Preview of A Pattern of Shadows: Small Things 3

I’m hard at work on A Pattern of Shadows, the third and final book in the Small Things trilogy, and so I wanted to give you something to whet your appetite. The following is the working prologue for the book, a prologue that takes place approximately 2000 years ago.

So where’s Shawn and Jenny? Where’s Fred Ruskin and his daughter Katy? And what about Ben? They’re in there, I promise, just not in the prologue.

Please excuse any and all typos and errors, as the whole book is most definitely still a work in progress.

Enjoy!

Prologue From A Pattern of Shadows

2000 years ago    

The Norse demigod Thor floated among the clouds, miles above the surface of the planet. Others of his kind grouped around him, including the Egyptian gods Anubis and Osiris, the Greek deities Aphrodite, Cronos, and Nike, and the Hindu gods Vishnu and Brahma.  Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec sun god of war, was also there, along with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, Eshu, the African trickster god, and thousands of others, representing every major and minor religion on Earth.

“I don’t see why this is even necessary,” said Vishnu, stroking his long, white beard with his fourth hand, in a language they all under-stood.

“It might not be, for you,” said Giltine, the Baltic goddess of death, “but my believers are dying out. I, for one, want to hear what Odin has to say.”

Laima, the goddess of fortune and pregnancy, echoed her sister’s sentiment.

Odin, the all-knowing father of the Norse deities, sat astride Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse, in the middle of this gathering of gods. He had called them all here because he knew that change was in the air, and, if they ignored it, their power and influence would suffer.

“Hear me, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, brethren one and all,” he said, straightening the huge wide-brimmed hat he wore, “I have seen the future, and it is not ours. The Jewish superstitions have taken a foothold, and we must adapt if we are to survive. Jesus of Nazarene, a human prophet of the Israelites, is leading this change, and we must follow.”

“I’m tired of following the humans,” said Ishtar, the Mesopotamian sky goddess of sex and war, “how much longer will we allow them to run rampant over this world before we reclaim what is rightfully ours?”

Izanagi, the Japanese god of creation, nodded in agreement. “Why must we bend ourselves to appease them?”

“It is what we have always done,” Danu, the Celtic mother goddess, interjected. “Their belief feeds us, gives us energy, and makes us stronger. We must go where that energy leads us. We have done it be-fore, and, I imagine, will do it again.”

Yen-Lo-Wang, the Chinese deity of death, raised a huge bronze sword in the air. “No more changes. I don’t like to remember.”

Odin sighed. “None of us do, Yen-Lo-Wang, but this will be the final change.”

A murmur went through the crowd.

“At last,” shouted Thor, gesturing with his mighty hammer Mjölnir as he spoke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. “But how can this be, all-father?”

“Can it really be true?” asked Tinia, the king of the Etruscan pantheon.

“I don’t want to change,” complained Yen-Lo-Wang again.

Some agreed with the Japanese god, while others shouted him down.

“Enough!” bellowed Odin, and silence filled the skies.

“Those who want to retain their identities will not be forced to change,” he said, “but if you lose too many believers, you will also lose strength and then be unable to change. You know this, for it is as it has always been. We have lost other kin.”

“You said this would be the final change,” prodded Zeus, the leader of the Greek gods, who had up until now had remained quiet.

“Men move on, form new beliefs. We change with them,” added Hades, the Greek god of the underworld and Zeus’ brother. “How can this be the last iteration?”

More murmurs arose from the crowd, and Odin held up a hand to silence them.

“It’s simple,” he said. “When we first came here, before humanity rose, we learned of certain things that had been set in motion, certain objects of power hidden around the globe that preceded even us. Do you remember?”

Mama-Quilla, the Incan moon goddess, tilted her head in thought before finally nodding. “So long ago, but I remember.”

“I also remember,” said Perchta, the Germanic goddess of fertility. “Though even yesterday I did not.”

“I remember as well,” admitted Yen-Lo-Wang, surprise in his eyes. “Though not until you spoke of it.”

“But we can’t use those talismans,” added Manjusri, the Tibetan god of wisdom. “Can we?”

“No, we cannot,” said Odin, “But the humans can, and, through them, we will make use of the objects. It will take many millennia of manipulation, an eternity to them, but just a blink of an eye to us.”

