Thank you to Kelly from Love Books Groups for organising this Tour and to Roy Huff for providing an extract to host on my blog.
Ancient civilizations, parallel worlds, aliens, time travel, epic fantasy, dragons and college! The Everville series can be read as stand-alone novels and have it all for teens, new adults, and all ages alike.
Two very different worlds, Easton Falls University and the magical realm of Everville are in dire need of a hero. Owen Sage embarks on an epic journey of monumental proportions to save these worlds all while fighting to keep the world within himself intact. This quest is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the weak of mind—only the bravest will succeed. Discovering the well-kept secret of The Fourth Pillar of Truth is only part of the feat. Owen will have to outwit the ever-powerful villain Governor Jahal and overcome countless other challenges along the way.
Check out this brilliant extract and see if it can whet your appetite.
“It’s hard to believe that not so long ago our people barely staved off the occupation of this great city,” Faine said to Asher, his friend and fellow Ubaloo soldier whom he’d fought alongside in the last great battle.
“I know,” Asher said. “It’s amazing to think that Them and the Alarians almost destroyed Brackenbone and the portals. Now The Walls of Vermogen and the portals once again stand as gates, protecting us from invaders.”
“It is a lucky turn of events,” Faine replied with confidence. “I can’t imagine anyone who would want to fight us now, or what harm they could possibly inflict given the current state of affairs.”
“The tide has turned, but we mustn’t forget that the threat of war looms hidden just below the horizon. The enemy strikes the instant arrogance blinds you to the threats that cannot be seen,” a captain in the generals army said.
Shortly thereafter, Felix, Faine, and Asher passed through the rear gates of Brackenbone’s capital. The city was dense, dotted with a few large brick buildings intermingled among tightly-packed thatched homes, the roads and walkways all cobblestone. Two massive gates protected the city’s front and rear. There was, however, no moat, no castle, and no king.
With the help of a general from each land, The Keepers reigned as wise oligarchs over all the realms surrounding Everville, including Brackenbone. The inhabitants of each realm stood as their own militia and gained help from the army of giants whenever a threat grew too menacing. With a truce among the enemy, and the Alarians now allies with Everville, those who resided in the area were content that the surrounding realms were safe … for the time being.
A short while later, after the trio of uncertain heroes, Felix, Faine, and Asher, made it through the city gates, they heard a great commotion.
“Heads up!” shouted an Ubaloo soldier off in the distance.
A massive stone meant to help fortify the great wall surrounding the city slipped from its harness and raced towards the ground.
“Get out of the way!”
The huge rock gathered momentum and as it neared the walls, those in the area scrambled away in fear. Several Ubaloo children fell to the ground in terror, powerless to get out of its way.
Rathlar, unaffected by the general panic, transformed into a shifting black vapor, an eddy of smoke that made its way towards the plunging boulder, and as quickly as the boulder had escaped the grip of its harness, a reassuring hand emerged from the cloud and pulled the giant stone up the hill and back into its holster.
Rathlar made sure the stone was safely secured before he resumed his dragon form. After which, the sound of cheers greeted him, and the Ubaloo responsible for the slip breathed a huge sigh of relief. The mistake, however, did not go unnoticed by the general.
After the commotion settled, Rathlar rested against the ground. Felix, Faine, an Asher all saw how the incident had weakened him. His power had limits. It was not like before when the element coursed through his body, as it once did for of all the Alarians who’d fought alongside him in the last great battle. Great force was needed to change shape, and without the constant power the element provided, the dragon would lose strength whenever he transformed. Regardless of his new limits, Rathlar was a hero in the eyes of the citizens, but the general knew well that Rathlar was not invincible. Brackenbone was vulnerable, even with a powerful dragon as its ally.
Later that evening, the Ubaloo general, Randore, met with the military leaders in their most fortified building to discuss the current state of affairs. The fortress had seven stories of pepper-colored stone stretched out one-quarter of the city’s width and served as the city’s final place of refuge.
General Randore wore full military gear, his dagger holstered on one side and his sword on the other. The oldest and strongest among them, he stood a full inch taller than all the other Ubaloo, each of whom stood little more than that of a large housecat. The general’s countenance was that of an undefeated warrior, yet somehow peaceful, as if quieted by resolute determination.
“I am very pleased that our people have maintained the truce and that we have enjoyed a prolonged peace,” the general said, feasting on the food spread out on a large table.
