Sunday, April 20, 2014

What is the Secret Underlying Theme of The Light Who Shines?

If you have been following along with my excerpts, tweets, or Facebook page you know The Light Who Shines is a very cool urban fantasy novel about a supernatural investigator named Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue). The world includes paranormal characters like Vampires and magically Gifted people, and if you have read it you know there is a wolf named Varg with mysterious powers.

All of that is the fun and excitement wrapped around the underlying theme of prejudice and hate. The Light Who Shines is an anti-prejudice and anti-hate novel written in a way to be easily accessible and enjoyable to those who don't like reading non-fiction, or who occasionally just like to take breaks with an entertaining read.

"What prejudice?" and "What hate?" you might ask. There is no racial prejudice and no homophobia in this book. Not a drop. I've completely removed it and instead have flipped the lens of hate to be between the different breeds of humans. Here the hate runs rampant.

Why? So that people can read it from a non-defensive stance and from a non-offended position and see it separated from the places where we normally see prejudice and hate. I want readers to feel a touch of what it is to be a minority demographic through their experience as Blue, the heroine. I hope you see the pain it causes the characters and the destruction it causes the society with unobscured eyes. I want it to feel personal, but be about non-personal subjects.

Yet, I wanted it to be a pleasure to read and not resemble a lecture in the slightest. It should simply be thought provoking.

So far the novel is getting excellent reviews and has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, so I hope that means I've begun to achieved my goal.

Please share this post with anyone you think would be interested in an urban fantasy novel with deeper underlying meaning.

The Light Who Shines
A novel by: Lilo Abernathy

On Amazon:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 02. Slipped at the Cock and Bull Tap: Part 02

I snatch up my ID and run out the side door with my pack jostling on my back. One sweeping look across the parking lot tells me none of the cars looks occupied. I hope the man is still nearby. Flipping open my phone, I dial Gambino. He answers on the first ring.

Hoping he is still close by, I say “Gambino, a man wearing a cloak that could match the thread found in the boy’s fingernail was seen leaving the Cock and Bull Tap a few minutes ago. I’m searching the vicinity right now.”

Gambino doesn’t miss a beat. “On my way.”

Holstering my phone and unholstering my Glock in one smooth motion, I step out to the street. It looks still with nothing to indicate which direction I should take. I follow my gut and run to the right, set on checking out the entire block anyway. At the first intersection, I check all directions but see nothing. I round the corner and run down toward the end of that side of the block with my boots clicking loudly on the sidewalk with each step. Cripes! I need rubber sole boots if I am ever going to sneak up on someone!

When I’m almost to the second corner, my eye catches a flash of red disappearing behind a warehouse to my right. I cut across the lawn and run between two warehouses toward the center of the block. Just before passing beyond the shelter of the warehouses on either side, I stop. Peering behind them as much as possible, I assess my options. The warehouse on my right has stacks of empty pallets in the shipping yard. The warehouse on my left has an empty yard with only one large, stationary eighteen wheeler. Regardless of which side he’s on, it’s clear I will be wide open and an easy target while trying to reach either the truck or the pallets. I pull out my sixth sense, looking for a trace of a soul to guide me, but I feel nothing. Shoot! Where’s a little help when a girl needs it?

With my gun pointed ahead, I rush around the corner to the right. I place my back to the warehouse, feeling the rough bricks scrape my back through my thin shirt and vest. My thrashing heart feels ready to burst in my chest. I strain my eyes, looking for the smallest movement. My sixth sense is still at high alert, and I feel a slight tug from the left. Turning in that direction, I notice a little spot of red under the truck. As soon as I swing my gun toward it, a loud noise blasts my eardrums. Boom! Boom! Chips of brick fly around me as two bullets narrowly miss my head.

I aim my gun at the red spot and shoot as I rush to the first stack of pallets opposite the truck. When I’m halfway there, I hear return fire. Boom! Boom! Boom! Three shots echo off the buildings. I dive through the air as the bullets fly around me. Curling into a ball, I land, rolling head over foot, but my backpack brings me to a quick stop. Just barely behind the pallets, I jump up and sideways to take cover. Holy smokes, that was close!

Ignoring my scratches and bruises, I peer around the right side of the pallet stack. I want to get this guy so bad I can taste it. From this angle, I can see more of the deep red cloak peeking out from behind the rear tires of the truck. I crouch and try to identify the shooter, but all I can see is the truck’s shadow and the red fabric.

I fire two more shots under the truck. One bullet ricochets off the bumper, and the other tears a hole in one tire close to the spot of red. A sharp hiss fills the air, and the truck sinks slightly.

