Sneak peek at Prologue and Chapter 1 of REVENGE TO THE TENNTH POWER as Friday’s release nears …

To celebrate the official release of my new mythological novella, REVENGE TO THE TENNTH POWER, on Friday, I am unveiling the Prologue and Chapter 1 this evening, and will release more chapters leading up to Friday, August Tennth!

REVENGE TO THE TENNTH POWER (MAMMYTH #1)
BY JACK CHAUCER

PROLOGUE

The second time Antero ever laid eyes on Tenn, she appeared far too alone, young and beautiful to sing for the rag-tag regulars of a back-country shit cave like the Tomb of the Living.

For one thing, singing in public was banned for all low-born throughout the kingdom, even in the forgotten, guano-encrusted bowels of Mount Mammyth. King Ryzthar, and the monarchs who preceded him, understood well the power of song and its potential to plant the seeds of rebellion among the rabble.

Most performers here gripped an instrument, like Antero’s friend Zakk, who could unlock any sound he desired with his pilfering fingers and sawing bow thrusts across a fiddle.

Tenn, however, had nothing in her hands, which she balled into fists against the sides of her green-and-silver tunic. Her eyelids slammed shut even tighter, but for some reason, every wayward soul in the Tomb gazed at this tall, slender girl — whose long, brown hair cascaded into glowing whorls of gold in the torch light — with open anticipation and respectful silence.

Antero nearly laughed in disbelief into the void, but then her voice smacked him. It was too low and haunting; shockingly vulgar and treasonous.

“Fux the king …
I will never be queen
Because of what you did to her
And what you did to me

On the day I flowered
I had already been devoured
Heart, body and soul

I have boiled your depraved priests,
leaving them to rot, a feast for Strix,
but my anger remains unquenched
So I will scorch your royal corpse
With my blood-red rage
Until the whole realm is my stage”

Zakk, burly, blonde and bearded, quaffed some ale and flashed Antero a toothy smile as he watched his friend fall for her like a rock into a ravine.

So restrained was her voice in the first chorus that Antero’s jaw dropped for her second — the same exact words, unleashed with the fury of a thousand flaming arrows. Every one hit its mark and burned true.

Her final echo seemed to travel through time itself — “age” after “age” after “age” — rocking the cave with its power.

And when Tenn finally opened her eyes amid the flickering flames, the sea-green flash of allure and pain made Antero realize he had met her once before, much higher up on the mountain.

Somehow she had brought him back to consciousness, only to fear him when he woke; when he had foolishly laughed at her strange response to his simple question.

“All men are evil,” she concluded, before she ran away.

ONE YEAR EARLIER

CHAPTER 1 — BLOOD BOIL

The king had named her Marinde, but her mother preferred to call her Tenn, as in higher than The Nine immortals who overlooked the rugged wilderness of Mammyth, a mountainous kingdom dominated by a 14,000-foot summit that stretched out along eight rocky ridges like the tentacles of an octopus.

She was five years old the last time her mother called her Tenn. No one had used that name for her since.

She could recall that Brinsma was beautiful and sad, but the fine features of her face and the sound of her voice were as obscured to Tenn’s memory now as the cloud-shrouded peak that loomed over the temple.

Protected from the west winds of Aurai by a massive rock wall that seemed to disappear as it rose to meet the 10,000-foot plateau upon which King Ryzthar sat his throne, the Temple of the Seers of The Nine, at about 8,000 feet, had only protected Tenn from the elements. Not from the high cleric. Not from his eight priests and their acolytes. Not even from her own blood, which last night had betrayed her from the very place where they had murdered her innocence so many times before.

Nine years with the Seers of The Nine had been her punishment for being the daughter of a discarded queen. And now that she had flowered at age 14, it was time to die — a human sacrifice to The Nine: all-powerful Mammyth; the hermaphrodite god’s sons, Freyr (life) and Arus (death); Nera, wife of Freyr; Ione, barren wife of Arus; Agan, son of Freyr and Nera; Strix, the chameleon beast begot by the scandalous union of Arus and Nera; Aurai, the four winds; and Aron, scavenger of the dead.

The king had ordered the girl’s future sacrifice on the same wretched night Tenn’s mother met her fate, and now they would finally reunite in the underworld, ruled by Arus.