“Rathlar is a great asset to the land of Brackenbone, and we have made great strides in repairing the damage to both The Walls of Vermogen and much of our city. Cleary, though, Rathlar cannot be in two places at once, and he is unable to shape-shift without getting weaker. Therefore, we must fortify our great city and The Walls of Vermogen even more heavily fortified than they are now.”
“I agree, General,” said one of the captains. “We have already used the special ore from the cave behind the walls to construct the brick for the buildings. What do you suggest we do now?”
“We can add another layer of stone and position more soldiers behind the city gates and alongside The Walls of Vermogen. We could also dispatch spies in each of the realm along the network of portals.”
“I’ll call up a contingent of soldiers at dawn to carry out your orders, General,” the captain replied.
“Excellent. We must always be prepared for war, even at the height of tranquility. We need to ensure that this fleeting peace does not lull our land into a sense of complacency.”
Meanwhile, in the earthly realm across the vast expanse, it was the last day of winter break, and Owen Sage was once again about to embark on his journey as a college student. He was rested and eager to embrace the new experiences that awaited him at Easton Falls University; his only regret was not having more time to spend with his dad, Lucas.
Owen’s father stood in the living room, a nostalgic look on his face, as if he were pining for something from his childhood. “You know, I wish I said it more often son, but I love you,” he said.
“I love you too, Dad,” Owen replied.
Lucas stared upon Owen’s face, which now possessed an ageless wisdom and a calm serenity well beyond his years.
“I wish we’d had more time to catch up on things, but I promise we’ll talk more next time you’re here.”
“I’d like that very much. I’m glad things worked out so we can have you back again. I know Mom is happy,” Owen said.
“Before you go, I just wanted to tell you that there’s still a lot we should talk about,” Lucas said just as Owen’s friends pulled into the driveway. He paused for a few moments after he had regained Owen’s attention, and it was obvious that he had thought long and hard about whatever was on his mind.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t have the opportunity to spend more time with you when you were younger, and I’m glad that I’ve had a chance to reclaim some of that lost time.”
“I know, Dad, but you’re here now, and that’s the important thing,” Owen replied with sincerity.
Owen’s mom, Amelia, walked over, wrapped her arms around Owen and gave him a smothering hug. She smelled like crispy bacon mixed with orange-scented dish soap. From the table she picked up a covered package. “Your dad made this for you. I forgot how well he can cook,” Amelia said, glancing at her husband with an affectionate grin.
Lucas smiled with genuine pride, an emotion that he had denied himself for as long as he could remember.
“What is it?”
“It’s your dad’s specialty. Just be sure to heat it up again before you eat it. It tastes best warm.”
Amelia handed him the wrapped container. It was neatly sealed, but the smell seeped through the cracks. It had a comforting, hearty aroma, with hints of beef and cheese. Owen would have eaten it right then and there if he hadn’t had a very large meal just moments before.
“I hope you like it, something to remember your dad by.”
“If it tastes as good as it smells, I’m sure I will. Thanks, Dad, Mom.”
“You’ve grown into such a handsome man. You look just like your father,” Owen’s mom said as she placed her hands on his shoulders.
Owen was taller than the both of them. In the last few months he had grown his final two inches and now stood an even six feet tall, an inch taller than his dad. They looked like brothers, just a few decades apart. Owen was now more muscular, but they shared the same look of intensity. Owen’s smile, though, he’d inherited from his mom.
After a few more prolonged hugs, Owen left for school in Anika’s car, along with Dante, both of whom waved at Owen’s parents as Anika drove away.
After returning to Easton Falls University and unpacking, Owen spent the second half of his day planning out his schedule and meeting up with friends. It was time now, though, to meet with Cleophas, one of his old mentors and the leader of the Echo Club. His best friends, Anika and Dante, joined him on the journey.
“I can’t believe how cold it is,” Dante said as he shivered beneath the midnight-black goose down coat that covered his body like a second skin.
They had all bundled up in a heavy winter garb, but Dante had on a few extra layers on him. The coat nearly reached his knees, and he had donned two pairs of long underwear for extra warmth.
“It’s really cold, even for the middle of January in New England,” Owen replied.
A bone-chilling wind howled just as the words escaped Owen’s lips. The tree limbs that lined the sidewalk sang a melody as they rattled against one another. Soon, a prolonged gust of air joined the chorus and blew directly at Owen and his friends, nearly knocking them over. As they pressed forward, a whirlwind of fallen leaves flew by and pelted their already chapped skin.
