Silver Tears Book 1
by Daniel J. Strait
Genre: SciFi Fantasy Adventure
A prophecy written over a millennium ago. A baby girl is born with a birthmark matching the one described in the prophecy. Her parents feared the worst so they fled from the elders. They found solace in the small village of Jin, where Nakiata would be trained by the greatest SOT Master ever known. After years of intense training, Nakiata must face her Final Test. A test that would send her out into a world of danger, mystery, and death. Nakiata would have to use every skill she knew in order to survive the dangers and wonders of ...Trouganda.
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Nakiata turned back around facing the gate and continued walking down the path which led into the jungle. Once the two SOT masters passed through the gate they followed her in close pursuit. After about fifteen or twenty minute’s journey into the jungle Nakiata stopped and knelt down as if she were retying a shoe. The two SOT masters saw this as their opportunity to strike. Nakiata’s ears twitched back as she heard the two SOT masters begin their fast paced approach to strike her down. A split-second before they reached their target, Nakiata entered pure SOT and moved, with surprising speed, out of harms way.
Completely taken by surprise, the two SOT masters instantly changed their tactics and instead of an assault they backed up to each other in a defensive manner, with their Kharak blades out in front of them. Nakiata smiled as she began to circle the pair of SOT masters. Nakiata then did something that very few masters ever do, especially while in SOT, she spoke out without losing her concentration, “I told the two guards of your precious Lord Grundley that blood would be spilt if I was not left alone. I see now that he has sent you to your deaths and has insured his own demise.”
One of the SOT masters yelled out, “Who are you? We know of no woman being trained in the SOT art. We also know that it was you who took the ‘Heart of the Wild’, because only one such as you, who can enter pure SOT, could have gotten passed me undetected.”
“You are correct. I did acquire the ‘Heart of the Wild’ as I was tasked to do.” Nakiata replied.
“Tasked, by whom?” the SOT master asked.
“It’s of no matter to you. I was paid and that ended my interest in that object. Your employer was warned and now you will pay the cost.” Nakiata then moved in with her unique Kharak blades and easily sliced through the first SOT masters blades, arms, and head killing him instantly. With her other blade she simply pushed the knuckle blade into the back of the other SOT master’s head killing him as well.
Nakiata moved the bodies to the side of the road. She didn’t want to go back to the city and take care of Lord Grundley, just yet. Nakiata decided to leave a note for the guards who were probably not far behind. She searched the two bodies and found a piece of paper in the pocket of one of the dead bodies. She then dipped her finger in the fresh puddle of blood that was in the middle of the path, and wrote the following note:
Lord Grundley, the employer of these two men. You were warned not to pursue me. These men have paid the price of your obsession. I will see you soon.
Nakiata attached the note to the shirt of the headless SOT master. She then grabbed their packs and went through them looking for anything of use. She found a piece of cloth which she then used to clean herself off and then she cleaned her blades before continuing on the path northeast as she searched for the Arkouda.
Silver Tears Book 2
Nakiata and Dravone have found themselves on a strange new world. The moment they arrive they are pitted against danger and have no choice but to fight their way out of the castle of The Prowess. Caution and concealment will be a must as they search for any help they can find if any help is to be found as they venture across...Zondura.
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Nakiata quickly killed the closest two guards by stabbing them in the chest. She then moved through the middle of the confused guards and cut the head of the next one. Nakiata then cut a leg off of two separate guards simultaneously then moved back as several guards ran to the aid of the injured. Nakiata then launched her next attack and decapitated a guard who had knelt down to help one of the injured guards.
The guards continued the efforts to help their injured comrades while Nakiata picked the helpers off one by one. As their numbers began to thin, the leader of the guards yelled something out and only two guards stayed to help the fallen, leaving five guards standing around the room waiting for Nakiata to strike at one of the two guards who were helping the fallen.
Nakiata giggled at their tactics, which alerted the guards to her location. She easily moved out of harm’s way as several of the guards threw their spears at that spot. Nakiata then leapt off a dead body, sliced the throat of the next guard and as soon as she hit the floor she changed course so that she went in almost the opposite direction. As the remaining four guards lunged at her supposed landing point, Nakiata thrust one of her kharak blades deep into the chest of an oncoming guard. Before the guard’s body hit the floor, Nakiata had changed direction again. Placing a foot on another fallen victim, she launched herself into the air and this time she decapitated two of the guards and then immediately stabbed the final guard standing in the chest.
