Excerpt #5

We end this series of excerpts at the beginning. Before Sebastian embarks on his journey with Brand Redtail and Professor Plotoniucs, he attends the Fox’s Harvest Feast, a memory of light he takes with him into the gathering darkness . . .

By the time the hour of the Feast arrived, the sun was setting, casting long shadows in the amber light. The moon, which had been veiled all day, now revealed itself, bright red and full.

The Foxes gathered in a wide meadow ringed with willow trees, named the Willow Mead. There the Sacred Willow stood, where Mab and Eniri Redtail were wed more than a thousand years before. The original tree had died long ago; but a cutting had been taken from it and from each of its descendents, always planted in the same place, down to the present day.

In and out of the mixed colors of lantern lights, musicians wove through the feasting grounds, filling the crisp autumn air with a veritable battle of melodies. Fox children, wielding clappers and noisemakers, darted here and there in their games, excited peals of laughter echoing between the trees.

Brand appeared after the Feast had started, dressed all in green, a crown of red berries and golden leaves upon his brow. He was lord of the Feast this year, in the likeness of Mab Redtail, father of all Foxes, the most venerated of all their ancestors. Brand was borne in upon a wicker seat decked with flowers, and he held in one paw a tall staff of wood, sprouting blossoms, the Bough of Mab, taken from the first Sacred Willow tree.

The Ald-Amita was seated in a tall white chair, under a flowered canopy, attended to by her kin. There also was Ana, lady of the Feast, who wore a trailing gown of blue, stitched with living white flowers, in imitation of Eniri’s bridal gown.

Sebastian and Plotonicus were seated with Brand at an elevated table under a string of white lanterns. Sebastian craned his neck; the tree they were seated beneath rose up into the clear night sky until its highest branches were no more than a dark lace pattern, through which Sebastian glimpsed stars.

The Feast itself was something Sebastian would remember all his life. At the center of each table there was an overflowing cornucopia of fruit, the ripeness and flavor of which Sebastian knew no comparisons for. Then the main courses were carried in by servers in mummer’s costume, followed by a drum and pipe band. It was rich food, and it filled Sebastian with a warmth and comfort that edged out the memory of his strange encounter at Warden-Tor.

Long after Sebastian had eaten his full and lost count of the songs he had heard, or half heard, or imagined hearing, a space was cleared away at the center of the feasting grounds. The Foxes ringed around it with joined paws. Plotonicus dragged Sebastian from his seat and pushed him into the chain of Foxes.

The circle broke for a moment to admit Brand and Ana. From somewhere in the trees a harp, flute, and fiddle sang together in bittersweet harmony. Brand and Ana danced. Their steps were as ancient as the Fox race itself. Mab Redtail himself and his bride, Eniri, had danced them at the first Harvest Feast, or so the Fox tales told.

The dance was long, and even as he watched, it seemed to Sebastian like a memory out of time. He found himself thinking of his own mother and father. He wondered if they had ever danced together like that. His thoughts strayed further back, all the way to Agamemnon Stoutburrow. And he thought of Ave and Jarev, the Human saints, holding hands above the church, above the world.

Sebastian never could remember how the Fox dance ended. In his memory of Harvest Feast, the dance went on forever—long after he, Brand, and Plotonicus had left Tod-Boro and made their long journey into danger, and darkness.

Carrot Field is available for Half Price!!

Carrot Field Excerpt #4

At the end of the quest comes the inevitable battle. Until now, Malveth, Warlord of the Maugilar, has been kept out of the battle. But now he cannot be kept back and the battle may turn in his favor . . .

“I think our side is winning!” shouted Plotonicus.

“What was that?” said Traveler.

“I said, I think—” Plotonicus was never given the chance to complete that thought. Ruupaia came scudding to a halt and Traveler said, “Merciful Arden!”

“What is it?” said the Badger.

Traveler pointed, and Plotonicus saw: the black chariot of Malveth rushing down the embankment, kicking up dust behind it. Malveth rode forth, scattering the front lines before him, the spiked wheels of his chariot gouging and cutting down any who dared to attack. All who remained of his legionaries fell in behind him.

