"This intriguing tale of mythological beings introduces what promises to be an exhilarating saga."
The Valor of Valhalla
Beneath the Veil
OCTOBER 11, 2021
In a battle between two ancient evils, can one naïve young man become the last hope against powerful creatures of legend?
David Dolan thinks he’s already got the world figured out. But when a collapsed bridge plunges him into the icy Hudson, he’s pulled deep into the deadly realm that exists between life and death. And with his earthly form trapped in a coma, he’s vulnerable to the horde of demons hell-bent on his utter destruction.
Traversing the road to the afterlife, David seeks the wisdom and skills he needs to fight the demonic forces reigning havoc on his allies above ground. But as one hellish threat closes in on his defenseless body, David must defeat another terrifying fiend waiting in the shadows to use him…
Can David escape the world beneath the veil in time to stop the bloodshed?
Beneath the Veil is the gripping first book in The Valor of Valhalla dark urban fantasy series. If you like reluctant heroes, infernal myths, and bloody epic clashes, then you’ll love Martin Kearns’s formidable foray into the unknown.
Will music soothe the savage beast that lurks outside?
A love for music brought Mark and Judith together. Now, their son Jason has an opportunity to sit in a prestigious concert ensemble and is placed in the cross-hairs of his father’s anxiety. But a larger horror lurks in the trees beyond their cozy home.
One that has gone unnoticed,
One that has sentient intelligence,
One that has a keen interest in the children of the house.
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Randy Moore’s days in the Rolling Acres nursing home are filled with malaise and depression. A father and war veteran, Randy must come to grips with the harsh reality of his late-stage dementia, but he may find that some things are better left forgotten. A reminder of a past mistake ushers in a horror so terrifying Randy will wish his mind had decayed rather than face the consequences of his deeds.
Hope lies in redemption, but will Randy find it?
The Sands of Akhirah
The Valor of Valhalla
The Sands of Akhirah
THE VALOR of VALHALLA - Book Two
Sixty miles southeast of As Sukhnah in the sand blasted wastes of Syria, Rami Maalouf sheltered
within a shoddily erected shack as the sky tore itself apart. The horizon held no dark sign of coarse mayhem to signify a coming storm when the sun fell behind it, but, a fierce wind assaulted the walls of his shelter and the structure threatened to collapse inward upon him.
The only cause Rami could devise was that the war was spilling over around him. Though, his location atop the cavern pocked hills was well too remote for a serious skirmish. Soldiers lacked the strategic need to squabble over wasteland. Should they have been in hiding in these hills, he may have considered this possibility with more serious earnest, but fighting had taken place far to the north and east. It was this very knowledge that caused him to shelter himself and his flock in this meager outpost in the first place.
Pulling up stakes was an idea his family kept at bay—a decision rooted in denial and enacted under duress when the war raged closer and closer to the Maaloufs. Rami sent his elderly father, mother, and three sisters on ahead to seek refuge in the farmlands of Lebanon where they were welcoming refugees. He had chosen to take their flock and, with the help of Aviate, the family’s Bedouin Shepherd dog, he had set out on an eddied path to meet his family. The very reason he’d chosen to weather the coming night in these hills was due to the safety they afforded; thick armored walls vie for second place behind the fortresses built from nature and this knowledge was embedded deep within his DNA.
Blasts from the sky indicated there had been an error in judgment along the way, or a lack of foresight, and all Rami could do was hunker down and pray he was spared from the explosive contest occurring beyond the walls.
The boy dared not risk Aviate to keep the flock from disbanding among the hills around them while the sky cracked open. Rami would have to set out at first light and round them up, should opportunity be on his side. The herd animals were invaluable to their family to ensure a warm Lebanese welcome. The pay for farming was higher for those who had their own means. Otherwise, the terms were tantamount to indentured servitude.
Time passed and the blasting became less constant. Flashes, which had forced light through the cracks in the boarded windows, were fewer and farther between. Rami’s anxiety lessened and the toil of his travels eventually took him to his rest, where he dreamed of Adam laying prostrate before the great Iblees standing over him. Bile and blood spewed from the demon’s mouth as it cursed the first man in a tongue unknown to Rami or any Maalouf before him. Aviate whined and nuzzled Rami as he cried out in his sleep.
Lances of sunlight danced amongst the dust around Rami’s eyelids to usher him awake.
The shepherd boy hurried to pack his sack with belongings and then move to secure his flock. Aviate broke into the day issuing his purposeful barks, but the good pup needn’t have rushed to his work with such vigor. The flock stood unbroken in its entirety just where Rami had settled them for the night. He made his count to be sure none had strayed and found his assessment to be true. Rami considered this. Perhaps the instinct for flight was overcome with the need to stay close to their owner, though this was an uncommon reaction by dumbed beasts.
Rami set himself to the rear of the flock and pushed them forward toward his future. Aviate harassed the edges of the bugling mass to keep order and they made good time descending from their high vantage. It was midway down that Rami noticed the multitudes of rock and sand below which had been heaved about during what turmoil robbed him of his early sleep. The normal signs of battle were not in evidence, however. Devoid of blast marks, the rocks appeared to have been lifted by sheer force rather than by concussive explosions. Sand walled into steep dunes from short bursts of wind, and there were no shattered casings of rockets nor ammunition shells strewn about them. He was still above the blasted field, but from what he could see there’d been no conflict between men causing the apocalyptic commotion the night prior.
