Book three in the Scarlet Thread series is now available! It’s set in Egypt and based on real historical and alchemical literature surrounding the “emerald tablet” – supposedly written by the hand of Thoth. Get it now on Amazon!
I’ve met Zeus, and made him bleed. But the war is just beginning. A tangled knot of forbidden romance binds my actions; Zeus is using my feelings for Sitri against me. Somehow I need to kill one and save the other. We search Egypt for answers, and nearly destroy Cairo. I’m getting stronger, but the gods are taking off their gloves. This fight could end us all.
I could feel the broken bones in my arm scrape together under my skin, like wooden blocks covered in sandpaper. Puriel lifted me up from the pile of rubble that used to be my childhood home and carried me to the black sports car. It was so quiet, I thought my ears must have been damaged, but then I could hear Puriel’s voice. He was asking me something, something about how to drive the car. I shrugged and rolled my head. I’d been in JDRI since I was nine, and driving lessons were never on the curriculum. I looked around for Sitri, why wasn’t he driving? Then I saw him, or at least the dark furry shape he’d become. The impossibly large, wolf-like creature. He was waiting for us in the middle of the road. Howling at us to hurry.
Puriel finally grasped the mechanics of the vehicle, and the car screeched out of the suburban cul-de-sac. I could hear sirens getting louder, and we passed several police cars and an ambulance. I blinked against the harsh flashing lights as they sped by. Puriel kept checking the skies through the windshield. I looked up as well, expecting a helicopter, but instead I saw a flash of wings and a glimmer of silver shapes, illuminated by the early light. The sun hadn’t risen yet, so I only saw silhouettes against the dark sky, but I knew what they were. Hunters. Dozens of them.
“Why aren’t they attacking us?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Puriel said. “But Zeus isn’t going to want us to reach Nevah. Not with the shears.”
The Golden Shears.
I looked down, and sure enough, my pale fingers were still clenched around the golden metal, almost like they’d melded with my fist. My arm looked like a spiked hammer. The shears radiated power, and I could feel a pulsing – a throbbing through my whole body. I didn’t know if it was my own heartbeat, or the shears.
My hands felt sticky, and I realized they were covered with bright blue goo, that shimmered when I turned my arm. Zeus’s blood. Pure divinity, straight from the source. I shuddered, resisting the urge to wipe it against my clothes.
“Do we have a towel or something?” I asked.
Puriel looked physically pained, and his eyes were coal black, with unusually wide pupils. He stared at my hands with more than just concern. It was hunger, I realized. This much energy, right here, it was taking all his strength to restrain himself.
“You… want this?” I asked, holding my wrists out.
Hunger took over his face, and for a moment I thought he was going to lose control and bite my hand off. Instead he reached for my hand and held it up to his mouth. He gently kissed my fingertips, and I felt his tongue flick over my skin. It should have been erotic, but it wasn’t. I knew this disgusted him as much as it disgusted me. But after what we’d been through, he needed strength. It must have taken a tremendous amount of willpower to resist Zeus, and Puriel had refused him. He’d given me the shears, and I’d stabbed Zeus in the thigh. Nobody could question his loyalty now. He’d had his shot at redemption, and he’d chosen us.
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This book is imaginative, spellbinding and fulfilling. I continue to be amazed with Mr. Murphy’s ability to describe and create such visual imagery. This story has so much to offer and I look forward to the next installment to see where this story leads. ★★★★★
I fell in love with this series after reading the first book. There is a great range in characters, from the ones you love, to the ones you love to hate. And this book along with the other in the series, sucks you right in so that you can’t put it down until the last page. ★★★★★
I flew through this trilogy in 3 days unable to put it down. The dedication to the plot, even through the weight of research, gives you such abundant insight into the characters and deities that litter the series. You’re caught up in such a whirlwind of passion, humor, and adventure that when you finish the 3rd book and realize the Author isn’t finished with this tale you mourn the months/years that it will take for him to discover and reveal the end. A must read for any young adult or adult that is young at heart. ★★★★★
This has to be one my favorite Derek Murphy series. I LOVE this alternate universe with Gods, humans, and hybrids, and how it branches out into Egyptian mythology as well. Given that this is the third book in the series, the characters have already been established. Due to this, I feel like the book moves at a much faster pace, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Derek Murphy has created such a rich universe in his books, that I feel like I am completely immersed in it when I am reading his books. Other than that, I cannot WAIT for the next one. ★★★★★
I’ve been working on Taste for a few years, and the story keeps growing.
It’s a vampire dystopia, and one review called it “Hunger Games meets Shade of Vampire.”
However it’s an interesting mix of fantasy and science-fiction, where the “vampires” are genetically modified super-humans who keep humans in captivity: each “Elite” must choose a human bride to honor the peace between the races, and the protagonist’s adventure begins when she is chosen. So there’s also the “choosing ceremony” motif – I actually began this book probably around 2013 when “choosing ceremony” books were popular, but I’ve seen a few similar stories recently that I loved, like the 100th Queen, so maybe it’s making a comeback.
I’ve tried multiple covers for this book, and actually it was the one on the far right that helped make some interesting story changes:
But ultimately I went with this beautiful art from Consuelo Parra.
Even though I have a pretty clean outline and know exactly how it ends (I usually start from my endings), the middle is developing and a few new characters have emerged. I’m confident there are some EPIC scenes in this book, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be my best book yet, but it’s also developing more slowly than I’d like (plus, like usual, my stories keep growing and I have a difficult time knowing exactly where to cut off book one and where to start book two).
I HOPE to have it done in April 2018, because I have so many other projects to work on.
Read the excerpt below, and if you like it, download the first six chapters.
I covered my mouth and nose with my mother’s shawl and cut through the poisonous ash, ignoring the battered warnings signs. Going past the wall is death. Inhale too much ash and it will kill you. But this wasn’t my first time skirting the laws. I headed further away from the purification engines, whose motors filled our town with a constant hum, and climbed the oak tree that had grown too close to the perimeter fence ringing our compound.
As I shuffled out to the tip of a gnarled branch, the buzz of electricity radiating from the fence made the hair on my arm stand up. We didn’t have much electricity in Algrave, but I knew it was dangerous. I gripped the rough bark between my fingers, wobbling slightly as I blinked away a chunk of ash that had gotten stuck in my eyelashes. It wouldn’t harm me in small doses, as long as I didn’t breathe it in. But the ash wasn’t the only thing beyond the fence that could kill me.
My father used to tell me stories about the beasts outside the gates. Rancid breath. Claws as long as my arm. Teeth that could pierce the hardest stone. Their beady red eyes—the last thing you’d see before they ripped you open. Slagpaw, we called them. His stories terrified me when I was young, but it had been years since the last attack. Maybe the elite hunted them to extinction, or maybe they were just a story to scare the village kids from wandering too far into the ash. But I wasn’t a child any longer, and my father was gone. Besides, it was Festival tonight, and I didn’t want to be late.
I lowered myself down from the branch and dropped into the pile of leaves I’d left on my last trip. I’d nearly broken my ankle the first time I made the drop. This time I rolled, tucking my bow to the side. I brushed myself off and took a deep breath through my shawl. It filtered out the ash while letting in the fresh scent of pine sap. Nocking an arrow, I walked forward silently, my bow ready. My father had taught me how to walk without snapping any twigs when I was younger. He said it might save my life someday. I’d never really understood what he meant, and he’d died before I could ask him.
He left behind a bow he made himself, a hunting knife, and a few basic traps. When I realized my mother planned to sell them, I begged her to let me use them instead. She gave me a month to learn how to hunt. Twenty-eight days later, I came home with my first rabbit. Since then, she’s pretty much given me free reign, as long as I helped put food on the table.
Of course, she didn’t know how far I really needed to go to get meat these days. She thought I stayed within the compound and waited for a really stupid bird or squirrel to wander in. That hadn’t happened in months. I was sick of hearing my little brother complain that he was hungry. He was too young to understand rationing, or why we could never buy the sweet pastries in the market.
My mom did what work she could, but there was only so much she could do. At night, she soaked her feet in hot water with herbs, and rubbed the back of her neck. Sometimes I’d catch her staring at the walls and smiling to herself. I think she was secretly looking forward to the Choosing ceremony. Not that anybody in our family had ever been chosen, but she could hope. For my part, I was determined to make myself useful in any way that I could. And this could be my last Festival at home with my family. I wanted to make it special.
Twigs snapped behind me and I whirled around, pulling the taut string of my bow to my ear. A buck with magnificient antlers moved slowly through the trees. I’d never killed anything so large before. At least it was an easy target. I held my breath as it turned its three eyes towards me. Radioactive, my father would have said. Whatever that meant. Meat was meat. I steadied my breath, aiming for the front of its body, hoping to hit one of the vital organs.
I was just about to release my arrow when I heard the voices. My eyes widened in surprise and my heart pounded like a drum in my chest. There shouldn’t be anybody else beyond the wall, unless…
I ducked just in time to see a group of elites wander into the meadow, laughing and shoving each other. They looked like us, mostly—but I knew they were faster and stronger than any human. And far more dangeous than the creatures in my father’s bedtime stories. Apart from the handful of guards posted around the compound, who wore a standard black uniform, and a small team of engineers that came through our village every few months to check the machines, I hadn’t had much interaction with the elite. They all looked young, healthy, and clean in a way the people of my village could never hope to look, as if they took a bath every night and every morning. These ones were wearing richer materials and clothing than I’d ever seen.
One of the Elites held a finger up to his mouth. He ran a thin-fingered hand over the long, dark hair slicked back over his ears, then signalled the others to loop around to the other side of a small meadow. I was so sure they smelled me, my heart nearly stopped. I crouched on my toes, preparing to run, but then one of them hollered and chased a buck into the clearing. My buck. The rest of them ran around the animal in circles, terrifying the poor beast. They let it dart around and think it could escape into the woods, before appearing just in front of it again. They moved so fast my eyes could scarcely keep track of them.
The one with dark hair straightened his purple velvet jacket and approached the animal, keeping his arms out to both sides until he was right in front of it. Without warning, he grabbed the buck by the antlers and snapped them both off with a firm twist. As the animal stood there, stunned, he plunged the antlers into either side of the buck, skewering it and sending a spray of blood up over his white shirt and pale face. Then he smiled, licking the blood from the corners of his mouth.
My stomach turned sour as the other elites crowded around the animal. They raised silver chalices to the still-quivering animal, filling their cups with warm blood. One of them found a vein, and latched his teeth around the creature’s neck. He bit down hard, and blood streamed over his lips and chin. I shuddered and took a step backwards.
The leader’s head snapped up, and he looked straight at me with hungry eyes. Before I could even think about running, he was at my side. A cruel smile played on his lips as he glared down at me. Very slowly, he took an embroidered handkerchief out of his dark jacket and wiped the deer’s blood off his face.
“Ready for a new game, boys?” he called.
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
-When the soul dies:
Cover art: Consuelo Parra
VAMPIRE Books GIVEAWAY
I’ll be giving out vampire prizes and free ARC copies to my list during the launch, make sure you sign up to win!
I’m so excited about this new cover for Scarlet Thread! It’s my most popular book, so with a new cover and a tweaked summary I’m hoping to boost my downloads significantly.
I had meant to publish the 2nd half of this story in “book one” – but since part one is already 60,000 words, and since the full story I have mapped out would be around 130,000 words, I’ve decided to add three chapters to part one and just call it “book one” – it’ll be as long as most normal urban fantasy books, at about 75K, and will end on a cliffhanger, but not quite such a dramatic and annoying cliffhanger as it does currently.
With those changes, I’m going to take it off permafree and change it to 99cents, with book two continuing the story, and book three finishing it.
If you haven’t read it yet, get it HERE.
If you get it before I update it with the new chapters, I’ll try and get KDP to notify you of the updates; I’ll also add the extra chapters to this site.
In the meantime here’s a sneak peek – a never before seen chapter.
(It’s rough and still needs editing).
My name is Kaidance Monroe, and sometimes when I touch people, I see how they die.
At least that’s how this story began. But last night changed everything. A few days ago I saw Matt die. I saw the sword sticking out of his beastly chest, blood gurgling from his lips. The golden sword, glittering with blue jewels, the crown that symbolized Zeus’s kingdom shining like a beacon in the darkness. All of Zeus’s winged army had swords like that—hunters, created to rid the world of magic.
In the past, every time I had a vision of someone’s death, it came true.
But last night, when hunters broke in through the ceiling like bolts of lightning, it was my death they were after. So I couldn’t let them kill Matt. I couldn’t let him die for me. I was supposed to use the shotgun and sword Sitri gave me, but I couldn’t do it. Not when I saw Puriel. His tall, muscular body. His amber eyes and nearly white hair. The shimmering mirrored wings behind him. I couldn’t destroy something that beautiful. And I didn’t want any more deaths. I just wanted it to stop. So I offered myself to him. Let them take what they came for. In that moment, I was prepared to die.
Instead… Puriel burst into flames, and Matt lived.
Which means, my visions don’t have to come true. Which means, I might not be the monster everyone always thought I was.
But why did Puriel hesitate? Why not destroy me like Zeus ordered him to? He’d become a torch, cast off from Zeus’s favor. After serving obediently for thousands of years. How could that have happened? I was about to find out.
After the attack, Sitri had practically carried me back to my room and told me to stay put. The others started cleaning up the wreckage and removing the bodies. I was most worried about Matt and Priya, because I’d seen them get hurt, but I knew Alice would take care of them. I wondered how many others were injured. Sitri had posted four torches outside my door for my protection. Every time I stuck my head out to see what was going on they crossed their swords and blocked my path. I felt like I was under arrest.
I wanted to talk to Sitri or Able, I needed answers—and if I couldn’t have that, at the very least I wanted to help out and keep my hands busy. Being stuck in my room while everyone else was working was driving me crazy. I couldn’t stop thinking about Puriel. What had happened? Why had he caught on fire like that? Why didn’t he kill me when he had the chance? It was an hour before I realized I still had Able’s invisibility cap—I’d stuck it in my pocket after confronting Puriel.
I snuck through the bathroom into Sitri’s room and opened the door cautiously. With the cap on I stuck my head out to peek at the torches. The floorboard creaked when I took my first step out of the room and I froze, my heart racing. Two torches whipped their heads towards me, but after a moment faced forward again like marble statues.
Most of the mansion was empty, I thought there would be more damage but it seems the attack was focused only on the upstairs floors—as if they knew exactly where I would be. I heard voices and followed them to the second floor. Eligor was addressing a small group of torches.
“The threat was neutralized quickly—10 hunters drew attention away from the main building by starting skirmishes around the defensive barrier, just as four breached the top floor. Two lost their lives immediately, apparently they didn’t expect to find Stephanie there, or underestimated her power. The third was killed soon after—the fourth captured.”
“Is it true the fourth hunter fell?” someone asked. There were murmurs when Eligor nodded. He held a hand up and continued.
“As you know, hunters rarely fall, the circumstances must have been extreme. I don’t know what it means yet, nor should we be overly curious. We should also not assume, now fallen, he will join our ranks—the fate of the intruder will be decided by Able and the masters of Nevah, and we will accept their decision without question. For now, he’s being held in the dungeon until decisions are made. We should also not assume the threat is over. Zeus’s army did not get what they came for, this time. They will undoubtedly strike again soon with double the force. Be vigilant.”
Eligor gave instructions and the torches left to carry them out. He paused when we were alone and he looked at the place where I was standing. But then he left and I was alone.
I wandered lower and lower into the house until I found a room I hadn’t been in before. In the corner was a descending spiral staircase made of large rectangular slabs of stone. I followed it down into a sublevel of the complex, which looked practically medieval. It was mostly used for storage and seemed to have enough food and supplies stockpiled to last a hundred years. I shuddered as I passed a room full of hooks, chains and complex devices I hoped weren’t tools of torture. Finally I found a row of thick iron doors with tiny barred windows. I peeked through the rusted iron bars until I found Puriel.
I could barely see him in the dark. His pale, white body made him look like a ghost, surrounded by walls of solid concrete. Ash and soot stuck to his skin in dark patches, and he smelled like charcoal, singed hair and burnt feathers. I heard the grating noise of heavy chains being dragged across the stone floor and noticed that the dark cuffs around his neck and wrists were fixed to the wall.
I gasped when he looked up, his eyes were black sockets, gaping voids of desolation and heartbreak. The beautiful thing Puriel had been yesterday was gone, and this thing was ruin incarnate. His eyes sparked like glowing coals, as furious patches of bright orange burned in the darkness of the room. He moaned, straining against his restraints, his muscles tense as he reached towards the door. Towards me.
I choked back a sob at the thing he’d become.
Then I took the heavy skeleton key, turned the giant lock, and stepped inside.
“It’s you, isn’t it,” he said as the door creaked open. His eyes darted across the cell. I realized he still couldn’t see me. I stepped into the far corner of the room, out of his reach, and removed Able’s cap.
“Come to torment me further? Survey your handiwork?”
“I didn’t mean for this to happen to you. I had no idea this would happen, whatever this is… I was just trying to save my friend.”
“And that’s exactly why I fell. A cruel trick. A mean trick. But so what, it’s over now. I’m here, a prisoner without purpose, without hope, condemned forever to waste away in suffering and darkness.”
“Why were you after me? I’d never done anything to you. You chased me from JDRI. Then you followed me here,” I accused. “Why?”
“I don’t ask why. My Lord commands and I obey.”
“You mean Zeus?” I asked. Everything Able told me had been true.
““Zeus is his pagan name,” he spat. “We use his Latin name, Deus. The one true king,” he said. “Pure goodness and perfection. My maker and master. Whom I faithfully served since he gave me life, until today, when I failed him.”
“Failed him, by not killing me?”
Puriel nodded, then he sank his face in his hands.
“I hesitated, because I thought I saw goodness in you, and it made me doubt. Now I understand it was a trick. You are the worst kind of evil. The invisible kind. The kind that thinks they are good, but doesn’t know any better. You lie so perfectly I saw no trace of deceit or malice in you. Only innocence, kindness, courage—”
“Zeus is the evil one,” I said. “He slaughtered his own family. Able told me—”
“Able,” Puriel repeated with a sad smile, “has told you nothing but lies. Even the name he’s given himself, it sounds so ordinary. So innocuous. It hides the truth of what he really is.”
“And what is he?” I asked nervously.
“He has many names. Father of Lies. Prince of Darkness. Ruler of the Underworld. In French he’s called Le Diable.”
My knees trembled as the world resonated in the small space. I’d heard those titles before… but they didn’t make any sense here. Those were titles for the Devil in Christian mythology. What did that have to do with Greek legend and mythology? A felt a sinking in the pit of my stomach as I realized the truth. Maybe I’d already known it. Le Diable—Able. I’d dined with the devil and didn’t even know it. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. The hunters could fly and had wings. They served their almighty Lord with pure obedience.
“You’re an angel,” I said, breathlessly.
“Some humans call us that,” he said. “We prefer the term Seraphim. We burn with the inexhaustible energy of Deus, like mirrors reflecting his power and glory.” He looked down at his hands in wonder, turning them over slowly. “I was Seraphim. Now I am nothing. Cast out. Defective. Unworthy. A broken vessel. Yesterday I could have melted through these chains.”
I felt sorry for him, even though he had been trying to kill me. In a twisted way, he’d sacrificed himself to save me. Even if he hadn’t done it on purpose, and even if he was regretting it now, I still felt a twinge of responsibility. My head was spinning as I reached for the door handle.
“Deus does not explain himself to the Seraphim,” he said quietly as I was leaving, “nor do we try to understand his will. But I can share what he called you, the name he used when he gave the order. Deicidium. From Deus, meaning god and cidium, which means cutting. In English, it would translate as godkiller.”
Hope you liked it! If you have read Scarlet Thread please add a review.
I just watched the Fallen movie trailer and it looks epic! I’m pretty excited because Lauren Kate’s books were influential when I started writing (also, I did my PhD Thesis on Paradise Lost so fallen angels are kind of my thing).
I threw together another giveaway for 28 dark fantasy books. The winner will also get this awesome pair of black feather wings and a feather charm bracelet.
Because there are so many books in this giveaway, and we’re traveling (Ireland, en route to France), this giveaway will be for ebook versions of all the books + the wings and feathers.
How to win: sign up to get your “lucky URL” – when you share the giveaway you’ll have a special link – anybody who signs up with that link gives you extra entries. So you can put that link everywhere – add the giveaway picture, tag some friends, get them to share and retweet for you. I’ll have some runnerups that win just 3 of these books – you can comment on the 3 you want to read on the Facebook page here and I’ll pick five winners.
I found a new image that I adore and redid the Shearwater cover (again). Personally I love it, but after posting on Facebook and Twitter a lot of people preferred a version of the original.
This is the one most people liked best.
These are some of the earlier versions.
Someone said the girl in the red dress (on top, my favorite) was not great for the story because it had too much resemblance to Ophelia… but Shakespeare actually compares Ophelia to a mermaid in Hamlet, and I bring up the association by planting in a few dead girls.
I want it to be a beautifully tragic, heartbreaking dark fantasy (and my protagonist has a fear of drowning) so I like the red dress one the best. But I don’t want her to look like a victim… and maybe that’s why people like the pinkish dress one better – it looks like she’s struggling to stay above water; there’s more action.