Jariss appeared before them, “Wayfarer is slain. Muster the Dworrow Cavalry! To the front line!”

“Where is Avigale?” Plotonicus asked.

Jariss looked away. “Wounded. Miikzaar watches over her.”

Then he sped off. The Feolorn thundered after him.

Traveler whistled and from all over the battlefield Dworrow riders came to him. They raced after the others. They were in time to see the Winged Hussars lead the charge behind by Amlar and Estil.

There was a whooshing sound as the Feolorn lances leveled in unison. The Feolorn sped to meet their foe. Mospholees joined the advance, running on foot, his long strides as swift as any Horn-Steed’s. The enemy was drawing closer now—Malveth lifted Gaer-Sinda. It sliced the air as he urged his chariot forward. When the two sides were only paces apart, the Winged Hussars leaped in unison, in high arcs, diving down like shafts of white lightning into the front lines of the enemy—a burning instant of madly beautiful but suicidal heroism. Few survived.

There was an eruption of dirt and debris and a catastrophic noise—the baying of Hirn and the snorting of Horn-Steeds, the layered sound of lances cracking, armor–wings breaking, harnesses snapping, bones crushing. Nythna were thrown by the impact, Skimmers fell dead beneath the cutting wheels of Malveth’s chariot, which came tearing out of the cloud of bloody confusion, his legionaries behind him, advancing like an armored machine.

Plotonicus gasped and searched the ground for Jariss but there were too many fallen warriors, too much rack and refuse from the battle to find the Nythna warrior. Amlar yanked the reins of his Horn-Steed and on its hind legs it turned around. The Feolorn lord was waving his sword above his head, sending the cavalry into a desperate retreat. There was a bewildering moment of complete anarchy. Plotonicus held tightly to Traveler as the Dworrow turned his Ruukha around in the confusion. Only Mospholees stood his ground, his helm dented and his coat stuck with arrows, like a porcupine’s back.

Above, the Darkness seemed to pulse. Plotonicus shook his head; his senses were filled with the chaos and violence of the battle but he focused his thoughts, blocking it all out. Calm came over him. He looked behind and saw a wall of shield bearers and archers, from all ranks, and the rear guard of Horukai and Ord. The Feolorn Cavalry had formed a tight, curving line ahead, ready to face the advancing enemy.

Malveth had brought his chariot to a stop and had fanned the Elite out behind him. Nythna charged the Shadow lord, their voices lifted in battle song. Malveth moved like a whirlwind, mercilessly cutting down his opponents. Swords shattered against Gaer-Sinda, and one by one Malveth’s opponents were laid low, until a heap of bodies lay in a gory crescent before his chariot.

Malveth laughed, high spirited.

“Send forth your champion!” he cried out. “Send forth your champion!”

 

Carrot Field is available at Half Price:

Carrot Field Excerpt #3

Logo by Seth Robinson

While Sebastian and his companions are journeying through the Outlands in search of lost Humankind, back in Carrot Field deeply troubling changes are happening to the government under the new Prime Minister, Phineas Pharaoh.  Sebastian’s uncle, Richard, sets out to discover the truth  . . .

Richard was led into another office by Pricsilla; she left him and shut the door behind her. There, seated behind a big desk, was Phineas Pharaoh, a calico Cat.

“Sit down, Richard. It is a pleasure to meet you again.”

Richard took one of the seats in front of the desk.

“After the welcome I’ve received here, I shouldn’t doubt it.”

“Don’t be bitter, Richard, it doesn’t suit you.” Pharaoh lit a thin cigar. “Would you care for one?” Richard declined. “As I was saying, you work so hard to be upright, to do the right thing, you’ve made it hard on yourself. Others, the ones who know when to just go along, are left alone. After all, why should I worry about them? As long as I give them an explanation, any explanation, they are satisfied. No, it’s the ones like you, and your nephew, who cause me trouble. And you have to be dealt with. The stronger the opposition, the harder I have to be. I know I won’t break you as easily as I would the average Animal. It won’t be that simple. It will take time, and a combination of methods, and persistence, and believing that you can be turned.”

