sábado, 30 de diciembre de 2017

Breathing some life into the 7th novel

This post will be real quick. It has been a tireless work that hasn't fully seen the light of day, the book that has taken me the longest amount of time to write (and at currently 143,000 words give or take, my longest book of the series). I was expecting to finish it a year ago and then things simply went to hell.

I hadn't even dabbled on more chapters until as recently as last August, but I actually wrote 1 chapter a while ago. At around 3500 words, I'm still missing the ending of this chapter, but I am pleased with it because it enters the mind of a recurrent supporting character that is always present in each novel but who never gets any real attention. Lord Tameer is present in every novel in a greater or lesser amount of detail (well, the second book is sort of cheating because his name is only briefly mentioned but at least he makes a lasting impression throught the entire series), but we never really get to know him.

He's Froylan's right hand, always keeping the shifts in the capital in order and snooping on the guards that skip their duties. Appearing in the final third of the first novel, we instantly know that he is an earth mage that summons a sort of anteater beast called a Yerjaha although it isn't until the third novel that he seems to take a more prominent role.

Appointed as a captain of the guard that works directly under Froylan's command, he has been barred from the highly coveted Senior guard status (with all of the political power that entails) and has secretly held a bit of a grudge against Spaulding for it because the motive seems to be merely personal for no justifiable reason.

We haven't been able to see him that much in real combat, he usually appears as someone that remains far from the frontline. His participation in the battle during the 5th novel is unknown although it's highly likely he fought in the battlefield because he was sent to assist Senior Lord Eiram in Ayrtain. With a haughty personality, he both alienates characters and yet gains the respect of others. Damantin seems to appreciate him in the 7th novel.

Froylan hints in the 5th novel that a ranger managed to pinpoint his identity and this chapter finally reveals that Tameer is the one that not only recalled his old wanted poster, but he managed to miraculously subdue him and survived unscathed.

An important sidekick that finally gets a brief chance to shine, I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. I'm still missing a lot of chapters, but I feel glad that at least I managed to behead one head of this hydra. Lets see how long it will take before I manage to write another portion of this tale and hopefully finish it... someday.

domingo, 17 de diciembre de 2017

A few thoughts about Belize

I just returned from another brief yet amazing trip abroad. It might sound puny to people that live in Europe where multiple countries within the free Schengen zone are just a short train ride away, but I live in a region of the world where countries are somewhat large and traveling abroad can be kind of expensive.

I've been counting the countries and now I have seen 8 of them. Wow, just, wow. I still wished they stamped my passport in Lima to be able to brag I went to Peru last year, but they didn't do it because I was simply in a transit flight to Chile. Too bad.

So, what is Belize like? It's a pretty cool country and it wasn't how I expected it to be. For starters, I never really knew what language I should use when I spoke to people. English? Spanish? It seems like everyone speaks multiple languages among them Kriol, Garifuna, Mandarin and three dieferent Maya languages and most people never really sounded fluent in either one of the two languages I speak.

The other thing that massively surprised me is the beer. It's really, really good. Central America seems to be the mecca of quality beer. Okay, so I have only been to Guatemala and Belize and I'm missing the other 5 countries to make a final judgement, but neither one of these 2 countries has let me down. To curb the heat, they like to serve it ice cold, lovely.

I was shocked that soda was so expensive. They began to tax it in Mexico last year and despite the tax, sodas cost 4 times more in Belize than in Mexico. Even though the Belize dollar is pegged to the USD, you can buy two Belikan beer for 1 tiny soda of Dr. Pepper. It was little surprise that I never saw Belizeans drinking Coca-Cola even though its relatively easy to find. People in the street taco stands either drink instant coffee, beer or fruit juice. The cups of fruit juice costs around 15-20 MXN which is rather similar to Mexico, fresh and they aren't as laden with sugar as the mexican beverages. I was shocked that cans of Arizona tea cost 4 times as much in Belize. I really suspect the country has a hefty tax on insanely sugar ladden beverages. While I did see obesity in Belize, it was around the same percentage of people as I saw in Chile. Mexico keeps on being the king of the obesity epidemic and the bucketload of sugar they chug into every drink can explain part of the cause.

