Thursday, 27 December 2012

For Auld Lang Syne, My Dear - A short story for New Year's Eve


                                                   
 
                                           For Auld Lang Syne, My Dear...

 

     God, I hated parties - and this party was no exception. I really didn’t want to come to it, but one has to one’s duty sometimes.  I can still remember the exact words on the invitation:

THE PRINCIPAL CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO A NEW YEAR’S EVE FANCY DRESS PARTY.

Theme: Fantasy & Sci Fi

Time: 8 till late

Place: The university main hall

A bar and buffet will be provided

     So here I was, dressed in an orc outfit - very Lord of the Rings, I thought. A dead ringer for one of the foul creatures, I believed, though one or two people had already asked me what I was meant to be. God, I detested parties – especially since the accident happened three years ago. Emily would have loved this. “Cheer up! It’s a real blast,” she would have said. But she was dead.

     I would have preferred to have stayed at home. I always do. If you are going to mark the occasion of the calendar advancing and getting nearer to our graves, then why not stay at home and do it quietly - without a fuss. But the job has called me – it always does - and I’ve got to be here tonight - mingling and chatting, and generally pretending to have a good time in a stupid costume. At least the drinks were cheap at the university. I headed over to get one.

“Ah, Tony, there you are,” said Professor Deakin - someone I didn’t want to talk to right now.  I pretended I didn’t hear him over the noise of the music. I knew it wouldn’t work.

“Tony; how are you my dear boy?” asked Deakin, placing his drink down next to me on the bar. I drank a bit of beer before turning and hitting him with my best fake grin.

“I’m just dandy Professor Deakin, thank you. How are you doing on this fine evening?”

“Oh just wonderful - thank you. I see you’ve come as some sort of dreadful creature from the dark recesses of Tolkien’s brain,” he said, giving my costume the once over.

“Thank you. You’re the first to spot it.” I replied, smiling and quaffing more ale. I looked over his outfit. He was dressed as Gandalf the Grey, which didn’t surprise me a bit. “Or should I say – thank you Gandalf and hope you don’t smite me,” I said.

“Oh I wouldn’t do that. It’s not in Gandalf’s interest to smite just any old thing, you know.”

“Why, of course not,” I said. He was a right one, Professor Deakin. This is what being head of the English department must do to you over the course of time.

The professor twiddled his beard and I could visualise his mind searching for more things to say. Eventually his lips opened: “You haven’t produced any papers lately, and your last book was published over three years ago. Is there anything wrong, Tony?”

No, there was nothing wrong. Only my darling wife had died, and there were the constant demands of the university to deal with: The endless rounds of lectures, tutorials, meetings, petty administration, and marking to do. And now I had to suck up to colleagues and senior college bigwigs. There was nothing wrong at all.

     I glanced around the hall, looking for somewhere I could go and sit by myself. It was then that I noticed another Gandalf.  If the professor’s wizard costume was good, then this one was truly magnificent. It had a real ethereal quality to it and you just couldn’t keep your eyes off it. Talk about charisma.

“I think you’ve got a bit of competition, Professor,” I said, nodding over to the other wizard, “Gandalf the White is here.”

I made my excuses and walked over to an empty table in the corner of the room.  A quick glance at the clock told me it was 10 o’clock – thank goodness for that – only 2 hours to go.

     Perhaps it was the drink, but things were starting to get better. The dance floor was filling up and I spotted quite a few attractive lovelies dressed as elves, warrior maidens and robotic replicants. There was even a very fetching Princess Leia, who, I’m sure smiled at me.  I smiled back and immediately felt foolish. 

And then I saw him again – the person dressed as a wizard. What an amazing costume, I thought.

     Avoiding Professor Deakin, I went the bar, bought another drink and sat back down on my mercifully empty table.  I knew I was meant to be chatting to people, but I really just didn’t feel up to it.  I imagined Emily sitting next to me, and for a fleeting moment I heard her laugh once more. And then I felt sad - so I went to the bar again.

When I got back I was surprised to find Princess Leia sitting at the table.

“Um...hello,” I said.

“Hi,” said Leia, smiling and offering me a bowl of cashews. “You’re Tony from the English department, right?”

“Yes, I am. How do you know that?” I asked, grabbing a couple of nuts and gobbling them down.

“We’ve spoken before. You don’t remember?” 

She was right – I didn’t remember. I hate to say it, but I might have been a bit tipsy that night.

“Well; let me help you out. My name’s Liz and I teach in the Politics department.” She said. Now she mentioned it – I did remember her a bit. She looked very different in the Star Wars costume though.