“But why!”

“To prove that it can be done,” Pharaoh replied.

“I don’t understand any of this,” Richard said. “What is it all for?”

“I will show you,” said Pharaoh.

Now that it had come to it, Richard wasn’t so sure he wanted to know.

“Come with me and I will show you,” the Cat said. “We are doing exciting and important work here.”

“Who is we?” Richard asked, perplexed.

“All of us,” said Pharaoh, “who have been held back, by laws, by traditions, by superstitions, by fear. We who dare to dream of a new world, a world of perpetual progress, where nothing that furthers the cause of a perfectly regulated society is disallowed. We who long to be free to carry out grand experiments, to artificially engineer a productive society, where before the blind processes of nature alone determined the shape of civilization. We are many and we have been silenced long enough. We have at last discovered the means to achieve our ends.”

He got up and gestured for Richard to follow.

“No one will harm you as long as you’re with me.”

Richard rose and followed Pharaoh.

As they passed from room to room, Pharaoh spoke.

“Look at all this industry! Busy, happy Animals. It doesn’t matter what they do as long as they have something to do. Idleness accomplishes nothing.” That sounded to Richard like the circular, pointless writing in The Wheel. “And as long as Animals are busy, and they have ‘bigger things’ to worry about, and they have their faith to give their lives meaning, they won’t be asking the ‘big questions.’”

They passed through a vast office where hundreds of Animals toiled on typewriters. “The fiction-mill,” Pharaoh said, raising his voice above the din. “I come from a wealthy family, money was no object to my ambitions. I started investing in the publishing companies before I’d even left boarding school. Over the years, I worked my way onto the boards of directors as a major stockholder. I acted as a ‘spy,’ with insider knowledge, playing them against each other, until enough of them went out of business. The remaining houses bought each other out, which simplified everything. By that point, with my influence, I was virtually running them myself! There isn’t a trend in publishing in the last five years that wasn’t my invention.”

“It hardly seems worth the effort,” said Richard.

“There you are mistaken. I directed the trend toward stories of self-sacrifice, of hope against great odds, of impending war. In the juvenile divisions and pulp magazines, I made sure to glorify war as a great adventure, while painting the Vorlanders as mindless, hateful monsters. I don’t even think a military draft will be necessary. The day after the Emergency Relief Bill was passed by Parliament, thousands of young Animals enlisted.”

“So this is all about starting a war?”

Pharaoh laughed, a breezy, inconsequential sound.

“I don’t want a war!” said Pharaoh. “Nor does Vorland. What I need is for everyone to believe that there might be a war. Then they will be that much easier to control.” They passed into another, equally large, room.

The entire facing wall was occupied by an enormous machine, all flashing bulbs and toggle switches. Animals wearing lab coats stood on scaffolding in front of it, running up and down ladders, throwing switches. The right side of the room was taken up by a printing press, which was cranking out pages.

“What do you say to this?”

“I’ve never seen anything like it!” said Richard, genuinely confounded.

“It’s an experiment,” said Pharaoh, “the world’s first mechanical author. From an infinite number of possible variations, it takes the data we feed into it and turns it into government propaganda. I believe you’ve read some of its works before. The Wheel, for instance?”

“I’d say there are still a few bugs in the system,” Richard replied.

“No doubt,” said Pharaoh, “but not bad for its debut! It serves its purpose, anyway. You’d think that the hardest thing to accomplish would be to teach people to think. But it isn’t so. The hardest thing to accomplish is to teach people to stop thinking. To achieve the desirable blankness necessary to impose a common destiny on an entire population. To make the living more like mechanical things, controllable, programmable, what better tutor can they possibly have than a machine?”

They passed on, into an elevator, going down.

“I still don’t understand. What is all this for? Why so much destruction?”

“Do you mean the Foxes?”

“Why destroy Tod-Boro?”

