Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

My Free eBooks This Week

I'm rounding out the remainder of my KDP Select free promotion days for both The Five Elements and The Hall of the Wood this week. If you're one of my two blog readers, then get your trigger finger ready, cause it's almost time to download.

Unlike some other promotional runs, I'm not going to go crazy promoting this one. This post will go up, then get syndicated over to Amazon and Goodreads and that's it. Alright, so I'll put it up on Twitter, too, but that's really it. This promotional stuff wears you out after a while. I'm also trying to keep my focus on the next book in The Alchemancer series which follows The Five Elements. It's going to be good, and that's all I'll say.

As for the free promotions, here's how it's going to go down:

4/10 – 4/11 (Tue-Wed): The Hall of the Wood goes free.

4/12 (Thur): For 1 day only, The Five Elements goes free.

The Five Elements for whatever reason always does well with these things. Thousands of downloads which then translate into hundreds of sales for so many days afterwards. The Hall of the Wood gets a fair amount of downloads—in the hundreds—but then never really does much after that. I guess it's the content. The Hall of the Wood is Tolkien-like, traditional fantasy, which just ain't in style anymore. The Five Elements is most definitely not traditional fantasy. Come Thursday, download it, read it, review it. That's all I ask.

Free Today: The Hall of the Wood

The Hall of the Wood is free today on Amazon.

The novel is straightforward, classic fantasy: goblins, witches, rangers, sorcerers, knights, and murky woods. It's a bit of a mystery story with elements of suspense and plenty of action and adventure. There's some magic, too. Readers have complemented me on the development of the characters, which is more than they expect given the nature of the story.

Here's the "official" blurb:

All is not right in the Simarron Woods.

The King's Patrol has vanished. Their Hall stands empty. Goblins prowl the fringes of the forest and folk whisper of a sitheri witch brewing evil from the darkest hollows.

Once a patroller of the Hall, Jerrick is duty-bound to investigate. He is joined by Kayra Weslin, knight errant, and her chronicler, Holly, who go to answer a plea for help from nearby Homewood. Along with Murik Alon Rin'kres, an eslar sorcerer who harbors a secret purpose all his own, the four attempt to unravel the mystery of the missing patrollers. They soon find tales of their disappearance frighteningly untrue.

If you've been on the fence on this one, now you can get it for free. Hard to argue with free.

And, while you're over on Amazon, why not pick up a copy of The Five Elements? It's an unrelated story that begins the tale of the alchemancer, a character I plan on taking through a story arc of 4-5 books when all is said and done. This first novel is a self-contained story, though, and many readers have said some very nice things about the characters, writing, and the story.

A second excerpt from The Five Elements

Yesterday, The Five Elements was The Frugal Find of the Day. Part of the promotion featured an excerpt from the book. I thought I'd publish that excerpt here as well for your reading pleasure.

This scene occurs early on, right in the middle of the elemental attack mentioned in the book's description. Aaron has gone looking for Shanna. He finds her, but she and some others are trapped, and the floodwaters are rising.


“Aaron?” It was Shanna. “Where are you going? The water… it’s rising.”

She was right. He had to hurry. “Not far. I’m coming right back. Don’t worry!”

“Aaron! Don’t leave—”

He heard the tinge of fear in her words, and wished as he sloshed away that he’d more time to offer reassurances. One of the other girls—it sounded like Rachel, who had never really liked him—yelled, “I always knew you were worthless, Squeak!” Aaron ignored her. The moment he was able to pull himself from the water, he set off at a run, backtracking until a juncture led him down another passage, through an arch, and to the workshop of Marcus Gentry. It was locked, of course. Fortunately, Aaron had a key. Not a real key, but enough syrin acid stowed away in one of his vest vials to melt away the knob at its base. A quick dash of pedric neutralized the acid, and Aaron was just able to manipulate the exposed workings and undo the lock. Aaron dashed inside, finding the items he needed in no time at all. Then he was trudging back to Shanna and the others.

The first thing he heard upon returning was the sound of arguing all centered around Aaron’s departure and the belief that he wasn’t coming back. It sounded as if Shanna was the only one defending him. A yell from Aaron silenced them all. “Someone get a chair,” he said. “A strong one.”

