The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire, by Iain Reading, was published in April 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.
This first book of the Wizards of Waterfire series tells the story of Memphis Grey, a teenage girl with an extraordinary secret. Born with a special gift to summon and control the elemental building blocks of nature – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – Memphis and the other members of her ancient guild of wizards have the power to shape these elements and use the resulting energy to weave a form of primordial magic. A seemingly ordinary group of friends on the outside, Memphis and her fellow wizards gather each week to practice their magical skills at the local shopping mall where a clandestine set of stairs leads to a secret room hidden at the top of a decorative lighthouse. Only those in the know can recognize the distinctive image of the lighthouse as a clue to a hidden reality lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world. Hiding in plain sight, each lighthouse marks the hidden meeting place of one of the guilds of the elusive Wizards of Waterfire. But despite their remarkable powers none of them are immortal and after tragedy strikes in a flash of screeching tires and twisted metal, Memphis and the others watch helplessly as their whole world starts to fall apart right in front of their eyes. Faced with the prospect of having to disband their guild unless they can find a new member to join them, Memphis and her friends set out to recruit Flynn, a handsome and mysterious new student at their local high school. He is the perfect choice to restore the elemental balance, but when things don’t turn out quite as planned they find themselves swept along on an amazing journey that takes them to the ancient and magical places of the Waterfire guilds, uncovering dark secrets and long-forgotten histories as they go, until finally hurtling them toward a dramatic confrontation with another of the five ancient guilds – the mysterious and powerful guild of the EarthAir wizards.
Excerpt from The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire:
The guilds had existed for two and a half thousand years, and it certainly wasn’t the first time that tragedy had struck and claimed the life of an Elemental before their time. It had happened before, and it was sure to happen again, but for Memphis Grey, it was the first time that tragedy had struck so close to home in her own small world.
Since ancient times, the lighthouses had been the secret symbol of the elusive Guilds of the Waterfire Wizards. Standing strong as beacons of safety and stability where water meets fire, each one held the destructive power of the other at bay.
In the beginning, the lighthouses themselves had served the wizards as secret meeting places; each guild had constructed its own place of gathering and refuge. But as the guilds spread throughout the world and into places far from the sea, the image became more symbolic, and could be seen everywhere—on walls and signs, over doorways, or cleverly hidden in corporate logos. Just look around and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
But for those in the know, each lighthouse marks the location of a guild’s secret meeting place.
Memphis’s guild was no exception. Every Thursday at seven o’clock, she would ride through the quiet alleyways and streets of West Vancouver to the Park Royal Mall. Leaving her bike in front of the Old Navy store, she walked across the street to an inconspicuous little door at the back of the Village Taphouse pub and typed an access code into the door’s keypad. From there she climbed the stairs to the secret room under the building’s pretend lighthouse that the uninitiated simply dismissed as one of the shopping mall’s marketing gimmicks.
But on this particular Thursday, Memphis was somewhere else instead—the last place in the world that she wanted to be at that particular moment. She was standing in the rain in a cemetery wishing that she and the other mourners were in their secret room, safe and warm as they watched the rain streak down the windows outside. They would drink some hot tea and talk and laugh while playing games—Catan or Monopoly, maybe, or perhaps even the ancient guild game of Pharos—instead of mourning the loss of their dear friend Christian, one of their own.
Every guild must consist of five members, or the guild must disband.
That was the rule, and it had been the rule since long before Samantha was ever born. It was a rule that dated back nearly two and a half thousand years to the genesis of the very existence of the guilds themselves.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Ether. Love and Strife. Everything had to exist in balance. Memphis knew all this well, but at that moment the only thing
she could feel was strife plunging its painful needles of memory deep into her broken heart. She looked across at Samantha Soul, her best friend, who was standing next to her at the graveside. Samantha was a mess, alternately wiping tears and raindrops from her face as she stared at the lonely casket being lowered into the ground. Strands of her intense blonde hair fell over her shoulders from underneath the black hoodie that she had pulled up to cover her face. She didn’t want the others to see her cry. Memphis didn’t care about that and just let the tears flow like tiny rivers of sorrow and as she watched the dark clouds drizzle a steady downpour of rain she almost got the sense that they were crying along with her.
