest of the weekend.”
“Oh, man!” He pumped his arms in frustration. Mum had already returned to the pageant coverage. When the boy risked one last peek at the parking lot, he was nose to nose with the face of death.
Death was hollow-cheeked and hungry. Malachite green swirls permeated the blackness of her eyes. The immortal clung to the building on the other side of the glass. Stucco crumbled beneath her elongated nails. The boy yelped and backed away, falling over a hastily unpacked suitcase. His chaotic, fear-filled thoughts broke the immortal’s link to him. She no longer cared.
“William Harry Kingsley, really!” his mother scolded over her shoulder. “Stop fooling around!”
“But Mum, she’s there! There, at the window,” he said, pointing, “and she’s naked, and she has black and green eyes, and she’s not really a lady, and I think she’s very, very bad.”
Mum slapped her hand on the bed. “We’re on the third floor. There couldn’t possibly be a woman with a black eye outside the window!” A large flag slipped from her lap when she rose and stomped towards him.
“Not a black eye, Mum. Two eyes. Black and green. She didn’t even have any white part.” The boy stayed on the floor, knees tight to his chest, eyes wide. He averted the nightmare at the window.
The immortal burst into the room at his mother. Shards of glass slashed at their bodies. The boy dashed to the bathroom. He pounded on the door for his father. The immortal paid no heed to the boy and began feeding from his mother.
Desperation made the immortal devour Mum’s life-magic with such speed that, for a moment, it blinded her. When her vision cleared, Dad had emerged, struggling with his trousers. The immortal summoned enough strength to charge into him. He bashed his head into the wall mirror as she bowled him over. The boy ran into the hall, shrieking for help.
When the immortal knelt over the father’s semi-conscious torso, she saw two words on the TV screen in the fragmented mirror.
Multiple black and white images of Queen Elizabeth II in her Coronation robes loomed over the immortal. Stunned, the immortal stared at the screen. How was it possible that the queen she had left behind bore offspring, offspring so long-lived? The immortal felt like she had been slapped across the face.
Her vengeance found its target.
She heard the stirring of groggy, bewildered people in the hallway. In moments, their curiosity would bring them into the boy’s room and she would be discovered. The immortal escaped through the window and up the exterior of the building to the safety of the roof.
She noticed seven vertical, red beacons reaching high into the sky. Not seen by humans, they marked the prison in the River Thames created for the hateful creature who had captured her.
The immortal wrung her bony hands together with eager anticipation. “You named me Viper,” she said to a long-dead Queen Elizabeth, “so shall the descendants of your loins know my venom.” If Viper’s immortal enemy had been captured at those red beacons, then Viper could kill her and bring an end to the Tudor bloodline on the same day. “Dual success. A fortuitous start to my new life.”
The immortal traversed the rooftops, eastwards to the Thames and central London, the Union Flag of Britain wrapped around her rejuvenating body
Book sales (non-affiliate links)
Amazon – The Queen’s Viper:
USA - http://amzn.to/2agiUir
Canada - http://amzn.to/2axFlSM
Twitter - https://twitter.com/bornagainwriter
Pinterest - https://au.pinterest.com/lesleythewriter/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/purpleizmine/
Lesley Donaldson’s Newsletter Subscription – http://forms.aweber.com/form/91/822343491.htm
Did you find the number? If you did, then click Lesley Donaldson’s link – writerlesleydonaldson.com to continue Virtual FantasyCon’s Blog Hop Hunt.