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I sat on two flat rocks and a plank forming a bench just outside the gates of the fortress that was home to Marcus, the barrier between Asmara, the mage, and Tiecus, the demon. For want of a better description, the two reside within the body of Marcus. He can stay in the physical forefront or either allow or can be forced by one or the other two to come forth and take form.
Today, taking my life in my hands, I would interview Tiecus, the demon. Marcus has assured me that Tiecus had fed well earlier and that his blood lust was temporarily satiated. I could only hope.
The barrier of green foliage soon began to draw back away from the opening that it covered, and Marcus appeared. He took off his hat and bowed to me. “Greetings, Creator.”
I half-stood. He towered over my five-foot-eight stature, and as I looked up into his golden eyes, I could easily see why Platt had warmed to him early on. He was masculine but his carriage was charming. The tattoos that covered his arms, all that I could see of his body, almost appeared to have a life of their own, seeming to shift slightly with his movement.
“It’s lovely to see you, Marcus. I thought I’d be talking to Tiecus today.”
“Stand back, Creator, and he will appear.”
I backed behind the bench, and what I observed took my breath away.
Marcus removed his large hat and appeared to grow even larger than he had been before. I considered he went from about six-foot-seven to well over seven feet. His form began to ripple.
I blinked, and the demon stood before me. He was terrifying.
His eyes were mere slits in his ugly face. They transposed from yellow to red and back again, and they had the shape of ones I’d seen on alligators. His jagged, sharp teeth forced his face into an almost perpetual but horrifying smile filled with malice. Small spikes protruded from his face, and horns wrapped around it. His body was muscled but was part human and part animal of some kind.
He glared at me, and a long, forked tongue shot out and licked what was more of a gaping hole than a nose. His voice reminded me of tires rolling over gravel on a rocky road. He whispered, “Creator…”
I backed a bit away.
He held out a clawed hand. “No fear. No hurt.”
I relaxed a bit and sat on the bench. “You really have learned the meaning of ‘no’, haven’t you?”
He crouched in front of me like a wolf getting ready to attack its prey. “It is opposite of after word.”
Spoken language was a difficult thing to the young demon and though his words were crude, I knew what he meant. He understood that no fear meant trust me. No hurt was closer to I will not hurt you.
“Tiecus, how do you feel about your current situation, being controlled in part by Marcus?”
He thought for a while before he spoke. “Allowed under Bright-Eye. Hunger calm. Companionship.”
“You still call the sun Bright-Eye, has anyone tried to teach you more about language?” I asked.
Meaning, Tiecus relied on Marcus to bridge the gap between the demon’s emotions and thought to make a coherent sentence from his sparse words. Something he could only do because they were all inside the same body and shared their inner selves with each other.
“Then you are willing to live inside Marcus with Asmara?”
Tiecus growled, circled once and lay on the grass knoll.
“What do you think of Platt?”
His tongue again snaked out and ran around his jagged teeth. “Beautiful. Magic.”
“Can you tell me about why you dislike Asmara, the mage, so much?”
Tiecus blinked then closed his eyes. “You know answers. Sleep now. Gut full.”
I watched, again amazed as the demon fell into a deep sleep, and Marcus slowly appeared replacing the grotesque body with his dangerously attractive one.
Marcus shook his head, leaped to his feet, and replaced his hat. He smiled. “If you write a sequel to The Demon of Reginhart, please free me from these bothersome two.”
I shook my head. “You know I won’t do that, Marcus. Together you are more interesting!”
He bowed deeply, turned, and walked into his fortress, and left my world a bit less colorful.
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Just so you know, here’s the blurb about the book:
A war rages within the world, while an even greater war seethes within a single man.
In a world riddled with demons, magic and Kings, Marcus, a single man, stands in the middle of them. Only Marcus is not an ordinary man. He is the only being preventing the demon, Tiecus, and the mage, Asmara, from destroying each other. They live within him, against his wishes, but to eliminate one will result in annihilating the three of them.
Sent to protect a small port village by King Valder, Marcus finds himself in an unexpected war. After Tiecus fails to control his blood lust, almost killing Platt, a local girl, Marcus is prepared to fight for his life. Only everything changes when the girl agrees to live with him in the tower to save the villagers from Tiecus’ wrath. Protecting this village in the impending war will require the combined cooperation of the mage and the demon living within Marcus.
One woman’s love could unite them and change the tide of war.
The answer to Marcus’s struggles, his pain, could be the love of a single, unusual woman. As strangers living together within his tower, the pending war brings them all closer. Perhaps Platt is what Marcus needs to become whole and no longer in a constant struggle for control.