Do they sell tacos in Belize? Yes they do and they don't taste like the stuff in Mexico. They sell arachera sliced beef or pork that is cooked on a large pan with these rather delicious fluffy small tortillas and covered with an exquisite coleslaw and cooked onion topping that has a strong vinegar flavor. It seems like there is a strong Chinese cuisine influence in Belize and as odd as the ingredients sound, the tacos are great. Very different from Mexico. If you are looking for mexican street fare such as nopal, mole, campechanos, adobo, pastor or chorizo, you will not find that here. Maybe in the northern towns of Corozal or Orange Walk you will be luckier, but I stuck to the central region of the country.

To rap it up with the food, I never had a crappy meal in this country. The worst was a slice of cheese pizza that was "okay", something quick to eat. The corn on the cobs they sell on the street look like American cobs but they serve them sort of mexican style with mayo and have a strong habanero flavor mixed with pepper. Despite the golden color, the corn tasted a lot like mexican white corn. Rather tasty and the price was comparable to Mexico. I loved eating Cassava chips which I have never seen in Mexico. There are no 7-Eleven or Oxxo type convenience stores, all of the small supermarkets are family owned and almost unanimously run by Chinese families. It was a bit of a strange sight for me.

I couldn't buy a lot of gifts because the prices were hurtfully expensive here. It seems like an effect of the USD. I only bought a few small gifts for my coworkers and a strange looking chandelier for myself. I kept an awesome Belikan drink coaster for myself. Really kitchy.

Mayan pyramids?
Belize indeed has pyramids and they are spectacular. I only went to 2 of the 16 well established sites (Cahal Pech and Xunantunich) and the entry fee was a very reasonable 100 MXN for each park. They were well maintained and the sites were restored with US foreign aid assistance which I find to be really nice. I got horrible vertigo when I stood at the top of El Castillo but I couldn't see the nearby El Naranjo pyramid in the Guatemalan border because the place is oddly very hilly.

I was in the country for a scant 6 days and only got a glimpse of Orange Walk, Belmopan and Corozal but I enjoyed my trip. I mostly stuck to Caye Caulker and San Ignacio which were both great small towns.

Happy travels!

sábado, 25 de noviembre de 2017

An Ominous Book Big Sale bonanza

This weekend and finishing Cyber Monday, all 6 of my published ebooks are 99 cents only on Amazon. You can pretty much get all 6 books that are over 500,000 words total for only 6 bucks!


Get these books via Amazon by clicking on the images!!!

Feeling good about reviewing

One of the things that drives me to read more books is the fact that I love to write a review after I finish reading it. I just don't understand why so many avid book readers feel timid about expressing what they think about a book. Maybe I'm biased because since I have already written several books, the writing part isn't so hard but you don't need to be a Nobel Literature laureate to write a review. Just a 2 sentence comment will suffice to grant some seriousness to the author's hard earned work. I am currently close to finishing the 5 book series known as "The Uniters Code" by Shannon Reber. It seems like a bit after posting two reviews on Amazon, someone decided to purchase the 2nd and 3rd book and already posted a review of the 2nd book. I'm certain the author must be thrilled to see so many reviews in a short amount of time. Unfortunately it's really, really hard to get reviews of your books on the big pages. I sometimes get star ratings on Goodreads, but reviews carry the heaviest amount of street cred. If you enjoy or hate a book, don't feel shy and write a review. Me? Well, while I have read a few books that the author personally requested of me and either loved or stated the book as so/so, I'm certain the effort helped the author. If you have read my novels, will you take 5 minutes and write a review?

sábado, 4 de noviembre de 2017

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

I'm such a nut. I had never even heard of this event until I published An Ominous Book and by that time I commented to myself that there was little point in participating in NaNoWriMo if my novels are over 50,000 words and mainly need heavy editing.

I have been stalling a lot of my writing this year due to my cruelly long work hours and swore to myself I'd avoid NaNoWriMo 2017 like the plague. And then I have an awesome dream this morning of a kickass urban fantasy plot idea. Crap, I... must... write.. urge... to resist... impossible.

So here I am enjoying one of my rare freebie days and I somehow logged a whopping 9301 words and still have almost 4 weeks to finish an additional 40,000 words. Holy cow!

Now, I must dare say the draft will not be as good as I want and it will need editing, but the purpose of his event is to write a plot idea even if the writing sucked and then clean it up. Heck, who knows if I will ever publish it but I do indeed fancy publishing a novella for a change that isn't related to my already published novels.

