It’s time to pick a giveaway winner! Yay!!!
So, the winner of a $20 Gift Certificate to E-tailer of Their Choice is…. Continue reading
It’s time to pick a giveaway winner! Yay!!!
So, the winner of a $20 Gift Certificate to E-tailer of Their Choice is…. Continue reading
And welcome back to my world of dragons, intrigue, hot guns, fast cars and a grumpy, slightly anti-social Chimera of a Sidhe and an Unsidhe who really only wants to hunt monsters and go home to his probably carnivorous cat. My name is Rhys Ford and I’ll be your guide today as on July 14th, I’ll take you back to the Kai Gracen series for Book Four — Silk Dragon Salsa.
If you’re following the blog tour from the beginning, you can skip this bit and head to the serialized part of the story but if this is your first time with me, let me ramble a bit about my grouchy special kitten, Kai. I’ve used the past three books to set up his relationships and world and kind of settling him for what should have been a changing environment. He’s never really had a lot of contact with the elfin and never really wanted any. Ryder, the Lord of the Southern Rise Court, blew into Kai’s life like a hurricane with a grudge and Kai’s had to not only learn how to get along with the man but also adjust to the fact the elfin are in his life to stay. Not something Kai ever wanted. He was raised by humans, thinks of himself as human, and was pretty happy about it.
Then his world changed and he was dragged kicking and screaming and probably stabbing into a bit of elfin affairs even as he knew it would probably be the death of him.
And in Silk Dragon Salsa, I really turn his world upside down.
It was a long time coming and Kai, in his true quick-on-his-feet fashion, knows he must change with it. Because the Merged world is going forward — with or without his approval — and this time, he has a chance for a bit of happiness, if he can find it in the chaos storm hunting him down in Silk Dragon Salsa.
by Rhys Ford
“I hate salamanders.” This wasn’t news to Jonas. Especially considering he probably heard me say that exact same thing at least twenty times since we’d hit the tree line. “It’s like they’re pissed off because they’re not real dragons and gotta take it out on everyone else.”
It was a shit job. But shit jobs meant money in my pocket — well Dempsey’s pocket — and I liked eating.
Until — if — I got a Stalker’s license, I couldn’t claim bounty on anything I took in except for a black dog. The ainmhi dubh were like feral pigs, legal to hunt at any time of the year and anyone with enough guts to go after the insane abominations some Wild Hunt master dragged together from spare body parts could cash in on any state’s reward for its skin. The bigger the pelt, the bigger the payout and since no one could ever figure out a way to breed the bastards, any black dog anyone caught and killed was definitely one more monster taken off the land.
Salamanders were a different story.
They were a pain in the ass and came in different flavors, everything from the sleek, fire-gilled ones to the rhino-sized sewer dwelling monsters who liked to chew on concrete foundations. There was a make and model for any kind of trouble and the particular piece of shit salamander we were after today was a spotted Martin’s forest warbler.
Or as many farmers liked to call them… damned chicken munchers.
The diamonds I’d dug for would be enough to keep us going for six months but I didn’t like living too close to the edge. When we did, it was usually me that went into the dirty to get us out and if I didn’t dig through dragon shit again any time soon, I’d be happy. Dempsey tapped out of the run so it was just me and Jonas stalking the tree line. Montana was filthy with forests but there was enough clear land and townships to support a healthy farming and cattle industry.
Although a slimy reptilian predator the size of a lion and able to slither under chicken wire to eat livestock went a long way into making a rough, hardscrabble life even harder.
“You okay with getting your Stalker license?” Jonas dropped his hot little verbal ember into my lap, his eyes scanning the thicket for any sign of movement. “It’ll mean you being able to cut loose of Dempsey. Be your own man.”
I gave him a long look then answered, picking my way carefully through the pile of dead sticks and leaves as silently as I could. “I owe Dempsey my life. Not going to up and leave him now. If the old man needs me, I’m there. Just like always. Going to be a time when he can’t do this life any more. Got no savings. Don’t even have any land he can call his own. It’ll be my time to take care of him then.”
“Like you’re not doing that now?” He rumbled, stopping suddenly. “That it? Over there?”
“Nah, deer.” If we weren’t on a run, I’d have taken a shot at the buck. Venison was good eating and we had enough room in the solar-powered cooler in the back of the truck to hold at least a quarter of it. The rest could go to the families who’d hired us to hunt the salamander but now wasn’t the time. “Look, they might not even let me have a license. I’m not human. Shit, there’s still places I have to hide my ears and face so I don’t get shot when we go inside. It’s a crap shoot, Jonas, but one I’m willing to risk.”