“And when will we set this in motion?” asked Thor, with a gleam in his eye.

“Soon, my son. Patience is the key. Ahpuc,” he said, turning to face the Mayan god of hell, “you will lead one of your priests to the first talisman, which I have already recovered and changed into the tooth of a jaguar. Close your eyes and you will see the location.”

Ahpuc closed his eyes. “It is beneath a Monkey Puzzle tree, close to the priest’s home.”

“Exactly. Lead the priest to that spot, and everything will begin. In a mere four millennia, give or take, we will have the ability to eradicate the humans from this planet and the power of their beliefs will be fully ours. We will no longer need them.”

“And then what?” asked Perchta.

More murmurs, this time silenced by a wave of Odin’s hand.

“We will start over,” Odin said, “and, this time, we’ll get it right.”

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Five Friends of Joe, Volume 1

I have a lot of creative friends, and have decided to periodically highlight them. Here are five such friends, all female, and all listed in categorical and last name alphabetical order so that none of them get mad and punch me. Some of them punch hard! Click on their names and go to their websites, or else they might punch you instead.

Authors

  • Brooke Johnson – Brooke is a fellow author and good friend, and we share ownership of a metal book rack that we take to book signings. She writes steampunk, and someday (probably 2052) we’re going to collaborate on a steampunk/horror novel. She has authored two excellent mass market paperbacks (The Brass Giant and its sequel, The Guild Conspiracy) as well as an eBook in the same universe. She is also a very hermity hermit and sometimes has purple hair, though I prefer it when it’s blue. I once dyed my beard to match her hair.
  • Robin Raven – Robin is one of the best friends I’ve never met! She’s also the author of the wildly successful children’s book Santa’s First Vegan Christmas as well as time travelling coming of age novel Next Stop: Nina. She lives in Alabama, so the “never met” part of the first sentence makes perfect sense. She also likes Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain, which makes less than perfect sense. It also isn’t true.

Cover Designers

  • Renée Barratt – Renée has designed all four of my book covers, and I couldn’t have asked for a better designer. We became friends over time, and which was an added bonus! Not only does she do amazing work, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. She’s fun to work with, and is incredibly patient with my nit pickiness!

Photographers

  • Melodie Maynard – Melodie (or, as my phone occasionally calls her, Melanie) is an amazing photographer and a good friend. My son is also friends with her daughter, because, like us, they’re both super nerds. She does wedding, engagement, and senior photographs, which, contrary to my original impression, means seniors in high school, not seniors in nursing homes.
  • Sunny Skaggs – Sunny (my phone doesn’t really call her anything other than Sunny) is also an amazing photographer and friend, and in fact is responsible for the photo of myself on the back covers of Memories of a Ghost and Odds and Endings: Fiction Short and Otherwise. Her eyes hurt photographing someone as beautiful as me, but she nevertheless managed to get the job done!

Oh, and I did this for Melodie as a joke, (see “senior portraits”, above) and I feel compelled to share it here because I’m absurdly proud of it!

seniorportraits2

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Reading or Listening?

I have a confession to make. Despite having all four of my books on audio, I’d never listened to an entire audio book (other than vetting my own for approval) until last weekend.

Last Thursday, during a 10+ hour drive to Chicago, my  son and I listened to pro-wrestler Daniel Bryan’s autobiography Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleManiaIt was an amazing story, and made me realize just what I’d been missing by avoiding audio books.

While audio books will never take the place of the written word for me, they are a great alternative—especially when driving, exercising, cleaning, or any other situation where you moag-audiblecan’t sit down and read. An added bonus is that the right narrator can really help bring the book to life!

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing narrators for my own books. Going on a drive? Make sure to check them out!

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Joe DeRouen on Garrett Miller’s Rated G Radio!

Garrett Miller

Garrett Miller

Today I was on Garrett Miller’s Rated G Radio for the full hour, talking about my novels,writing, getting rich, teaching, and even professional wrestling! Check it out, and make sure to follow Garrett on Twitter for news about his show and other projects!

Garrett Miller’s Rated G Radio Featuring Joe DeRouen

 

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