Here is the plot excerpt:

Stuart and Barbara went from hell to heaven in the blink of an eye. After a perilous escape from Somali pirates, the two engineers reach a gorgeous vessel that is commanded by a mysterious man with jewels instead of eyes named Rovan.
Ecstatic with their change of fortune and living a perpetual dream, Barbara and Stuart start to realize there is something wrong...
If I ever finish this novella (the shortness of the story all points to I could do this!), I'll need ARC readers to issue comments and complaints. Feel free to sign up for my mailing list HERE and not only get the first An Ominous Book novel for free, but to have the chance to know when I may need readers.

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domingo, 29 de octubre de 2017

Two enjoyable books inspired in Japan

I was visiting Amazon Mexico that sets up a different algorithm to locate books and stumbled upon a new author that published last August 4 short stories that are inspired by Japanese Folklore. With eye catching manga covers, I tried one of them out taking advantage the book is only 16 pages long and throughly enjoyed it.

I then read with equal enthusiasm another book that was also being offered for free and liked it as well. If you are in a short bus commute, you'll probably have a good time reading both stories. Why not give a bustling new author a chance and write a review when you're done?

Japanese Folklore The Tale of Young Samurai & Beautiful Ghost by Xenohikawa Sabrina

Many years ago, long before the present prosaic era, there lived in Yedo a young man named Toshika. His family belonged to the aristocratic rank of the hatamoto samurai, those knights who possessed the right to march to battle directly under the Shogun's flag (hata), and his father was a high official in the Tokugawa Shogunate. Toshika, whose disposition was of a dreamy and indolent nature with scholarly tastes, had no occupation. He took life easily, and when his studies were finished, he went to live at the family villa situated in the suburb of Aoyama.

Toshika was not interested in society, and except for an occasional visit to his home or to his favourite friend, he never went anywhere. Far from the world he spent his days quietly and pleasantly, reading books, tending and watering his flowers, practising the tea-ceremony, and composing poetry and playing on the flute. He was a young man of many accomplishments and studied art. He collected curios and specimens of well-known calligraphy, which all Japanese prize greatly, and he particularly delighted in pictures.One day a certain friend whom Toshika had not seen for several months, came to call upon him. He had just returned from a visit to the seaport of Nagasaki and knowing the young man's tastes had brought with him, as a present, a Chinese drawing of a beautiful woman, which he begged Toshika to accept.

Toshika was very pleased with this acquisition to his treasures. He examined the painting carefully, and though he could find no signature of the artist, his knowledge of the subject told him that it was probably drawn by the well-known Chinese painter of the Shin era.
It was the portrait of a young woman in the prime of youth, and Toshika felt intuitively that it was a real likeness. The face was one of radiant loveliness, and the longer he gazed at it, the more the charm and fascination of it grew upon him. He carried it to his own room and hung it up in the alcove. Whenever he felt lonely he retired to the solitude of his chamber, and sat for hours before the drawing, looking at it and even addressing it. As the days went by, gradually the picture seemed to glow with life and Toshika began to think of it as a person. He wondered who the original of the portrait could have been, and said that he envied the artist who had been granted the happiness of looking upon her beauty.

Daily the figure seemed more alive and the face more exquisite, and Toshika, as he gazed in rapture upon it, longed to know its history. The haunting pathos of the expression and the speaking wistfulness of the dark soft eyes called to his heart like music and gave him no peace. Toshika, in fact, became enamoured of the lovely image suspended in the alcove, and as the infatuation grew upon him he placed fresh flowers before it, changing them daily. At night he had his quilts so arranged that the last thing he looked upon before closing his eyes in sleep was the lady of the picture.

Japanese Folklore The Legend of Eternal Life by Xenohikawa Sabrina

Long, long ago there lived a man called Sentaro. His surname meant "Millionaire," but although he was not so rich as all that, he was still very far removed from being poor. He had inherited a small fortune from his father and lived on this, spending his time carelessly, without any serious thoughts of work, till he was about thirty-two years of age.

One day, without any reason whatsoever, the thought of death and sickness came to him. The idea of falling ill or dying made him very wretched."I should like to live," he said to himself, "till I am five or six hundred years old at least, free from all sickness. The ordinary span of a man's life is very short."

He wondered whether it were possible, by living simply and frugally henceforth, to prolong his life as long as he wished. He knew there were many stories in ancient history of emperors who had lived a thousand years, and there was a Princess of Yamato, who, it was said, lived to the age of five hundred This was the latest story of a very long life record.

domingo, 8 de octubre de 2017

Something interesting on Goodreads...

