Thursday, July 16, 2020

Weston Kincade Interview - Golden Bulls

Photo Content from Weston Kincade

Weston Kincade is a bestselling writer of supernatural mystery and horror novels that stretch the boundaries of imagination, and often genres. His current series include the A Life of Death trilogy and the Priors. Weston's short stories have been published in Alucard Press' "50 Shades of Slay," Kevin J. Kennedy's bestselling seasonal anthologies, and others. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and helps invest in future writers while teaching. In his spare time Weston enjoys spending time with his family and friends, fishing, and playing board and roleplaying games like D&D.

Greatest thing you learned at school.
Well, as a teacher I’ve technically been in school for a very, very long time now. I don’t think that’s what you meant though. :)

The greatest lesson I learned came back in high school, when we read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. It was the first book I truly connected with, and in hindsight the experience inspired my own writing, especially with twist endings.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My most rewarding experience to date is still from one of my English students who beta read A Life of Death, Book 1 years ago. I remember her walking into class cradling her Kindle ereader, tears streaming down her face. I asked what was wrong, and she said she just finished reading the book. I also remember her pleading eyes when she asked why it had to end that way, while at the same time agreeing that it couldn’t have gone any differently. It will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Everything I’d hoped to put into that little book of words had struck a chord. The things I felt while writing it and lessons I tried to impart were carried over on those simple words. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter the difficulties of the journey. It was meaningful to her. And as an additional bonus… it meant maybe I was doing something right.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Well, I’ve been working on a couple different projects for a while now, the prequel to the Life of Death trilogy and a short story anthology. Both are coming along well, while I’ve also been working on audiobook versions with UK narrator Ian Gordon. In fact, we recently released the audio book of book two in the A Life of Death Trilogy, The Golden Bulls.

If you could work for anyone you choose, who would it be?
Ideally, if I could work for anyone, I’d work for myself. If I’m going to succeed or fail, I want it to be on my own merits.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?
Throughout the Life of Death trilogy, Alex grows a lot. Since we see things through his eyes as a teen, an adult, and a father, I’d have to go with him. So far as how he’s grown, the entire series is one of self-discovery, a coming-of-age story that never really stops. As a result, he finds both hope and purpose, while discovering the courage to stand up for those in need, no matter their corporeal form. However, Paige or Alex’s friend Jessie would run a close second for similar reasons.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from GOLDEN BULLS
One of my favorite scenes from the Golden Bulls comes later in his search for the serial killer, while Alex is in an Ancient Egyptian archaeology exhibit. He winds up putting his psychometric visions to the test—this time on a skeleton over a thousand years old with unique characteristics. Here’s an excerpt:

Saving Nakhti
September 17, 2011

“KHERED, YOU’RE SUCH a strapping young lad. Isn’t he?” asked a grandmotherly voice that began as the Ancient Egyptian speech I recognized, although, the latter question seemed directed at someone else.

As the dim light of a room with mottled, red, mud-brick walls revealed itself, I felt a wide hand on my slim shoulder. I blinked, clearing dark spots from my vision, and stared into the warped, copper mirror her wrinkled hand held in front of me. Through the waves of polished metal, I could make out my straight, dark hair and a few specks of white decorating my tanned skin. The onyx eyes staring back at me through dark lashes were hardly more than a child’s.

A man harrumphed from behind me, but I couldn’t tell whether it was in agreement with the old woman. She had enough wrinkles and gray curls to be over a hundred.

I spun to face the voice and asked in a childlike voice, “Father, when did you get here?”

“Now what did I tell you about calling me that?” replied the bald man in a white, linen tunic. He cradled a carved, ivory wand in the shape of a crescent moon. His forehead was wrinkled, and years in the sun had sunken his cheeks, however, his eyes flared with life.

I dropped my head to stare at the dirt floor. “Sorry, Fa—High Priest Senbi,” I said, catching myself.

“So why did you call for me, child?” the man mumbled.

“High Priest Senbi,” I said, raising my eyes to meet his narrow glare, “I wondered when I could come to the Temple of Ptah to worship with you.”

