Elizabeth Los: Second on the Right Blog Tour

Pitch
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From an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they’re thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons. Will they unite through time, fulfilling the promise of ancestors, or will tempers ignite leading to failure?

Biography
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Elizabeth uses writing as therapy, her release from everyday stress. At night, after work and once the children are finally tucked in bed, for the fifth time, she sits at her laptop and lets her imagination flow. Typing over eighty words per minute, her stories quickly form into full length novels.

Elizabeth has produced story stories, including Sherlock Holmes fan fiction. By July 2011, her first novel, Second on the Right, had been completed. She spent several years polishing the story in order to provide a high quality product to the public. Second on the Right is her first professional novel.

Peter

“Peter,” James said in a low growl. “Show yourself!” he shouted.
“That crow. I’ve heard that before,” Benedict commented.
Peter alighted onto the railing with such ease and grace it irritated James. He gave a slight bow, as if observing the niceties. Pulling one of two bags from his belt, he held it up in his hand. James held the sheath of his sword with his hook, struggling only momentarily to hurriedly unsheathe it.
Peter laughed and shook his bag, “Need a hand?” He howled even more, causing chills to run through James.
James advanced towards him, but stopped short. Peter had reached into the bag he had been holding and had removed a rotting hand, with fingers missing. It was all too familiar to James: his right hand. James and Benedict cringed, disgusted at the sight.
Peter tossed it at James, who jumped back in disgusted. The splat of soft, decomposing flesh hit the wood. Peter spun up in flight, and landed back down on the deck, retrieving the hand. Pieces were left behind from its initial fall.
“No? Much happier with a hook, are we? You’re welcome,” he sneered. “There’s one who would appreciate a hand. Yours, in fact.” He floated to the railing to glance at the waters below. “Come, take a look. I promise I won’t bite,” he grinned, moving away to allow James to draw near.
James and Benedict cautiously took a glimpse. What they saw was the silhouette of an enormous crocodile.
James said to him, “Impossible. They can’t grow that large, can they?”
Benedict had no response. He had never seen one that large. In the water, the crocodile, nearly twenty meters long, ticked and hissed. The sounds were eerily similar to a clock.
Benedict and James peered down again at the beast. The crocodile thrashed and clawed its way partially up the side of the Mistral Thief. Sweat dampened James’ brow. Benedict looked at Peter, who was now dangling the remaining portion of what he assumed was James’ right hand over the side of the ship. The crocodile leapt from the water, greatly desiring either the hand of James or James himself.
Both James and Benedict cringed, though it was James that moved away from the railing. The scratching of the crocodile’s claws on the side of the ship seemed to make him tremble. Peter laughed maniacally, and tossed James’ hand to the crocodile.
“You’ve been using it for bait?” James looked at Peter, horror and disgust evident on his face. “This is all a game to you.”
Pan. He hasn’t aged. Should I tell James? Benedict thought. His eyes shifted in James’ direction. He needs to know.
James pointed his sword at Peter. “What do you want?” He shouted.