They walked closer together to conserve warmth, and in spite of the thick snow managed to muddle through the ocean of white flakes. The snow covered up much of the subtlety of the school’s Gothic architecture, but the overall shape of the spires and gargoyles remained. Just as it was time for the sun to set, the snow finally stopped falling from the overcast sky. Barely then end of the afternoon, it was getting dark fast, and the fading blue-grey light that bled through the thinning high clouds cast an even colder impression on the campus.
“These are the times I question my decision to come to this school,” Dante struggled to say through chattering teeth. “Maybe I should have gone to a school in Florida or Hawaii.”
“Well, at least the cold makes it easier to get homework done,” Anika replied.
“How was your winter break?” Owen asked.
“I slept a lot and watched television. It was a much needed rest,” Dante muttered through his shivering lips.
“What about you, Anika?”
Anika sounded nonchalant yet eager. “Nothing exciting, thankfully. I just sat around the house by the fire and read a bunch of good books, took a break from all the drama.”
“Why does it seem like this walk is taking longer than normal?” Dante asked.
“Well, I guess it’s because it is, with all the wind and thick blowing snow. Maybe we should try to pick up the pace,” Owen suggested.
After another ten minutes, they approached the Echo Club headquarters. As they walked in, Cleophas stood behind the door with a huge smile on his chiseled face, towering over them with an air of assurance and familiarity. The wind gave one last gasp before it slammed the door shut with a loud bang as they entered.
“It’s so wonderful to see you all here again, healthy and safe!” Cleophas said with a smile.
“I think we’re all happy to see you as well, and in better condition,” Owen responded.
“Well, yes. For that I have you to thank, Owen, though all of you played your part in helping to win the last battle against Mallory and restore order both here and in Everville. I’m glad to say that I have once again taken back the leadership reins here at the Echo Club, in large part due to the fact that the doctors gave me a clean bill of health.”
“That’s awesome! How are things with your wife Dala?” Anika asked.
“They couldn’t be better,” he said as his face beamed.
“Come with me. There are some people who I’m sure will be glad to see you.”
Cleophas led them through the inner room of the club. Upon their arrival, all the other current members of the Echo Club, who had been talking amongst themselves in the center chamber, greeted them cheerily.
“Care for some hot chocolate?” one of the club’s eager new male student helpers asked while looking at the three of them.
“Sounds great,” Dante said, while the others nodded yes.
Dante rubbed his hands and took off his coat. The old brick fireplace warmed the room, and his extra layers of clothing were making him sweaty.
“Well, a lot has changed since we all met here the last time,” Cleophas said as he began the informal meeting. “Owen’s success in finding The Third Pillar of Truth and in helping us win another great battle in Everville has had vast consequences. Those of you that your fellow schoolmate, Jacob captured and sent away have returned, and all those who were forced into a coma have regained their lives, including my wife Dala.”
Cleophas stopped speaking for a moment, his masculine voice giving way to fragility, his eyes beginning to swell. He fought back the tears that tried to escape before he finally regained his typical stoic appearance.
“Zee’s father, Professor Samil, returned as well. And one more thing … Jacob doesn’t go to this school anymore. He no longer has a wealthy adoptive family. I think you should take a trip to see him for yourselves.”
“Serves him right,” said Anika, “after the way he treated you and after what he did to all of us. I’m not sure I want to see him.”
Cleophas thought back to the time before the new timeline, a time when Jacob had deceived him. The memory was still very fresh in his mind. He remembered the exact moment, and as he did, he heard Jacob expel the words as if they had just escaped his lips.
Jacob took his free hand and grabbed Cleophas’ throat. He pressed down hard and listened while Cleophas gasped for air.
‘Listen. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of an old man who’s already close to death wondering if this is the moment he’s going to die.’
Author Bio – Roy Huff
Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based author, research scientist, and teacher. After a difficult childhood, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back.
He’s since earned five degrees, worked on projects forecasting Kilauea volcanic emissions, and trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms.
Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He still dreams of traveling into space and circumnavigating the globe. But until then, he makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen. And he hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride.
Stay tuned to Roy Huff’s upcoming releases and promotions on his author portal at https://royhuff.net and on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. @realroyhuff