I am thrilled to have another cookbook out with the ever-talented TS Paul. This one is a view into a new universe called the Badger Hole Bar, a pocket dimension that is a crossroads for all sorts of aliens and cultures, cuisines and experiences. With the first major book in the series coming out soon, this cookbook is a pleasant tasting sampler of the food that the bar serves. It also has two short stories that introduce you to some of the interesting beings that live, or visit, there.
Look for future cookbooks in this series and tons of stories! It is a wonderful collaboration with the Phoenix Prime people for all books.
Also, look for a snippet about the bar sometime in the next week!
The action is heating up on Shade of Honor, a book written in TS Paul's Federal Witch Universe! As we get closer to the publication date, I thought you might like a new snippet!
“I refuse to accept that
“That is just the way
things are done, Zhanna.”
“You have no honor! Your
actions are those of an unthinking and brainless idiot. How can you look at
yourself in the mirror in the morning and not want to shun your own behavior?”
“You know damn well that
we have kept our families fed and the village maintained. There is no way of
making money here, and it is every man
“So you prostitute yourself, act like a shlyukha, and try to make it seemed like you
have to do it for your family.”
“We do the best we can.
Would you have my parents starve? Would you have Igor’s children go without
“Krava, I am telling you that there is a different way. There has to
be a different way. Our history, our traditions, go beyond what we are doing
now. It is like we have lost our way.”
The tall witch grimaced
and answered sarcastically, “Until something miraculous happens, Zhanna, we
will just have to continue our mercenary ways. I am sorry that you do not approve,
but that is the harsh reality. Even now your grandmother has repairs on her
home that need to be done. How are you going to pay for that? Your brother is
now dead, there is no more money for you or her.”
“I’m certainly not going
to be forced into marrying you! That would be a different type of selling, and
one that neither of us would enjoy. I would make certain of that.”
<<As would I,>>
added a deadly-sounding voice in both witch’s
Krava snorted in annoyance. “Of all the witches in our village that
it could have gotten a familiar, it
had to be you, Zhanna. You have no
mercenary skills, and we would not allow you to work outside the village
anyway. What good is a familiar if you can’t work your magic?”
“Understand me clearly,
Krava. I will work where I choose to work, I will do what I choose to do. No
one else will tell me what I am allowed or not allowed to do, especially you.”
Infuriated, the bulky man
in mercenary garb raised his arm and stepped toward the defiant small woman.
Unseen by Krava, the palm of Zhanna’s right hand began to glow a peculiar dull
red. She was fully prepared to fight the man who had just proposed to her. His
overbearing and bullying ways had bothered her since they were both small
children. His attitude and the sense of personal danger she felt when he was
around had been the impetus for her immediate and untactful refusal. If she had thought about it, she would’ve known
that he would not have taken any refusal well.
Despite how horrible he
had been as a snarky little boy, as a man he had gotten worse. Much worse.
Every time he had gone away for a job, he came back more like a dictator, like someone who would demand that others
perform as he chose. Zhanna knew that even his parents dreaded their son’s
When being within a few feet of him made her skin crawl and small hairs to stand up, marriage would
be horrible torture. She would find a different way to take care of her
grandmother. A way that would leave her with honor and pride, not a shameful
sacrifice, a pozornaya zhertva.
Her thoughts had
interrupted her movement and distracted her at a dangerous point. Krava’s close-handed blow knocked her off her
feet and slammed her into the table. Shaking her head in an attempt to clear
it, Zhanna tried to scramble to her feet. She was too focused to feel fear, too intent for indecision.
Drawing a deep breath as
she stood up, the young witch started to pull in her energy for a defensive shield. She knew she had a few
seconds before Krava would attempt to hurt her again
since she knew that he liked to “play” with his victims. Centering herself,
Zhanna prepared to fight.
The mercenary witch advanced closer to her with a cruel smile
on his face, the light of anticipation in his eyes. That look changed to complete shock when he was rudely
interrupted. It wasn’t just Zhanna that had been lost in the moment. Krava had
also lost situational awareness. Or perhaps he had just discounted the small
The new book is coming along well! I am enjoying this world and the interesting things that the story is developing and wanted to share another snippet of it with you. It will be coming in out in about 2 weeks and I hope you will find it enjoyable!
All that Zhanna could hear in the stunned silence was the dripping of water. Water dripping everywhere. Plunk, plunk, plunk. Her hair was plastered to her face, and she reached up a hand to clear her vision. The cavern was now decorated with dripping water, fragments of vegetation, and one very pissed off familiar.
<<Oh, oh! This is going to be bad,>> she thought to herself.
The usually elegant Russian Blue cat looked like a skinny black drowned rat. Her eyes seem to have doubled in size, glaring beams of green flame at the sodden witch. Slowly, ever so slowly, the cat raised first one front paw and shook it, and then the other. A sharp ripping sound started to emanate from its chest, and the familiar appeared to grow in size.
A nimbus of green flame had surrounded the form of the feline before a swirl of invisible wind encircled it. Instead of a 15 pound, normal-looking cat, the creature that stretched and arched its back before deliberately pacing over toward Zhanna was the size of a cat seen last on the Earth a millennium before.
If sabertooth tigers had come in black, this is what they would’ve looked like. Dascha had totally transformed into her alternate shape. Her dense coat had a subtle striping to it with blue, black, and dark gray forming stripes that ran along the body. Easily measuring 12 feet from her nose to the end of her tail, Dascha’s head now came up to Zhanna’s shoulder. What had been a very upset small cat now was a whole lot more infuriated feline.
At last, Dascha found her voice, producing a thundering roar in Zhanna’s head and an earsplitting caterwaul that echoed around the cavern.
<<What on earth were you thinking of? That was not the spell that you were going to try!>>
<<I just wanted to see if it would work. It seemed like it would be a logical thing to do after the spells we been practicing all morning.>>
<<If your goal was to translocate a large body of water up onto that walls, rip vegetation apart, and assaulted me with water, the spell worked. Otherwise, I would say it was some sort of epic failure.>>
<<I am truly sorry, Dascha. I knew I was tired and just wanted to try one more thing.>>
The cat looked around the cavern, noting broken stalactites, translocated fish that were gasping their last breath, and the continued dripping of water. Pinning her green-eyed gaze on her witch, the familiar summed up her opinion succinctly, <<I would say that this one counts as a failure.>>
Softening both her mental tone and audible snarling, the familiar continued,<<Let’s go home, Zhanna. You’re tired, and we will continue another day. After all, such learning is hard to do by yourself.>>