The room was now almost void of movement with the exception of the two guards who were still attending to the two guards missing a leg. Nakiata slowly walked over to the first helper and stuck her blade into the back of the helper’s neck and when Nakiata pulled her blade back out the guard fell over dead. Nakiata then ran to the other guard who stopped attending and was grabbing a spear when Nakiata’s blade sliced cleanly through her neck allowing the guard’s head to fall away from her body.
Nakiata reappeared in front of the two fallen guards covered in the blood of their sisters. Both of the guards started pleading with Nakiata in their native tongue. Not understanding a word, Nakiata walked over in between the two guards as they continued to plea and with considerable force Nakiata made a downward thrust and stabbed both guards in the chest.
The room was now silent and all motion had ceased, allowing Nakiata to look around the room for anything she could use to clean herself up. She then noticed a couple of barrels in a corner of the room; one was empty but the other was full of what appeared to be water. Nakiata then cut a clean piece of cloth away from one of the dead guards and proceeded to clean herself and her gear. She then cut out another sizeable piece of cloth and dried herself and her gear off. Once she and all of her gear were clean and dry she entered SOT, went over to the outer door and slowly opened it.
Silver Tears Book 3
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Nakiata knew immediately that a fight was about to begin, so she yelled out, “Ka’tia, get on the ship!” Then she pushed Dravone to her left just in time to keep him from being hit dead-on by the blast from Promnarr’s weapon. The blast grazed her left arm, causing a searing pain to race through her body, which in turn made Nakiata scream in pain. The graze left a burn mark on her arm. Nakiata focused on putting the pain out of her mind and yelled at Dravone, “Get to the ship and help Ka’tia!” Then she vanished into S.O.T. and began to move around the roof top.
Dravone ran for the stairway as fast as he could and just avoided another blast from Promnarr’s weapon. He made it to the stairway in a few seconds and was out of danger for now.
Promnarr kept circling the edge of the rooftop to keep Nakiata from pinpointing his exact position. However, he failed to realize that Nakiata had just positioned herself in the center of the roof and was vigorously focused on finding him. Nakiata was having a hard time reaching, let alone keeping, the level of concentration she needed to find Promnarr as well as stay in pure S.O.T. due to the pain from her arm.
Promnarr began to circle the rooftop as he tapped on his forearm, causing the view in his helmet to change. Promnarr was now able to see the heat coming from Nakiata’s body. He smiled, raised his weapon and depressed the tiny button on the handle, which allowed his weapon to charge between shots. The button made a very faint “click,” which was just enough noise to give away his location. Nakiata sprang into action and rolled to her left and dodged the blast.
Promnarr growled in frustration and fired his rifle a little faster than before, but Nakiata moved and avoided being hit just like the Ugs. Finally, he stopped and held his position while contacting the Black Grissarr, “Activate external auditory amplifiers and set them to translate everything I say!”
“Yes sir. Amplifiers active.”
Nakiata was caught a little off guard when the ship itself began speaking to her: “Do you realize what you’ve done? You have sided with the enemy. The Ugs have brainwashed you. They tricked you into doing their dirty work.”
“I have not been tricked by the Ugs, and I have no idea what brainwashing is, but it hasn’t happened to me. Besides, they’ve shown me the true nature of the Roarrgs along with some of the cruel things the Roarrgs have done!” Nakiata yelled as she moved around to keep Promnarr from zeroing in on her position.
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I’ve had many different jobs/careers in my life. Some of them I enjoyed, while others I hope never to do again. On one end of the spectrum I was an assistant manager of a restaurant and on the other end I was a truck driver. I have also been a welder, machinist, mechanic, I was even a chemistry lab assistant for a short time. I love to learn new things.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane once, static line jump.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People who drive slow in the left lane, lol. I would prefer not to drive, I need a chauffeur.
Where were you born/grew up at?
Well, I was born in Michigan and lived there until I was 8 and then we moved to sunny California where we lived for another 7 ½ years, at which time we moved to southeast Georgia and that’s where I lived until my early 30’s.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
I’d spend my time with my family, especially my daughter, and do as many fun things as we could and tell her that I would love her forever and that I would be there for her in spirit.
Who is your hero and why?
Probably would have to pick my Dad. Out of all the people I know, he gives more of himself to family and takes care of their needs above his own. He’s worked tirelessly since the day I entered the world and has quietly supported me even when he shouldn’t have. He’s a true hero, and I strive to be like him. I wish one day I could be in a position to give back to him to show my admiration and love.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I would make a terrible world leader. I would get rid of so much bureaucratic nonsense and strive to make the world we live in a better place for everyone no matter who they are or where they’re from. I would try to instill in others a sense that if we take care of each other, the world we be a much happier place.
What are you passionate about these days?
I’m passionate about writing, relaxing, spending time with my family, and playing on my playstation on occasion. I find that life is more than a handful at times and we all need an escape to keep our sanity and that’s why I’m passionate about the few little things I do.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
That all depends on my level of stress. I love going to a book store just to smell the air and see all the books on the shelves, grabbing a cup of delicious coffee and browsing, I find it to be very inspiring. On the other hand, if I’m feeling very stressed, I do enjoy getting online with my PS4 and virtually conquering other in friendly battle.
How to find time to write as a parent?
This is probably the most difficult thing to do. As a somewhat new parent, about 4 years now, I find that I have less time to write than before. I usually wait until my daughter goes to bed and then tell the wife I’m going to do some writing. She’s very supportive and it gives her time to communicate with her family who live half way around the world.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Funny, Imaginative, Helpful, Always friendly.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began to consider myself a writer the day I actually finished my first novel, granted it’s not a very lengthy novel by no means, and it has plenty of flaws, but it’s a great story. I began telling people I was a writer shortly before I had my novel self-published.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Who doesn’t, this is one of my favorite questions to answer. My all-time favorite movie is: The Fifth Element, Written and directed by Luc Besson, starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, and Chris Tucker. It’s a Sci-Fi classic, with plenty of comedic scenes and a great story. I’ve probably seen it, literally several hundred times. I’m going to guess I watch it 2 or 3 times a month.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I love this question, I can actually see all of them made into a movie. Everyone I’ve talked to that’s read the first novel, tells me they can see it being made into a movie. The series is action packed, and has quite a few twists and turns, and it will have an ending that’s not typical, can’t say any more about that, lol.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Not sure what to put here. I have attempted 2 book signings and participated in a local author fair. I’d actually like to go out and be part of a sci-fi convention, possibly this summer.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I would have to choose a character from my novels to be my mascot, a Roarrg. The Roarrgs are, I think, one of the coolest creatures in my novels. They are technologically advanced and yet they have a natural wild side to them, not to mention they look awesome. Not too sure about what my avatar would be, lol. A spirit animal I’d choose either a Cheetah or a Tiger.
What inspired you to write this book?
My story began around 1996 when I was playing a computer based game called Diablo 2. An expansion came out and it had 2 new characters, a druid, and an assassin, which was depicted as a woman assassin. A short time after that I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be awesome to see a story written about a female assassin who just kills everything and yet the reader is rooting for her. That’s when I actually sat down and wrote the first ten pages of the story. I didn’t have a title, just the beginning of the story and that’s where it sat until about 2010.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, in the near future, hopefully this year, I hope to have the fourth book in the series out, I’m getting close to reaching the half-way point. Then hopefully a year later I will have the last book in the series out.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I have been thinking about going back once the series is complete and writing a compendium for the series. This will give greater detail about the various characters and locations that the reader see throughout the series.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the Silver Tears series of books?
Yes. The Silver Tears series is based on a prophecy written by an ancient alien race and in it there are 5 individuals described. Throughout the series the readers are introduced to these main characters and follows along in their adventures to fulfill the prophecy. In the first novel the reader is introduced to Nakiata, who is the main character throughout the series. She was born with the birthmark described in the prophecy. In her early childhood she began her training in the Shadow of Thought mastery, or S.O.T. (SOT). In this training she is taught how to use a multitude of weapons and various hand-to-hand fighting skills. She is also trained in survival and a few other things. Eventually the reader comes to realize that she is a cold-blooded killer who will stop at nothing to complete her quest. Toward the end of the novel the reader is introduced to Dravone. He is a Morphan (basically a werewolf) who is confronted by Nakiata and has to choose between fighting her and loosing or joining her and saving his people from her wrath. Nakiata and Dravone’s friendship will blossom in further in the series as they are joined with the other main characters.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I came up with Nakiata from an idea I had while playing a computer based game. I then came up with the character of Dravone because I find werewolves very powerful beings that also have a human side which can be quite different in nature. I also came up with the character of Ka’tia from various ideas ranging from the computer based game to influences in some of the many movies I’ve seen.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I’m not exactly sure how I came up with some of the names. I just try to make them as unique as possible with a couple of exception for some of the secondary characters that the reader will only encounter for a brief period of time.
What did you enjoy most about writing these books?
I just love the story and how it’s unfolding. Seeing the members of the prophecy coming together somewhat as a team to complete quests and fight in various battles. I think my favorite thing is writing the battle scenes and some of the sad scenes.
Can you tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
The main characters are almost drawn together. They are very unique in their abilities and their purpose in the story. Nakiata wants to see the completion/fulfillment of the prophecy so she can return home. Dravone is similar but has a new found desire to find his people’s home world. Ka’tia is driven by her heart. She is a bit soft-spoken, however she is a force to be reckoned with. Tyrog is the inquisitive member, always asking questions and frankly very happy to actually be part of the group and fulfilling a role as one of the members of the prophecy. I’m not able to talk about the last main character in the prophecy, yet, mainly because that book isn’t available yet. I will say that the last member will be just as unique.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I came up with the title Trouganda which is also the name of the planet where the story begins. The name basically means “Planet of Truth” True-ganda, or could be interpreted as beautiful truth as well. The series title I came up with based on something that will happen later on in the series, you’ll have to read the books to find out what that is.
Who designed your book covers?
I designed the cover for Trouganda. The cover for Zondura was done by the publisher, and Vazdrag was designed by a professional artist, Steven James Catizone. He did an awesome job too.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing. I actually like how my 3rd novel turned out.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Absolutely. I always learn new things when I write. I get a little better at it because now I find myself looking things up to improve my writing so that I can convey the story in a much better format so that the reader knows exactly what I was thinking and can picture it in their heads as they read.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I don’t think I would make a good female assassin. If my books were ever made into film, I’d would love to play small cameo roles. Similar to how Steven King or Stan Lee would do it.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just let your imagination go wild and enjoy the story for what is in it. If you’re reading it too critically you might not enjoy it. Even some of the not so well written stories out there can still be enjoyed if you try to put yourself more into the story and less into its flaws.
How did you come up with name of your other novels?
Each title in the series is the name of the planet that the majority of the story takes place one. Book 2’s title came from a slang term that was used in the computer based game I used to play. They took the description of Amazon warrior and simply called them Zons. I took that and made the planet name Zondura which could be interpreted as “Planet of the Amazons.” The Third books title, Vazdrag I simply took part of the word Dragon and changed it to Vazdrag or “Planet of the Dragon”.
What is your favorite part of the series so far and why?
So far I have a few favorite parts to the series. In the first novel, I like the part where Nakiata first leaves her village and encounters the thieves. This is the first time the readers are exposed to her tenaciousness. In the second book I actually have a few favorite spots. One is where Nakiata decimates a group of guards. Another is where she finds out she’s been betrayed and kills the betrayer. I also liked the part where Ka’tia sings the sad melody. In the third novel, I’d have to say there are two parts that stand out. Near the beginning the strange pool and how it effects the main characters and then later on the battle between Nakiata and Promnarr. Oh, I also loved the scene where Nakiata stands her ground when the group first encounters Tyrog.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
If I had to spend an entire day with one of my characters, I’d probably choose Ka’tia. We could spend the day target practicing with bows and just enjoying the day because she would be the character most likely to enjoy some of the more simple things about life.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
None of my characters are based on real people, they are entirely from my imagination.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
A: It’s give and take. Just depends on the keystrokes, lol.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
How many sci-fi fantasy adventure novels follow a cold blooded assassin, a Morphan (werewolf), an Zonian (Amazon) warrior sorceress, a Sodara (Dragon type creature) who work together to get through quests. If the main character isn’t killing everyone, the others are trying to stop her from killing or they are discovering that they possess powers that could do more damage than the assassin. It all adds up to a lot of action and if you get far enough in the series, there just might be a little hint of love and compassion.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Currently working on finishing the series at the moment.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Very unique question, I would probably have to say pine scented or mountain breeze. An outdoorsy smell.
What did you edit out of this book?
Oh good grief, let me think. That’s the best part of creative writing, your story can change at the snap of the fingers. I haven’t really edited anything out, at least not that I’m aware of, lol. I do know that some of the character names might change as I’m writing but nothing major.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
A: Top ten favorite books, other than mine lol. Let’s see, I don’t think I have a full ten, but I guess I’d have to say I like the following:
Alice Borchardt: The Silver Wolf (read it twice.)
Azure Bonds by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb
Harry Potter series
Stargate: Reconnaissance and Retaliation by Bill McCay
What book do you think everyone should read?
All of mine, lol, seriously if I had to recommend books, any Fantasy/Adventure novel is usually pretty good. I really can say because each person has their own tastes.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing actively for a total of about 6 or 7 years off and on.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I do have a main plot basis but sometimes characters come up as I’m writing and I think it make the writing process more fun when it happens because you only thought of in the middle of the creative process.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
None really. I just sit down and go for it. I do have my main plot outline which I look at from time to time so I know I haven’t strayed too far from the main plot.
Do you see writing as a career?
Only in my dreams, I wish I could make it a career. Being able to spend a solid 8 to 10 hours a day writing would be great.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think now with self-publishing the market has become saturated with a plethora great works. It just doesn’t have the same reach as traditional publishing but at least authors who might be new upcoming authors have a better chance.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I do read, not as much as I would like, but my favorite genre is Fantasy/Adventure.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I prefer to listen to some music while I write. Now the music I listen to while writing has no words so it’s just the music. I find it helps me concentrate.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I tend to write one book at a time, although I have started, only have a small insignificant part of the final book of the series written. I guess I wanted to get a slight jump start on it, however I’m concentrating on the last so that I can get it completed.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Harry Potter series, lol, my hat is off to J.K. Rowling, she created a masterpiece that’s known worldwide.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I like pen and computer. My first novel I almost completely wrote with pen and then transcribed to the computer. Books 3 and 4 of my series have almost completely been written on the computer. Though I do have my outlines with scribbles all over them.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
A favorite character would have to be the main character. I envy her strength and that fact that she doesn’t let hardly anything stand in her way. Yes, she might be a bit arrogant, but she is fearless, granted she has no remorse and feels nothing for those she’s killed.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
The main reason I became an author is because I wanted to tell a story where the main character wouldn’t be flawed by emotions. She is a true cold-blooded killer. I wanted the reader to enjoy the story and see just how terrible she could be and yet be cheering for her to win at the same time and not be weakened by her feelings.
A day in the life of the author?
Is an awesome day when it happens, there’s nothing more fun that using my imagination to create strange and unique things that, as far as I know, no one else has ever thought of.
Advice I would give to new authors?
Never be afraid to write anything. Get it down on paper, then read it aloud to yourself, that helps you to catch simple mistakes, and never ever give up. Even if it takes a hundred re-writes stay true to your characters. Plots can change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much, but keep writing. If you’re unsure about how to write something, there is an entire world of help online that you can find the answer to help you get it down.
Describe your writing style.
My writing style is that of a story teller, or so I’ve been told. I just write and get my story out there, so far many people really like the story. It is unique, even if it has similarities to other stories people have read.
What makes a good story?
Don’t go crazy over extreme details, great dialogue is best. Make your story flow and make sure you have continuity throughout the story.
What are they currently reading?
Currently, it’s taking me a long time but I have been reading: Song of the Saurials by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb. It’s the third book in the Finder Stone Trilogy. The first book was Azure Bonds, one of my favorite books.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I definitely outline the main plot first and then go from there. It’s not uncommon for me to go off on a tangent, but I do make my way back to the main plot. Sometimes I change the outline as I go because I have a better idea or I feel the one in my outline no longer fits the storyline. Chapters just kind of show up when they do, lol. A common trap for aspiring writers I’ve heard and experienced is they go too much into detail about the mundane in an effort to keep the story flowing. Let your story do its thing. You can always go back and re-read/re-write as needed to fill in some pages. Don’t get stuck with description.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time, lol. Not having enough of it, or just having the strength when I do have time. It’s not easy working a full time, plus overtime, job, spending quality time with the family and being able to get quality writing time in. You have to be really good at time management, but don’t let go, try to stay as focused as you can and always keep thinking about the story and what you’re going to write about next in the story, that way when you do get the time you can just sit down and pump out the words.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I strive to be original, however, I have put a little bit extra in the story to broaden my horizons and hopefully my fan base.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Concentrate on getting all the books done as soon as possible. Don’t waste any time, write, write, write.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
AVery good question. Since at least 2 of my main characters are female, I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone, lol. I would have to say the hardest part about writing characters of the opposite sex would be to get their thought process correct. From a male stand point it’s easy, but to be able to write a character of the opposite sex and have it work is definitely a challenge. So far, I feel I’m doing pretty well at it. Just read my books, and definitely let me know, I love getting feedback from readers, it’s inspiring and helpful.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
If I had the time I needed, I could probably produce a good epic novel, 120,000 words in about 6 to 10 months, but having a full time job, on top of a family, at least a year, possibly a year and a half.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. Writer’s block is the worst and it can last a while. To get over it I will sit at the computer, with my epic music playing on youtube, and just read and re –read usually the last 5 to 10 pages of what I’ve written and think long and hard about what’s going on in the story. After a while I manage to break free of my writer’s block and get back on track. Sometimes my writer’s block can be cured by simply going to a bookstore, looking around, and grabbing a nice mocha latte.
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