I pull several pallets off the top of the pile I’m hiding behind and position them on their sides in front of me to afford better protection. I aim my gun under the truck and shout, “Supernatural Investigation Bureau! Come out with your hands up!”

Three shots whizz toward me, tearing up the pallets with splinters of coarse wood flying in all directions. I crouch down again, ready to aim carefully this time, but as I peer across the space to the truck, I see Gambino coming from behind the truck with two officers following him. I quickly shoot two more tires on the right side of the truck, and the hisses tell me I aimed true. Unfortunately, the semi has eighteen wheels, so three flat tires lack the desired effect.

Gambino has his gun unholstered and aimed at the red spot. Hoping to distract the perpetrator, I fire some shots wide into the ground to the right of the truck. The man returns one oddly wild shot back at me. It misses the pallet stack entirely. I aim for two more tires toward the rear, thinking that if I can get the back of the truck lowered, the man will be crushed or at least trapped.

Gambino yells, “Come out with your hands up!”
Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy 

On Amazon:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 02. Slipped at the Cock and Bull Tap: Part 01

 Bluebell Kildare: May 26, 2022, Red Ages
The Cock and Bull Tap, otherwise known as The Cock and Bull Inn and Guest House by those with very long memories, sits on what used to be the main path out of Crimson Hollow. Of old, those passing over the Smoky Mountains by carriage would stay in the inn the night before their trip or seek its comforting embrace on the first day of their return. That old path has long been paved over, and Cock and Bull’s days of being an inn all but forgotten by most Crimson Hollow residents. The distinguished stone building sits behind a deep corner yard with its back against the alley. Between two tall posts hangs a huge, gleaming white sign painted with a red rooster and a blue bull in vivid, sweeping brushstrokes to welcome patrons. Leaded glass sidelights flank the heavy carved and paneled front door. I wrap my hand around one of the ornate iron handles and heave the door open.

Firefly lanterns cast a soft glow on the tavern’s interior. The tiny flakes of quartz set alight by magic swirl rapidly inside the lanterns, glowing and twinkling. The gentle light reflects off the heavily oiled and waxed oak furniture. Scanning the crowd, I see mostly hard-working men still dressed in their work uniforms or jeans and flannels. Most are gathered in small groups at the long trestle tables, but a few lonely souls sit in isolation on stools facing the bar.

Dozens of pairs of eyes pierce my back as I move my long-limbed body toward the bar. I feel a few waves of lust flowing toward me from the bar patrons like a crimson breeze, but even more waves are filled with the dark and heavy emotions of disgust and hate and the sharpness of fear. Someone murmurs “Aberrant” under his breath, referring to my being Gifted. My back stiffens at the insult.

You can only tell when a person is Gifted if their mark shows. My mark is twofold. I have unnaturally blue eyes that could conceivably pass for simply extra vivid, but the streak of blue running through my hair is unmistakable. I don’t have time to defend my pride today, so I just keep my chin up and proceed with strong strides.

When I arrive at the empty side of the bar, I make sure my Glock is visible to any onlookers by pushing my vest back as I retrieve my ID. A low murmur rolls through the crowd, telling me the gun is noticed. Good.

The bartender approaches, and I present my ID, which reads “Supernatural Investigation Bureau (SIB), Homicide Unit, Inspector Bluebell Kildare.” He extends his large hand and introduces himself. “Hello, Inspector Kildare. I’m Steve Jamison. That’s really awful, what happened to that boy out there. Some of the guys here told me what they saw on their way in. I’m happy to help anyway I can.”

Well, he’s congenial enough, and fortunately he doesn’t seem to be a breedist. Steve stands medium height with a stocky physique and a kind face. He’s built well enough to keep people in line and seems empathetic enough to listen to their sorrows. I take all this in while his warm hand envelops mine in a firm handshake.

“Thanks, Steve. I’d like to ask a few questions. It should just take a moment.”

Steve tosses his bar rag in a pail behind the counter and turns his earnest face and ready ears to me. Taking the cue, I start drilling into my list of questions. “Now, the incident occurred at 3:47 p.m. Do you recall anyone leaving the bar shortly before then?”

Steve considers a minute and then shakes his head. “Not that I recall. The first shift around here ends at three o’clock. Most of the crowd is just coming in around then, and the place fills up pretty fast. Some of the police officers who have really early shifts show up around two o’clock and usually only have a drink or two before heading home. The officers who found him were the first to leave today. We do have a few lushes who come in with the early lunch crowd, but they make themselves scarce before the police officers start arriving.”

