“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

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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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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Interview For Hungry Monster Book Reviews

After his review of The Ghost Princess, I was interviewed by Hungry Monster Book Reviews about my book and its characters….

(minor spoilers ahead)

There are some intriguing characters in your novel and they all intersect in different ways. How did you develop the characters interactions?
The core protagonists—Katrina, Lily, Krutch, & Scifer—were developed individually in short stories I’ve written (none have been published). I had an idea of these characters existing in the same world, but they were each built up in my mind by themselves. When I finally decided to just write a novel, it was a matter of thinking of a plot that would tie them all together. Even though Katrina is essentially the central character, I always thought of The Ghost Princess as much Krutch’s story and Lily’s story as it is hers. So that was how I approached the writing. The first draft was divided in three sections—the first entirely from Katrina’s perspective, the second from Krutch’s, and the third from Lily’s. With the second draft, I started putting the three POV’s together. I was happy to find how well everything ended up syncing together…Katrina and Krutch, in particular, forming a sort of anti-”Hero’s Journey.” And Lily wound up fitting in the middle of that perfectly.
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Hungry Monster Review of “The Ghost Princess”

New review for The Ghost Princess by Hungry Monster Books Reviews:

“[Katrina Lamont] is a drunk, a vagrant, and unpleasant to say the least, but she wasn’t always this way. She was once a hero of the kind you call on to slay dragons and save kingdoms. Those days are well behind her and she’s happy to keep it that way. Her plans to drink herself into obscurity are derailed when an infamous pirate is hired to capture her, the elite guards want to arrest her, demons roam the land, and a warlock wants to sacrifice her. But people are not who they seem and [Katrina] is about to find friends in the most unlikely of characters.
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Review for “The Ghost Princess”

Unlimited Book Reviews was kind enough to review The Ghost Princess:

“This darkly humorous fantasy adventure addresses the question of what happens to those heroic Chosen Ones whose stories don’t end happily ever after.

“The Ghost Princess of the title is Katrina, who was once a heroic Princess out to regain her kingdom from the forces of darkness, but is now just a drunk trying to forget the past. Unfortunately for her, there’s a prophecy and some evil nutters want to sacrifice some girl under the full moon. So she finds herself being dragged back reluctantly into the hero-ing business as a bunch of bad guys and sort-of-bad guys converge in a way which will definitely not lead to a happy ending for anyone.

“There’s a good deal of over-the-top violence of the splashy variety from the start and throughout. I don’t like blood and gore, but the humour, good characters, and clever plot kept me reading. The writing is decent and generally well edited, although there were some annoying errors.”

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