“You want to be a priest?” Senbi said with a chuckle, as though the idea were absurd.

I nodded with enthusiasm. “Yes, Fa—I mean, High Priest Senbi.”

“Aunt, leave us,” the high priest commanded.

The elderly woman patted my shoulder and gave me a pitying look. I returned it with a halfhearted smile then looked back at my father. My stomach was doing somersaults, and I felt a bit woozy, having mustered the strength to finally summon my father for the request.

“You know, Khu wants to follow in my footsteps,” he mumbled, his lips curling into a subtle smile at the admission.

Images of a dark-haired boy a few years younger than myself flashed before me, sporting with the other boys in the village, something I was never allowed to do. I could be a priest, though, be revered by the people, and help them. My magic could be the strongest in Upper Egypt. Senbi had named me for my strength. Raising my chin and attempting to straighten my crooked back, I said, “I know, High Priest Senbi, but I am your firstborn. I am Nakhtiokpara. Do I not have the right to choose first? I am almost fifteen.”

Senbi spat on the hard-packed floor. “You are to never speak of our relation. You know this. How many times do I have to tell you? You’re an abomination, a freak. You can’t even walk straight. How would you kneel at the stone pool? You have to be clean to even enter the Temple of Ptah. How will the people trust you to heal them if you can’t even heal yourself? You’re a cripple and will die soon.”

I bit my lip, clenched my jaw, and lifted my face to meet his. “I am strong. You and the others have said I will die by year’s end ever since I can remember, but I live on. Let me help others. Teach me,” I pleaded.

A glint flickered in his brown eyes and then softened. He took a quiet step toward me and wrapped my bared chest in his arms. He flinched, drawing his hand away from my back and side where bone had grown in place of skin after a particularly brutal scrape while wrestling with three older boys. That was when we learned the extent of my ailment; it was also the last time I played with others in the village. Senbi’s hand settled on an undamaged portion of my back. I smiled and hugged him, feeling his aged ribs creak in my slender arms.

He hissed down to me, “You are unclean, cursed, and impure. You are a stain on my reputation… on my life.”

The words hurt, but I’d grown used to hearing such things from the other boys. However, hearing it from my father was too much. I tried to stop the tears from welling in my eyes, but could more easily have straightened my contorted back. The only thing that hurt more was the sharp pain of something suddenly plunging into my side, just below my ribs.

Senbi angled his engraved, ivory tusk up and thrust it deeper, into my chest cavity. My breathing came in ragged gasps, and it felt as if I were drowning in the Iteru like I almost had years before, but this time there was no water to surface from. Warm liquid coursed down my side as he pulled his staff free.

“Why, Father?” I asked.

He let go of me and backed away as if I were a curse to be shooed away with one of his spells. “You have shamed me for too long, Nakhti. Why couldn’t you just die? Now I will have to spend hours cleansing my wand of your cursed blood. It may never work right again.”

I crumpled awkwardly to the floor, my stiff left leg jutting out while my eyes focused on the bloody wand with engravings of Ptah, Osiris, and other gods he often used for his spells. My blood dripped from its tip and coated half the wand. The engraved depictions stood out darker in the murky, red liquid, as though soaking in my essence. “But, Father—”

“Don’t ever call me that, you cripple… you cursed fiend. You could never be a priest, and now you will no longer stand in Khu’s way.” Wiping the wand on a spare tunic that lay next to my sleeping mat, he muttered, “I need to at least make sure your spirit leaves. We can’t have you hanging around causing trouble.” Lifting his smeared wand in the air, he began chanting, waving, and leaping on one leg, calling to Anubis and Osiris.”

While taking my final shallow breaths, I smiled as Senbi spoke the spell to reincarnate me in Ptah’s image. Maybe I will be strong like the Apis bull.

* * *

My eyes fluttered open to find a muted conversation taking place between Dr. Kamal and Dr. Mayna. Their words slowly filtered to my ears, growing easier to comprehend, but before they noticed me once more, another gust of wind swept through the room with the words, “Em hotep nefer,” floating on it as light as a candle flame.

