Introducing my New Book: Goldenguard

It’s been six years since the release of my first novella, Ferryman, and many of you followers have seen the chaos of my writing journey, always kicked left and right like some pinball machine. At last, however, I have a new book, a full-length novel that I can introduce to you all: Goldenguard.

Goldenguard is an adult fantasy novel (I hate that phrase because it sounds raunchy, but nobody likes “Grown-up make-believe”). It will be available to purchase in e-book and paperback through Amazon on Saturday, November 26th.

What’s it about? I’m glad you asked…

Back Cover Blurb

He left them for dead. Now he’s their only hope.

Big Walter doesn’t want to be a hero anymore. He spent his youth prowling through the dark, and punching back whatever crawled out of it. Of course, he had friends then—a one-eared do-gooder, a serpent-tongued fire mage, the town belle, and a scab-kneed night elf—all guarding their Midwestern town of New Haven. Before they all fell apart. Before Walter had enough of being the big, dumb brute. Before he left, and finally found peace.

But now, something is calling him home. The darkness has grown stronger, New Haven is undefended, and worst of all, Walter can hear his friends screaming in his mind. But going back means more than trudging through the icy winter and the slithering night. He must return to his youth, relive the joys of friendship and community, and suffer old heartaches anew. Only then can he answer the hard questions: what really happened to those blissful years? What’s waiting for him out in the darkness?

And is there enough time to set it right?

The World

You want to know something funny? This book started out as a contemporary novel. No magic, no giants, just normal people in a normal town, based on the place I grew up. But as I wrote, I started making up little metaphors of Walter being this powerful force that defends his friends from the darkness, and I realized, “Well, that’s WAY more interesting!”

That’s how the little town of New Haven was born. I’ve always been fascinated by the Americana aesthetic. Picket fences, church steeples, wide front porches, and a bit of rural flavor. The story follows the economic boom of the 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and how those forces of hope and despair play on a fantasy setting. New Haven is an old town, set in its ways, but also a neighborly one. Even strangers and “those people” can become part of the family if they stick around long enough.

And if they can survive the night.

Something lurks in the dark, hiding from the sun. An ethereal evil, the Darkmist, swirls between the trees, and takes shape as a Prowler, a beast that hunts the living. To see one is rare, and most people are smart enough to stay indoors, surrounded by light and heat, which all Darkmist fears. But some aren’t so lucky, and even the quiet New Haven has seen plenty of death. Bigger cities have paid bands of warriors called Goldenguards who keep evil at bay, thwarting its every advance. But New Haven has nobody.

The Darkmist hides from all light, but it truly loathes the mystical power of the Goldengreen, ancient and colossal pines pulsing with quiet power. Every winter solstice, when the world celebrates Christmas, the Goldengreens light up a searing golden color for 24 hours, surging with power to burn away evil and heal sickness. That one surge is enough to weaken the Darkmist, but as the year goes on, evil’s power returns. In the days before Christmas, the Darkmist is at its most powerful and hateful.

That’s when our story takes place.

The People

New Haven calls itself a normal town. All humans, with very little in the ways of magic, save for the baker and the potion man. Normal folk trying to earn a living. But those days are changing, as odd folk are starting to make a name for themselves.

Walter Luther is the protagonist. Eight feet tall as a teenager, Walter’s giant blood makes him the town sensation. He quickly befriends John Douglass, a boy who’s unique enough being one of five black people in a white town, but then he lost an ear and finger playing chicken with the Darkmist. Not that it’s soured his adventurous temperament. No, all the sourness goes to Quill, an out-of-towner whose natural sneer could curdle milk, but that nastiness comes in handy crafting magical flames that scare away the critters of the night. Still, his magic is nothing compared to Mary Picard—Miss Mary to you. The beautiful Southern belle is the daughter of a rich and famous enchantress, but she sets her sights on helping the little people, whether they can pay or not. And the littlest of them all is Di Bracken, the poor daughter of a junk-seller, and secretly a Night Elf, a creature who can see in the dark, but goes blind in the sun.

But strangest of all, this odd collection of friends chooses to become Goldenguards and fight back the darkness. It’s a nasty job, but someone’s got to go out into the bleak and the cold. And their sacrifices make the town a safer place, a better place. As the economy booms, New Haven finds prosperity and energy it could barely dream of, thanks to their young protectors. Besides, the darkness is puny. It’s not really that dangerous.

At least…it didn’t used to be.

The Story

Something has gone wrong. The Darkmist has grown stronger. And meaner. It’s hovering around New Haven, fighting back against the little town that defied it. As the Great Depression tears through the town, its defenses grow weak. The Goldenguards must stand together or lose everything.

But Walter is gone. He’s had enough of being Big Walter, the dumb brute who takes pain on the chin so everyone else can smile. He’s a banker now, known for his brains, not his size. Though his friends beg him to return and fight the Darkmist, Walter closes his eyes. He’s finally normal, and he never wants to go back.

Now, it may be too late. Voices cry for help in Walter’s ears, voices that sound like his friends’. The magics they wielded now come to him, and their terror with it. Walter must go back home, alone, on the night the Darkmist is at its strongest. He must return to the place where he last saw his friends, where they screamed and cursed and swore never to meet again.

And in that bleak place, where old wounds bleed into new ones, Walter must ask himself what really drove him away, and who was really to blame. Only then can he face what’s waiting for him in the darkness. And this time, not even the Goldengreens can save him.

Everything Else

I felt nostalgic as wrote this, missing my Illinois roots and simpler times. Maybe that’s why Christmas plays a recurring part. That’s also the reason friendship is the main theme, not just monsters in the night. I believe the greatest stories come not only from brave good versus big bad, but the relationships that make those fights worth fighting. That’s what Goldenguard is really about: finding what you’ve lost, and repairing what you’ve broken.

Goldenguard will be available just in time for Christmas: November 26th (Small Business Saturday, just saying). Special thanks to Hampton at T95Studios for the amazing cover art!

So curl up with a cup of cocoa and enjoy a funny, touching, thrilling story about bravery to face the mirror, communal ties, and the warm balm that soothes the deepest wounds.


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