“So that they have nothing to go back to. If I were to merely relocate them, even succeed in assimilating them, in their hearts they would always long for their true home. So I had to take that home away. They haven’t escaped, don’t worry about that. The winter will force them to surface. They’ll soon beg to be brought here!”

“And what were those creatures?” Richard asked. “The giants I saw?”

“The Un-Men?” said Pharaoh. “Another experiment. That’s Doctor Hoff’s department, Experimental Science Division. You’d be better off asking him.”

“I’d rather not spend any more time with the good doctor, thank you!”

“Oh, he’s charming company over a tumbler of brandy,” said Pharaoh, “a brilliant Animal, but he does get his patients confused sometimes. He removed the brain of a prisoner I had set my heart on for the Ministry of Truth.”

Richard had to laugh. “Ministry of Truth, indeed!”

“Laugh if you will, but I have my eye on you for that position. In fact, I had originally planned on giving it to Sebastian.”

Richard could not conceal his discomfort.

The elevator stopped but Pharaoh did not open the gate at once.

“I know where he is,” said the Cat.

Richard said nothing.

“You cannot protect him. He has gotten in over his head. He has set himself against the Master. A foolish thing to do. I could have warned him. Not that he would have listened. But don’t worry yourself needlessly. I have asked that he not be harmed. But the Master can be vengeful when he wants to be.”

 

Carrot Field is now available at Half Price!!!

Carrot Field Excerpt #2

After setting out on their journey, the Animals, Sebastian, Plotonicus and Brand, encounter the elegant and stoic Feolorn. In the company of Captain Imris, they travel to the country of the Leonine, where they meet the Leonine Prince, Assyr. With Assyr, they travel to the great Leonine city, Yur-Aman-Kor, to warn King Shieldmane of the coming darkness . . .

 

Sebastian could see little in the gloom. At the far end of the hall there stood an obelisk, almost as tall as the ceiling. A flat disc of gold, twelve feet across, rested flat against it about halfway up its length; at its base there was a pit where a fire burned low. Beside the obelisk was an altar of stone. Twenty-four feet in front stood the throne upon a massive block, tall as a Lion, with steps leading up on each side.

The king’s robe was pale gold, his cape sable blue with a hem of silver cloth. His crown was a circlet of gold with a gold-and-ivory sun emblem at the center of his forehead. On his lap was lain a huge sword. The pommel was in the shape of a Lion’s head, the handle wrapped in dark leather. The scabbard was deep red, set with golden designs, and a tassel of gold dangled from the end. A dragon’s glass-like eye was set into the hand guard below the pallid blade. It was the Dragon Sword, of old.

The Lion sat absolutely still, breathing heavily, his face buried in the palm of his paw. It seemed to Sebastian that some invisible weight, heavier than the stone block beneath the throne, pressed down upon the king.

Such paws! Sebastian thought. I could curl up and sleep in one of them, if I dared! Sebastian shuddered at the reposing strength of the king. And yet, ‘though he was frightened by the sad, solemn figure on the throne, he felt pity also to see so great a lord bent low.

Gelmesh climbed the steps and sat at the feet of the king.

“Lord Shieldmane,” he said, quietly.

The king did not stir.

Gelmesh turned to the queen. “I warned you!” he hissed.

Queen Thrit ignored him. The Lioness climbed the steps of the throne and pushed him aside. She took Shieldmane’s free hand in her own, stroking it lovingly.

“My lord,” she said, “your son has returned.”

The king’s voice rolled through the hall like the approach of distant thunder. The words came slowly, disembodied, cold and hard, the weight of unrelenting grief upon them, “My…son?”

“I am here, Father!” Assyr said, stepping forward.

“Has Yur-Arnak-Kor fallen, at last? Is the enemy inside our borders?”

“Not yet, Father.”

The king now looked up, his eyes alight with anger.

“Then why have you disobeyed your father and king?”

“I come with important messengers,” said Assyr, “one of the Feolorn; and Little Folk, of Lavaliar.”

“Feolorn?” the king repeated. “Feolorn?”