Shaking off the fogginess that seemed to have renewed my alcohol-free hangover from the previous night, I said, “Dr. Kamal, what does ‘Em hotep nefer’ mean?”

Their banter stopped as though an anvil had dropped, and they both stared at me. The Egyptian professor thought for a moment, his eyes drifting into the distance. Then he replied, “Be in great peace.”

I smiled and muttered, “You too, Nakhti. You too.”

“Don’t tell me,” Dr. Mayna quipped, “that was—”

“Nakhti,” I supplied.

“A ghost, I was going to say.”

I shrugged and nodded. “That too. Nakhti is the real name of the guy you call Curly. Dr. Kamal was right. Oh, and by the way, he didn’t have curly hair. Didn’t even make it past fifteen.”

“What happened?” Dr. Kamal asked in his rich accent, his deep voice flushed with excitement. He and Dr. Mayna both leaned forward on stools that had appeared in my mental absence.

I readjusted myself on the stool and leaned over to glance out the window. The sun had moved a good distance farther into the sky and was now almost directly overhead. “Well,” I said, turning back to the professors, “I get the feeling that Nakhti is happy someone took notice. Most of the time, the ghosts don’t interact, but two of your three bodies have. They must’ve been waiting a long time.”

We circled the stools and settled into a powwow between the recently vacated table and Nakhti’s remains. “Okay, go on,” he said, his dark his glittering under the phosphorescent lights in the stark room.

“Firstly, his bones weren’t always like that.”

Dr. Mayna gave me a quizzical look. “They had to be. I don’t know of anything else it could be.”

“Apparently he was born healthy, like anyone else—at least, that’s the impression I got.”

She frowned, having just gotten settled, and glanced back at the computer on her desk. “So, the bones grew over time?” she muttered, turning back to me, but I could tell she ached to search for the disease and discover what ailed young Nakhti.

“Yes. Any time Nakhti was injured, his body somehow grew bone there. That’s what caused his back to twist and become partially covered in bone.”

“All those extra pieces…?” she asked.

I nodded. “They were part of his back. His left leg was also basically fused together—at least, that’s what it felt like.”

“How did he die?” the Egyptian professor asked, greedy for answers.

I smiled, but it was a sorrowful memory.

Read more in Golden Bulls, book 2 of the A Life of Death series.

What is your most memorable travel experience?

That would have to be when I studied abroad in the UK and got to take classes on Shakespeare and Robert Burns while visiting the very sites. I’ll never forget it.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I’m a romantic at heart, so this one is easy. You can’t have the good without the bad. It’s worth it.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Everything. I often have difficulty getting my mind to shut off at night. It can take hours to get to sleep sometimes unfortunately. However, it’s where many of my best story ideas come from.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
This is going to sound odd, but while I hope my books are well received and it would be great if sales took off, part of me is afraid of success. I’ve never really reached it, (not the success level of authors like Steven King or JK Rowling) but if I ever do, I don’t want to become some egotistical person. Success doesn’t change everyone, but it changes enough people that I think it qualifies as a unique fear. Weird, right?

Introduction by Julie Hutchings, author of Running Home!

Ritual Sacrifice. Terror. Panic. In a fear-filled town, will ghostly visions be enough to stop a serial killer?

After fifteen years of ritual murder, Homicide Detective Alex Drummond must save this year’s sacrificial lamb. But who is it? The serial killer’s anointed date is only days away. An anonymous tip forces Alex and a high school friend to Washington DC to prove the suspect's guilt, but nothing is as it seems. Unsolved murders abound like cobwebs under abandoned guest beds. Is Alex in over his head?

Time, beliefs, and supernatural abilities collide in Weston Kincade’s thrilling sequel in the A Life of Death trilogy. In the end, the stakes couldn’t be higher… or more personal. Do your part.

You can purchase Golden Bulls (A Life of Death Trilogy #2) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you WESTON KINCADE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Golden Bulls (A Life of Death Trilogy #2) by Weston Kincade.