Flickers of lightning licked at the corners of the sky, splitting the air and bathing the mourners in a stark, harsh light for an instant before another wave of thunder rumbled across the landscape.
Memphis leaned forward and looked past Samantha to the taller figure at her side, his damp, tousled brown hair hanging in his eyes. Ithaca was Memphis’s little brother, and seeing him standing there in tears ripped her heart in two all over again. Ithaca was only two years younger than Memphis, and he was old enough to understand what death was, but just like the rest of them, it was the first time that something so tragic had struck so close and taken someone they loved so dearly. They struggled to accept the cold hard fact that Christian was gone from their lives forever.
Memphis turned away and buried her face in her hands, sobbing loudly and coming close to completely losing it. Her eyes darted around the cemetery in a panic, looking for a way to escape. If only she could just push her way through the crowd of black- dressed mourners and make for the cover of the nearby trees. Then she could be alone with her thoughts and just sit and listen to the sound of the rain, and remember.
She grew anxious and was about to bolt when a warm hand patted her gently on the shoulder, instantly calming her and helping her to get her breathing under control. Memphis looked up to see Samantha’s great-uncle, Winston. Winston Eric Waters was her mentor and the leader of their guild. With droplets of waters dripping from his gray speckled goatee, he smiled down at her, his brown eyes full of kindness but just as flecked with pain as hers were. He patted her on the shoulder again then left his hand there, its warmth and weight solid and reassuring against the rest of the world that seemed to be descending into chaos around them.
Christian had been a big brother to the three youngest members and a kind of adopted son to Winston. The five of them had been as close as family—closer even, because they had grown up together and learned from each other’s mistakes as they trained and explored the world around them and the fabric of the universe that held it together. They had laughed and fought and cried with each other, and together they had somehow shouldered the great responsibilities that came with being an Elemental.
But all that was finished now. Three nights ago, on a dark, tree-lined street, Christian’s life was snuffed out in a flash of tires and screeching metal. He was dead, and for nothing more than a stupid car accident, the kind of tragedy that strikes friends and families hundreds of times a day all across the world. Christian was dead, and if losing their dear friend wasn’t traumatic enough, the very existence of their guild was now in jeopardy. Everything they’d worked so hard to accomplish was in question.
Memphis had absolutely no idea what they were going to do.
She reached into her pocket and gently squeezed the petra stone that she always carried with her; she could feel its power, and took comfort in it as she closed her eyes to block out the tears and falling rain.
What are we going to do? Memphis asked herself.
Christian would have to be replaced; otherwise, their guild would fall. But how could anyone ever replace him? They could never love anyone the way they had loved him.
When the priest finished the ceremony, the mourners shuffled slowly down the hillside to their waiting cars. Some of them stopped to offer words of wisdom and comfort for the four of them—how sorry they were, how time heals all wounds, and how no one can know the sometimes terrible cost that all of us have to pay for being human. But none of the mourners had any idea what the five of them had been through together, or how Christian’s death threatened to unravel all of their lives.
Memphis’s father leaned down to whisper in her ear. He and her mother would wait in the car, and she should take all the time she needed to say good-bye. He smiled at her—a weak and helpless smile full of love and caring—before her mother gave her a hug, and the two of them walked off, melting into the crowd of other black clothes and umbrellas making their way through the forest of gray headstones.
“I know it seems impossible,” Winston said after everyone else was out of earshot, and just the four of them were left standing by the grave that was cut like a scar into the side of the hill. “But we’ll find another to take his place. The guild will live on, and so will Christian’s spirit.”
The three of them looked up at Winston as he gazed toward the horizon. A slash of lightning cut through the sky in the east followed by a peal of thunder that washed over the landscape like a thunderous, breaking wave.