My eyes skim over the room, searching for a point of reference. I spy the perfect thing on a shelf behind the bar. Pointing at a hand-carved and painted rooster, I ask, “Did you see anyone in here today wearing an article of clothing that just about matched that color red?”

Steve’s gaze finds the rooster with a surprised look. “Yeah, I sure did! There was an older guy wearing a red cloak. He left out the side door just before you came in.”

My head snaps back to Steve as his casual words register. Blast it! A potential murder suspect was inside the bar while we were processing the body just outside!...

Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy 

The Light Who Shines - Thursday is Last Day of Sale!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 01. Double Depravity: Part 05

I snap the lid closed and hook my thumb into my jean pocket while I take another look around. All the police are gone. The sun is dropping lower on the horizon, and I have to shield my eyes to look west. Across the street sits a beige, corrugated steel warehouse with two tall loading docks and a discreet office door. Next to it is a plain gray stucco warehouse with three steel loading docks and bright blue awnings over the office door and windows. I look northward, and more of the same nondescript warehouses line the street. Southward lies a stretch of unused land, and past that the street ends at Red Wood Cemetery and Half Moon River.

I look down at the faint stain of blood that remains on the asphalt. The subtle remnants invite me to reexamine the area with my sixth sense. With the crime scene tape gone, I decide it’s best to work from the sidewalk; otherwise, I just might end up joining the poor boy on one of Nathan’s tables. It’s never a bright idea to stand on the street while disengaging from your five senses. My sixth sense is always active, but I only catch subtle impressions of strong emotions or magic until I shut off my other senses. I can also sense souls, but it appears this boy’s soul has already passed on.

I close my eyes, pulling my awareness in and tucking it neatly away. I focus on my sixth sense, letting it grow and take the lead.

With my sixth sense fully engaged, I open my eyes again and scan the area for any magic or emotions that may linger. My eyesight is dimmed, and I see the world in a different way. What normally appears in vivid color dims to muddy shades of gray. And what I normally miss stands out in stark contrast. I think of the feelings I track as visible scents since what I see is an element that lingers in the air without distinct form. Magic feels like vibrations in the air similar to ripples through a pond.

My interpretation of souls usually comes in the form of colors and more solid characteristics that define the essence of their beings. Deeper than even personality, it is more a sense of someone’s fundamental nature that is greater than who they are in this lifetime.

I scan the street where the body had lain, looking for something previously unseen. Proceeding at an excruciatingly slow pace, I wrap my awareness around every inch of space in the vicinity. After a few minutes, I notice a faint trill of what seems like static electricity tickling the air around the bushes behind me. Like an eagle moving in for the kill, I turn and center all my focus on the depths of the greenery. A deep, thrumming magic comes from the middle of the closest bush, something extremely subtle and very old. I try to focus in, but whatever it is… it’s well hidden.

My full awareness springs to life again when I reengage my regular senses. Peering curiously at the bush, I wonder what secret it holds. I kneel and part the branches to view the shady center. When nothing is immediately obvious, I give the branches a good shake.

A glint of early evening light reflects off a metal object deep within the bush. With a fresh pair of gloves from my pack and an evidence bag at the ready, I push my arms into the bush up to my elbows and slowly feel around until my fingers run into something flat, hard, and circular. When I pull my hand out, a large, gold amulet is clenched between my slick latex-gloved fingers.

After carefully dropping the amulet in the bag and sealing it closed, I begin to examine it through the clear plastic. Its face is smooth and decorated with a beveled jade triangle. The triangle has an eye-shaped cutout in the center with a circular hole that goes all the way through the pendant. A pattern of irregular ridges and grooves radiates out from the hole like rays of sunshine. Each ridge has a series of tiny, white beads dotting its edge at irregular intervals. A plain golden chain is threaded through the pendant, and it holds the greatest treasure of all: a small, dark red thread caught up in the clasp—a thread of exactly the same color red as the thread that had been snagged on the boy’s nail. The boy was naked, so where did this thread come from—or rather whom did this thread come from?

I put the evidence bag in my pack, heft it to my shoulders over my black leather vest, and hurry toward the Cock and Bull Tap...

Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy 

The Light Who Shines - Last day for only 99 CENTS (Reg $4.99)

If you want the entire 136,000 word novel, I hope you take advantage of this sale!

On Amazon:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 01. Double Depravity: Part 04

As he leaves, I see the forensic guys take down the tape and start closing up shop. I throw Gambino a look. “Did your guys find anything?”