Peter unsheathed his knife, circling around the deck. James followed suit. Occasionally, Peter would tap the end of his sword. However, Benedict knew James was a man of indomitable courage. James held his sword steady, firmly in his left hand, his hook slightly hidden behind him. His eyes were cold as steel. At that moment, James appeared to be in complete control of his emotions and actions. Benedict couldn’t help but beam proudly at what he had done for James.
“What do I want?” Peter asked himself thoughtfully. He looked back at James, his eyes glowing faintly red. “I want you to pay,” but he stopped. “Then again, perhaps you are suffering a bit. After all, I’m finding your son to be a delicious addition to my lost boys.” He ended this with a slight hiss.
“I’ve done nothing to you,” James replied. “I believe you’re the one that will pay for taking my family.”
Benedict subtly moved closer to James. He could see how the boy was manipulating James, using the loss of Eileen and Robbie to rile him to the point of pure rage. Benedict knew all too well how easy it was to make James angry.
“Jas,” he said in quiet warning, seeing James’ shoulders rise and fall more frequently.
James voice wavered, “What are you?”
Benedict hesitated to offer his knowledge. What would it serve but to merely fan the flame the boy had started. Quietly he said to James, “Me thinks he’s Pete, a boy I met years ago. Feeds off humans.”
“Explain, please,” James murmured to Benedict, not taking his eyes off Peter.
“Not quite o’ changeling. Thought ta be mere legend, but I’d seen it with me own eyes. A powerful creature, though from what world, I’m not sure. Feeds off tha young, slow and sure ta stay alive. No doubt, yer boy be one he’s feedin’ on,” he explained.
Peter held a penetrating gaze at Benedict. “Oooohh. You’re a rather smart one, aren’t you? But I am at a disadvantage. You seem to know me, but I do not recognize you.” The boy’s face scrunched up in contemplation until he seemed to have an epiphany, “The one who set me free! You’re so…old!”
James looked over at the captain. “You set him free?” he whispered angrily. “Why am I not surprised?”
Benedict did his best to avoid eye contact. He knew he would have to explain all of this later. Perhaps he’ll forget. Not likely though.
“It’s true.” Peter said with a grinned. “I did feed on her. The red hair had to go.” He made a violent motion as he spoke.
“Jas,” Benedict warned, seeing James tense, the muscles in his jaw tightened.
James waved him off, stepping forward.
Peter continued. “Her white skin, so soft and supple. Her screams of terror and pain, delicious. Oh, she was wonderful!” He paused for a moment, then finished, “Particularly the chewy center within.” With the last sentence, his wicked eyes fell on James.
James screamed in anguish. He charged for Peter. Benedict reached out to stop him, but he was too slow. Peter flew up to the top of the mast. James, whose momentum had gotten the better of him, teetered at the rail. The crocodile waited eagerly below. James grunted in an effort to push himself back.
Peter howled in laughter, pointing, mocking and pantomiming actions as if he were James falling over the railing. James ran to the ropes, set to climb. Benedict shouted, but James didn’t hear. Not being heeded, he and a few crewmen pounced on him, holding him down.
“Take him ta me quarters!” he barked at the bo’sun. They held James, who thrashed violently. It took five men to drag James into the captain’s quarters and slam the doors shut. Benedict addressed Peter, “Ye best be leavin’ now, or ye be facin’ my wrath.”
Peter shrugged off the threat. “I have no quarrel with you, old man.” He jumped off the mast, floating high above. “Tell him I’ll be waiting, in Neverland.” And he flew off.
Benedict rubbed his sore eyes. “I’m gettin’ too old fer this.”
At his quarters, Benedict’s hand stopped at the door. James’ screams of rage could be heard from within. Benedict opted to take his time. Making a course adjustment, he continued towards El Tiburón.