The fate of them all rests on the outcome of this war, one Marcus is not certain any of them will survive.
COVID’s effects on the banking industry in India have become a black swan for the release of The Demon of Reginhart.
You see, our beloved editor lives in India. COVID has become a very disruptive force to physical operations, has impacted asset quality and liquidity, and demanded pressure on digital channels, all of which have imposed challenges to financial institutions in that region across key functions.
Ravi, our editor, recently sent us an urgent plea apologizing for a delay on his editing of our new release. The disruption of the banks and normal services has created a bit of panic for him and pulled his focus away from his everyday work.
That’s why we have had to push back our release date for The Demon of Reginhart from June 1 to June 15th!
We are hopeful to receive the manuscript back from Ravi by May 30 and begin the process of making corrections and/or cuts/additions, etc. This will put us on track for June 15th.
In the meantime, here is a small excerpt from Chapter 14 to give you more ideas about the book:
Platt coughed in fits.
“You should exchange your gown.” Marcus searched her from one end to the other looking for any clues to help her. “You and Asmara are similar in size. He doesn’t mind if you borrow something of his.”
Her coughing fits lessened, and Marcus lifted her to stand and started undoing the ties to her sleeve.
“I’m all right.” She grabbed his arm for support. Platt turned, and her cheeks grew bright red. “What are you doing?” She said through fits of choking.
“You’re wet, you’re cold, and this gown will chaff you in your sleep.” He wasn’t getting anywhere with the knots. His claws were getting in the way.
“You’re a male and naked.” Her eyes drifted to his chest. “That’s inappropriate.”
“Then sit by the fire to dry.”
She gazed at the first agreement along his defined pecks. Fingers traced the tattoo on his chest. Marcus caught his breath and enfolded his hand around hers. Removing the light touch didn’t stop the quickening of his blood, and the removal brought a sense of loss.
“What happened to you?” She was so close he could feel her breath.
“It’s an agreement,” he said hoarsely.
“What does it say?” She stared at the agreement, entranced.
“No killing Serenite.”
“Do you have one of these for each agreement?” Her voice cast alluring warmth around his body.
He managed to stutter out, “Yes.”
Marcus wasn’t used to answering questions so directly. But to keep her next to him, he’d tell her anything.
Resting the crown of her head against his swiftly beating heart, her white blonde hair tickled down to his knees. Her touch felt wonderful. He stroked the back of her neck absently. He didn’t care if she could see all his agreements.
She gasped in surprise and turned too abruptly to keep her balance. He caught her and pulled her in close before she fell.
“You have marks—everywhere.” Her body no longer pliable, she resisted.
He grunted and breathed in her vanilla scent. Holding her stirred his gut and sent fire down his legs.
“Let me go.” She squirmed. The light scent of her panic rose.
He moaned a pitiful sigh and swept her up into his arms.
“Please, no.” Her plea desperate. “Put me down.”
Marcus set her gently in a chair before the fire, but it was Asmara’s smile that pulled the corners of his lips and said through Marcus, “Getting a good look at all his front-side agreements?” Asmara chuckled. “I suspect you’ve seen the fourth one so aptly placed?” Marcus stroked the tattoo wrapped around his shaft. “That was made specific so don’t worry little one. None of us will force you.”
Platt turned her eyes to Marcus. “Asmara?”
The Mage smiled through Marcus. The Enforcer brought a finger to her lips. “Shhh… I ask you don’t reveal him.”
He stood and walked toward the armoire and opened the closet door.
Folded and stacked in the bottom drawer were his overcoat, shirt, pants, boots, and hat. After shoving his pants on he carefully folded his claws into his palm and pushed his arms through his shirt as to not rip the fabric. Modesty cured, he grabbed a quilt.
“Is there anything I can get you?” He wrapped the quilt around her.
Platt looked up at him in scorn. “Yes, I want my mother’s cooking.”
He didn’t wince, balk, or hesitate. “Then you shall have it.”
Platt’s surprised face was worth his stomach’s nervous rumblings at meeting Rehan. He’d seen Platt’s mother within her memories, and how she saw her mother frightened him. Not because Platt was afraid of her own mother, but because he was desperate to impress his Little Doe. Marcus hurried out of the room before consequence paralyzed him.
More to come!
As we grow closer to the publication date of The Demon of Reginhart, we wanted to provide a glimpse into the relationship among the main characters. We’d love to know what you think.
The Demon of Reginhart Excerpt:
Sunlight revealed more damage the closer they got to the only standing tower. By the time he climbed the hill to the grounds, he was surprised the east tower stood at all. Bricks littered the courtyard. Remains of a crumpled wall faced the sea. Ash and charred wood might have been the great hall. Worst of all, there wasn’t a stable.
As he dismounted, he could hear Asmara scoff. Not much like Benicar is it.
Marcus was too angry to retort.
Selkie didn’t seem to mind about the integrity of the stronghold. The inferno demon stood poised with his ears and eyes to the ever-motioning sea.
Marcus couldn’t tell whether the demon steed’s trance was in longing or fear. He stood waiting for any sign that Selkie would go charging down the hill into the waves or opposite and into the trees. Tightness in his chest urged him to show dominance over his charger.
“Friend,” he said, barely audible, “Don’t leave me.”
At his plea, Selkie turned his neck, and the glow of his eyes shined. Marcus met the steed’s empty, sad eyes. Selkie nickered, and Marcus relaxed. The inferno steed would not abandon him today.
Officially, the mage and Selkie had a history before Marcus was even created. In Asmara’s memories, a half-fish, half-man discarded its skin in favor of a land animal. That land animal was the demon steed in front of Marcus. The mage, knowing the stories of Selkies, stole the sea-faring skin. Imprisoning Selkie had never sat well with Marcus, but Asmara charmed and hid Selkie’s skin in favor of the demon steed’s service. If Marcus ever found Selkie’s outer shell, he’d give it back to its rightful owner.
“He hasn’t revealed his hiding place, but I’ll find it.” Marcus stepped forward and stroked the steed’s neck under his long black mane.
The charger nickered. Done with his job, Selkie walked over to the most comfortable looking piece of stone and curled up like demon horses do when tired, worn, and not first watch.
Marcus let out a sigh and turned his attention to the carnage of the castle. Valder said it was damaged, but did he really expect him to stay here? Only one roof-less tower stood. Despite Valder’s recommendation, he was not going to contact Bolden Pillar.
“No.” Marcus collected the materials left to him. “Only Tier Naug. He meant for me to eat Tier Naug.”
He removed his coat and set it over a half-burnt chair laying on its side in the middle of the courtyard. Then Marcus collected slivers of a broken mirror and puzzled them together until the mismatched pieces were large enough to show his face.
Three forms stared back at him in the reflection. His own long face and iridescent, shimmering eyes were most prominent. Behind his own image floated the ghost of a human-like face with wide eyes, corkscrew-curly short hair, and ears that slanted upward and twisted like a swine’s tail at the ends.
Beyond Asmara a larger creature lurked behind them both. Tiecus was not just a monster, but a nightmare. A creature so ugly, so fierce, so utterly terrifying, that he caused paralysis in humans. Tiecus loomed in the background over the two of them. The entirety of the demon’s face didn’t fit inside the mirror, but a single shimmering eye examined itself. Tiecus was ugly as ever with a wide snout, shaggy face, and horns that now began a slow curl bending from the demon’s temple to behind his canine-like ears. The demon had grown since the last time Marcus glanced at his reflection.
Asmara, taking the chance to admire his profile, turned his head left then right. The Serenite paid extra attention to the twists at the tips of his long,
“You’re still old,” Marcus smirked.
I’m still handsome. Asmara quipped.
Watching all three of them in the mirror was odd. They possessed the same body, and yet they were free to move within Marcus. He was one, and they were three.
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Penn Scripter is proud to present The Demon of Reginhart Cover Reveal!
Our Author Community voted on 5 separate designs, and we believe the very best one took the prize.
What we found fascinating was the cover artist’s interpretation of our story. Her name is Julia Rohwedder, and we think she is quite a find. Here, in her own words, is her reasoning behind the winning design:
“I wanted to symbolize the three parts of the main character, the human, the mage, and the demon. So, I chose to use three broken parts of a crystal to show the split inside Marcus.
It’s kind of an abstract and literal image at once. For giving it a good fantasy feel, I added the magical fog around the pieces, indicating that they belong together, pointing visually to the middle of the crystals.”
Julia really nailed it.
Sentence-like tattoos litter Marcus’s body because when he makes an agreement with anyone, the words burn into his skin. And, if he breaks an agreement, the tattoo representing it burns him.
Asmara, the mage, an androgynous character, is in the crystal on the lower left. Tiecus, the demon, is the ugly creature on the right crystal.
We don’t know about you, but we loved everything about this cover, fonts included.
If you want to learn more about Julia’s work, you’ll find it at:
Penn Scripter is the nom de plume for the writing team of S.N. and Carol McKibben. This mother-daughter combo writes unexpected paranormal romance. Separately, they each have a healthy list of novels.
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