I’ve reached 74,000 words and still more to come, but I see the end now. It has always been my problem keeping a novel under 100,000 words, which is, apparently, the ideal word count for eBook publishing. Once I get into a novel and the world I’m creating becomes more complex I get more and more ideas. New characters want to tell their story and that’s how I end up writing trilogies, but I’ve made myself a promise to keep each novel under 100,000 words and to make each book stand alone, even if it is part of a series.
I’ve written a short story about Rhodar many years ago. It is part of my Anthology ‘Tapestry of Dreams’, first published in 2008 and again in 2011. It is one of my favorite stories and I’ve always wanted to write more about this handsome musclebound barbarian. Actually, I did start a story under the title ‘Saleen’, but I never got past the first ten pages. There was always something else I needed to write. Finally, this year, I decided to write a whole novel using that short draft. It took a while to get into the story, because I didn’t know where I wanted to go with it, but now that I’ve created this whole new world I will probably write more about Rhodar, the Barbarian from the Western Plains.
I’ve decided a couple of years ago not to write explicit Erotica anymore, but Rhodar is a virile man, a barbarian, and the women he meets are sexy and beautiful. So I had no choice but to make the story more lusty. However, I refrained from making the erotic scenes too explicit and too long.
Before I began devoting most of my time to writing, I was an avid reader. I’ve read many different genres: Crime novels, Westerns, Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, and, of course, Science Fiction, which is still my favorite genre.
Robert E. Howard’s Conan was my favorite barbarian and it is probably obvious that Rhodar has been pattered after Conan. And yet, Rhodar’s world is different and he has his own personality.
If you’re interested in reading the first story about Rhodar, Tapestry of Dreams is still available from Melange Books, LLC.
In fact, if you send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I will send you a free PDF copy of Tapestry of Dreams.
Here is another excerpt (Warning: Erotic content):
Caradin squinted against the morning sun as it climbed above the spires of Castle Dragonwings. The city of Dragona was coming to life as its citizens rose from the sleep to go about their daily chores. Dragona was the capital of Jandarin and the largest of all the cities, even larger than Mountainsong, the capital city of the neighboring Kingdom Maridaan.
Ilita watched her husband as he seemed to silently reflect upon his journey.
“I don’t know why you want to travel to Maridaan to celebrate the summer festival,” she broke into his contemplation, “King Ordar does not like you. He’s never acknowledged you as his brother and never will. You are the bastard son of King Ordarin with no claim to the throne.”
“My brother may not even recognize me with my beard and short hair.” Caradin laughed and shrugged. “And even if he does, my dear wife, he won’t dare harm me? I’ll be representing Queen Kharana of Jandarin. After all, I’m her son-in-law and the General of the Jandarin Army. Causing me bodily harm will cause friction between our two countries—even start a war. He will not chance that.”
“You don’t know. You told me yourself he’s not rational. What if he challenges you to a duel?”
“First of all he is much older than I and probably out of shape. Ordar was never a good swordsman. While I practiced my combat skills, he practiced other skills. I think he spent half his time in the bed of every female who was willing and there was never a shortage of them.”
She pouted. “But you had your share of willing females as you bragged, especially Lady Gwenlin, who is now King Ordar’s wife and the Queen. Your brother may remember that she preferred you to him and that may start the rivalry again between you two. I’m not pleased to see you go. She’s the reason you were exiled in the first place. If I weren’t with child I’d come with you just to keep you from harm, but the Royal Physician warned me against traveling the long and difficult road to Mountainsong.”
He bent to kiss her. “You have nothing to worry about. I only love you, and Gwenlin means nothing to me anymore. It happened so long ago, anyway. You’re carrying our third child and that is the most important thing for me. I won’t let anything happen to jeopardize that.”
“I hope so.” She put the silver chain with the amulet she’d been clutching in her hand around his neck. “This will protect you against evil magic. Arawan made it especially for you.”
He tucked the small pendant into his shirt and chuckled. “If Arawan made it then I feel safe. After all, he is a sorcerer, even if not a very good one.”
“You just don’t like him. He knows many spells. If it hadn’t been for him, I might have been killed when I was attacked by a wild Drago. Arawan’s spell made it drop dead from the sky before it reached me.”
“It was a well-aimed arrow from Thorga’s bow that pierced the Drago’s heart.” Caradin smiled. “It doesn’t matter. If you believe in Arawan’s powers I won’t argue about it. But now I must leave if I want to reach Argassa today still. I would feel safer there than setting up camp somewhere in the forest.”
He gave her one last hug and kiss and then he mounted his Sekua. The animal had been getting restless and seemed as eager to leave as Caradin. She watched him ride away, accompanied by three of his most trusted soldiers.