Winston was right. There was no other choice, and they all knew it, but that didn’t make the lacerating pain of loss any easier to bear.
Every guild must consist of five members, or the guild must disband.
They all knew the rules. They’d been living by them all of their lives.
About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.
Iain is the author of The Wizards of Waterfire Series and the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series.
Dead Money Run, by J. Frank James, is an action packed crime thriller. It is the first book in the Lou Malloy Crime Series. Published in August 2013, it is available for sale on Amazon.
Lou Malloy learns of his sister’s death right before he is released from prison, having served 15 years for the theft of $15 million from an Indian casino. He wants two things: to keep the $15 million, which no one has been able to find, and to track down and punish whoever killed his sister.
Lou Malloy teams up with Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. In no time, Lou has found the hidden $15 million, recovered guns and ammunition hidden with the money, and murdered two low-level mobsters and fed them to the crocodiles.
As the body count rises, the story grows more complex and his sister’s death becomes more mysterious.
Praise for Dead Money Run:
“Dead Money Run is a hard-boiled thriller. It is a book of short chapters and almost unrelenting excitement as Lou Malloy and Hillary Kelly avoid cops, kill mobsters, and try to unravel the mystery of who killed Lou’s sister and why.” – Reviewed by Wally Wood for BookPleasures.com
“Dead Money Run by J. Frank James is a pure adrenalin rush from the very beginning. Yes, it is very violent with some strong language, but filled with excitement that keeps the reader wanting to know what comes next.” – Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers’ Favorite
“Fans of James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard are going to love James’ ingenious capers, devious characters and wry humor. The entire book goes down like a strong yet smooth shot of bourbon.” – Reviewed by BestThrillers.com
Excerpt from Dead Money Run:
The warden was a small man, but dressed neatly. Everything about him was neat-from his hair to his shoes. He was almost too neat.
“So what are your plans, Lou?”
When I walked into the room, the warden turned over a little hour-glass full of sand. We both watched it for a few seconds and then looked at each other. This was the first time I ever met the man. What did he care about me now? Since he never cared before, I figured the man was just looking for information. Perhaps he wanted to give me a warning. I didn’t say anything.
“Do you ever think about time, Lou?”
“After fifteen years, what do you think?” I said.
He smiled and said, “Most valuable thing we have and no one seems to mourn its passing until it’s too late.”
I had nothing to say to that. Conversations with a prison warden came with a lot of maybes. While in prison I trained myself to watch a man’s hands. If he rubbed his hands in a washing motion, he was lying. If he messed with his fingernails, he wasn’t interested in the conversation. The warden was rubbing his hands as if he had touched something distasteful.
“I haven’t given it a lot of thought, Warden Edwards.”
“Call me John, Lou. We’re friends now,” Edwards said while rubbing his hands in a determined kind of way.
So now we were friends. I wanted to tell him he was a liar, but my better judgment stopped me. Probably a good way to delay my release-things get lost, papers go unsigned. Things happen.
“Okay, John,” I said.
“You know, we never found the fifteen million,” he said.
“I didn’t know you were looking for it.”
I watched his eyes flicker briefly. I seemed to hit a sweet spot.
“No, Lou. You misunderstand,” he said as he caught himself. “There is a reward for the recovery of the money. Did you know that?”
Edwards said it more as a statement than a question. I said nothing and waited. Edwards shifted in his chair and started to rub his hands again.
“It would be in your best interest to tell them what you know.”
“Who’s the ‘them’ John?” I asked.
“They’re the people looking for the money.”
I thought about that for a few moments. The statement covered a lot of ground.
“Since I didn’t take the money in the first place, I don’t have anything to tell them. They need to ask the people that took it,” I said.
Edwards was smiling now and he stopped rubbing his hands.
“There are some people that think you do.”
“I can’t help what people think.”
“Ten percent,” he said.
“Ten percent of what,” I said.
“The money, Lou. Ten percent of fifteen million is a lot of money.”
“I hadn’t heard about that,” I said.