I love to read books of varying genres and I've discovered that I also love to write reviews. I'm no professional reviewer and don't make money with this, but as a fledging author, I value the importane of positive criticism and even the bad reviews I've gotten so far have been very constructuve and spot on about my newbie writing mistakes.

I think reviewing books helps authors to not only improve their writing but to also attract potential buyers. The more honest reviews, the more likely they will risk thewir time to see if the book is worth it or not.

It seems like a handful of books I've read and reviewed the past few weeks on goodreads are getting noticed by other users. Some of them already follow me but other reviews have been added to the TBR lists of random people. And I'm not talking about massively popular bestseller books that have hundreds of reviews, I usually read books from unknown authors that have few or no reviews at all.

I don't know if people are deciding to take my reviews seriously, but it's kind of fun to get some attention. I don't know if I should start posting reviews on my blog because I want to focus mostly on my own novels. However, feel free to visit my author page at goodreads and see what I liked or hated.

Check my Goodreads profile HERE.

domingo, 1 de octubre de 2017

One year later...

Exactly 1 year ago, I decided it was finally time to publish the first of my 6 novels. Now, many more experienced authors would say it would be insanity to publish all of them very close to eachother and seeing back I agree.

However, I made that decision mostly out of necessity because I knew for certain I had matched into a residency and knew that I was going to be unable to promote the sequel books one after another and work a 96 hour a week on average high stress job at the same time.

I have done edits here and there to try to remove any remaining typo and an author friend kindly suggested I had to add commas which I dutifully did. My first novel was initially in Kindle Unlimited but I soon realized that to this day, I don't have any KENP reads so I decided to forfeit that and the first novel is offered for free on Instafreebie. I have left the sequels on KU for the time being.

I heard many authors have oodles of daily KENP reads. I don't know if its bad luck or something else, but I only had 1 mysterious reader that hauled through books 2-6 one after another in just a little less than 15 days (whoa!) and sadly never wrote a review for any of them.

Should I withdraw from KU alltogether? I haven't made my mind yet.

An Ominous Book participated in this years SPFBO and while it was sadly eliminated, I did get a thoughtful review from an important fantasy blogger at Bookworm Blues and at least another prominent blogger named Weather Report took notice of the review and openly stated she was going to read & review the book as well. You should keep your eyes open and wait for it. She could be reading it within the next two weeks! Check that out HERE.

I haven't placed my book in a lot of award competitions, I just don't have the time to search for possible competitions and seeing if my book qualifies. I did choose to fork the sizeable amount of cash for it to participate in this years Readers Favorite awards. Mine didn't win anything, but a book I read and enjoyed known as 99 Days ended up as an honorable mention and another book that won in its category is sitting idle on my kindle waiting to be read.

I'm seriously wishing to update the covers of my novels. I know that they are a huge reason why I'm not a top notch seller yet despite the mostly positive reviews of my novels. However at 18 MXN to the USD and my salary that has been slashed to 50% to what I used to earn, I doubt I can afford a pricey artist for now. I don't even know where to look!

All in all, I am starting to have a few reviews on Amazon and have realized how insanely hard it is to get 1 dratted review at all. I feel glad that I do my part and try to review everything I read on Amazon and Goodreads. I am not always nice and have given 1 star reviews, but I have mostly given 3 and up and explained why I liked or hated the book.

If more people bothered to write a review for the novels they read, fledgling wanna be authors such as myself would write more often. I have shown some progress with the 7th novel but 30% of the story isn't written yet and I don't know when that will happen. I am really hurting to have time to write the short prequel novel I have been dying to finish from Spaulding's early npursuits as a ranger. I want it to focus on him and his relationship with Nahar that sadly only appears in the second novel.

Finally, here is the real deal, how much money have I really made as an author. People state people should never ask those things because its rude, but I'll say it in the open: I have made 60 USD this year with all of my books combined. Yes, 60 dollars.

I think I have covered the cost of the copyright of my novels in Mexico and that's it. No publicity or contest overhead costs and obviously I don't plan on buying a domain anytime soon either.

I've realized I can't quit my day job (which I also enjoy so don't worry about that). However, I do hope that I'll start to fork the cash for updating the cover of at least the first 2 novels. I dislike the artwork of Seperation but I can't find the time to even redraw a cover myself.

I hope that next year my novels will gain some more traction and I continue to learn my own writing quirks thanks to the good and bad reviews. It has been an incredible journey so far and I haven't regretted starting to write that first novel almost 3 years ago.

An Ominous Book at Amazon, Goodreads, Library Thing.

jueves, 21 de septiembre de 2017

An Ominous Book 7 Harlequins, Chapter 21

After a bit of a wait, I'm finally releasing the 21st chapter of the unfinished 7th novel on Wattpad.

Almjarhad has fallen and the scant surviving pureblood elves have been captured by Gulraj to be used as slaves.

After hearing the devastating news, Spaulding writes a hardline edict that forces the Äimite guard to forcibly repatriate anyone with elf blood immediately. While Damantin isn't pleased with the scope of the edict, he has an interesting idea and needs the help of Neimar, Pieran and Niera.

Can Damantin rescue any remaining survivors a month after his birth city had been conquered by the Elf Kingdom's most powerful enemy?

Read the chapter for free HERE via Wattpad.

viernes, 15 de septiembre de 2017

Enter to win a free copy of An Infernal Aether boxset

I have to admit I haven't read these books yet (I have so little free time!) but they do look really interesting with a mixture of fantasy and steampunk.

The author is giving away a few super rare hardbook copies. Yes, free books! And even better, they are autographed!


Are you interested in winning a free copy?

Click HERE.

jueves, 14 de septiembre de 2017

Those bastards!

This will be a quick post because I'm not exactly in the mood to be writing something succint. A fellow author in a group had high praises for a free web-ad on known as blasty that searches at random intervals if your copyrighted ebook has been bootlegged.

Now, I previously wrote a post a few months ago that I feel *almost* flattered for the high ratings for An Ominous Book at a bogus website from 564 voters (I check that link every now and then for the lols and it remains fixed at 564 ratings).

Another website has decided to tempt people to download a bootleg copy of Exile and the bastards give it two stars!!!


Now, I have never gotten a 2 star or lower rating on any of my books as far as I know (which possibly proves that I'm not such a shabby author afterall even though I have less than 20 reviews spread over several websites). If a reader considers my books to be really crappy, I don't mind. Sometimes bad publicity can be good publicity because what annoyed one reader will be the cup of tea of another.

But if you're going to bootleg my book, why offer bogus ratings anyways?

sábado, 9 de septiembre de 2017

An Ominous Book 7, Harlequins

I have some good news! Ever since I've been taking advantage of uploading the unfinished novel on Wattpad and doing some minor editing, I have actually taken the annoyance of writing another 1500 words (a huge feat considering I've left this novel idle for 5 months).

Authors don't make a lot of money and it's really hard to compete against fully established authors when you're barely starting out (and even more if you have a limited budget promote your work). Therefore it's critical that we get reviews and word-of-mouth. Every review on the top gun sites like Amazon and Goodreads count like you have no idea. While jumping into the 7th novel might be huge, I'm certain you'll probably enjoy it if you gave it a chance. Here is the book's plot description and enjoy!

Lord Spaulding has a daughter that nobody knew about. Froylan eventually discovers a secret love letter Spaulding wrote to a woman he had a brief encounter with 94 years ago, and attempts to locate the mysterious woman to no avail. After having a terrifying nightmare, Spaulding decides to confide the truth to his most trusted aide Lord Damantin who manages to locate two siblings in a remote cabin in a faraway nation. At first sight they seem human, but Froylan becomes suspicious when he recognizes Hama's unusual name from Spaulding's love letter.
  When Spaulding writes an edict that grants the death penalty to the entire guard if Hama and her brother Ruddy are brought to the kingdom against their will, Froylan comissions Spaulding's arch-nemesis Lord Gerasha with the mission to convince Hama to set foot in the kingdom at all costs.
  The problem begins when a new enemy of the kingdom named Gulraj who posesses sorcery that makes him nearly immortal has set his eyes on Hama and wants her for himself. Filled with action, comedy and a trip of discovery, Hama must find the way to come to peace with her elf heritage and accept her new position as the heiress to the throne before Gulraj destroys the Elf Kingdom.


“Are you sure of this Trevilin?”
A youthful Richard was in a palace guestroom in the company of Spaulding and Damantin. The elf seemed unusually eager as he unfastened the familiar green velvet collar from his neck.
Spaulding's face became unusually serious when he saw once again the awful scar he unwittingly caused to his best friend such a long time ago. “I just feel worried that you are setting your hopes too high. Richard healed the battle wounds of countless Äimite guards and he has never been able to undo scars that were caused by sorcery.”
However, Trevilin remained unusually upbeat and smiled at his friend. After he placed the velvet collar in his pocket, he began to use sign language. ”Don't worry dear friend. I have told you many times I am not angry at you for burning my neck. I acknowledge I wasted a lot of time explaining too many things to Nelida and Herb that evening.”
“But if I had only been a better ranger, I would have murdered that idiot mage before he injured you in the first place!” The Elf King clenched his fists feeling enraged.
“Well, I am not even sure I can remove the scar but if we are lucky, I could try to restore Trevilin's voice.” Richard smiled with notable enthusiasm nonetheless.
Damantin crossed his arms and grumbled. “Tavelin you don't have to set yourself for disappointment. All of us can speak sign language and even the state secretaries finally took the annoyance of learning it. Your damaged voice isn't an impediment for working in the Master's palace.”
“I spoke to Secretary Ajarna and I am going on a diplomatic mission for a few months. I would really like to speak to humans.”
Damantin shrugged his shoulders and turned around. “Well, Tavelin has made his choice. As one of the nation's senior guards, I give Richard permission to use sorcery for this purpose.”
“Thank you Damantin.”
Richard summoned his familiar Stütgat that floated idly in his hand. Trevilin closed his eyes with a huge smile on his face. Richard calmly placed the beast on his neck and began to focus. The room suddenly became invaded by a blinding blue light and after a few moments, the beast vanished. Richard's face suddenly became filled with disappointment because the familiar neck scar was still there.
“Did you get rid of the scar?” Trevilin's eyes shot open when he could hear the sound of his voice for the first time in ages. Spaulding covered his mouth with his trembling hands whereas a scant tear was visible from Trevilin's eyes.
Damantin squinted his eyes at the scar. “I'm indeed impressed King Richard. Your sorcery managed to restore Tavelin's voice after all.”
However Trevilin's face became riddled with a certain degree of sadness. He grabbed a small mirror from his pocket to observe his reflection. The scar was still there, but he smiled nonetheless. He bowed at Richard with utter politeness. “Thank you Richard. Believe me, if I had been less careless, I guarantee we would have rescued you that very night.”
“Don't worry dear friend. We'll find a way to remove that scar.”
Spaulding nodded in agreement and turned around. Much to everyone's surprise, a medium height elf with brunette hair that reached the straw mat floor was cautiously standing in the doorway alongside Seiran. The elf caused an even larger impression because he was wearing a light green servant uniform.
Spaulding's face was invaded with a smile at the sight. “Great to see you finally arrived Johan. Why don't you come inside and greet Trevilin?”
“Are you sure I'm allowed inside of here? I don't want to get into trouble with the Äimite guard.”
Damantin grinned at Johan's reclusive behavior. “I am one of Master Sperdin's highest ranked guards and I give you my blessing to come inside. I am certain you are unarmed.”
Johan became sufficiently convinced with Damantin's comment and treaded inside. He seemed to attract a lot of attention with the strange attire.
“I've been to your tavern dozens of times Johan and it's the first time I see you dressed in green.”
Johan blushed from Trevilin's remark and chuckled. “Quite honestly, I was expecting the servants to dress me in a ceremonial robe.”
“If you'd like, I could use my influences as a senior guard and allow you to work here indefinitely.” Damantin commented with a pleased face.
Johan shook his head but he tried to remain polite. “Lord Noeru once brought me to Tesafar Palace a long time ago because he personally wanted to offer me money in order to remodel my tavern. Quite frankly, I felt uncomfortable enough at his palace but here?” Johan frenetically shook his head at the sight of the ostentatiously decorated room. “As much as I enjoy your company Lord Spauls, I like my own tavern. Feel free to go there anytime.”
Damantin grumbled when Seiran began to laugh with notable rudeness. She was once again dressed in elegant blue robes that dragged on the floor.
“I doubt the Äimite guard would feel pleased to do that but I can't wait to eat the feast you have prepared for us tonight!”
“Well, it's a very special occasion. My friend Trevilin is about to set off for an important voyage and we are all going to miss him.”
Trevilin blushed from Spaulding's felicitation. “You don't have to be so formal Spaulding. I'll be thinking of you every day. Hopefully my trip will be a success.”