“What good is a chair going to do?” one of the girls asked.

“We’re going to lift the door.”

“With a chair? You’re an idiot, Squeak!” Rachel again. “You’re wasting our time. Why don’t you go find someone who can lift—” Sounds of a scuffle. Then Aaron heard a sharp cry of pain. “Call him that again,” Aaron heard Shanna say, “and we’ll leave you behind!” That was that. Shanna prompted Aaron to go on.

“Take these!”

Aaron tossed his nearly spent torch into the water and, using both hands, handed off two thick, iron wagon axles through the opening beneath the drop-door. Each four foot in length, Marcus smoothed and polished them by the batch for the narrow, two-wheeled calashes that plied Norwynne’s byways on any given day. “You’re going to lift the door using the axles as levers. Slide one end underneath, then as many of you as can fit along the remaining length need to lift. Do it together. Don’t waste your strength.” Aaron waited for the barrage of protests and condemnations, but there was nothing but silence. He took it as an acceptance of his plan and went on. Or almost did. One look at the briny, soupy mix, tainted with dirt and dust and the death he’d seen above, and he had to take a moment to shake off a sensation of disgust and fear. “I’m going under the water. Once you lift the door I’ll prop it up using the peg holes in the rails. Lift it as high as you can and hold it there until I come back up and tell you to let go. But be careful! Ease it down gently, or it might not hold at all.”

“We understand, Aaron!” Shanna said. “Tell us when to start lifting!”

Aaron took a series of breaths, readying himself. “Now!” He took one last breath, then plunged beneath the surface. He kept his eyes closed against the stinging filthiness, using his hands instead to judge their progress. Right away, he received confirmation that his plan was working as Shanna and the others raised the door above one and then another of the peg holes, which ordinarily were used to hold the door in place during repairs. By touch, Aaron shoved iron wheel spokes that he’d placed into his satchel into the exposed holes. It was a tight fit, but with enough twisting he was able to force the spokes home. When the door’s progress slowed, and rose no higher, Aaron inserted one last spoke, then shot back to the surface. The water had risen even higher. Aaron asked them to lower the door the moment he’d drawn enough breath to talk. It went down inches and—Aaron breathed a sigh of relief—held.

Aaron didn’t have to tell them what to do next. There was some hesitation; they must have felt the same dread Aaron had before he’d submersed himself in the fetid water. But they did it, swimming through the enlarged gap to come bursting to the surface. They were all girls, something Aaron became more and more conscious of as each emerged. Every one of them thanked him. Rachel managed only a nod. They clustered together a short distance down the hall, cold, numb, and frightened.

Shanna emerged last. Aaron’s heart leapt to see her, but before he could transform his elation into words Shanna locked both arms around him in a tight embrace. Then she pulled back just enough to kiss him full on the mouth. Whatever Aaron had wanted to say was lost amidst the sweet saltiness of those lips and a mind-numbing sensation that rose from every part of him at once. The kiss lasted only a moment, then Shanna pushed away to smooth wet hair from her face and to adjust her borrowed cloak that she still wore draped over her shoulders. “Thank the Old Gods you came! There was someone… then Corrin, but they couldn’t—They both left us! I thought for sure we were going to… What are you staring at?”

Aaron felt the heat rise in his face. “I’m not—I mean I was—”

A rumbling from the earth put an end to Aaron’s stammering. Ripples raced across the surface of the water and, beneath their feet, the floor vibrated. The tremor—an aftershock, Aaron realized—lasted only a moment, but it was enough to drive the girls into a panic. As one, they fled down the hallway. Aaron and Shanna, in no less of a hurry, followed. The group made it as far as Bronzehome Juncture—not very far at all—when the earth awoke again. The girls plunged into the water filling the juncture, managing in their mass hysteria to listen to Aaron’s direction as he bid them return the way he’d come. The last of them had just managed to fight through the rush of water flowing from the passage and leave the juncture when Aaron and Shanna heard the ceiling above them cracking apart. In desperation, they plunged forward, trying to reach the other passage.

Too late.

