The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.
Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.
In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.
But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.
Aristo reached far within and blocked all the pain shooting through his being. I am Praetorian, my flesh does my bidding. Again, he commanded his eyes to open. When he finally managed to force them open, the agony consuming his head must have felt very much like staring straight into the blazes of the sun. He felt the tearing of skin as his world instantly turned from the darkest black to a moment of brightest white. His eyes watered heavily and he blinked, trying to clear away at least some of the dried blood which had sealed his eyes shut. For several moments, everything was a blur, but then he could distinguish colors and shapes again.
He nearly wished that he had in fact been blinded; he would have at least been spared the image before him. Aristo had been wounded in battle before, but never like this. His body lay covered in a blanket of dried crimson. No one would have known that he bore the deep purple uniform of the Praetorian Legion had they even bothered to look at him. It was confounding that he had bled so profusely and could still draw breath, still feel the beat of his heart within his chest. A moment of warrior’s pride overtook him when he studied his twisted form and realized the excruciating pain was not unwarranted. Then he remembered.
Captured, he thought. I’ve been captured.
Jason Pere is a born-and-raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative storytelling. At the age of thirteen, Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.
At first, Jason took a causal interest in writing, starting with poetry and journaling. Over time, he honed his direction and finally began writing larger works. In November of 2012, Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.
Since then, Jason has continued writing on his own, mostly short stories and poetry. Calling the Reaper was his first experience committing to a full-length Fiction title.
In early 2015, Jason became affiliated with Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC). Since then, he has joined many other writers on numerous collaborative projects. Jason is a regular contributor to CWC and is scheduled to have multiple pieces of his work appear in their publications throughout 2016.
You can find out more about Jason Pere’s involvement and publications in collaborative fiction at: http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com
To connect with Jason, check him out at: http://www.facebook.com/jason.pere.7
Jason also writes fanfiction for Team Covenant on their Blog of the Pheonixborn, dedicated to the new game by Plaid Hat Games, ‘Ashes’. Go to http://teamcovenant.com/ashesonline/ to read Jason’s flash fiction work.
The Hardest Part About Being a Writer
Would you believe me when I say the hardest part about being a writer has absolutely nothing to do with writing? I can storycraft with the best of them and create rich and breathtaking worlds in a few keystrokes. I can make complex characters with more layers of conflict and internal moral struggled than your grandmother’s lasagna without breaking a sweat. I admit that when it comes to the finer points of grammar, I’m lost as sea and could not start to tell you about the proper use of the possessive comma but I know a how to find a quality editor in two shakes of a lambs tail. When I have a draft ready to move on to the next step I am all too happy to cut a check and toss it and a copy of my manuscript to the sort of folk who faun over proper sentence structure and the nuts and bolts of the English language so that they can make my words be right.
So I can get a wonderfully memorable tale of intrigue and heroics all shiny and polished with dotted “I’s” and crossed “T’s” without incident. The difficult part is what comes next. Formatting, marketing and sales and all that comes along with getting published. Indeed the hardest part about being a writer is making the transition into being an author. Getting your book into the hands of readers once it has been written is just as hard as writing it in the first place. An aspiring author has two options for publishing once their manuscript is ready. The first is going to a traditional publishing house. I would strongly caution a freshmen author about that route. Unless they have an inside connection or a sizable pre-existing fan base before querying then they need to be prepared for a lot of rejection and unanswered emails.
I feel the best option for a writer making the jump to author for the first time is to self-publish. There are a number of self-publishing platforms out there and a writer can use one of them to have their manuscripts placed on online retailers virtual bookshelves in less than a weeks’ time. That is wonderful that anyone can self-publish a novel these days however the problem is that everyone does self-publish a novel these days. Amazon’s virtual book store sees nearly half a million self-published books added each year. That is a lot of competition and sadly it takes more than being an amazing writer and story teller to stand out.
I’m sure that most writers realize that they are not going to be making money hand over fist soon after they publish their first book. What may come as a surprise is that a new author is going to have to spend money hand over fist if they want their book to rise above the dreaded slush pile. Paid advertising services, virtual book tours, giving books away in exchange for review, entry fees into competitive writing events and similar expenses, these are all costs that are just as necessary to a self-published novel’s success as hiring an editor and cover illustrator. The monetary burden of promoting a book and getting people to choose it over its contemporaries is immense and it is the top reason that most authors throw in the towel.
While it is daunting, a healthy way to look at funding a self-published book’s marketing would be comparing it to taking out a student loan or opening a small business. It is something that someone is going to do because they feel confident enough to invest in themselves and their future. While I have spent more money than I have made with my writing to date, I believe that I have a real shot at supporting myself with my art. I can also tell you from experience that holding a first edition with you name on the spine, autographing a copy of your novel for a fan or walking into a local book store and seeing your book in their stock are priceless moments.