Tameer charged into the room feeling usually annoyed with everyone's tardiness. After saluting Spaulding, he looked at his clipboard. “Master Lord Spaulding, the assigned guestroom is ready and we would like everyone to begin their dinner before the food gets too cold.”
A while later, Spaulding's excitement eating Johan's dishes didn't abate even though he was nearly full.
Seiran became amused when he grabbed yet another avocado tapa. “Keep on eating like that and you are going to explode.”
“You don't know what it feels like having the guard forbidding you to go outside the palace. Even when I was a clan leader, I could wander wherever I desired without having to ask anyone for permission.”
“Well, why didn't you ask the guard to visit Johan's tavern a long time ago? I'm certain Damantin would have found a way to convince Lord Froylan for you.”
Spaulding stared at the guestroom that was teeming with guards. A tint of sadness invaded him because Damantin's shift had recently ended and the only high ranking guard was Tameer. Spaulding sighed with a tint of boredom on his face.
“Things are just different now. I also don't want to give Damantin too much problems. I constantly drive Froylan's patience thin when I leave the palace with Damantin to hunt with my eagle without notice.”
Seiran grinned as she gulped some beer.
Richard studied his uncle's remorseful face and smiled. “Uncle I have an idea!”
Spaulding raised his eyes and stared at his nephew's bright blue eyes with curiosity. “What do you mean Richard?”
Richard without notice retrieved something from his robes and calmly placed the mysterious object on the table. Spaulding and Seiran were slightly curious whereas Trevilin recognized the stack of small papers on the table instantly.
“Are these papers those things called cards that humans like to play with in taverns?”
“That is correct uncle and I'm going to teach you a game I used to play a lot with my knights in Ayrtain.” Richard giggled at his uncle's ignorance of human customs and began shuffling the deck of cards.
Spaulding was awed at his proficiency at work. “Amazing!”
After Richard felt sufficiently convinced that he shuffled the deck, he began delivering cards to the 3 elves and himself.
Seiran's eyes widened as she cautiously grabbed her cards. “Richard, I can see strange drawings and numbers on each card.”
“I'm going to teach all of you a game called crazy eights. Don't let your opponent see your cards or else you might lose.” Richard purposely winked at his bewildered uncle as he continued dealing cards.
Spaulding was obviously the most confused of the group. “Richard, I don't understand these cards. They all look the same to me.”
Johan was casually entering the room while he carried a tray with food and frowned when he noticed Spaulding accidentally grabbed his cards on the wrong side allowing his opponents to see his hand. “It seems like Lord Spauls plays human card games almost as bad as he plays beer coin.”
Spaulding suddenly blushed in utter embarrassment and hid his face. Everyone chuckled at his expense which annoyed the guards standing watch.
“What is beer coin?”
Spaulding was however too utterly embarrassed to respond Seiran's inquiry whereas Trevilin had his arms crossed in deep thought.
Johan chuckled as he served several plates of food on the table. “I guess most elves are unfamiliar with that game. When Spaulding was young, he'd tag along his father Noeru and attempt to play it. He would play the game so poorly his father had to take him to an upstairs guestroom before he ended up blind.”
“This is embarrassing! This is embarrassing!”
Seiran chuckled because Spaulding was looking increasingly embarrassed.
Trevilin's eyes shot open and recalled something. “I think I remember how to play that game!”
“I'd love to try it out! Maybe we can try out my card game some other time.” Richard said with glee.
Trevilin agreed with a huge smile while Johan nodded in approval.
“I'll bring some glasses and a pitcher of beer from the kitchen. Do you have a coin?”
Richard attempted to dig in his pockets but he shook his head.
Seiran shrugged her shoulders and turned in Spaulding's direction. “Do you have any coins Spaulding?”
However Spaulding didn't feel like answering whereas Trevilin sighed with disappointment.
“I don't have any coins with me and I doubt Spaulding would have any because he has no need to go shopping. What about you Johan?”
The elf shook his head with disdain. “I'm sorry but the guards frisked me and took away all of my belongings.”
“That's a huge bummer because I'd love to try that game!”
A guard approached the table and offered Richard a gold coin. “Here is a coin King Richard.”
“Thank you. Okay Johan, it looks like we have the coin. Can you bring the other items?”
“I'd love to see if Spauls has improved in beer coin ever since he was a kid!” Johan rushed off with a smile and everyone turned in Spaulding's direction.
Trevilin patted his shoulder for encouragement. “Come on Spaulding, I'm certain you don't play this human tavern game that bad. It will be fun.”