Great chunks of rock and a streaming avalanche of water fell from above, extinguishing wall lanterns and creating a chain reaction that shattered the floor beneath their feet. Aaron only just managed to grab hold of the edge of one passage’s railing. Shanna somehow found his other hand. For one terrible moment, as the floor collapsed and Shanna’s weight jolted his, Aaron thought both of them were going to fall. They didn’t, though almost immediately Shanna’s grip on his began to slip.

“Don’t let go of me!”

Panic Aaron had never thought to hear from Shanna somehow rose above the roar of falling water and debris. He tried to tighten his grip, but it seemed the more he squeezed the more Shanna’s slipped free. Aaron tried to cry out to her, but his mouth filled with water and he fell into a fit of choking instead. Unbalanced, he lost what footing he’d gained. Unable to see, hardly able to breathe, Aaron focused everything on holding fast to Shanna’s hand. Sheer thought was not enough, though, as their hands slipped further.

“Don’t let go of me!” she said again.

The earth groaned, beckoning Shanna into its embrace as the water streaming past them tried to pull her away from him. Aaron wanted to shout out, yelling that the earth had taken enough and that it could not have her, too. But he’d no strength left. Only their fingers touched now, and then not even that. His fingers slipped along hers, and then her hand was gone from his.

“Shanna!”

She did not hear his cry, for she was gone, taken by the water’s ferocity. It did not deter Aaron from shouting, nor yelling, nor even sobbing her name until he was so drained of strength he could do nothing but hang in place while bits of rock and sheets of water continued to fall from above. Minutes—or hours—passed before Aaron lifted himself to safety. He made it only a short distance down the passage before he collapsed. He stayed there for a long time.

An excerpt from The Five Elements. Oh, and the eBook is free.

As posted yesterday, The Five Elements is free right now. Today and tomorrow. If it's Friday, sorry, but you missed out. But if it's still 3/21 or 3/22 as you're reading this, go download!

The Five Elements has gotten some nice reviews. You can read blurbs of them and find out more about the book on The Five Elements book page, or go right to Amazon to read the full reviews.

If you want to know what the book is about, it's easy enough to visit one of the above links and read the description. But if you want to get a feel for my writing style or what to expect once you start reading, well, here's an excerpt from the novel for you to take a look at.

This is one of my favorite scenes. It's dark, it's raining, our heroes are running at breakneck speed away from some thing that is chasing them. There's action, there's suspense, there's a harrowing flight. Then it gets good. Read on, my friend, read on.


Aaron would have stopped for fear of running headlong into one of the tree trunks, but Ensel Rhe, whose own vision seemed unaffected by the darkness, remained relentless, pushing them onward like the wind driving a ship through a raging storm. To Aaron, there seemed no end to it, nor to the howls that drew closer with each heaving breath.

Then Aaron saw the great wall in the near distance rising up before them. It took him a moment to understand what it was. Then it hit him. "The Narrow Cliffs," he said, choking the words out. "The dogs—the dogs—"

"Yes," Master Rhe replied, the single word the only confirmation—the only shard of hope—he offered.

The dogs couldn't climb.

Against the gray of the horizon the cliffs were a sheet of black, like a chasm to which they willingly hurled themselves. But the cliffs were not their doom. A remnant of some past upheaval, the cliffs separated the Erundian from the Upper Shelf. They had only to reach them. Reach them, and climb them.

A belch of thunder shook the ground beneath their feet. Its sound was not loud enough to disguise the snarls of their pursuers. Ensel Rhe never slowed. "Don't look back!" he shouted just as another crack of thunder caused Aaron's heart to miss a beat. Then the eslar released Aaron and shoved him forward. "Get to the cliffs!" Without Ensel Rhe's support, Aaron nearly crumbled, but another shout made him find his legs and keep running. "Go!" Then Aaron heard the eslar's weapons leave their sheaths and he suddenly realized just how close their pursuers were.