“You’re just a kid, Kai.” Jonas sounded like he was trying to argue a point but I wasn’t sure what it was. “You should be in school, cruising for a Saturday night date so you can get your first kiss and complaining about doing homework. The family was talking about it and they’d like you to come down. Live with us in San Diego —”
“I’m not a kid, Jonas. Never have been,” I cut him off. “First kiss has come and gone. Just like my first kill. That life? It’s not mine. Save it for your kids because I’m not going to live it. Now let’s go find that damned slimy bastard so I can get something to eat. And on the way out, keep an eye out for that deer. Be nice not to have to pay for a steak.”
It is hard to believe that we are at the third book in the Kai Gracen series. Black Dog Blues was one of the first full-length novels I’d written inside of an urban fantasy genre I’ve always wanted to explore. The best part about writing Kai Gracen is creating not just the personalities but also the world they inhabit and it’s been great to blend in the fantastical with the mundane.
In his third outing, Jacked Cat Jive, Kai is faced with unique challenge of realizing he really is not as human as he thought and that the Court and its inhabitants mean something to him other than a thorn in his side. And of course, there is always Ryder, the Sidhe Lord who gets under his skin in the best of ways. I’ve enjoyed writing the push and pull of their relationship but also the growth between them as characters. They started off at very different points of view and are slowly working towards an understanding while also fending off any challenges that come at them.
This time out, Kai is not only set to rescue a group of refugees from the Badlands beneath San Diego, he also has to come to grips with his growing friendship with Ryder and how the humans in his life are getting older, something he won’t experience himself for quite a long time.
So I hope that you join Kai and his next adventure and also enjoy this serialized story of Ryder and the trouble he gets into when he doesn’t listen to what Kai says.
Also, I invite you to enter the giveaway on each of the blogs during the tour and get a chance to win a $25 USD gift certificate from an e-tailer of your choice (see below for more information)
by Rhys Ford
I was going to die.
It was too soon. I still had too much to do with my life; a Court to establish, discover a way for my people to be more fertile but most of all, I still hadn’t convinced Kai Gracen he belonged at my side. I should be sitting safe — barring Sidhe politics — as Ryder, the Lord of the Southern Rise Court.
Instead, I’d allowed myself to be convinced by Kai to go on a run and once again ending up in a situation where I would die far from my family with the possibly of leaving nothing behind of my body except for what a wild animal shat out near his den to ward off other predators.
I think that was the main reason he was trying to kill me. Given enough time, he would give in to the tight desire brewing between us but as in all things, Kai never did anything the easy way. He had to fight with everything, chew through all possibilities and then choose a course of action I never even considered.
Which was why I was clinging to the side of a large, hairy beast while it thundered us both to certain doom over a sheer cliff.
I’m not sure how I get talked into such precarious situations. No, that is a lie. I know exactly how I get talked into these things. I do this to myself. Because I cannot resist the challenge in Kai’s dusk-hued violet eyes when he throws down an impossible task at my feet.
There wasn’t much time to contemplate why, and how, I was holding onto the shaggy behemoth of a mammal — or at least I thought it was a mammal — instead of working on cementing the Court’s relations with the human world surrounding it. The beast itself smelled. Mostly of manure but also of dried grasses and dirt. Its thick wooly hide scratched my fingers and any other bare skin I had pressed against it, including my belly where my shirt rode up nearly to my chest, inching towards my throat with every thundering stride the monster took. There were bound to be biting insects riding the beast along with me and if I survived the experience, I was sure to be taking them home to the Court if I didn’t get a chance to disinfect myself.
Why didn’t I simply let go?
A few reasons. The first was the creature moved at an alarming speed, carrying us in magnificent leaps over the stretch of plains below the lava fields teeming with dragons. Secondly, those same plains were ripe with razor-sharp grasses and releasing my hold would mean a dangerous tumble through the knife-like surface where I also had a good chance of striking a prickly, shards-of-glass like patch of paho’eho’e lurking in the golden sheaves.
And lastly, but certainly more importantly, if I let go of the bison, I would instantly become a meal for the pride of lions chasing the herd down towards the sea.
I couldn’t hear the cats’ screams and roars as they chased the herd. Not above the gnash of hooves slamming into the ground and the terrified snorts of the angry beasts. For all I knew, the lions hunted silently, slipping through the grasses in a rush of whispered sounds. These were human creatures, so far removed from my experience I had no knowledge of how they hunted but one thing was certain, their teeth were massive, their claws were deadly and their fur so closely matched the swaying grasses, I couldn’t see them chasing us.
But they were there. I knew it. The bison knew it. And it would simply be a matter of time before one of them caught up with the beast I rode and I would be torn apart, leaving nothing for Kai to find once he caught up with me.
by Rhys Ford
Thank you for following the Mad Lizard Mambo tour. My name’s Rhys Ford and well, we’re going back to the first character I wrote for this genre, Kai Gracen.