Eight priests, robed in black, all of whom had taken their turns with Tenn over the years, chanted their twisted prayers as they led the girl toward the stake. Two rings of red-robed acolytes surrounded the proceedings in the foreground while the high cleric, Volz Yth, remained high — staring down from his large, circular window in the temple’s ninth and highest spire. He had never touched her; only burned her with his eyes, leering endlessly and savoring every “purifying” encounter she was forced to endure with his underlings. He usually pleasured himself as well, sickening Tenn to the point where she had yearned for this moment — every second of every day. Death seemed to be her only hope, and now it was here, at twelve bells on a cloudy summer’s day.

Tenn had requested to be left unbound because she wanted to die. She would not run. She had even volunteered to light the pyre herself.

“Please, I beg you, hand me the torch as soon as your prayers are done,” she had told Volz Ein, the lead priest. He simply nodded, almost regretfully, like he would miss her.

“No doubt you will,” she whispered to herself when he had turned to lead the procession.

The three winds of Aurai left unblocked by the cliff above them swirled as the priests covered their heads with their black hoods and encircled Tenn from a safe distance. She was actually at the center of four circles — one ring of tinder and logs, one ring of priests and two rings of acolytes. The ancient order’s green-robed novices, deemed too young and unworthy to witness a human sacrifice to The Nine, remained cloistered inside the temple.

Tenn, wearing her usual dirty gray robe for the occasion, stumbled over some sticks, spun around and then backed up against the hard, thick wooden stake. As the metallic bells began their shrill gong from the temple’s eighth spire, she took a deep breath of thin alpine air and peered around at her executioners. When she exhaled, the winds seemed to still and Volz Ein approached. The torch, already lit by one of his underlings, quickly consumed Tenn’s vision once she gazed at the licking flames. Her heart suddenly raced as the priest passed her the torch and retreated to his circle.

The chanting had long stopped.

The heat of the torch singed her face.

The dry wood surrounding her seemed to hunger for her downward thrust.

The clang of the twelfth and final bell had expired.

“Any last words?”

The unmistakably nasal, mocking voice of her very first rapist, priest Volz Zin, seemed to echo off the rocks behind her. Tenn couldn’t see him, just like that first time, but she could feel where he was.

Tenn hissed. The taste of burnt bile filled her mouth as she slammed the torch into the tinder and shouted, “Tenn is higher than The Nine, you wretched, evil swine!”

Her hysterical shriek that followed drowned out the collective gasps of the eight who encircled her. She watched them lower their hoods, and then she stood firm against the stake in awe as the flames shockingly drew away from her feet, snaking across the dirt in eight sizzling spokes toward the alarmed priests. They each retreated a few steps and the flames died out at their bare feet.

The ensuing eerie silence, quickly knifed by screams of agony in every direction, jarred Tenn to tears. She had braced for a horrible and liberating death, but now she was very much alive and shivering uncontrollably, as she felt the heat leave her body instead of consuming it.

She dropped to one knee and continued to tremble, but she kept her head up enough to see the priests desperately clawing at their necks and ripping at their robes. When they all fell to the ground and writhed like overturned beetles, the two rings of acolytes behind them backed away, but Tenn could still see the terror in their eyes, even through the rippling heat waves.

She struggled to make sense of it all. Perhaps her blood had not betrayed her after all. And perhaps she had just boiled theirs, cooking their disgusting bodies from the inside out.

Though the stench of burning flesh nearly made her wretch, Tenn forced herself to stand up and think about the unthinkable: an opportunity to escape.

She looked back one last time and, no longer sensing the sting of his stare, her eyes flicked upward, to the ninth spire. The massive window was empty. The high cleric must be scrambling down the long, spiral stairs to get to her.

Tenn thought of her mother for one beautiful second, laughed out loud for the first time in her memory and then discovered what it was like to run as fast as she could.

How she’d descend a mountain that would soon drop off rapidly from the current plateau, she didn’t have a clue, but at least it wasn’t time to die yet.

Instead, it was time for this high-born girl to get as low and out of sight as Mammyth would allow.

STAY TUNED FOR CHAPTER 2 …

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Brand new blurb for REVENGE TO THE TENNTH POWER

Book blurbs are always a challenge because you’re trying to condense so much action and emotion into just a few riveting sentences. Here’s my second crack at REVENGE TO THE TENNTH POWER, which will be out on NetGalley in June and published on August Tennth of this year …

Tenn believes all men are evil after a childhood of betrayal, imprisonment and abuse. When the discarded daughter of a dead queen reveals her pain and anger in a powerful and treasonous song, low-born upstart Antero is drawn to help her despite the danger. Can Antero change her mind about men and win her heart as he and a group of allies help Tenn take back what is hers? Can Tenn learn to harness her growing powers over fire, blood and a shape-shifting beast to deliver justice to those who have wronged her? Ruthless King Ryzthar and mysterious 14,000-foot Mount Mammyth stand in their way.

Coming 8-Tenn-18!!!

Revenge to the Tennth Power is done!

The writing, revisions and editing for my new mythological tale, “Revenge to the Tennth Power,” are complete. Now it’s time to think about a cover concept, and I’ve got an interesting idea. I think Jeanine Henning might be the artist to conjure this one to life. If all goes well, I hope to have an ARC on NetGalley sometime this summer. Shooting for a fall release in paperback and ebooks!

For now, here’s the book blurb:

Betrayed by her own royal blood at age 5 and kept prisoner in a temple dungeon for nine years, Tenn sees death as a merciful end. But when the temple priests’ attempt to sacrifice her to The Nine gods backfires, Tenn embraces the unexpected gifts of life and freedom. She desperately tries to elude capture by the king’s soldiers, and searches through Mammyth’s rugged wilderness for low-born allies. Burgeoning friendships with huntress Jett and rock-climbing expert Antero aid Tenn in her healing. One year after her escape, she taps into her exponentially increasing powers over fire, blood and a shape-shifting beast to seek revenge. Her target is the man who ordered her mother’s execution and banished her to be “purified” by perverted priests — her father, King Ryzthar.

Freeway and the Vin Numbers compared to Pulp Fiction and Hard Core Logo in 5-star review

Rebecca McNutt, a talented author in her own right from Nova Scotia, just dropped this 5-star review of my rock ‘n’ roll novella, FREEWAY AND THE VIN NUMBERS …

“This book is excellent! Imagine a cross between the films “Hard Core Logo” and “Pulp Fiction” and this story is about what you’d get. If you’re a fan of rock n’ roll music from the days before autotuned pop and digitally-synced voices but you also like some romance, comedy and adventure thrown into what you read, this is definitely a book you’ll enjoy. Full of poetic, meaningful song lyrics and featuring characters that seem just like real people, Freeway and the Vin Numbers is a great book for any reader. It begins with a bang as Vincent “Vin” Masoli gets beaten senseless for stealing, and the thrill of playing in a band drives the story forward with a whole new purpose. Behind the times and way ahead of its time all at once, what I loved most about this book is the sense of nostalgia for the days of classic rock music that it calls back to in a way unlike anything else I’ve ever read before. It’s available for free so if you’re looking for a great story I’d definitely check it out! 🙂 ”

Here’s the free download link at Apple iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/freeway-and-the-vin-numbers/id1061784184?mt=11

32 chapter titles for Revenge to the Tennth Power

I have completed the second draft of my mythological novella, “Revenge to the Tennth Power,” starring a girl named Tenn. It checks in at a taut 32,000-plus words over 32 chapters. No blurb or cover yet, but for now, here are the 32 chapter titles as a way of a tease. They look like 32 hit singles/B-sides on a double album, don’t they? Ha, ha …

“REVENGE TO THE TENNTH POWER”
BY JACK CHAUCER

CHAPTER TITLES
1. BLOOD BOIL
2. THE VULTURE
3. DEATH SCREAM
4. ALL MEN ARE EVIL
5. NERA’S COUNSEL
6. ARROWS & ALLIES
7. ROYAL REVEAL
8. GRACELESS, YOUR GRACE
9. TOMB OF THE LIVING
10. MORE OF A MAN
11. THE DYING & THE DEAD
12. CLOSET IN THE WOODS
13. FORTUNE TELLER
14. ONE GOOD REASON
15. RUTT HUTT
16. FIREBALL
17. RAINING BOULDERS
18. CHANNELING THE DEAD
19. WHITE WIDOW
20. A TERRIBLE POET
21. THE HYDRA
22. DOOMED
23. NEAR KISS
24. A SWORD THROUGH THE HEART
25. HER STAGE
26. THE UNDERWORLD
27. VIEW FROM THE NINTH SPIRE
28. THE WAIT
29. NO MORE KINGS & QUEENS
30. YOU BETTER NOT FUXING DIE
31. THE MONUMENT
32. MAMMYTH O

First chapter from rock novella ‘Freeway & the Vin Numbers’

freewaycoverCHAPTER 1: PAPA WAS A GRAVESTONE

Vincent Masoli

My unexpected adventure toward musical stardom began inharmoniously enough — with a sharp punch in the gut from my Uncle Al.

“What kind of degenerate punk steals money and jewelry from his own helpless, senile grandmother?” Al shouted down at me after assaulting me on the sofa. His booming voice blasted a hole through my beer-soaked brain as I rolled off the couch and onto the floor of my mother’s living room, writhing around in wrenching pain.

Then Al picked me up with his two huge hands by the front of my shirt and tossed me back on the sofa like a rag doll.

“Look at me!” Al screamed.

I glanced up while wheezing and trying to get my breath flowing again. He was a short, stocky, balding bull of a man. And the raging black fury in his eyes at that unforgettable moment in time confirmed in my mind at least what I had always suspected — this is the man who killed my father. That’s right. His own brother.

“Who told you?” I gasped.

“You thought nobody saw you at my sister Marie’s party the other day, didn’t you,” Al bent down and shouted, sticking his fat face in mine. “Sneaking upstairs to your grandmother’s room, coming back down like nothing happened. A relative who shall remain anonymous called me. This person didn’t want to confront you during the birthday party, so I’m confronting you now. You better start talking and giving me some answers while you’re still breathing. Am I making myself clear, Vincent?”

“I got behind betting football,” I mumbled as fast as I could. “I needed money fast to pay the bookie. I know it was wrong. I didn’t know what else to do, Uncle Al.”

“You could’ve called somebody for help instead of robbing your grandmother!” Al barked.

“Who?” I said, trying not to bawl. “My mother? No!”

Even Al shook his head in agreement with me on this option. Mom, aka Danielle (real name), aka Destiny (stage name at the Roxy where she has stripped off and on for as long as I’ve been alive), was more than unstable enough to shoot me after a wretched act such as this — one that threw her 18 years of parenting completely under the bus for the whole world to see.

“No, better off she doesn’t know about this for as long as possible,” Al said.

“Who then? My father?” I continued. “He’s dead!”

Al backed off for a second. His visibly pained reaction made it clear to me that he had let his interrogation go down the wrong road. I wanted to go down that road in theory, but probably not on this morning with Uncle Al ready to add me to his hit list. Dad’s mysterious death happened when I was just 10 months old. My mother told me he drowned on a fishing trip. She also warned me never to ask Uncle Al about what happened. I never did. Of course, posing that question was pretty hard. Uncle Al lived in Miami. He rarely migrated north here to Providence, even during the summer. Apparently stealing from Al’s mother was enough to warrant a personal visit from the prodigal patriarch of the family. All I really knew about him was that he was in his early 40s; he was rich, powerful and dangerous, and had a legendary temper. I guess that knowledge should’ve smacked me upside the head before I pocketed some cash and jewelry belonging to my nana, but when you’ve got to pay the bookie — and Buck’s crazy cronies are a hell of a lot closer to pummeling you than Uncle Al — you let geography make the choice for you. That plan actually worked quite well for several days. Nana never noticed anything. Buck got his money. And I had some leftover pocket cash to buy gas for the truck, two large pizzas and a 30-pack of beer.

But as Sunday morning arrived, let’s just say geography caught up with me, and Uncle Al was here to cleanse me of my sins by beating all the blood out of me — or so I now feared.

“Vincent, do you realize if we weren’t related, you’d already be dead right now?” Al pointed out, turning the conversation back to where he was more comfortable — and where he could ratchet up his anger once again.

I nodded slowly, wondering if Uncle Al said the same thing to my father before doing whatever it was he did to him some 17 years ago.

“You’re 18 for Christ sake!” Al said. “Stop betting on games and start making something of yourself. Your mother told me you’re a good musician. You jam with a band or something. Right?”

“Sort of,” I said.

Al shook his head in disgust and pulled up a chair to grill me at eye level.

“What kind of pussy answer is that?” he said. “Do you jam or not?”

“We do,” I said quickly.

“Good,” Al said, transitioning from potential killer to businessman with ease. “Then here’s what we’re going to do.”

I sat up a little more on the sofa and paid attention. I desperately wanted to get out of my horrible situation. And more importantly, I wanted to live.

“You stole from nana — my own mother — to pay your bookie,” he said. “Some people would prefer to call the police and see you thrown in jail. You sure as hell deserve it, Vin. Am I right?”

I nodded. What else was I going to do with this guy literally breathing down my neck?

“You’re dead wrong!” he shouted into my face, his eyes darkening back to killer black. “You deserve a hell of a lot worse for stealing from your own flesh and blood. Jail is way too fucking good for the likes of you.”

“I know I was wrong, Uncle Al,” I said. “I was going to pay nana back as soon as I got on a hot streak.”

“Bullshit!” he shouted. “You would’ve gambled it right back because that’s what degenerate gamblers do.”
“I …” I tried to interrupt.

“Shut the hell up, Vincent!” Al ordered, sticking his finger in my face. “You fucked up and now you’re going to start making it right. Uncle Al doesn’t call the police. Uncle Al is the police, especially in this case because it’s within the family. He’s your judge, jury and executioner if need be. Understood?”

I nodded for mercy.

“Good,” he said. “Being the wonderful guy that I am, I will cover your debt to your grandmother. I will make restitution to her on your behalf.”

I tried to protest. “But …”

“But nothing, Vin,” Al said. “You’ve got no say in this what-so-fuckin-ever. You lost that right. I’m going to right that wrong for you. But here’s the catch. Now I own you. Not only do you owe me the thousands of dollars you stole from her, but you also owe me for dishonoring my helpless, senile mother. What’s that worth, Vin?”

I shrugged with dread.

“Well, I’ll tell you what it’s worth,” Al continued. “First, you’re gonna stop the gambling. That’s a given, right?”
“Absolutely!” I said, jumping to accept the unexpectedly lenient first salvo.

“Second, you’re gonna take all that musical talent that your mother says you have, and you’re going to do something with it. I know you’re not a college guy, a student and all that. I don’t give a shit. Neither was I. But here’s what I expect you to do.”

Again, I sat up alertly, thinking maybe there was a chance Uncle Al wasn’t so horrible after all. That’s when the pep talk took a bizarre turn.

“Rock and roll is fucking dead,” Al said out of the blue. “And if it ain’t dead, it’s, at the very least, buried alive. I don’t even hear it tapping or trying to bust out of the grave.”

Huh? I tried to listen to Al with the same serious face I had moments ago, but it was hard given the sudden change in subject matter. He went on just the same.

“Led Zeppelin, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen … now that was rock and roll, Vin. Today, what do we got? Fucking squat, that’s what … a bunch of pansy-ass fag bands with no heart, no soul, no balls. Do you know what I mean?”

“I wasn’t born when …,” I said.

“I know that, Vin,” Al cut me off. “But you’ve heard of these bands and their music, right?”

“Oh yeah, definitely, they’re all great bands,” I quickly replied.

“So the bottom line is this,” Al said. “You and your band are going to bring rock and roll back to life. I want a real rock and roll sound. You better make it and make it big-time … or else. I don’t care how you do it, but you better fucking do it and do it fast. I’m not a very patient man.
And just remember … I’m your judge, jury and executioner,” he added, jabbing his finger at me again. “I will be checking on your progress every so often … kind of like a parole officer.”

I was stunned. How should I respond? I got a stay of execution from a deranged uncle who now demanded that I become a rock star … or else. And not just some run-of-the-mill rock star. A fucking legend. Practically overnight.

“Any questions?” he asked, before standing up and heading for the door.

“How …” I started.

“Good,” Al said, slamming the door behind him.

Seconds later, he opened the door, stuck his head back in and added a parting shot.

“And don’t forget, I get all your profits until your debt is paid,” he said. “After that, I get 25 percent of your share for coming up with this brilliant idea in the first place.”

Al slammed the door again before I even had a chance to process everything he said, much less reply.

Profits? What profits? I didn’t even really have a band at the time. We were in between drummers.

I just sat on the sofa for a few minutes and looked around at all the empty beer cans. I lifted my shirt and gazed at my black-and-blue gut. Then, as I pictured my Fender bass guitar and Peavey amp sitting idle all the way in the bedroom, a lyric suddenly popped into my overtaxed brain: “Papa was a gravestone.”

Excerpt From: Jack Chaucer. “Freeway and the Vin Numbers.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/4Pys_.l

Rock novella becoming an international hit

freewaycoverWhat a month of April for “Freeway and the Vin Numbers”! According to Smashwords, it got dozens of Apple downloads in the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia!
Six years after I wrote it and six months after I released it worldwide, it’s great to see Freeway, Vin, Friday and the rest of the band kicking ass in all of these countries!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/freeway-and-the-vin-numbers/id1061784184?mt=11