“That was a touching scene,” said a voice behind Ilita.
She turned to look at Queen Kharana who seemed to study her with an amused smile on her lips. “Mother, I didn’t know you were there. Why would you say that?”
Kharana laughed, obviously enjoying herself. “You may fool him but not me. What if the child you carry doesn’t have his red hair? What if its eyes are purple? How will you explain that to your loving husband?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mother?” A cold shiver ran down Ilita’s back. She had never given that possibility any thought.
“You know quite well what I’m talking about. How can you be so stupid, daughter? I can almost forgive you that you took a lover and couldn’t keep your legs closed but to get yourself pregnant by another man is unforgivable.” Kharana spoke sharply and her eyes flashed.
“You have no proof of what you accuse me of,” Ilita said with a sinking feeling in her stomach.
“I’m afraid the proof will come when your child is born.” Kharana’s anger was clearly displayed in her lined face. “It will ruin everything I’ve been planning for so many seasons now. With Caradin’s help I’ve built up my army. My soldiers are ready to strike when the opportunity arises. Caradin isn’t going to Maridaan to enjoy the summer festival. His mission is to judge the strength of King Ordarin’s army and his defenses. From what I hear Ordarin has become complacent and neglected to keep his army in shape. His soldiers are not trained like mine. Maridaan is ripe for a takeover. I wanted you to sit beside Caradin on the throne as Queen of Maridaan. That won’t happen if you bear him a bastard child.”
Ilia swallowed. “The child could always be stillborn. Caradin will never see it.”
Kharana pointed an accusing finger at her. “Even if the child is not his, it will still be my grandchild and I will hold you responsible for its life!”
Hanging her head, Ilita said with a defeated voice, “You misunderstood, Mother. I didn’t mean what it sounded like. I meant to say it is possible the child may not be born alive. It happens. Besides, what makes you assume the child is not Caradin’s?”
“I am not blind. I see what goes on in the palace and I have eyes and ears everywhere. There are no secrets that I don’t know about and I know about you and Arawan, as do many of the servants. You have a lot to learn, daughter.”
Pulling herself erect, Ilita looked her mother in the eyes. “If you must know, I never loved Caradin. You forced me to marry him. Don’t forget that.”
“Like I said—you have a lot to learn. Only peasants are allowed to marry for love. We aren’t. My parents arranged my marriage to your father. I came to love him and I was hoping you would learn to love Caradin in time. At one time you did love him and I don’t know what happened to you. I know Caradin loves you. He is a handsome man and ambitious. He will make a good king someday and you would be wise to stay by his side. Of course, you may have already jeopardized that with your stupidity. And don’t tell me you love Arawan. He is a sorcerer and a nobody. His position as Royal Sorcerer is precarious and I can have him removed any time I feel like it.” Kharana turned on her heels and stalked away. Even her walk conveyed her anger.
Ilia waited until her mother disappeared through the door into the palace and then she headed for another wing of the massive building. Looking around if any of the servants were about, she turned into a side corridor and stopped in front of a narrow door. She knocked four times. When the door opened, she hurried through it.
“Caradin is finally on his way.” She laughed and rushed up to Arawan who had been waiting for her in his room.
He took her into his arms and kissed her. “Did you give him the amulet?”
She nodded. “The fool will believe it protects him from magic even if he pretends he doesn’t. If we’re lucky an accident will befall him and he will never return.” Her expression turned serious. “My mother knows about us and she suspects that the child I carry is yours.”
“Which, of course, is true. I wouldn’t worry about it. I put a spell on the amulet that will practically guarantee that we’ve seen the last of your husband.” An unpleasant smile crossed Arawan’s narrow face. “By the time our child is born, we may have taken care of your mother, also, and you will be Queen Ilita of Jandarin.”
“We must be careful, Arawan. My mother has spies everywhere and if she ever suspects anything she will not hesitate to banish me forever or worse throw me into the deepest dungeon she’ll find. And you, my Love, you will lose your head to the executioner’s axe.”
He chuckled. “Did you forget I’m a sorcerer? I can cloud your mother’s mind she will only see things I want her to see.” He held her face in his hands and kissed her gently. “Nothing can stop us,” he whispered into her ear. “Nothing.” He put his hand under her blouse to touch her naked breast.
Shuddering, she inhaled sharply and sighed. “You always know what to do and how to heat up my body. Caradin barely touches me anymore and when he does, it leaves me cold.” She opened his robe and let her hand travel down his belly. “Let’s not waste time talking with our mouths. I want your body to speak to me.”
They tumbled onto his cot and lay in each other’s arms, inflamed by their desire for each other. When their bodies became one, she cried out and moved against him with fiery passion.
Thank you for reading so far. Now, check out my other books at Melange Books, LLC.