When I first began to write seriously, I went with an urban fantasy featuring a bisexual elfin character named Kai Gracen. The first book was Black Dog Blues and to make a long story short, DSP Publications approached me about publishing it after I’d self-pubbed it following my publishing a few books with Dreamspinner. DSP Publications hadn’t started yet but it suited their catalog and well, it’s a Dreamspinner Imprint so of course I was on board.
Now, after a few years, I would like to introduce to you Kai’s second adventure, Mad Lizard Mambo. It takes place a little bit after Black Dog Blues and well, life’s just gotten more complicated for Kai. I hope you enjoy it as well as the three short pieces I’ve done for this tour.
The first, When Kai Fell in Love, is written a little bit after Dempsey took him in. He’s young in this section and while his Singlish isn’t great, he understands a lot of what he hears. This is two parts.
The second, When Kai Discovers He Does Not Bounce, is when he’s about in his early teens(ish) and he’s on a disaster of a hunt with Dempsey. This is in four parts.
The third, That Time Kai Rescued A Shoe, is a few months after Dempsey retired and he’s moved into his warehouse in San Diego. This is in three parts.
Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to enter the giveaway on this blog! Follow the stories as they unfold on the tour and enter to win a $20 USD Gift Certificate at the e-retailer of your choice at every stop! See below for more details.
That Time Kai Rescued A Shoe (part 3)
The newt was huge. Larger than a lot of dragons stomping around the lava fields in Pendle pretending to be apex predators. Okay, it might not have been that big but it was certainly bigger than a standard tiger. Not one of the saber toothed ones, just a standard.
One thing for sure, the tiger would be a lot prettier.
Cave newts were somewhat see-through, mottled geckos who waddled at alarming speeds and preferred to spend their time partially submerged in muck and water. Normally, they were harmless, inedible blobs of gelatinous meat without much interaction with the human world, hibernating much of their life away.
Until they woke up and then an insane hunger drove them from their happy little mud packs and up towards the surface where they feasted on pigeons, rats, fish and the occasional bunny. It was a cyclic life of sleep, raging hunger, frenzied feeding then more sleep.
Problem was, they grew while they slept, using up their energy reserves so when they woke again, their only instinct was to consume everything in their path. And if they’d eaten something particularly large, they doubled or sometimes even tripled their size during their slumber. Continue reading
by Rhys Ford
A few years ago, I wrote an urban fantasy called Black Dog Blues. When the book simmered and boiled in my brain, there were a few things I wanted to have in this book: An elf who was unapologetically bisexual and raised human, blood, gore, guns and monsters.I’d released it into the wilds of self-pubbing—mostly because there wasn’t a place for him then— and Kai did pretty well.
Then, one day at a yarn store, Elizabeth North of Dreamspinner Press fame, started talking about a new venture they were trying out—DSP Publications, DSP’s boutique genre imprint. Long story short, Elizabeth asked if I’d submit Black Dog Blues, I did and now, here we are—with Kai making his way into the mainstream.
Repackaged and gone over again for red squiggles, Black Dog Blues is getting a re-release on February 3rd and I can’t be more excited. The story is the same but Anne Cain rocked me a new cover, more in line with the urban fantasy feel of that genre and I’ve had a chance to kick a few of the tires I wanted to kick in editing. The biggest thing about this re-release is that Kai is going out there again and I can put his sequel firmly into my queue.
If you’ve already read Black Dog Blues, thank you. REALLY. Thank you. You rock and you’ve made Black Dog Blues a success and got it notice. I cannot say thank you enough. No need to re-buy the book but if you’d left a review on Amazon—and have the time—repost it onto the new listing. Unlike Goodreads, re-release reviews don’t carry over. *grins*
If you haven’t read Black Dog Blues, ah—Kai really is my special precious, growly kitten. I adore writing him. I adore writing his world and man, there’s so many places to go with his story. I’m really looking forward to digging in.
Thank you again for letting my snarling elf have a space on your ebook reader. You all rock. Thank you.
Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.
It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.
But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.
And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.
So to celebrate Black Dog Blues’ re-release, I’m holding a 12 stop blog tour where YOU can win a dragon. Well, a stuffed dragon. Who’s kind of goofy. And much less terrifying than the one Kai ran into. Leave a comment or use the widget the blog’s provided and enter to win one of these plush dragons! International welcome. Dragons for all. Mostly because man, they’re HUGE and take up a lot of space in the guest room.
This giveaway starts now and ends February 11, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
As an added bonus, be sure to collect ALL of the Black Dog Blues trading cards and return to my blog rhysford.com at the end of the tour for a special giveaway. You’ll need the cards to enter. Winner will be chosen randomly from entrants with the correct answers.
These fine collectibles showcase some of the many creatures and inhabitants of Kai Gracen world. Just like life, there are no true good or evil creatures. It’s just that some of them are more wicked and deadlier than others.