“The Jinxed Pirate” Excerpt: Lily Blackthorn

Getting closer to the release of The Jinxed Pirate.
In the meantime, here’s another preview checking in on Lily as she prepares to leave Graylands and finds her first obstacle….


The city of Beacon was something of a border between the more populated and developed Northern Regions and the rest of Graylands. It served as the last stop for pilgrims heading into the frontier and the first glimpse of true civilization for travelers coming north. It was a vast collection of stone buildings and towers that stretched high into the air. It had been built in a hilly area, and parts of the city raised up and down, looming or sinking depending on where you were.

Like the other cities in the Northern Regions, Beacon was connected to the only working railroad. Although becoming more common for the rest of the world, travel by train in Graylands was limited to the far north between the more dense cities. Some talked of extending the railroads into the frontier, but no progress had been made.

The Beacon train station was calm this morning. The air was cool, but comfortable, and the sky was pink with a golden glow on the horizon. Most of the passengers kept to themselves as they waited for the train to arrive. It was scheduled to head northeast, stopping briefly in Lacon before continuing on to Gerritsen, which was the end of the line.

A woman walked up and down the station’s platform. She appeared to be in her early twenties, and her ash-gray hair went to her shoulders. Her pale skin was striking, as was her eager smile and sparkling crimson eyes. Her beaming presence had an effect on the people around her. Everyone she passed seemed to cheer up a bit. Children waved at her. Men and women smiled and nodded as she walked by.

Lily Blackthorn knew there was a reason for that beyond simple good cheer, but she didn’t care. She was too excited to stay still. She was happy and didn’t mind if she made other people around her happy. Today was the beginning of her new life.
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“The Jinxed Pirate” Excerpt: Katrina Lamont

Another quick excerpt from the next volume of Graylands.
This time, we catch up on Katrina facing an awkward reunion with an old ally….


The smell of blood and fire was overwhelming. She could hear screams echoing all around her.

Rasul Kader had exploited her past and manipulated her with the intention of selling her to Jacob Daredin. The mad sorcerer sought to sacrifice her, believing her death would make him a god. Unfortunately for Kader and Daredin, their manipulations unleashed a fury she’d kept hidden since her people died. She left destruction in her wake, gladly slaughtering Daredin’s followers before taking her time on Kader himself. In her anger, she allowed a dragon to be reborn.

She was standing in a narrow corridor filled with smoke, and at the far end, a figure emerged. He stood like an implacable juggernaut, unfazed by the carnage and chaos around him. His thick body was riddled with scars and burns, and his skin was a rotting shade of gray. Sickly strands of light hair hung from his balding scalp. His ragged black clothes were stained and filthy. In one gloved hand, he held a length of jagged metal, dripping with blood and meat.

She took a step forward, and so did he. She raised her sword—the black-bladed sabre, also dripping with blood—and he raised his own blade as well. She lowered the sabre, and he lowered his weapon. She took another step, and he did, too.

The Enforcer stared at her, his face hidden beneath his black mask. The eyes revealed nothing but empty darkness. She felt his gaze, and though it chilled her to her core, she couldn’t look away. There was something there—something she couldn’t place. A familiarity. A kinship.

She wanted to ask, Who are you? But the only word that came out was, “Why?”

The Enforcer tilted his head in seeming curiosity. He then removed his mask, and suddenly Katrina Lamont was staring at herself. Continue reading

“The Jinxed Pirate” Excerpt: Krutch Leeroy

We’re coming up on the home stretch for the next volume of the Graylands saga: The Jinxed Pirate. So here’s a small preview where we catch up with alleged pirate Krutch Leeroy as he finds himself in a tight spot with the authorities….


“If it’s any consolation, this isn’t how I wanted the day to go either.”

Krutch could see the barmaid didn’t believe him, as her eyes shifted to confusion before returning to fear. He sighed and tried again to find some kind of comfortable position.

The tavern’s crawlspace was the three foot gap between the floor and the dirt foundation underneath. The ground was harsh and stony, and the floorboards above were filthy and congealed with something sticky. The air was sweltering—it felt like the worst of summer already—but the stink was the worst. It was the inevitable stench one would expect in the dirt beneath a tavern packed nightly with drunks and worse.

He tried not to imagine what awfulness had festered over the years in the dismal space he was cramped in—spilled drinks, dropped food, vomit, piss, blood—and focus on more cheerful thoughts like the growing cramp in his back, sweat dripping beneath his clothes, or the Sentry Elite he was hiding from.