A while later much to Seiran's amusement and everyone else's dismay, Spaulding was obsessively tossing the gold coin and the second it hit the wooden table, it would always bounce back and hit his forehead.
“Uncle, you are throwing the coin with too much force. Just try to swing your wrist a little and it's very easy to do.” Richard calmly grabbed the coin and it easily bounced into one of Trevilin's glasses.
Spaulding grumbled with increased annoyance whereas Johan politely chuckled.
“Your nephew is indeed very talented in this human game. Have you played it before in your nation?”
“Not at all. I seldom visited taverns when I was growing up and I had never seen Henry or Owen play it.”
“It's a shame your uncle didn't inherit your talent. Perhaps Spaulding should play knife board.”
“We cannot allow anyone except a guard to bear weapons near the Master!”
Everyone turned around and unanimously frowned at Tameer's protest.
“Dammit, the one tavern game I have true talent and the stupid guards like usual won't let me play with anyone.” Spaulding grumbled once again and gulped an entire glass of beer.
Johan politely served him some more.
“I'm very glad that you managed to visit the palace Johan.”
The brunette elf picked up some empty plates of food with a polite chuckle. “Ever since the word came out that Spaulding was chosen as the new Elf King, Äimite guards began flocking to my tavern in huge droves and it didn't take long for ordinary citizens to discover my tavern.”
Spaulding grumbled as he munched on an avocado tapa in silence.
“Does the place get filled with a lot of elves Johan?” Trevilin asked.
“Let's put it this way Trevilin; I have a 6 month waiting list for reservations.”
“This is why I always liked it when nobody knew about your tavern Johan. Being invaded by off duty guards and countless curious onlookers takes away what I liked about that place.”
Johan was understanding and politely patted Spaulding's shoulder. “I had to ask some relatives to lend me a hand because there is too much work.”
Spaulding grumbled once again. “But your tavern is in the end of a small alley in a residential neighborhood. The people that live right next to your tavern must detest the attention.”
Johan smiled with embarrassment. “The guard purchased all of the surrounding houses and they had them refurbished so that I can serve them with complete privacy. I think it works best for both parties because many civilians wouldn't feel comfortable drinking near guards.” Johan's candidness grabbed everyone's interest.
Richard turned towards the guards. “It must have cost the government a lot of money to purchase all of those houses and remodel them.”
“Don't worry about that King Richard and enjoy your meal.”
Tameer's vague answer merely increased Trevilin's curiosity.
“Have any of you gone there?”
Tameer bowed with reverent politeness. “Do not worry about that and enjoy your meal.”
Trevilin and Spaulding stared at each other and unanimously frowned.
Johan once again began to speak. “I'll bring some of those fruit tarts you like so much Spauls. Keep on practicing beer coin and maybe someday, you might become good at it.”
Several weeks later, a group of guards in a medium sized dining room were playing the aforementioned game cheering nonstop.
“Drink it all Harmelha!”
A notably drunk guard gulped his entire glass of beer and nearly belched on the table increasing the sound of everyone's laughter even more.
“What an amazing game! Ever since Tameer began playing it in the Äimite Castle, everyone I know has tried it out!”
“I can't blame him. I was starting to get tired of playing that knife game in Johan's Tavern.”
“I was also getting tired of knife board. There is no point in playing it if we all ace the bullseye on the first try and score a perfect game.”
“I can't believe the Master plays this tavern game so poorly if it's so easy!”
Everyone continued watching how both guards took turns tossing coins on the glasses that were filled with beer of their opponent.
One of the curious onlookers turned around and noticed a lonely guard was seated in the back corner of the room as he ate in silence. “Hey guard, do you want to try this game? It's really fun!”
The guard opened his blue eyes when someone rudely yanked his silver shirt.
“Don't talk to that elf, it's HIM.”
The guard gasped when he recognized the elf's face in the distance that earnestly tried to ignore everyone. “Oh, um... keep on eating guard.”
A medium height guard with black hair that nearly reached his shoulders and thick eyebrows sighed as he stared at his food while he listened to the relentless chatter of amused guards.
A while later the elf was inside of his modest room tossing a coin into a glass cup on the table with disdain. The elf would continuously sigh with sadness every time the coin easily landed inside of the cup.
“Yet another thing that the Master cannot do that I can with so much ease.”
The guard crossed his arms, hunched his body on the table and closed his eyes with sadness as his forehead pressed on the lacquered dark wood. Tears began falling from his dark brown eyes.
“I would be glad to teach him how to improve in this game.”

The guard began crying in silence until he fell asleep.

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