Released

Footsteps on cobblestones echoed down the alleyways of small shops and homes. Within the darkness, Robert huffed and strained from exertion. He ran as fast as his legs could move him. Once he was just outside of the small seafaring town, he stopped and collapsed onto the ground trying desperately to catch his breath.
I’ve done it! he thought excitedly.
Robert could hardly believe he had stolen the unique weapon. But now what? If he returned to the ship, he would certainly be blamed for the knife’s disappearance, especially since he had no way of hiding it. How could he avoid punishment? There was no question. He could not, would not, go back to the Swallow. While hunched over, the snap of a twig close by caused him to freeze. Had the crew caught up with him? He waited as a few seconds crept by. Eventually, a boy of about twelve years of age stepped out of the darkness.
“Hullo,” the boy said nonchalantly.
“H-hello,” Robert stuttered, unsure of how to respond to this newcomer. Did he look guilty? He tried not to appear so. The boy could not possibly know what had just happened.
“Name’s Pete,” the street urchin said, scratching his face and, in the process, smudging more dirt across his cheek. Tufts of stiff and dirty blonde hair stuck out in all directions.
“Robert,” he responded with trepidation, especially since he now noticed a group of boys standing just within the edge of the darkness, their eyes shining from the moonlight.
“You alone?” the boy asked.
Robert was suspicious of the question and so lied. “No.” His lie was not convincing.
Pete smirked wickedly. “I think you are.” The tone in his voice was changing to something sweetly sinister.
Robert blinked. This stranger was threatening him. “Pete, was it?” he asked.
The young boy nodded.
“Ye best be leaving me alone.”
Pete’s laugh changed into a cackle. “Give me the bag, and I’ll consider it.”
Robert snorted in defiance as he stood up. His hand instinctively tightened its grip around the handle. The boys standing within the darkness stepped forward. The circle closed in around him. He was trapped. Despite the grim outlook, he would not give up. “Ye’ve been warned,” he said coolly. He pulled out the long knife. In one fluid movement, Robert unsheathed his weapon and pointed the tip towards Pete.
“’Ear that boys? We’ve been warned,” Pete said mockingly, staring with desire at the weapon before him. With a whistle, he commented, “That jewel looks to be worth the risk. Betcha it’ll take good care o’ me and tha boys. So be it!” he shouted as he pulled out a small dagger and lunged towards Robert, tapping the magic blade with his own.
The two weapons would have made for an impressive fight, if not for the inexperience and weak muscles of the fighters. A quiet tick of metal sounded as each barely hit the other’s blade. Eventually, both boys grew tired from the exertion.
Robert gained the advantage and the surrounding boys inched closer. Before he could do anything about it, they attacked, knocking him to the ground. The knife came to rest in front of Pete. Robert struggled to push the boys away and reclaim his prize, but Pete took advantage of the opportunity. Reaching for the knife, Pete’s hand hit the edge of the blade. It made a small cut into his palm. He pulled back for a moment, staring at the bleeding wound more from curiosity than pain.
Robert froze. His prized possession was in the hands of a stranger. “The Captain’s gonna kill me,” he mumbled.
While Pete was distracted, Robert noticed the blood seemed to move along the blade and disappear into the hilt of the knife, trickling into the blue orb. His eyes widened in amazement. Had he just seen that, or was his mind playing tricks on him? Suddenly, a gust of strong wind and a chilling howl wrapped around Pete.
Robert was startled, but it was the other boy who cried out in fear and pain. His body twisted and writhed as he fell to the ground. Maniacal laughter, all too familiar, filled the air. The remaining group of boys, having scattered from fear, let go of their prisoner. Robert scrambled back, putting some distance between himself and Pete. The disembodied laugh grew stronger.
Pete’s eyes were now glowing red. He heaved in deeply, the sound akin to a death rattle. As the wind swirled around him, he stood. A wicked impish grin was on his face. He let out a crow of triumph.
Robert stepped back in an attempt to leave. It could not get much worse than this, could it? I was wrong. The Captain isn’t going to kill me. Daria is definitely going to kill me, he thought.
Pete turned to Robert and smiled. “I must thank you for you have freed me.” His movements gave the impression he was stalking prey. “But I must ask for one favor more…your life.”
Eyes wide, Robert did the only thing a young boy could do when faced with a vengeful god: he ran. He did not stop. He did not look back. He needed to leave, to hide, and to forget what had happened. He would never tell Captain Davis, Daria, or anyone else, what he had done.

Words with the author

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.

I read Peter Pan and watched the Disney movie I felt Captain Hook needed more to his back story than was revealed. Fans around me cheered for Peter Pan. I thought it odd, considering this young boy had, prior to the start of the story, cut off Hook’s hand and fed it to the crocodile. That was no action of an innocent boy. My mind began to weave a story for Hook, one where he originally was the good guy, a family man. Following the events of his first encounter with Pan, perhaps he had changed not only physically but mentally as well. And that is where we see the captain when J.M. Barrie’s story begins.

Are there any themes within the novel?

I delve into a lot of psychological issues. How would a man react if the very thing he values or loves is taken from him? Would he seek revenge? In this story, he does and falls into a bitter depression, which begins to change him. I asked myself if such a man would be able to pull himself out of that pit of depression and self-loathing if he were disfigured in the process.
One female character finds herself in a situation where she makes a rash decision based on passion and later regrets it. How does she handle the guilt and shame of such a decision?
There are a lot of things going on in the book, including adventure, romance, and time travel.

Did you have a favorite scene to write?

It was the fight scene between James and Robert, but since then, I think it has changed to the scene where Pan is attempting to kill Captain Benedict and Eileen interrupts him. I like that she’s able to handle herself in a crisis.

What do you see as influences on your writing style?

I’ve read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, over and over and over. 🙂
I’m also really fond of Preston/Child’s Pendergast series. Ever since Relic, I’ve been hooked on reading any story with Special Agent Pendergast. Besides that, the writing style of Douglas Present and Lincoln Child always has me on the edge of my seat. That’s something I’m striving for.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for indie authors and what have you been doing to overcome that?

Marketing! I’ve never much cared for it, but it is an integral part of the entire process. And, I think it is really difficult for some authors to tout their own work. We need to get of the idea that it is bragging. It isn’t. You need to market not only the book, but you, the author. And that can be tough.

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