Now also available in the iTunes Bookstore and at Barnes and Noble.

To commemorate the completion of the Last Archer trilogy and the 10th anniversary of the publication of the first book, I decided to update the cover art slightly to give them a better shelf appearance, and I shaved a few dollars off the prices.

Here are the new slightly updated cover designs (click on each thumbnail for a larger view):

You can find the updated paperbacks with the Kindle versions here:
The Last Archer of Laummoren (book 1)
The Last Archer’s Legacy (book 2)
The Last Archer’s Return (book 3)

And, of course, the ebook versions are also available at Smashwords.

Thank you again to anyone and everyone who bothers to read this blog and/or my books.  Your support and encouragement means more than you know…

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eBooks at Amazon and Smashwords (paperback coming to Amazon soon)

After far too many years, the first draft of The Last Archer’s Return–the final book in the series–is finally completed.

I’ve been editing and proofreading it throughout the writing process, so I hope to have a final version available soon.

The words did not always come easily for me–in fact, quite the opposite at times; but I knew it was something that I couldn’t rush.  And, thankfully, the inspiration to finish it came when it did.

Many thanks to anyone and everyone who has expressed their interest and offered encouragement as I struggled to finish this book.  I wrote it for you as much as I wrote it for myself, and I hope it will be worth the wait for you if and when you read it.

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Book III: The Last Archer’s Return

The heir to the legacy of the last Archer of Laummoren wandering lost and languishing in a purgatorial netherworld…
Her ally and self-proclaimed guardian chasing rumor and myth to find what might be the key to reuniting him with his beloved…
The woman who stubbornly clings to the hope that she will be someday reunited with the only daughter she has ever known…
A new yet strangely familiar threat that seems to hold all the cards in a deadly and climactic game…
After a fateful confrontation at the mystical crossroads, Serena Vasperan has mysteriously vanished and appears to be beyond rescue. Meanwhile, the provinces continue to descend into chaos and lawlessness without their self-proclaimed champion. Wounded, despondent, and heartsick for his lost Serena, Cade Seagram embarks on a last-ditch effort to find the rumored Necromancer who might be his only hope for finding Serena. All while Joanna Faromere keeps the torch of hope lit in spite of the ever-growing hopelessness that would extinguish it.
Can Cade or Joanna find Serena in time for her to fulfill her destiny handed down to her by her father and mentor before the nameless and ageless agent of chaos can wield its most powerful weapon against them?

Meet the Characters

Read an excerpt

Joanna was no longer the only one suffering fatigue from the trek to the mysterious crossroads—and she was uninjured, unlike her captor and traveling companion. 

 She continued to watch the Black Count surreptitiously in the hopes that his untended wounds would soon require another stop to rest and regroup.  Though after his most recent backlash towards her, she dared not request or even suggest such a respite–lest he strike her again.  And even though her empty stomach groaned insistently, she also dared not ask him for some of the morsels of food he occasionally withdrew from his pockets and then absently crammed into his mouth—a strip of jerky or a small hunk of bread stolen from the blind man’s cave. 

If it were not for the last remaining slivers of hope she drew from the oddly tenacious black bird that continued to follow them from overhead and the strange silver coin she carried in her pocket, Joanna would have given up already and resigned herself to her fate—which was most likely an abrupt and violent death once they reached the crossroads, if not before then. 

It was also the final words of the blind man that compelled her to keep clinging to hope and continue on toward the crossroads.  Something about his reference to an “unkindness” combined with his remarkably confident manner confronting the Black Count’s blade made Joanna wonder if he knew more than he had revealed to her. 

She also wondered if what had seemed like a betrayal when the blind man sent her away with the Black Count to the crossroads was actually an act of self-sacrifice on his part that had indirectly spared her life at the expense of his own. 

And all for some greater purpose about which she had almost no knowledge. 

Joanna ran her thumb absently over the ridged edge of the silver coin tucked safely away in one of her pockets.  It reminded her of the innkeeper back at the Last Chance Inn, and the last time she had eaten a full meal and gotten a full night’s rest.  Joanna had first seen the same type of coin in the possession of the kindly innkeeper; it had been payment for goods she had delivered to the blind man formerly known as the Necromancer. 

Joanna was suddenly ashamed to realize that it had not really dawned on her until now that the generous woman who had shared food, drink, shelter—and valuable information with her had probably suffered a brutal and bloody death at the hands of her captor. 

“Did you kill her?”  Joanna suddenly blurted out before her sense of self-preservation could hold her tongue.  She struggled to keep her voice low and even. 

She thought she saw the slightest hesitation in the Black Count’s step. 

“What?” He barked, not even bothering to glance behind him at her. 

“I asked if you killed her,” Joanna clarified, choking back the bitter bile of rage. 