Gambino’s eyes shift over to the team before shrugging his reply. “Some paint chips, some glass. Nothing much. Hopefully we have enough to identify the car. The boy was pretty young, I doubt even eighteen. I hope he’s on our missing persons list and we can identify him easily.”

I hope so too. “I’ll stop by tomorrow after I visit the Medical Examiner to check out his findings.”

Just then, my chimerator tightens, so I flip open the lid and see Jack’s countenance reflected in the dark, glossy surface of the black pearl. “It’s my boss,” I tell Gambino.

Gambino’s eyes flick down to my ring, but unlike most Norms, he doesn’t flinch at my use of it. A chimerator is an enchanted ring that projects the image and voice of a person trying to contact you. It also generally gives Norms the heebie-jeebies.

A smile ghosts over Gambino’s lips. “Well, I’m heading out. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

As I watch Gambino walk to his car, I say “Hola” into my chimerator, trying to sound casual. My boss, Jack Tanner, is quite possibly the sexiest man alive. He exudes danger in a quiet, stealthy sort of way. I often think I should be frightened of him—quite possibly because he’s a very old and incredibly strong Vampire. But I can’t seem to muster any fear for him, even when he’s in an obvious rage. That only makes me question my sanity. It’s a constant struggle to actually feel casual, so I usually end up settling for sounding casual.

“Hi, Blue. So what’s happening?” Jack asks.

Jack is not one for small talk, so I give him a quick rundown. “Well, an older teen boy, approximately sixteen to eighteen years old, was apparently hit by a car. Some off-duty officers were just leaving a tavern and heard tires squeal before they came upon the scene. The car was gone and the boy was dead when they reached the body less than two minutes later. Forensics picked up paint chips and glass at the scene, and the deceased has a large impact injury on his hip. The scene is located behind the Cock and Bull Tap at the intersection of the alley behind it and River Road. No other evidence was found, and no one else appeared on the street at the time of the incident. Unfortunately, I didn’t sense any magic used at the site in the perpetration of the crime.”

Jack asks, “So a standard hit and run?” He pauses a moment. “Wait, Blue, how did you see an impact injury on his hip?”

I scuff my boots on the sidewalk. “I wondered if you would catch that. This is no standard hit and run. Before this boy was killed it appears he was stripped, starved, beaten, tied up, and left to stand in his own excrement.”

“Jesus Christ,” Jack mutters.

“What’s worse is that he felt free. I got the impression of a feeling of triumph before he died. He thought he had won. And then he got hit by the damn car and his brain was bashed in.”

“For Christ’s sake,” Jack says. His swearing is an unusual development. In fact, there seems to be an exceptional level of swearing with this case thus far.

“I’m worried because this looks like a standard hit and run as far as the death goes, and no magic was used at the scene of the death. But that boy had a magical gift of some sort, and he was tortured, so I want this case. We are not going to let the boys in blue keep it for themselves.” I say this last part with a level of confidence I do not feel.

“Who’s working it from the precinct side?”

“Senior Detective Tony Gambino.”

“It will be fine then,” Jack assures me. ”Gambino doesn’t seem to mind working with SIB. I’ll file the paperwork.”

“Thanks.” I breathe a big sigh of relief, just now realizing how afraid I had been of losing the case on a technicality. The Supernatural Homicide Investigation Unit has limited jurisdiction, only working cases where one of the supernatural breeds was involved to a significant extent. We pick up cases in which death is caused by a Vampire or someone magically Gifted. Supernatural homicide hate crimes fall into our ballpark, and unfortunately, there are far too many of those happening lately. We also get involved if the death occurs due to motive relating to magical gifts or blood theft. Just a standard hit and run of a Vampire or the magically Gifted would not get us involved in a case since that’s all regular work the police could do. In this case, the death looked like a simple hit and run, but cases of torture to a magically Gifted individual have a statistically high chance of relating to the magical gift.

Jack voices a warning that brooks no argument: “Keep me updated on this one. I want daily reports. Whoever you’re dealing with is a real gentleman.” He practically spits that last bit of sarcasm out, and then his face fades from the surface of my chimerator.

Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy 

The Light Who Shines has a Big Sale! Today for only 99 CENTS (Reg $4.99) If you want the entire 136,000 word novel, I hope you take advantage of this sale!

On Amazon:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 01. Double Depravity: Part 03

I stand and open myself up to the world again. Gambino stands well outside the perimeter of my work area wearing a quiet, thoughtful expression. His fellow officer’s face is full of wonder. Gifted sensitive work must be new to him. Well, at least it’s curiosity and not fear that radiates from his expression. I shake off the lingering emotions and try to collect myself as I move toward them.

Most detectives work to blend in with the everyday pedestrian, but Gambino is most at home dressed in a suit and tie with gleaming dress shoes. With his suave Italian looks, he wears it well. However, it only takes drink or anger to bring out the Irish side of his heritage, causing him to turn a signature shade of cherry red. Right now bright red spots highlight his cheeks, announcing his controlled anger to those who know him well. I know him well enough, but his freckled and fresh-faced companion is new to me.

As I approach, Gambino gestures to a man in the crime scene clean-up van. Two men unload industrial-sized power washers and vacuum equipment, obviously preparing for an inefficient bout of manual labor.

“You know, Gambino, any one of a number of magic potions, powders, or spells would do the job more effectively,” I say.

Gambino grunts. “Humph. You know the precinct isn’t ready to use magic craft like that. You can’t change the world in a day, but I’m working on them.”

A familiar exasperation washes over me. It’s the twenty-first century of the Red Ages, and the Gifted have helped keep the Norms safe from Dark Vampires since year one, but still they will not get over their fear and hatred of us. It’s an old, festering wound that I try to ignore. I turn my mind back to the situation at hand.

“Okay, I’ve gotten what I can. What do you have?”

Gambino inclines his head toward his companion. “Officer Warren was exiting the Cock and Bull Tap with some guys from the force when they heard tires squeal. They saw the body when they turned the corner." Gambino indicates the corner where the Cock and Bull Tap makes its home.

I address Officer Warren. “Did you see anyone or see a car?”

Officer Warren stands at attention, eager to divulge any detail that might be required from him. “No, Ma’am. We thought someone was just driving like an idiot when we heard the tires squeal. We didn’t hear anything else. We actually didn’t see the body right away when we turned the corner because of those shrubs right there.” His sweeping hand takes in three medium-sized bottlebrush buckeye shrubs that grow a few feet up from where the body had lain, positioned between the sidewalk and the street. The dense foliage could easily have hidden a body from view.

“It couldn’t have taken more than a minute and a half for us to pass the shrubs and see him lying there. He was already dead, Ma’am. I ran to him right away and checked. No heartbeat, no breathing. The car was long gone.”

“Did anyone move the body?”

Officer Warner’s mouth tightens at the perceived slight to his professionalism. “No, Ma’am!”

I nix my next question, switching it to accommodate his pride. “Do you remember anything else?”

We seem to be on smoother ground with his next reply. “No, Ma’am. Besides that, it was quiet. No cars or pedestrians were on the street. This is the end of the Warehouse District, and there isn’t much between here and the river except the cemetery. Most first shift workers around here get off at three o’clock, and either they head over to the Tap for a drink or they head straight home. It was approximately 3:47 when we left the tap, and we found the boy at approximately 3:49.”

My lips twitch in a smile at the fact that Officer Warren knew exactly what time it was. My guess is that he’s never anything even close to approximate. “Thanks, Officer Warren. You’ve been very helpful."

Gambino turns his intelligent gaze to Warren. “Thanks for staying, Officer. That’s all I need right now. Let me know if anything, anything at all, comes to mind.”

Officer Warren dips his head slightly in deference as he accepts his dismissal. “I sure will, Detective Gambino.”...
Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy 

The Light Who Shines has a Big Sale, Friday, April 11 (limited time)
Only 99 cents (Reg $4.99)

On Amazon:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Light Who Shines - Big Sale Today! (Urban/Dark Fantasy)

Reg: $4.99  Today 99 cents! 
4.8 Stars  | Urban/Dark Fantasy
magic | murder | mystery | mayhem | vampires | wolf 

Meet Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) and her cast of friends for an 80% discount.
  • Blue, the heroine, is a smart and gritty detective, determined to catch her perp. regardless of the price.
  • Her counterpart, the lethal day-walking vampire Jack Tanner, has broad shoulders, burnished gold curls, and a predatory green-eyed stare. Does he want Blue or not?
  • Blue is joined on her hunt by her faithful companion and oh-so-clever wolf Varg! Does Varg have some mysterious powers?
  • Don't forget Maud with her kaleidoscope hair! Is it fuchsia, peach, blue, or scarlet today? 
ADULT CONTENT: Recommended for ages 17+ for sex and violence. NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. THIS IS NO COZY MYSTERY! It is Urban Fantasy that crosses into mystery, romance, and has a dark side.

Readers keep saying they want more. Check out the reviews. Don't miss this deal!

Amazon US link: (click here)

Amazon UK link: (click here)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 01. Double Depravity: Part 02

Senior Detective Tony Gambino, who stands on the sidewalk next to the street where the body was found, is spilling over with anger and determination. I can feel so many emotions at a murder scene where the angst runs high. However, the job at hand requires that I focus on the victim’s emotions.

“Gambino, can you give me a minute? I have some questions, but I need to take some time here first.” Why can’t someone hanging around here just feel guilty? My job would be so much easier.

Gambino nods his assent, and I admire how despite his abundant emotion he looks the epitome of calm concentration.

I circle the taped off crime scene, stopping here and there, closing my eyes, feeling with my sixth sense for lingering signs of magic or strong emotion. A biting breeze blows by, sending a chill up my spine. The air, independent of the breeze, is awash with emotion. Coming directly from where the body had lain, a strong, sharp pulse of pain mixed with duller threads of anguish hits me. My pulse escalates and my heart stammers as the pain and torment submerge me. I seek solace in slow, deep breaths, reminding myself that this pain doesn’t belong to me.

Another emotion tickles my consciousness a few steps from the body. It’s a small sliver of emotion, which indicates that it only lasted a small moment of time, but it’s intense. Confusion? No—it’s surprise. I walk into the cloud of surprise only to be hit by another emotion. My feet are positioned exactly where the shards of glass were scattered when it hits me. The fine hairs on the back of my neck rise as I am pummeled by a blast of shock and horror in one small space. This emotion is incongruent with the first because it comes with a different signature, a different resonance left in the air. There were definitely two parties here.

My feet carry me down the street a few steps and the emotions shift back to the first signature. I do not own these emotions, but I certainly enjoy them. I sense liberation and triumph! Not the usual feelings one would expect to be haunting the body of a severely tortured young man. I sense something else warring with the feelings of liberation and triumph. It’s a deep, primordial fear, the feeling of being prey. This boy was hunted or chased, or perhaps he was hiding from something terrible.

I stand still and further ratchet down my normal senses, turning them almost completely off so I can feel more fully with my sixth sense, searching for any hint of magic. Emotions wash over me freely. Reaching past them, I search for something deeper and more elemental.

Something is coming from where the boy’s body had lain. It’s nothing more than a light tingling in the air, low to the ground, but I can feel that it has great significance. Moving closer to stand outside the outline of the body, I crouch down and fan my hands through the air close to the ground. A slight buzz zips through my hands, telling me the boy had a magical gift. The magic is clear, but its purpose is vague. It’s something basic yet powerful, but the reverberations don’t speak to a specific gift. I sift my fingers through the prickly air. I can’t feel that any magic was used, but rather just that magic had been there in the boy. Damn it! It’s too elusive, and I don’t have much to go on...
Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy

On Amazon:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Chapter 01. Double Depravity: Part 01

Bluebell Kildare: May 26, 2022, Red Ages

The boy is stark naked, and dried blood streaks extend from the crushed area of his forehead down to the hollows of his eyes where it pools like small, bloody twin lakes. The lines of his ribs stick out so much I could climb them like a ladder. A stark white shaft of bone sticks out from his leg, gleaming against the bloody rupture on his thigh. A pattern of crimson, crossed lines decorates his crushed left hip. His skin is dirty and he stinks like crazy, but not from death. Not yet. More like a latrine.

Under his layer of grime is a layer of bruising, both fresh and old. His feet and toes are black. How he was able to stand on them, I can’t imagine, as it looks and smells as though they are rotting. Calluses surround his ankles and wrists. I think he must have been tied up. Another pool of blood spills from under his head, spreading wide on the asphalt road. He looks to be sixteen to eighteen years old with the slightest bits of young facial hair growing about his chin. His body sprawls out on the street with his limbs twisted at awkward angles around him.

I’m going to catch the person who did this. I want to tear his heart out with my bare hands and squeeze it into a bloody pulp.

My fantasy of mushy heart muscle squeezing through my fingers as blood drips to the ground is unsatisfactorily interrupted. Dr. Nathan Perlman leans over the boy’s hand with a pair of tweezers and carefully plucks out a piece of dark red thread snagged on a fingernail. It gets tucked away safely in a clear plastic evidence bag for future analysis. Realizing that my hands are still fisted from my little fantasy, I release them and try not to look like the vengeful murderer I momentarily wish I were.

Nathan looks up at me and says, “I’m ready to move the body. Can you step back?”

“Sure.” I remove myself from the body, giving room for the Medical Examiner and his assistant to hoist the body onto the gurney.

While the men are in mid-lift, I take the opportunity to examine the boy’s underside. With one hand squashing my hat to my head, I lean over until my hair drags on the asphalt. “Holy Plane of Fire!”

Nathan’s assistant stumbles at my exclamation and drops the boy’s leg.

Nathan’s fury overflows. “Holy shit, Patrick! Hasn’t this boy been through enough?”

Four hands jostle the body until they manage to get it on the gurney.

Nathan’s foul mood and abuse of Patrick is unusual. His typically jovial face is soured, and his smile lines twist in the wrong direction. My chest tightens at the pained look on Patrick’s face. My heart goes out to both of them, really. I can feel the anger and pain rolling off Nathan. Patrick is feeling empathy for the boy and anxiety at having made a mistake on the job. I try to push their pains aside as I have to focus on the matter at hand, and dealing with my own emotions is enough. Luckily I can’t feel everyone’s emotions all the time, just the stronger ones—unless I open up my sixth sense, that is. Then I can feel it all.

When the body is safely enshrouded in clean white linen, I turn to Nathan. “Did you see the lacerations on his back?”

Nathan grimaces. “I hate to see shit like this.”

I agree, and my heart squeezing fantasy transforms into daydreams of watching the perpetrator’s flesh slowly disintegrate in a vat of acid. Propping my hands on jean-clad hips, I observe Nathan and Patrick load the destroyed body into the hearse.
Mini-excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Prologue: Part 04

I can feel the heat rising, and it burns. I look out at their faces, and even through my fear, I feel their sorrow and their rage. I feel it in me as well. That has always been my curse: to feel others as myself. Their rage now feeds mine. The flames lick my ankles, and the smoke fills my eyes.

I look up at the night sky and feel my fury overflow. Months of rage at Torloch, who took the life of our son to try to save himself. But more rage at Lilith, who made him an empty promise and turned him into a monster for the price of our child. Tears stream down my face as I recall my own black pit of grief at losing my lovely little boy. I feel the grief and pain of everyone on this dark night.

I smell the smoke from the ash tree I am tied to mingling with the oak kindling about my body. My childhood learnings flit through my mind even in my last hour. While oak gives strength, ash is the bridge between Earth and other worlds. Good! Let it make a bridge to the Plane of Fire for me so that I might reach Lilith and pay her back in kind.

I shout to the blackness of the sky above me. I call to the dark with all the rage of my soul. “Lilith, I call on you to hear me. By my blood, you will be destroyed! A light will come. A light that shines through your evil. A light that calls you to answer for your deeds. A light that binds you as I am bound and burns you as I burn. A light that rips you asunder and destroys your darkness.”

The pain is so great. The flames sear my legs now. I can’t help but twitch and scream and convulse, though I know there is no escape. I writhe, trying to get away from the fire, but it just grows and grows as my calves blister and melt. A part of my mind wishes the fire where higher so this pain would end more quickly. The only escape now is death, and it fast approaches. The smoke is so heavy that I cough as I scream. The fire has reached my waist now, and it envelops me in its excruciating embrace. I see the horrific faces of the mob, distorted and cast in red from the fire that consumes me.

I scream with all the strength that I have, willing my voice to carry through the between spaces. “Lilith, hear me! I call to you! By my blood, you will pay for what you have done!” I cough and hack, unable to get a breath of air. I thrash my head as the tongues of fire lick ever higher, melting my flesh, binding me to the holy ash tree as though we are one. The pain is so great now that I know nothing but the feel of it engulfing me. It seems to be all that was before me and all that will ever come after. I’m being eaten alive by the ravenous fire. The agony and the rage are the whole of who I am now.

I think one last thought, unable to even catch enough breath to scream it, unable even to work my mouth to speak it as the flames lick my chin. My dying thought sears into my soul and lifts with me to the Plane of Light. “Lilith, by my blood you will be destroyed!”...
Mini-excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Prologue: Part 03

Niall grabs my arms and starts dragging me into the throng. I try to gain footing, but my right leg will bear no weight. Tadgh grabs my other arm, and together they drag me to the center of town. The mob crowds around, cursing me, throwing sticks at me as I’m roughly tied to a large ash tree. The faces of my friends and my neighbors swirl around me in angry confusion with rays of moonlight shining on a gaunt cheek here and a slashing brow there. The bindings are pulled tight, cutting into my wrists and ankles as I struggle, but I know it is useless. It has been useless for a long time. It has been useless since the day Torloch made his pact with the devil’s handmaiden, Lilith. It has been useless since the day Torloch took my wee baby boy away and returned home without him but with his blood on his hands. It has been useless since Torloch became a bloodsucking monster and spread his disease through the village.

I look out at the faces of the crowd, and I see anger and fear. I see despair. It is a mercy they have let me live this long. I curse myself again for not leaving earlier despite the biting cold of winter. I hear one voice among the bloodthirsty yell, “Give her a Witch’s trial!”

Another voice responds, “We will give her a trial of fire. If she is innocent, let her be saved!”

Bundles of dry oak twigs and sticks are piled at my feet. Oak, the tree of strength. I wonder if the oak will give me strength in the last of my dying moments. I think of Sorcha, the twin of my poor baby boy. I hope only that Mor got her away safely and at least one of our family will be spared.

Grainne walks right up to me and spits in my face. “You filthy Witch,” she snarls. “Your monster husband and his kind killed my son. Shredded his neck.” Tears run down her dirt-smudged face. “We are going to watch you burn for what you done!”

Una, who lost her husband to Torloch, grabs a torch and sets the wood at my feet on fire. The firelight reflects off her savage face, and I see months of grief and seething anger in the depths of her wild eyes. There is no mercy here.
Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Prologue: Part 02

Mor leads me past the blacksmith’s shop, behind Fergus’ cottage, toward the forest. I see their torches at my cottage now. A voice yells, “They are gone!” and the villagers continue to chant, “Burn the Witch! Burn the Witch!”

I cast through my mind wildly now, seeking out a remembrance of a place to hide. My mind comes up empty, just as it did all winter when I feared a night such as this would come. I should have braved the cold and gone to the sea caves where the dragon tribe dwells despite the perilous winter journey.

Just then, Sorcha lets out a loud bawl, and I hear Grainne yell, “She is over there!”

Mor and I run around Fergus’ cottage and make for the edge of the woods. The throng is following us quickly with the younger men in the lead. The woods are just up ahead—if only we could lose them in the woods! If only Sorcha would stop crying!

We reach heavy brush, and I hear the thunder of feet behind me. Just at the edge of the woods, my foot catches on a tree root and I tumble to the ground. As I land on the hard dirt, I twist to protect Sorcha from being crushed by my weight, and pain shoots up my leg. Fear strikes my heart as I realize I have a choice to make.

“Mor!” I yell.

Mor glances over her shoulder and sees me on the ground. I try to stand, but my knee gives way. I can see the torches through the dark coming swiftly closer.

“Mor, take Sorcha. It is too late. Run. Keep her safe!”

Mor stands there, petrified. She looks at me, she looks at the woods in front of her, and she looks at the torches that are almost upon us. I thrust Sorcha out while warm, wet tears stream down my cheeks and fall unheeded onto the snow. “Take the bairn! It’s me they want!”

Mor grabs Sorcha and my arms, bereft of their lovely burden, fall uselessly at my sides. I stare hungrily after Sorcha for one last moment, and just as Mor and Sorcha disappear in the dark of the woods, the torches are upon me. First the young men arrive, their faces ugly with rage. I know each of them, grew up with them, broke bread with them, bartered with them, sang with them, but it matters not. It is their fear that drives them this night, and no proclamations of innocence or fond memories will help me now...

Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mini-excerpt: The Light Who Shines: Prologue: Part 01

Shaina: Winter, Year 1, Red Ages

I wake to the sound of pounding on the door and Mor’s voice yelling “Shaina! Shaina!”

Sorcha wakes up crying as I rush to open the door. A bloodcurdling scream tears through the night, destroying any illusions of a peaceful return to slumber. When I swing open the door with trembling hands, I see anguish in Mor’s eyes. The words that tumble from her mouth bring to the fore all the fears I’d been trying to suppress this winter.

“Shaina, Conor was found dead, killed by the bloodsuckers. Grainne and Aongus are calling you a Witch and are gathering the town folks to burn you as one! Quickly! We must run!”

I start gathering my things together, but Mor yells, “There is no time! Grab the bairn. We must go now!”

Sorcha is wailing now. Tears streak her little cheeks as she grips her blanket tightly in her tiny fists. I grab my plaid and wrap it around us both as I follow Mor outside.

“You must quiet her!” Mor whispers.

I try to comfort Sorcha in a hushed voice. “Shh, Sorcha, you must be quiet. Shhhh.”

Sorcha pays no heed and cries all the louder as she clutches me with her little fingers.

I hear the voices of the villagers coming now, yelling and screaming. “Burn the Witch! It was her husband who brought this upon us!”

Aongus’ voice rises above the rest. “Let her die too! Why should she be spared?”

Excerpt from: The Light Who Shines

By: Lilo Abernathy

On Amazon: