Hi guys, we have Eric Alan Westfall stopping by today with the tour for his new release Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird , we have a great guest post from Eric, a great excerpt and a brilliant $20 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird
Eric Alan Westfall
What do you get when you combine a greedy Great Tsar, his two cheating, bullying older sons, his youngest esser (shh! no saying that aloud) son, stolen gold apples, a Firebird quest, A. Wolfe who has the power t’assume a pleasing shape, a magickal sandstorm, as well as two bands and a full Symphony of Gipsumies?
A rollicking, roisterous Russian Fairy Tale, with vigorous esser activities in tents, halls, bedrooms and alcoves, with and without the assistance of PSTs. Plus princely parades, a duel over Gus, new lyrics to an old drinking song, and the possibility of bits of blood, gobs of gore or moments of mayhem. As required by CORA (the Code of RFT Authors), should these occur, your author will give you timely warning.
Ah. Still not ready to part with your kopek-equivalent? Consider the fun you’ll have reading chapters like:
“To Kvetch, Or Not To Kvetch? A Reader’s Choice”
“Ivan Has A Close Encounter Of The F-Word Kind”
“Second Direction Questers vs. The Caliph’s Sayer Of Sooths”
“Will Sasha Succeed In Seducing Prince Ivan?”
“Bad Prince Ivan! No Touch Cage!”
“A Travel Pause For Gratuitous Sex In The Tent—Which Does Not Advance The Plot—At The Insistence Of The Characters”
“A Necessary Interlude To Consider The Age-Old Questing Question: What The [Expletive Of Your Choice, Dear Reader] Do We Do Next?”
If you buy it and try it, you’ll like it, or so says your most talen…er…humble author.
p.s. If Karrie Jax and I have covered you and blurbed you to buy, look for “Dear Reader, Along The Way, Did You Happen To See The Allusion To Olivier?” in the TOC. It’s a spot-the-allusions chance at gift cards of $25, $15, or $10.
166,000 words of story fun and frolic, plus a 2160-word teaser from another MM fairytale: The Tinderbox
Eric Alan Westfall!
A True Tale From A World Beside
Once upon a time there lived a man called Feodor Stefanovich Berendey, third of the name, Great Tsar of All The Russias. The Great Tsar had three sons: Crown Prince Vladimir Feodorovich, the eldest, who at the time of our tale was thirty-five, Prince Anatoly Feodorovich, in the middle at thirty, and Prince Ivan Feodorovich, the youngest at only twenty-two. You won’t find any record of them in your history books, and neither your G’ogle—the god of great searches, as theyhesheit consider themhimheritself to be—nor any of your lesser search gods, will find any record of them either. The reason is because Great Tsar Feodor III Berendey ruled over All The Russias on a World Beside your own.
What is a “World Beside” you ask? You ask because you have an inquiring mind, and inquiring minds want to know these things. You deserve an answer.
You live on one of the Worlds Beside, only you haven’t known it until now. If you blindly consider this book to be fantasy and nothing more, instead of the true tale it is, you still won’t know.
But whether you believe the truth doesn’t change reality: There are worlds beside, beyond, next to your own.
Picture a very, very fine parchment held between your palms, so fine you can almost see through it. As long as the parchment is there, your palms won’t touch. But if there is a single hole, then a tiny bump or bulge in a pair of palms might touch the other. And something, something so small as a drop of sweat, might move from one palm to the other.
Now pick up a pin. Punch so many holes the sheet is ready to fall apart. Each of those holes is a different World Beside. And all the holes you’ve punched are less than a single drop of liquid in all the liquid in all the worlds in all the universes which might ever be, in terms of the numbers of Worlds Beside your own.
Prince Ivan has graciously underwritten the cost of publishing the magickal version of this book in the World Beside where he resides, and in which the tale took place. If the author’s estimates of those costs were… Ah, “exaggerated” is a word so fraught with misunderstandings and connotation complications, perhaps it is better to say “if the cost estimates were wholly inadvertently less carefully calculated than they otherwise might have been.” Thus: If the author’s estimates of those costs were wholly inadvertently less, et cetera, you have a possible explanation for why he can afford the publication costs in your World Beside. And the others.
The Worlds Beside where this tale will be published in the form in which you have it—the sad, sad worlds where magick doesn’t exist, and you can only obtain this work of art as a mere electronic book—have been carefully selected, so the story of Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe, and the Firebird may be known reasonably far and wide.
Which brings to mind the need for a brief digression for an important linguistic note to supplement the earlier thoughts on the topic.
The original of this tale was written in the gloriousness of the Very Olde and Most Elegant Russian (VOAMER) in use at the time of these events. A language which has its own most exacting standards for grammar, punctuation, spelling, commas, full stops, short stops, pit stops and so forth. Your author had no need to pay for the services of line, page, copy or word consultants to provide him with their personal opinions on the author’s compliance with said standards, for the simple reason your author is more qualified to ensure full compliance than any of them could hope to be.
That assurance given, the translation spell converting VOAMER into English (here, or other languages elsewhere) is most meticulous in rendering the original with precision, and where English doesn’t have an equivalent word or phrase, the nearest version to VOAMER will be used. Or upon occasion, the VOAMER word itself. Thus, if you find words you don’t know, or punctuation you disagree with, and so forth, please remember the following fundamental principle.
The fault, dear reader, lies not in your author, but in your inferior-to-VOAMER language.
If you are still upset, feel free to CARD yourself. (See below for the pertinent details.)
Now, to return to the issue of verity, unless you are a Song Mage who knows the music and lyrics to the Song which opens Doors between the Worlds Beside—and no, you won’t find this particular World Beside with any nonsense about stars on the right and moving forward until the sun rises—you won’t be able to visit the Tsardom of All The Russias where Ivan lives and verify the accuracy of my words.
So you will simply have to trust the tale I tell you is true.
Would I lie to you on such an important matter?
IVAN PUTS HIS HORSE AT RISK, AND MEETS A. WOLFE
“A wolf who talks,” Ivan said, his voice all full of surprise.
“I am not a wolf, Prince Ivan, I am A. Wolfe.”
Ivan lifted an eyebrow, in his long-perfected “inquiring princes want to know what you mean” mode, while wondering what effect it might have on such an enormous beast. Well, not a beast, exactly, since it could talk.
No reaction, except the bright gold eyes—so like one of his father’s apples, well-polished after plucking, or the gold circles in the Firebird’s tail—stared back, unblinking.
Since his eyebrow inquiry failed to a verbal response, it was Ivan’s turn to talk. Politeness had worked with the Firebird, when used in place of “I am royal, hear me roar” arrogance, and might be best for Ivan’s well-being in the current situation, conversing with a wolf, the top of whose head was above Gus’ shoulder.
“‘A wolf who talks,’” yes. My exact words, Sir Wolf.”
The wolf opened his mouth. Wide. No mere flash this time. Ivan was fully fanged. As they had only just met, he could not tell whether he was being fang-grinned for a reason he could not fathom, or fierce-fanged to frighten him. If it was the latter, there was a glimmer of starting-to-work happening.
But the wolf’s voice was neither fierce nor fun-filled when he hid most of his fangs and talked again. His tone was a goblet of great size, filled not just to the brim but overflowing—with more coming from somewhere so the over kept on flowing—with…patience. The kind of patience you use for, with, and on, those who are not very bright. Indeed, those who are so dim that if their brains were used to provide light for reading at night they’d be as effective as an inch-tall stub of a quarter-inch wide candle, set in a candlestick in the bowels of a cavern on the far side of a mountain range five-and-a-half eighths of a continent away.
“When you bathe, do you clean your ears, Prince Ivan?” [See above for how he said it.]
A sigh was heard.
Ivan wished he’d brought along a sigh that big, but then, since it was a large wolf letting it loose, accompanied by, Ivan was almost sure, a hint of a scent of pasta, pesto, garlic and butter, Ivan might not have been able to use it with the same effect. The sigh might almost have been designed to complement the show-patience-to-the-afflicted voice.
“Do. You. Clean—”
“I heard you the first time, Sir Wolf. I just don’t understa—”
It was the wolf’s turn to interrupt. “It’s clear you don’t understand, young prince. I was trying to ascertain whether your inability to understand plain Russian was based on a physical defect—stuffed ears, whether unclean or for another reason, bad hearing, something of that sort—and if not, on some mental lack which in theory requires me to be considerate and gentle.”
There was a tiny pause, so infinitesimal Ivan would have had no chance to get a syllable of a word in edgewise, sidewise, upwise, or downwise, even had he tried. “You do understand kindness and gentleness are not traits associated with a wolf, and especially not A. Wolfe?”
At the end of this series of insults, the Great Tsar would have raged, calling on his ever-present Imperial Guards to “Rid me of this wolf!”
Anatol would have ranted about the presumptuousness of peasants who did not know or stay in their proper place, probably forgetting who had just offended his sense of propriety.
Vlad would have grabbed his sword, and whether from horseback, or following a grandiose leap to the ground which displayed his awesome athleticism for the admiration of any viewers lurking in the vicinity—it was his policy to always act as if he was being viewed with admiration—would have started hewing and hacking away.
In part because Ivan suspected the outcome would have been the same with all three of those scenes—dead soldiers, dead royal family, likely including bystander youngest prince—Ivan chose the fourth door…and laughed.
He couldn’t say why he saw—thought he saw—a twinkle of humor in the great golden eyes. But he must have been right, because the wolf didn’t leap up, all howling, growling and slavering, and drag him off Gus before doing the devouring which would logically follow offending laughter.
Ivan forced a halt to his own humor. With gasps interrupting his initial words, he said, “My apologies, Sir Wolf. I was not laughing at you. It was an image in my head of my family’s reactions to your words, and yours to theirs. However, with all the respect to which you are entitled, which seems to be at least a reasonable amount”—Ivan was willing to be reasonable, but not obsequious—“I have no mental or physical defect which interferes with my hearing or my understanding. Perhaps the, ah, flaw lies in your explanation of what you mean? Or, you might consider, the lack of one?”
Ivan gave the wolf a princely grin of satisfaction with his response.
Wolfe gave the prince back a wolfeish huff. “I’ll entertain the possibility you might be right, if you’ll entertain the possibility you are not listening as well as you should.”
“Very well. Repeat after me, ‘A wolf is not the same as A. Wolfe.’”
“A wolf is not the same as a wolf.”
Wolfe sighed again. He apparently had an inexhaustible supply, in a wide range of sizes.
“A wolf is an animal, Prince Ivan. It resembles me, but is far smaller, roams the forest, howls from time to time for various reasons, and at times for no reason at all. Perhaps because it doesn’t reason. I am a wolfe—with an ‘e’ at the end. Which means I have magickal skills. My name is: A…full stop…Wolfe.”
Ivan grinned again. “Your first name is Afullstop? What an unusual name. Not Russian, is it?”
“No. Not an ‘uh’ sound, but a long a-sound, which rhym… You’re teasing.”
Ivan learned another lesson in wolfe-prince relations. A wolf-with-an-e-at-the-end could grin, without his fangs looking all fearsome.
Ivan widened his own grin. “I am. So what does long-A stand for?”
“A handsome name for a handsome wolf-with-an-e.”
Ivan paused. He shouldn’t, he really shouldn’t, but he decided he would, anyway. “Sir Wolfe, now that I know your name is A. Wolfe, and since we are being so precise with our pronunciations, are you really quite certain I shouldn’t call you ‘A. Wolfie?’ To be sure the final ‘e’ gets its just and proper due?”
Ah. So that’s what a Wolfeish glare looked like with a fillip of fang.
Eric is an American Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “He’s old enough to have sailed with Noah.” In the real world he writes for a living, with those who would claim what he writes is fiction. His partner of thirty years—who died unexpectedly in 1995—enthusiastically encouraged him to try to get his writing published (mostly poetry back then, plus some short stories), but he didn’t have the guts to do so until 2013. At this point he’s not sure which was officially first, The Song, or Like a Mountain, Waiting.
Starting then, he’s published 13 novels and novellas, 1 poetry collection, 2 short story collections, and 3 short stories. God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, 2020 will also see The Tinderbox out and about. But since real life is, as we all know, a pain in the (anatomical site of your choice)…no guarantees.