Then, haltingly, like a statue coming to life, the king moved. The huge paw lowered from his face, revealing a contorted mask of sorrow. Sebastian stepped back, frightened by the visage of the king. Would the Lion leap upon them from his throne, tearing them to shreds? He knew little of Lions.

Instead, the king raised his eyes, with painful effort, as if to see if this was some jest played at his expense.

Imris stood straight. “I bring greetings, from Arborlawn,” he said.

Laughter, brittle and choked with sobs, peeled from behind the sharp teeth of the king. Fresh tears sprang from his almond-colored eyes. “Your greetings are late in coming and unwelcome, Feolorn. Do you bring me nothing else? Tell your lord and lady to save their greetings. I would ask of them other gifts, had I any faith remaining in their strength.”

The king sank back into his throne. His voice seemed to usher from the deep shadows of the hall: “Unless you have come to tell me that the lofty Feolorn are coming, at last, to the aid of Yur-Aman-Kor, to offer their own sons in exchange for mine…,” here the king faltered. His eyes widened, he stared blankly into space, his lips trembled over the words, “…sons…my sons…my sons…”

The queen looked at Imris. She shook her head, as if to say, “Do not weaken!”

“Mighty Shieldmane,” Imris said, bowing his head, “you shame me! We have remained behind our own borders too long. Forgive.”

Shieldmane seemed pleased by his contrition.

“I will think on it.” He raised a hand and beckoned to the Animals. Sebastian took another step back. Shieldmane said, “Come forward, beggars!”

Plotonicus put a paw gently on Sebastian’s back and pushed him forward.

The companions each bowed before the king.

“What are your names?” Shieldmane asked.

“Professor Hercule Xavier Plotonicus.”

“What manner of creature is that: professor?” said the king. “I’ve heard no tale of them before.”

“We are a book-learned folk, your majesty,” answered Plotonicus, “sometimes too much so. And we are fearful; we cluster together in cold halls, afraid that our learning will be proven to be false.”

The king appeared to smile, a flash of light in the darkened hall.

“Your answer pleases me. And what of your companions? What are they?”

“I am Brand Redtail, of the Redtail Clan.”

The eyes of the king and the eyes of Fox locked. Brand trembled from head to tail tip. The haunted hollowness of the king’s gaze was echoed in Brand’s eyes. The king rose from his throne, casting a deep shadow in front of him, which enveloped the Animals. Shieldmane lumbered down the steps. He stopped short in front of Brand, his mouth moving silently. Brand gasped for breath.

Sebastian took Brand’s paw. “Look away! Look away!”

“I cannot,” said Brand, “not from one who has seen the Darkness.”

“Yes,” the king said, “you have seen it!”

“A black hand, as wide as the sky,” Brand gasped, “seeking, always seeking…”

The king collapsed against the steps. Gelmesh and the queen rushed to his side. He pushed them away, wide-eyed and frantic.

“It is real, after all,” he said, breathing hard. A frightening grin spread across his face, revealing sharp teeth. He looked at Gelmesh and Thrit. “Are you listening, at last? It is no fantasy! As I said. Quite real.”

At last, with effort, Brand turned his head away.

The king said, “Remain in my city, if that is your wish. Be warned, it will bring you only ill fortune. But perhaps your coming is not without purpose.”

His stare bore into Brand.

“Our lord is gracious!” said the queen.

Carrot Field Excerpt

Sebastian fell right out of his bed. Sunlight flooded his room. He rubbed his eyes. The most incredible noise was coming from the garden. The Rabbit threw on his dressing gown and ran barefoot downstairs and out of the house, into the garden.

Sebastian went ‘round the house and saw the yard covered in billowing blue silk. An Animal had crashed a hot air balloon in his garden! Right in front of him, crushing his roses, was the large wicker carriage, and next to it, lying prone on its back, there was a Badger.

“My leg!” the Badger bellowed. “I am wounded! My leg!”

His voice was big and bellicose, his speech interjected with moans of pain.

Sebastian was speechless.

Richard came behind him, carrying his old army revolver.