Without Master Rhe to lead him, Aaron stumbled through the dark. Fear of what might happen should he slow drove him, though, and so he did his best dodging trees or leaping over jumbles of rock. He slipped only once on some rain-slick leaves, and then he was there, standing before the Narrow Cliffs. They rose as tall as once great Regrok, though this was not mortar and stone but a wall of dirt, clay, and protruding roots. Not wasting a moment, Aaron dispelled aching joints and sore muscles as he took hold of the lowermost roots bursting from the cliff face. Then he started to climb. Everything but the blood pounding in his ears and the cool touch of the damp roots fell away as that solitary act became his focus. Still, concentration was only half the battle; strength was the rest. It was something Aaron had in short supply, and so he'd not made it far at all when he realized he could go no further.

As if in mockery, the clouds opened, releasing drops light and fat that pattered on the ground beneath him and against the earthen face of the cliff. In moments, though, it erupted into a steady downpour. Aaron peered upward; he saw nothing but the dark of the cliffs and the sky. He dared not risk a glance down least he lose his balance and fall. Desperate to reach the top, but unable to will his muscles on, he clung to the cliff face and did nothing at all.

"Hurry!"

Ensel Rhe's voice coming from the dark shook Aaron back to the here and now. The eslar leapt half the distance Aaron had already climbed, clinging to the wall like a spider. "Go on," he shouted, "but steadily!"

The barking of the dogs followed his arrival only by seconds.

"Make sure each handhold is secure and the same for your feet before you release anything. I will be behind you the whole way. Just concentrate on moving upward."

It was enough to lend Aaron a modicum of resolve as he tried to climb higher. He managed to grasp the next highest root and, with Ensel Rhe there to guide his feet, pull himself up. He repeated the motion, gaining higher ground with each bit of energy expended. Below, he heard the dogs, yapping and snarling. He imagined them leaping up the cliff face, desperate to reach their prey, but then falling back down to earth as their paws failed them. He did his best to shut out their noise, concentrating instead on Ensel Rhe's voice as the eslar continued to offer words of encouragement whilst marking their progress with words of 'halfway now' and 'only a little further'. The downpour loosened mud along the cliff face; rivulets dripped down onto the roots, making them slick. Ensel Rhe, recognizing the danger, closed up with Aaron. All the while, he kept up his litany of encouragement. Aaron grew so intent on listening to the eslar's words that he scant realized they'd crested the top until he was no longer climbing but crawling horizontally through the mud. Not caring about the wetness of the grass or the damp, clumpy dirt, Aaron slumped to his belly in exhaustion. Snarls of disappointment sounded from the base of the cliff as the hounds came to realize their failure. Aaron rolled to his back, watching as Master Rhe peered out over the cliff's edge.

"What do you see?" Aaron asked, his breathing labored. "What do they look like?" He imagined giant mastiffs or some other hunting dog, big and ugly and mean.

The eslar backed away from the edge. "You should move further back."

"Why?" Aaron didn't want to move another inch. "The dogs—they can't climb." Aaron swallowed. "Can they?"

Ensel Rhe removed his jacket and, in one quick motion, drew his khatesh. "The dogs, no. But their master..."

Aaron shot upright. "They have a master?"

"Yes," Ensel Rhe said as he held his jacket out to Aaron for safekeeping, "and I think he wants the kill himself."

The Five Elements is FREE 3/21-3/22

Starting tomorrow (or today depending on when you're reading this), The Five Elements, my fantasy/pseudoscience novel that has been described by one reader as "an enveloping story that drags you in and doesn't let go" will be free on Amazon in Kindle format.

The promotion runs for two days—from 3/21 to 3/22. I would greatly appreciate it if everyone and anyone would download the eBook on one of those dates. I'm really curious to see how the novel does in the rankings this time around. This will be the second free promotion I've run. The first went great. But I'd really like to do better. That's why I'm bought some ad space here and there. That's why I've given advanced notice to my Twitter followers. This post will hit Goodreads—where almost 1,000 people entered to win a print copy of The Five Elements—and Amazon either tonight or tomorrow; plenty of time for everyone to find out about this promotion and take advantage of it.

Last but not least, I'm giving YOU, dear blog reader, advanced notice, too. You see, free rankings translate over into paid rankings; last time I achieved some very good free rankings that wound up giving me a real good paid run thereafter. My goal is to at least do that again.

We'll see how it goes. Meanwhile, get ready to download!