The floorboards creaked, and dirt from the soldier’s boots spilled through the cracks. There were only two—in the tavern, at least. There was no telling how many more were waiting outside. One called himself Wayland Dillon. The other didn’t speak, but Dillon introduced her as Ellen Wells. The names rang a bell, but Krutch could barely hear them.

Not that it mattered. He knew the questions being asked. It had been the same song and dance in dozens of other places: We’re looking for Krutch Leeroy. Have you seen him? If so, where? How long ago? Where’s he heading? What’s he up to?

Across from him, Arkady looked calm, even though his skin was shiny with sweat. For a moment, he pondered if he might be able to see his reflection in Arkady’s bald head. The young pirate’s lanky body fit into the crawlspace well enough, but his toned muscles were tensed. He was ready for anything if things turned ugly. Continue reading

Graylands Appendix: The Black

Found the time for another appendix.
This time we’re going to look at the forces of evil within Graylands….

The Black is the primordial darkness that exists between worlds. It is also, in simplest terms, evil as an objective force and even tangible reality.

In the beginning, before time began, there was nothing but the Black and the abominations that existed within—formless, mindless creatures constantly lashing out and consuming themselves. If any emotion was possible, it was only hate.

Then came the Light—antithesis of the Black in every way. Where the Black consumed, the Light preserved. If the Black hated, the Light loved.

When two polar opposite forces collide, chaos results, and it was in this chaos the Realm was forged. As physical reality came into being, the Black was pushed into the boundaries separating one dimension from the other. And it was in this empty void, the Black came to gain will and its hate grew. Continue reading

Readers’ Favorite Review of “The Ghost Princess”

Another nice review for The Ghost Princess, this time from Readers’ Favorite….

“The Ghost Princess by M. Walsh is an interesting novel that takes place in an entirely different reality. Katrina Lamont was once considered a chosen one, but is now a resident of the Graylands (a neutral area where people who don’t wish to be found reside). She might have once been a great heroine, but it left her an alcoholic drifter who is forced to hide from the demons of her past. Jacob Daredin is an evil sorcerer who might just make Katrina Lamont draw her sword once more to prevent him from fulfilling an ancient prophecy, one that would give him the power of a god.

“Make room for a new chosen one, Katrina Lamont. Katrina is not your typical heroine who is chosen for a great destiny; instead she is a drunk trying to hide from her past in the Graylands. Yet when evil comes, she steps up to the plate to face off against Jacob Daredin and his forces to keep the world safe. M. Walsh truly creates a new fantasy world in The Ghost Princess and he has created a new type of chosen one. I found that I enjoyed Katrina Lamont as a character because she is not the typical heroine. Instead, she eventually becomes a strong woman who can and will do what needs doing to keep the world safe. The Ghost Princess is best suited for adults and young adults who enjoy the fantasy genre.”

stars

Reviewed by Sefina Hawke

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Graylands Appendix: Land & People

I finally got around to writing some supplementary material for Graylands.
For this first post, we’re going to look at Graylands as a country and some of the different peoples who dwell there….

Graylands is a country/continent in the world known as The Realm. It is separated from the Two Empires by oceans on both sides, and it has a small sea near the center called the Spade Sea—named because its shape resembles an ace of spades. The north, known within the country as the Northern Regions, is the most developed and populous—being where most of the first settlers landed. It’s there the largest cities are located.

As one goes south, one finds vast frontier of plains, hills, and forests with towns and villages of varying size scattered throughout. On the eastern side of the Spade Sea is mountainous, desert land. Further south of Graylands are harsh badlands where little to no one dares venture—beyond which is the Dread Sea that separates the country from the Dark Lands, where demons and creatures of the Black dwell. Continue reading

“Fitting In”

Another of my early efforts about a girl named Melissa finding herself in high school.
And zombies.


Melissa Shaw entered George Spiggott High School that Monday morning, struck with a feeling she was going to be shot with a sniper any moment.

Nothing seemed right that morning. Her clothes and even her hair felt like foreign things grafted to her body. The familiar ashy gray hovering over town for the past few days remained as it had been, leaving the world wet and bleak.

Although she didn’t pay much mind to the sickly looking people shambling around the street, it was hard to ignore the number of ill people on the bus she rode in on. Everything felt off, and her worries about school only seemed to compound it. Continue reading

Self-Published Book Award Scores & Commentary

awardEarlier this year, I entered The Ghost Princess in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

I didn’t win, but I have received my scores and commentary from the judges:

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4 out of 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4 out of 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5 out of 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 4 out of 5
Character Appeal and Development: 4 out of 5
Voice and Writing Style: 4 out of 5
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