Company Assassin The Relic Trilogy Book 1 by Claudia Blood Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy
It’s Duff Roman’s eighteenth birthday, but no one is lighting candles.
Turning eighteen in the orphanage on Kalecca means starvation for those who aren’t hired into a Family. Outside the Family compounds lies the jungle. And in the jungle lies death. And Relics—the only real currency on Planet Kalecca.
The orphans are Duff’s family, and he’s sacrificed everything to keep the orphanage running, even his chance to move on. Now, at eighteen, he has no choice but to leave. Without him to bring in extra money, the orphans will starve under the Company’s control. Duff's only chance to save them is to find a spot on an independent crew and hopefully find a Relic to sell.
A seemingly chance encounter with Z, leader of the most feared independent crew offers Duff his opportunity to score a Relic. And offers Z a chance to relieve the guilt he feels over his past.
But a company assassin has plans to lay waste to Duff's future, and the orphanage as well.
Z took a small sip of the best whiskey they had at the Inn. It burned the back of his throat. He stood as if he didn’t care that he was the only freelancer in the place. He stood as if he’d only come here to enjoy some whiskey. It was good. It left a sweet smoky taste in his mouth. But he was here to gather information and to sort out a few things before going back into the jungle.
He’d gotten good at watching a room without seeming to. The Families had finally calmed down enough to resume the conversations that had stopped when he’d walked in.
They all recognized him as an ex-company man. The first time he’d come in here, there’d been bets on how long before he ended up dead. No one knew that he had something over Ravenne, which made him harder for her to kill. Not impossible, just harder.
He took another sip of the whiskey and closed his eyes as if he was just enjoying a drink. That allowed him to focus his senses on the conversations. No one was talking about the orphanage or Duff. They’d been long forgotten. There seemed to be a general unease in the room. Too many high ranked Family men were here. Odds were good they would meet in secret later. There was definitely something going on.
He’d also noticed that there seemed to be less Relics in the normal spots and that the company was paying a bit less. That would be a troublesome trend.
He took another small sip. He’d stay here until his booze was gone. If he sipped it at a leisurely pace he’d have maybe an hour before he’d have to decide to buy another one or leave.
Before he left he needed to sort through his thoughts on the boy and the girl. Being distracted in the jungle was a good way to get killed. All his energy needed to be focused on survival.
Horizon Found The Relic Trilogy Book 2
Duff Roman has managed the unthinkable—saving the orphanage where he grew up. But his trials are far from over.
The second book in the Blood Relics series pits Duff against his enemy Ravenne once more, but the very ground on which they battle is becoming increasingly unstable, and the time particles, Relics, and Seers that fuel the economy are disappearing.
As Duff works to save his world, his efforts are complicated by the arrival of Willow, a Seer who Ravenne believes took her daughter the day she died—and in whom Duff has more than a passing interest.
Duff and Z-Crew team up with a long-hidden group of scientists working to save them all, while Ravenne continues her endless efforts to discover what really happened to her daughter.
Z’d done more circles and loops than he’d done in years. He hadn’t caught any sign that Malcolm or anyone else had been following.
Now he had to decide how much risk he was willing to put the team through. If he was wrong and this was a trap, it would be sprung in the village. They’d be boxed in and sitting ducks for a company assassin. If he brought the crew in and it wasn’t a trap, they would be safe in the enclave and would hopefully, make a good impression on the scientists. If he was wrong and it was a trap, they’d all be dead. Having them outside would give them a chance to survive, but it might mean they wouldn’t be accepted into the enclave. If his mission was to be successful, he needed the team to be accepted by the enclave, but he couldn’t put them in extra risk without them having a choice.
“Stop here. Huddle up.” Z stopped by a tree.
Rin still had a slight limp, but she was doing much better even just a day later. Gabriel also seemed to be interacting easier within the group. Rin no longer seemed to look down on Gabriel. Without him, Z wasn’t sure Rin would have survived. Duff caught his gaze and gave him an encouraging smile. Their relationship was better. The crew gathered around, waiting for direction.
“There is a chance this is a trap.” He paused to see what they had to say about that.
Time Rift The Relic Trilogy Book 3
Duff Roman and Z-Crew are trapped in an impossible situation—time itself is coming apart at the seams, and they suspect the key rests with one girl: Horizon.
The problem? Horizon is the long-sought-after daughter of their nemesis, Ravenne. She stopped at nothing to retrieve her daughter from the past. Now it’s clear sending Horizon back is the only way to repair the rift, but Ravenne won’t let her go.
The underground alien artifact where they accidentally created the time-rift is crumbling, and no one will survive unless they can escape, but time is shuddering and echoing around them, and the way out isn’t clear.
To make things worse, thanks to the unpredictability of time rifts, the crew now faces not just one mortal enemy--there are two Ravennes working against them!
Will Z-Crew escape Ravenne’s clutches and set time right again, or will Duff finally have to bend to his enemy’s will? Find out in the final installment of the Relic Trilogy!
The stone bridge shimmied under Z's feet. A rock crashed next to him. Heart racing, he jumped back. Stalactites covered the ceiling like jagged stone teeth. They vibrated. One the size of a house broke and plummeted to the side of the bridge.
"Get down!" Gabriel screamed.
Z flattened himself against the bridge. The whole thing shuddered. He held on, his fingers digging into the stone. His feet, having no purchase, slid to the side and off the end. Fear gripped his chest. He was tied to a rope, but if he fell Matilda and Gabriel would fall with him. All it would take was another big stalactite falling or worse, one hitting the bridge, and they were done for.
The bridge stopped quaking. Z stood up. He needed to get them off the bridge. Movement to the side caught his gaze. A white mist flowed toward him. Inside the mist shadowed figures moved, hovering above the chasm. Was it real?
The chill of fear cinched tighter around his chest. The mist reminded him of the feeling he'd had in the great tree they had used as transport the first time they journeyed to Falcon's Folly.
He pushed aside the comparison. Now was not the time; now they needed to get off the bridge. He glanced back over his shoulder. Both Matilda and Gabriel gaped at the white cloud. At least he knew it wasn’t just in his head.
The bridge trembled again, but the figures seemed unaffected.
"Move!" Z barked.
Claudia Blood’s early introduction to Dungeons and Dragons, combined with her training as a scientist and a side trip into the world of IT set her up to become an award-winning author of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Juggling her roles as a wife, mom, and pet wrangler doesn’t leave much free time, but what Claudia has is filled to the brim with creating sci-fi and fantasy novels loved by a wide range of readers.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I am a mom, military wife, dog and rabbit mom, who is a geek at heart. I love puns, lists, and spreadsheets, but hate outlining with a passion. I've played D&D since the third grade.
It was soon after I started playing D&D that I dictated (to my younger sister) my first book. It was a D&D romance. Thankfully, no copies have survived.
Not long after, I discovered Alan Dean Foster and Piers Anthony. They each had a book that made me cry. In a good way. They both made me to view the world differently. I wanted to be able to do the same.
I went through a long period of wanting to be an author, but not actually doing any writing. It is far easier to day dream about writing than to do it. The story is perfect in my head. Not so perfect on the page.
When I hit a milestone birthday, I decided it was now or never. I was going to stop the random hobbies ( like painting, making jewelry, etc) and focus on writing.
I started to write consistently from that point forward.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I am far more enthusiastic and vocally original than is appropriate for my age.
For example, my friend and I were going through the Mc Donalds drive thru because we wanted ice tea. We decided to get cookies.
When the man at the window handed over the still warm cookies, I may have raised my hands and exclaimed, "cookies!"
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in New Jersey. Not on the shore, but somewhere in the middle. I moved to the midwest as a teenager. Nothing like high school peer pressure to eliminate a jersey accent. :)
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I may hide in the bathroom from the kids/hubby to binge read romances. Don't tell them.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I think it depended on how old the kiddos were.
As a first time mom, I had planned to do Nanowrimo right after my daughter was born. I know you are shocked that it didn't happen.
A few years later my son was born in November. I again started Nanowrimo and had every intention of completing it. Yeah, not so much.
I was mad at myself for not being able to write those first years. Sleep schedules for a newborn and a two year old took so much energy. There wasn't anything left to be creative. Things got better when I stopped judging myself.
As they got older and I was able to do more non kid things, it became slightly easier to carve out time to write. It wasn't much time at first, but it got bigger and bigger.
I started figuring out tasks that I could do in the small pockets of time. Ten minutes? I could figure out character names or play the what if game on a story idea.
Every action, no matter how small, got me closer to writing 'the end.'
And as my kids wanted to play with their friends instead of me, I could find more time.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Dorky, pun-loving, introvert
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I'm still waiting for that to happen. ;) Writers, as a general rule, are overrun by imposter syndrome. I try to focus on picking tasks/projects that help me get stories completed. I hope, with time, I will feel comfortable calling myself a writer.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I would want some sort of dragon or small flying mythical creature.
In fact at a recent Ren Fest, I found a creature that I really love that fit the bill. Willow.
She has butterfly wings, four legs, furry body with a furry tail, and a lizard like face with moth ears. She is a bit goofy/ugly, but she's got a story she hasn't told me yet.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had a dream about a team of people leaving the jungle and breaking into a crumbling building. Inside was alien tech. I could tell they were desperate, but I had no idea why they were there, except they had to find a Relic.
They managed to turn the machine on and after a flash of light and rumble, an 80's aerobics instructor popped into existence.
At that point I realized I had to write the story just to find out what in the world was going on!
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I do! I have a prequel about the bad gal Ravenne. It is in the middle of editing right now.
I also have the seed idea for why Falcon's Folly – a place the crew goes to a number of times in the trilogy - got it's name.
Who designed your book covers?
I worked with Kelly at https://www.kelphotography.net/design-services.html
She did the cover art for all three books. She has been a photographer for almost twenty years, and ventured into cover design and virtual assistant services in 2018.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
The most recent book I completed was the last book in the Relic Trilogy. I learned that ending a trilogy was hard. I was so worried about getting it correct for each character.
It also didn't help me that I had a very strong image of the ending. Which would have been fine, but it didn't actually work. I had to give up that image in order to work out the real ending.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Oh the characters take over. Simon and Matilda didn't start off being special, but then in a scene they showed the first hint of backstory and secrets.
It's always my own curiosity that gets the better of me. So I end up exploring what they are talking about to see if it could be worked into the story.
I knew the end (mostly) of the book and these discoveries didn't change the trajectory.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have focus issues. I hop between books and have at least four books in various states of edits.
Thorn of the Rose which is the second book in the Merged series is going through line edits.
The third book in that series is starting a first draft.
I have the prequel to the Relic Trilogy about half way done.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
I started writing this trilogy in the second book. The book was based on a dream, but I was missing so much info. I had to go back and write the first book and even figure out how Ravenne got to the planet before I could finish it.
I had an end scene that popped in my head early in the writing that if I told you would ruin the ending. I REALLY wanted the trilogy to end that way, but it just didn't work. I was half tempted to create an alternate ending version. It's a very Hollywood visual.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I generally start with one or two characters and a scene. And a vague gist on what is going on and where it is going.
The rest of the characters show up on the page as I write. Sometimes they take up too much space and I have to back them off, but sometimes they reveal something about themselves that is actually very helpful for the story line.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I prefer silence or just music. I have a bad habit of singing along when I listen to music. That's way too distracting.
I also like the background noise of a coffee shop or in a restaurant. Then I might listen to the music playing and not be as distracted by it.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I have several books going at a time. I tend to pop between books.
Horizon Lost – The Ravenne prequel to the Relic Trilogy – needs the second half
Thorn of the Rose – The second book in the Merged series after Book of Secrets is in line editing
Feather – The third book in the Merged series. I have an opening scene with Wren and his sister.
Play the Game – a serial I have a concept for female robinhood sci fi.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Computer. Although I have been known to use a huge piece of paper for brainstorming.
Advice they would give new authors?
Know yourself and try everything (people with the right age kids may now have the image of a bunny cop)
There is so much advice out there. Even if it worked for the person saying it, that doesn't mean it will work for you.
Does the thought of writing an outline for a story make you want to barf? Then don't do it, find a different plotting method that appeals to you. Try the flashlight method for example.
Keep trying. Try everything.
This is not going to be an easy road (for most), but if you know yourself and what works for you, that will help immensely.
Also – if you hear advice that there is only 'one' way to write. Ignore it, unless that way happens to be the way you think, then dig in. :)
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I generally have a scene come to me. There's a character with a situation. I may daydream about the situation exploring it.
Then I like to fast draft. Get the ideas all out on the page.
I have an editor I work with to take the steaming pile of junk and find the bones of what was cool about the draft.
And then edit. Oh the editing. The chapter break out comes out in this step.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
For me writer's black has to do with me unconsciously recognizing that my conception of what has to happen doesn't actually work. I have to talk the whole thing through. Once I get better alignment the words flow better.
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