“What in the world is going on here?” he demanded.

“I have had a bad landing!” the Badger shouted, trying to sit up. “A crash, in fact. And if you fine Animals go on standing there gawping instead of helping me up, I shall have to live permanently in your garden!”

Richard said, “I think I’ll summon the Constable.”

The Badger replied, “Don’t be such a fool, Richard Perriwinkle!”

Nephew and uncle traded glances, then ran over to the Badger.

“Who are you!” Sebastian asked.

The Badger laughed—a delirious cacophony that could no doubt be heard three counties over. He managed to sit upright and caressed his right ankle.

Richard’s eyes were wide. He spoke in an awed, voice, “Plotonicus!”

“In the flesh!” the Badger said, laughing again. “Professor Hercule Xavier Plotonicus, to be precise. And now that I have been formally introduced, would you be so kind as to help me up off this cold ground?”

“Come on, lad!” Richard said, and they hoisted up the Badger, which was no easy task, the professor being as wide as he was tall, and much of both.

They went inside and the professor was seated at the breakfast table while Richard went to fetch gauze and plaster. Sebastian filled a basin with boiling water. When they returned, the Badger was puffing an enormous briar pipe, with a bowl shaped like a horse’s head. They went to work on his ankle.

Sebastian had a good look at the Badger as he helped Richard. The professor’s garb was a hodgepodge of out-of-date clothes and what looked like cast offs: a prune-colored crushed velvet jacket, bright yellow silk neckerchief, mustard-yellow shirt tucked into brown corduroy pants, which sagged like potato sacks around his legs, not quite reaching his ankles, under which were the tops of sunken, mismatched socks (one polka-dotted, the other striped), and shoes all but fallen apart.

Richard said, “Well, there’s nothing broken; only a sprain, I suppose.”

“Good to see you have forgotten none of your military training,” the Badger said. “And this is young Sebastian Perriwinkle, I take it?”

“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Sebastian said, offering a paw.

“We have,” the Badger said, accepting it, “but you were at the time preoccupied with your rattle and mobile, I’m afraid.”

Sebastian laughed. “I’ve grown since then!”

“So I see,” the Badger said, “and now—my breakfast, if you please!”

And from that moment forward, Plotonicus installed himself as master of the house. There was no resisting him. He took up residence in the upstairs spare bedroom and from his bed he commanded what was to be done and when, and it was done. Sebastian wondered at the Badger’s sheer willpower, which seemed to run from a reservoir of infinite depth. The upstairs was filled with his pipe smoke, the whole house with his voice; he was omnipresent.

Carrot Field is available for half price!

The World of Carrot Field

The World of Carrot Field

By Vincent Asaro

From the outset, I have tried to make Carrot Field different from other fantasy worlds. There are no elves or dwarves, no sturdy northern warrior tribes, no faux medieval feudal societies, no wizards or magic. To give you an idea of what Carrot Field is like, here are some elements that make up that world.

Areth: The planet the story takes place on. Areth is an earth-like planet with one satellite; it revolves around a sun with several other planets in its system; Areth is the second planet out from the sun. Days are 23 hours long and the year is 364 days. There are three continents, southern and northern polar regions, and many islands.

Arden: Believed to be the creator of the universe. Mysterious deity who is waging an eternal war against his dark opposite, the Lord Ouroboros. Arden and Ouroboros came to Areth 1200 years ago, recruiting nations to fight their battles for them. It is believed by some that if Arden and Ouroboros fought each other openly, their battle would destroy the universe; they have need of flesh and blood champions. Before their arrival, these timeless deities were unknown to the peoples of Areth. The First War of Darkness ended in an uneasy truce. Ouroboros is stirring again; but Arden remains silent and unseen . . .

Carrot Field: This is an area enclosed by the Great Forest, about the size of Ireland, originally known as Lavaliar, where the Animal Folk migrated 1200 years before the novel begins. It is secluded from the outside world and Animals now view their pre-migration history as nothing more than myth and legend. Lavaliar is actually divided into two countries: Carrot Field and Vorland. Vorland, ruled by an aristocracy of Boar families, is sometimes the enemy of Carrot Field and the two nations have waged war against each other. Carrot Field has been at peace for several years; but under the leadership of its newly elected Prime Minister, it is facing threats from without and within. Wheels are turning; plots within plots are soon to be revealed . . .