“Yeah, it seems the Indian casino had insurance. The insurance company that paid off on the claim put up a ten percent reward for the return of the money. A million five is a lot of money.”
“I hope they find it,” I said.
Edwards blinked his eyes signaling he was moving on to something else.
“Sorry to hear about your sister,” he said. “I understand they are doing all they can to find her killer.”
Edwards was a real card and running out of things to say. On any other day, in any other place, he would be dead or wishing he was.
“Thanks, John. Your words are real comforting,” I said and returned my gaze to the little hourglass and the sand as it accumulated on the bottom.
I had nothing else to say except make him happy. Make them all happy. Just one big happy group sitting around smiling at each other; happy, happy, now let’s just get the money and spread it all around and we can go on being happy. In the meantime my sister lies in a hole feeding worms. I had money on the worms being real happy. No word on how my sister felt.
Edwards looked disappointed when I didn’t add to our conversation.
“Lou, it might be a good idea for you to help them find the money. It could be a big windfall.”
Now we were getting somewhere. Just like all the rest of the treasure hunters, the miserable bastard was just in it for the money.
“Windfall for who, John? Me or you?”
As if tasting a lemon, Edwards twisted his face and, at the same time, waived his hands at an imaginary fly.
“I’m not sure what you mean, Lou. I’m just trying to give you a head start. If it was my decision, you would still be with us. Fifteen million dollars is a lot of money to lose.”
“It still is,” I said.
I sat and watched Edwards shift in his chair some more. We had nothing left to talk about. I could feel him working out in his mind how he was going to present his failure to get a lead out of me on the money.
“So, what are you going to do now?” Edwards said.
Finally, I had enough.
“Leave. Isn’t that what we all do?”
His smile vanished. He knew he was wasting his time on someone who had maxed out. He also knew he couldn’t hold me. There would be no parole violation with the threat to re-incarcerate me. No work release effort to rehabilitate me. Just a new suit made in the prison cut and sew area and a hundred bucks was the sum total of it. That probably hadn’t changed since the 30s. I wondered if Al Capone wore the suit they gave him when he got out.
We were both looking at the little hourglass of sand now. The sand had drained from the top of the glass to the bottom. Suddenly, as if being shot out of a cannon, we both stood up. Edwards stuck out his hand. I turned and left the room. I didn’t shake his hand. I didn’t want to touch him.
J. Frank James is the author of crime thriller novels. His books are gripping and suspenseful.
Jim’s novels have the elements necessary of good crime novels that keep readers glued to the pages from start to finish. Although Jim’s crime novels are fiction works, they are exciting to read because of their authentic nature. They are written with the backing of Jim’s experience in law, so they are believable situations that have the readers wanting to find out what happens next just like they would in any crime situation.
They offer the readers just enough information to keep them guessing and trying to solve the crimes until the end of the books when they are actually revealed. Jim’s books are also fresh and unique takes on crime as well, though. They are not the same whodunit type books that have been done over and over again. By infusing his personal travels into his books, Jim creates characters and atmospheres based on just enough truth to be relatable.
Plus, Jim’s books have everything in them from robbery to prison to family. They have hard and soft elements simultaneously to really capture the life of a hardened criminal who is still very human and struggles with the same human emotions as the rest of society. At the same time, Jim gives the reader perspectives from private investigators to balance out the story.
Jim’s books even have a hit of romance when his characters come to care for each other as more than just friends. Then, crime and love mixes to create a dynamic atmosphere that is even more complicated than ever before since characters care not only for each other but for their other family members as well. Jim has an amazing way of incorporating various elements into his latest crime novels to create thrillers that readers cannot get enough of, which is perhaps why all four of his books so far carry on one from the other to continue the same story concerning the hardened criminal who did 15 years in prison, Lou Malloy and who comes to be his partner, private investigator, Hilary Kelly. The two of them go it together to create gripping stories that keep readers coming back for more.
Jim is an artist and creates all of his own book covers.
To learn more, go to http://www.jfrankjamesbooks.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to interview J. Frank James, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.807.9027.
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