Travel took the boy and his flock to the base of new hills, which strained against the earth’s crust attempting to rise to mountains, and Rami progressed quickly over the flatlands heading west toward succor. A deeper and purer sand pervaded the ground and walking became more cumbersome. Rami was forced to shield his eyes; though they had become accustomed to the cruel sun and were normally protected by his keffiyeh, now the light raked at his vision from the ground ahead. The sheep and goats bottled together to avoid stepping on the sources of reflection as they passed by the glinting pocks of ground, and Aviate ceased his harassment of the animals to join the boy’s side.
Rami’s travel worn sandals continued forward until he was astride a source of this phenomenon. He jutted the base of his oiled walking staff out toward a glossy substance on the ground, and it slid smoothly along the top. Rami crouched and choked down on the shepherd tool to place it under the edge of what he saw to be glass. He tried to lift at the edge, but the glass had been kilned to more than two inches thick and it spread out far ahead of him to the north. He looked up from his crouch and spotted many more islands of the glass in the field to the north. The sun danced about the ridges and pits formed within them to create a beautiful spectacle.
His great grandfather, long ago, brought home a platter-sized piece of sand glass formed from the intense heat of a lightning strike thrown down from the sky to the desert. Such occurrences were few and the family treated the glass as an heirloom; one of the few possessions they had chosen to travel with as they fled on ahead of him across the wasteland. Rami now looked upon amounts of glass many orders more voluminous than his family treasure. Whatever had occurred out here last night as he’d slept had brought heat down from the heavens upon the earth in a torrent far more powerful than anything this land had seen in many generations, if at all in the time of man.
Rami raked his nails behind Aviate’s ear as he contemplated this. He turned to face his future to the west and followed his herd–putting his back to the bad omens pervading Syria.
The Mythology of VoV
The Valor of Valhalla series is bustling with figures from myth, lore, and legend. Many readers have expressed an interest in learning more about the obscure figures appearing within the series and I've decided to oblige them. Feel free to peruse the brief descriptions. Perhaps it'll take you down rabbit holes or inspire your own stories.
The bunyip hails from Australia. Aboriginal peoples believed the bunyip to be wardens of rivers and lakes. These creatures would emerge to punish those who disrespected the waters by taking too much or by polluting the beautiful habitat. Once enraged, a bunyip could drag away unwitting victims or emit a deluge of water to submerge entire villages-should the circumstances warrant it.
Nirah of Ishtaran
The small snakelike demon, Nirah was once the right hand to the Sumerian deity Ishtaran. It is not clear when Nirah was born, but his service to Ishtaran was no doubt a dictate by Lilith for surveillance of the area or its inhabitants-for what reason is still not known. Nirah traveled with his mother's host to the Hudson Valley region to aid in the destruction of David.
Rooted in Akkadian mythology, the rabisu is also believed to be cited in Hebrew lore under the name "the croucher". This demon comes in many forms and each behaves in a manner slightly deviating from one another, but one constant remains. They ambush at entryways. The rabisu is not to be trifled with and if one suspects a rabisu to be around, avoid venturing through portals, such as doorways, lest you find yourself crouched upon by these opportunistic demons.
Known to most of us as Lord of the Flies, Beelzebub is an antiquated god referenced in the bible and said to have been worshiped by the Philistines. Most of us know the name from the popular Golding novel, Lord of the Flies, which may be popped on the shelf next to Gulliver's Travels as one of the most stark unmaskings of humanity and its true nature.
Beelzebub himself was far less controversial, though. Likely a derivative of Ba'al, Beelzebub was a known adversary of the Israelite's God and had been fashioned in the usual ways. Time warped the image of the prince of demons and he was associated as being Lucifer on a few occasions. Modern christian belief is that Beelzebub is just one of the many names of Satan, but scholars, like Milton, present him as a different entity altogether and that's likely due to the long standing tradition civilizations cannibalizing the deities of others into their own religious texts after conquering.
Beelzebub is associated with the sin of gluttony and is the overseer of over indulgence, which may lend a nod to our friend Bacchus if we're wondering about other associations. Though gluttony is what Beelzebub oversees, he's shaped as the archetypal demon with his humanoid appearance, horns, long tail, and, of course, leathery wings. What better image for a demon prince named "The One Who Flies".
Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task
— PARADISE LOST, BOOK I
& SPECULATIVE FICTION
I have always been enamored with myth and the fantastic, even as a child. They offer an escape from the mundane, but also deliver a fine method to guide our moral compasses, learn about other cultures, and assign meaning to those things that vex us.
I studied literature and history in college and found myself delving more and more into theology and mythology as I went because literature is filled with their essence.
My exploits have guided me to the desk as a language arts and special education teacher, but my heart always whisks me back to the bookshelf or the desk to visit these fantastic worlds of the supernatural.
Stories were my first love and during rare moments of quiet my mind turns toward those I've watched, read, and lived. They bring to mind possibilities, which are really where the seeds of a story begin. I truly hope to bring creative tales to readers who, like me, enjoy finding themselves lost somewhere in a world of endless possibilities.
Currently reading: Nathan Ballingrud, Ellen Datlow, Neil Gaiman, and Todd Keisling