Outlands: The regions to the east, west and north of Carrot Field, where the Animal Folk migrated from after the First War of Darkness. There are three major nations: Melniar, Nirkkazad and Gorthang. Between those nations and the far north stands the Desolation, a vast tract of wilderness. Almost like a gate into the Desolation stand the Arad Arn, two mountain ranges. Beyond the Desolation are the grasslands (to the east) where the city-state Pelaria once stood, and Isliadorn, an island city in the Moon Mirror Sea, beyond the Petrified Forest.

Melniar: The country of the Feolorn. The Feolorn are governed by a Lord and Lady along with their cabinet of Chamberlains and Ministers. The Lord and Lady are elected from groups of specially groomed and educated individuals from all walks of life; they are sometimes married to each other, but not always. Feolorn are devoted to the arts and sciences but they also have a standing army of foot soldiers and cavalry, who ride the great Horned Steeds. Feolorn are cool tempered and not prone to displays of emotion, they practice various disciplines of enlightened non-attachment.

Image

Feolorn astride Horn-Steed

 

Nirkazad: The country of the Leonine. The Leonine are ruled by a King and Queen of royal lineage but their society has many strata. Only a Huntress can hunt for the supping table (a Lion can hunt for sport but the meat is never eaten, it is offered as sacrifice to their god, Eleth-Arden); the Huntresses sometimes go to battle with the warriors. Nirkazad has four “gate cities” at the South, North, East and West of their country. Facing east is the greatest city, Yor-Aman-Kor, where the king rules from his giant  Ziggurat, which also serves as a temple to Eleth-Arden and a storehouse for ancient treasures. The Leonine migrated from the Eastern Plains after a long and catastrophic war with the Draconians, a sea-faring reptilian race that sought to reestablish its empire after their island home sank into the ocean. Leonine are passionate and open hearted, fiercely loyal and nationalistic.

Image

Leonine.

Gorthang: The subterranean realm of the Maugilar. These are Maugilar who separated from their original people 1200 years before. During the First War of Darkness, they devoted themselves to the great warrior, Malveth. After the war, they were rejected by their people, who worshipped the god Arden, and they followed Malveth to the lands east of Nirkazad. Gorthang is a fabulous underground complex of vast halls and chambers. Maugilar are great builders and warriors. After the First War of Darkness, Malveth traded allegiances, and allied himself with the Lord Ouroboros. Gorthang became known as The Shadow Kingdom; the Maugilar now struggle under the governorship of Prince Niar, the son of Ouroboros, and his mother, Ora. Niar has his own warrior sect, the Serpent Guard, and they are often in conflict with Malveth’s Legionaries.

Pelaria: Once a great redstone city and heart of a city-state, built by the diminutive Dworrows. After the First War of Darkness, Wolves loyal to Ouroboros attacked Pelaria and ruined it. The Dworrows now live in exile in the Marshlands. Dworrows are a merry people and they like nothing better than racing their four legged bird-steeds, called Rhuuka.

The Petrified Forest: Once a lush woodland, transformed into a dead land by Ora. Two tribes of Wolves live here, one loyal to Arden, the other to Ouroboros. They are engaged in an endless civil war.

Isliadorn: City of golden stone, built by Human hands after the First War of Darkness. No one knows what became of the Humans, they seem to have simply disappeared. Legend says that they are only sleeping, waiting to be summoned to the final battle . . . .

Image

Jariss and Avigale.