“Nice to meet you Liz... again,” I said, before adding: “I hope you don’t mind if I call you Leia.”

“Not at all, Mr Orc,” she replied, laughing.  She seemed to like me, which was very strange indeed. I looked at the clock again, which read 11.50pm.  In a moment I was going to have to make a break from the crowd.  I couldn’t really face talking to Princess Leia anymore and there was no way I was going to sing and hug people at midnight. No way. I made a break for the gents’ toilet.

     I arrived in the loo in the nick of time. I could hear somebody announcing the build up to midnight on a microphone. All I had to do was sit it out for the next 15 minutes or so. Nobody else would come in to the washroom at this time. And then Gandalf the White came in. Drat!

“Er...hi, Mr Gandalf,” I said, slightly mirthfully, before turning. I was going to go into the cubicle to be left alone.

And then he pulled down his cowl, stopping me dead in my tracks. It was the most hideous sight I had ever seen. He...or it...had two faces. Two faces side by side on the same head. I nearly fainted, but my rubbery legs somehow kept me standing.

“Do you know who I am?” asked the creature with the mouth on one of its faces.

It couldn’t be, could it?

“Are you...um... Janus?” I replied. What on earth?

“And do you know what I do?” it said, using the other face.

“Um...you’re the god of beginnings and transitions. January is named after you.” I said, the words coming out as a whimper.

“And do you know the song Auld Land Syne?” asked Janus.

“I...I...do. We sing it at midnight to mark the coming year.” I responded.

“And what does it mean?” asked the god.

“The song asks us whether it’s right to forget the past and to remember old friendships.” I said. I had always liked Burns’ old Scots verse, despite not singing it very often.

“And do you think we should do this?”

I hesitated slightly before replying. The answer came out as a squeak: ”Yes, I do.”

At the moment music started playing in the main hall – the build up to the song.

“SING IT!” said Janus, with an unfathomable depth and power. I started singing:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

SING IT LOUDER AND WITH FEELING!” boomed Janus.  The words suddenly seared into my brain, flashing up like the HUD in a fighter plane.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne?

SING IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!” said the deity. I began singing the chorus. Suddenly, a terrific energy pulsed through me.

For auld lang syne my dear,

for auld lang syne,

It was all becoming clear: I had to let go of Emily and move on with my life. The tears started rolling down my cheeks.

We’ll tak’ a cup of kindness,

For auld lang syne.

I went on to the next verse. Janus nodded and started to smile on both faces.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!

And surely I’ll be mine!

And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

Memories of Emily filled my mind - happy memories. I would never forget her and my love for her would stay with me till my dying day. We had walked upon the slopes together, picking flowers, but that time was finished.

We twa hae run about the braes,

and pu’d the gowans fine;

but we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

sin auld lang syne. 

My epiphany reached a crescendo and I passed out.
 

*


 Well, that was last New Year’s Eve and quite a lot has happened since then.  You may be pleased to know that Liz, or Leia as I still sometimes call her, has moved in with me and our relationship is coming along nicely. I’ve started writing again and will have a new book out early next year.  I can safely say that I have stopped being an orc  – but I am pleased to say Professor Deakin still sees himself as Gandalf.
 
Mike Evers December 2011

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Chaosifier - FR*E on #Kindle till December 30th




A storm is brewing.

High on a mountain in Central Europe a vengeful chaos lord has managed to get a terrifying device to do his bidding. The future of the whole of mankind is at stake, and only a plucky band of luck goblins can possibly stop him.

There's just the troublesome matter of a crime wave, global financial meltdown, and WW3 to deal with first...

A rip-roaring fantasy adventure from the author of The Spirit Archer and Campaign of the Gods.


Review excerpts:

“The magical concepts in the book are creative and engaging, yet the characters can be easily related to and the magic weaves through a world the reader knows. The result is an enchanting story that is thought-provokingly possible.” -- debzi f, Amazon UK

“The story is well written, fast paced and hard to put down! The journey across snowy Europe reminded me of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. There are also elements of the story which would appeal to fans of The Hobbit and Harry Potter.” -- Jelly Bean, Amazon UK

“I thought it topical funny and found it hard to put down, or in this case turn off. Overall I found it very enjoyable and different.” -- TarquiniusTastebuds, Amazon UK

“Mike Evers' The Chaosifier is a joyful fantasy/ boy's own adventure story with a touch of satire. Think The Borrowers mixed with Mission Impossible and the knockabout humour of Dad's Army and Four Lions!” -- Paul D Brazill, Amazon

"I definitely recommend this well-written novel to readers of fantasy. The story has a slow build up to the climax, but once there, I was hooked. " -- C. Rice, Amazon US

"Author, Mike Evers debut, YA fantasy novel is a smash hit. Appealing to both young and old, the characters are loveable even at their worst. A touch of sci-fi brings the fantasy experience to life. You begin to question the "what if's" of a story which mirrors very closely to reality. An exciting read, The Chaosifier will keep you riveted until the end." -- L-A. Graf Vinson, Amazon US

"As a reader I have read another book by this author; it too was a fable tale about Robin Hood and was a delight, The Spirit Archer. I did not expect anything less from this writer, he has such a creative mind and a writing style which is delightful, entertaining and full of wonder and chills all at the same time. It reminds me of the favorite book, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe full with its zany adventures and moral consciousness." -- S Mahoney, Amazon US


Amazon UK link

Amazon USA link




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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Gnome Archery - Christmas 2012 - Elf Mischief #gnomes

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After last year's increbible victory, with our gnomes' brave fightback against the highly skilled Robin Hood All Stars, I am afraid to report that there is a less than merry atmosphere in our camp. And it is surely the doing of the Black Elves.

You may recall that I mentioned some suspicious things happened to the gnome-mobile even before the team set off for the Black Forest.  Well, a litany of strange things continued to happen to the gnomes en-route, including Findl Nettlecrusher becoming bewitched by a wood siren and Wimpl the Unwilling getting trapped in giant web when taking a 'toilet break' on the edge of the forest. Wimpl was at first reluctant to break free - until he saw a pair of eyes the size of footballs peering at him from a cranny nearby. Wimpl has never moved so fast in his whole life!

Thus, it was a spooked and shaken team, with a lovelorn Findl in its ranks, that began the archery contest early this morning.  Largely due to Bundl Fugglebum's prowess with the bow, the gnomes scraped through the early rounds, narrowly avoiding defeat to some goblin mercenaries. However, things started to take a turn for the worse when Findl took a slug of Thunder Ale too many, and surely befuddled by Cupid's own deadly arrow, declared his undying love for 'Tarwen of the Trees' and collapsed drunkenly into the Fairie Queen's Christmas hamper.  Despite this huge setback, the gnomes nearly succeeded in beating the Black Elf Elite, but were undone by suddenly rubberised arrows and the appearance of a giant spider as Wimpl was lining up his final shot. 

Needless to say, the Black Elves went on to win the tournament. Wimpl is having trauma counselling and Findl has vanished into the very mysterious and murky forest. 

I am going to make a formal complaint to the authorities about the devious and despicable happenings, and I am going to put some wasps in the ears of the Black Elf elders.

I am about to head to the village for some strong mead, and I would like to bid you a Merry Christmas.

ML

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Gnome Archery - Christmas 2012 - update #gnomes


The gnomes set off Germany earlier today in preparation for the annual Legendary Creatures' Christmas Fayre.  Already I fear there has been some foul play. The gnome-mobile failed to start due to a yule log wedged in the exhaust pipe and a mysterious green goo in the radiator.  The four flat tyres did not help either. It was probably just as well as Wimpl the Unwilling was running late and had to be manhandled from his bed. 

Finally, Bundl Fugglebum managed to get the vehicle running and they were last reported heading into southern Poland. 

Our hopes are with them for this season. But dark forces are surely at work...

ML

 

Friday, 14 December 2012

iFeel by Marissa Carmel - The New Cover is Revealed! #NewAdult


I have an announcement to make.  Marissa Carmel is a friend of the citadel, and has helped us here in the past.  Therefore, I would like to join in with celebrating the fabulous new cover of her wonderful book, iFeel.  Anyhow, I hope you like it.

ML

Here is a message from GMTA Publishing about it:









We are honoured to join Marissa today as she reveals her brand new cover for iFeel.

iFeel has been regenred as New Adult and we think this is the PERFECT cover!! We hope you agree too!!


Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel. Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. 

Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally as her reality is shaken up like dice on a Craps table. 

Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be? 

Funny, witty, real, and poignant, iFeel rips into your soul, and sets your emotions on fire. If you are a fan of Charmed or Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle this series is for you! 

Amazon



Marissa Carmel has been writing since a young age and although it has always been for personal enjoyment, she finally decided to break out and share her imagination with the world. She hopes that her universe is as fun and intriguing to her readers as it is to her. 

Marissa Carmel is originally from NJ but moved to Maryland several years ago, she enjoys reading, writing, and catching up on her DVR library. She is currently working on the sequel to iFeel, Gravitational Pull, which she hopes to release sometime in 2012.

Campaign of the Gods - Trailer

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