“Killed who?” 

“The innkeeper.” 

The Black Count chuckled derisively.  “I’ve killed a lot of innkeepers…” 

Joanna’s eyes narrowed.  “You know of whom I speak.” 

The Black Count snorted.  “So what if I did?” 

He had a point, Joanna could not deny.  So what if he had killed the innkeeper?  She really did not need him to admit it.  And what was Joanna going to do about it, anyway?  She was in no position to exact revenge of any kind.  If she were, she would have found a way to escape her current predicament: physically and emotionally exhausted, and no doubt marching to a certain and unceremonious death alone and defenseless, far from her home and her cat Rhiannon, and not a friendly face in sight. 

And her Serena still lost to her. 

Seething tears of rage trickled down Joanna’s weather-reddened cheeks. 

When she offered no response to his question, the Black Count stopped in his tracks and turned to face her—and she could almost hear the groaning of the tendons in his neck.  She braced herself for another backhanded blow, but she realized she no longer cared.  All she could think about at the moment was the poor innkeeper dying alone, probably gasping her last breaths as she drowned in her own blood in the inn that used to be her father’s—and the poor mute orphan boy who relied on her, orphaned yet again. 

The Black Count’s bleary, feverish stare still smoldered with menace as his beady black eyes found hers.  But Joanna saw something else in his eyes, as well—something very much like the uncertainty she thought she had spotted earlier, which she interpreted as his resignation to a potentially unknown fate beyond the crossroads. 

What she saw now was something more, similar to his expression back at the blind man’s cave when the blind man was goading him with his description of the Black Count’s tormentor and master. 

Vulnerability. 

Joanna suppressed a smile of satisfaction as she dared to hold the Black Count’s murderous gaze. 

Until she saw his bristly-bearded face smile in return. 

It was a ghastly sight, like gazing into an open grave, the fresh dirt crawling with earthworms and maggots. 

“Yeah, I killed her,” he hissed in a raspy voice, gesturing to his sword.  “Didn’t even waste time raping her, the barren old twat.  Cleaved her yammering head from her body with one swing.”  He coughed.  “Like I’m going to do to you before too long.” 

Joanna continued to stare defiantly back at him, biting back her fury. 

“Except…” he added, “I’ll probably rape you first.” 

Joanna blinked, but her gaze never wavered.  Behind her stoic façade, her suppressed smile widened.  He was clearly in no shape to rape anyone, nor was he in any condition to wield his heavy sword—it was all bluster, and he must know it. 

But she would let him think he was fooling her. 

The Black Count took a step toward her.  “Now, if you don’t shut your god-pounding—” 

“We’re close,” she interrupted.  “To the crossroads,” she quickly added. 

This gave him pause. 

“You’d better not be lying…” he growled. 

“What do I have to gain by lying to you and prolonging my inevitable death as soon as we reach the crossroads and you no longer have any use for me?” She reasoned.  “I might as well get it over with.” 

He continued to stare at her blankly, clearly not accustomed to his victims having such a pragmatic acceptance of their impending demise. 

Joanna sighed audibly.  “I’m no fool, I know how this is going to end,” she lied. 

“Good,” he grumbled.  “Then let us be done with it.” 

Yes, she thought.  Let us be done with it. 

 

Copyright 2018

From The Last Archer’s Return, by Scott Cimarusti: the third and final book in the “Last Archer” series, coming soon.

From Wikipedia:

Psychopomps (from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός, psuchopompos, literally meaning the “guide of souls”) are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, horses, deer, dogs, whip-poor-wills, ravens, crows, owls, sparrows and cuckoos.

So, last year at about this same time, I posted this.

And yet, here I am again, ready to make the same promise one year later.

Like promises, New Year’s resolutions must indeed be made to be broken.

But I’m hoping not to break this one this time.  Because the difference this time, I believe, is that I feel more of a “need” to finish the book this year.  I’ve put it off far too long already (not that anyone besides me and a very select group of extraordinarily supportive and loyal friends is even aware).

Lately, I’ve been feeling more of an urgency to complete the book.  For me.  To prove to myself that I can do it.

And that’s what I think has been missing from my previous attempts at finishing the book.

I need to do this.  Selfishly, for myself this time.

Over the past few years, I’ve experienced more “incompleteness” across several facets of my life than I’d been previously accustomed to.  The ends of too many things over which I had little or no control.

But this book is one thing over which I have complete control.

And up until now, I’ve surrendered that control to all of the other obligations in my life that sometimes get in the way and drain my motivation or distract me from it.

So I hope to refer to this post often as a reminder of my resolve in the hopes that this year will be the year that I complete this book to prove to myself that I am still indeed capable of such a thing.

Wish me luck.

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