You can follow the Carrot Field saga on Twitter and Facebook:

https://twitter.com/AsaroVincent

https://www.facebook.com/carrot.field.9

Carrot Field can be purchased from Amazon.com:

A Brief History of Carrot Field

Carrot Field has its beginnings in 1994. I was working on a more traditional “epic fantasy”, as the genre existed in the 1980’s and early 1990’s; but as I laid that project out I kept having ideas for animal characters. In time, those characters separated themselves from the first project and I realized that I had a potential “children’s book” on my hands. I was only twenty-one and knew little to nothing about the publishing world. Middle Grade and Young Adult are two of the hardest genres to break into, especially in the pre-Harry Potter era.

Image

First sketch related to Carrot Field, 1994.

The idea lay dormant in my mind until the spring of 1995. The young daughter of a friend asked me to write her a story “about a rabbit”. I wrote a story right away and the name “Carrot Field” jumped straight into my mind. The story was very simple; but she enjoyed it so much that I was encouraged to write more. I wrote the stories quickly.

Early notes, 1995.

Early notes, 1995.

That summer, I wrote a whole Middle Grade trilogy. As I wrote, the world expanded. I poured everything I could into the three books, then polished the first volume and sent it off. I was amazed and delighted to get an immediate and positive response from St. Martin’s. I was equally crushed and discouraged when they decided against publishing the book. But I kept on submitting it. The response I got back every time was, “Traditional fantasies like this are dead. Do something like R.L. Stine. This genre is never coming back.”

By the end of the 1990’s I was ready to hang it up for good. But Carrot Field wouldn’t leave me. In 2001 I started revising and expanding the concept. In 2002 I wrote the first sixty pages of the new version and realized that I wasn’t ready to write it yet. I needed to develop more as a writer.

Image

King Shieldmane by Max Kim, 2006.

In 2005 I was ready again. I completed a new version, knowing that it would have to be expanded again before it was ready for publication. Then the unexpected happened. A friend and fan of the story showed the manuscript to an editor at Harper Collins! The editor loved it and wanted to acquire it for publication. I got myself a top agent and we negotiated the deal. I couldn’t believe it! I had a contract with a major publisher and a $20,000.00 advance. Everything was going to turn out right in the end.

Years dragged by. I wrote and rewrote Carrot Field but my editor was never satisfied. What did she want? Clearly, it wasn’t Carrot Field. I was forced to make a decision: I couldn’t let Carrot Field be turned into something it wasn’t. I told my agent to terminate the contract. Two and a half years had passed.

My agent kept trying to sell the book. I wrote and rewrote it for every major publisher. Again, I was being forced to turn Carrot Field into something that it wasn’t. None of those submissions led to publication. I had spent another two years rewriting the book for nothing.

In 2010, after a break from Carrot Field, I decided to rewrite the book from scratch, just the way I wanted to, for myself. I reinvented huge sections of the story from the ground up. After almost a year of preparation, I started rewriting the book, finishing it the summer of 2012.

I let my agent see it and he responded with renewed enthusiasm for the project. Carrot Field, against all odds, went back into submissions. But now I heard a new song: this isn’t marketable. Major editors were forced to pass on the book because the marketing department gave it a bad review. One by one, our options dried up. I was at square one, again.

Then, out of the blue, my agent called me: a small publisher of Ebooks in South Carolina was interested in publishing Carrot Field! And they didn’t want to change the book. The advance would be small, would I be interested? I decided to go for it and said “Yes”. In October 2012 I signed the contract and in May 2013 Carrot Field was at last published.

Image

Sebastian by Seth Robinson.

At this time, it’s a very grass-roots operation. There isn’t an expensive promotional machine behind the book. Really, it’s just me and occasional help from the publisher. But I believe in Carrot Field. I wrote it to be a classic, a book that endures, the kind of book that can be read over and again, always offering a new layer of discovery for the reader. 2014 will be the 20th Anniversary of Carrot Field. I still believe that it will one day be appreciated and valued as a classic. Right now, it’s only just being discovered, one reader at a time.

Image

Logo by Seth Robinson.

And there’s the other seven volumes waiting in the wings . . .

You can follow the Carrot Field saga on Twitter and Facebook:

https://twitter.com/AsaroVincent

https://www.facebook.com/carrot.field.9

Carrot Field can be purchased from Amazon.com: