This past week, I received a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to have my second novel, THE DARK TIDES, displayed and marketed at the 2018 Frankfurt International Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, Oct. 10-14. This is an incredible honor for an independent author like me.
The Frankfurt International Book Fair is a major cultural event: around 7,300 exhibitors from over 100 countries, more than 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events, around 10,000 journalists and around 2,400 bloggers make Frankfurter Buchmesse the world’s largest trade fair for publishing every year – and Frankfurt, the metropolis on the Main, the centre of the international media world.
Just thinking about the thousands of people who will get a glimpse of my book gives me hope that someone like me has a chance to make it as an author. I’ve been writing stories since high school–the early eighties, yes I’m old–but I didn’t become published until 2009.
I’ve struggled, as I’m sure many independent authors have, with the cost of artwork, editing, publishing and marketing. This is a huge event, but it’s also a risk that one book like mine could stand out among millions.
I want to thank LitFire Publishing for seeking me out and believing in my novel for this event. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be heading to Germany.
For those who may be unfamiliar with my novel, here’s an excerpt from THE DARK TIDES, explaining a bit of the background of the story in a conversation between Sir Percival, the first Gil-Gamesh, and Bryan Drake, the new Gil-Gamesh.
Bryan’s dream were jumbled, filled with pain. He watched Donegal fall into an endless black void. His deathly screams caused Bryan pain. He also saw others floating in the darkness; a variety of men, women and creatures he’d never seen before. They writhed in anguish, as if their souls were being tortured by the darkness within sword.
Then his dream shifted; he saw a knight standing on a hillside surrounded by an eerie mist. The early morning sun began to rise in the distance. The man wore the two swords Bryan had used earlier around his waist. He turned around as Bryan walked up to him. He was an older man, dressed in plate mail armor, with brown hair and a beard, flecked with gray. He smiled at Bryan, putting him at ease.
“Greetings Bryan Drake, we have been expecting you,” he proclaimed.
Bryan was confused. “We?” he asked. “What do you mean?”
Appearing out of the mist were other knights like him, each wearing a different type of armor, clothing and hairstyles, as if he were looking at a timeline of history. The only thing similar about them was that they all looked very much alike, as if they were related in some way.
“Where am I?”
“I am Sir Percival Peredyr, first Gil-Gamesh of Avalon. We …” he exclaimed, motioning to the others, “… have been the protectors of sacred Avalon for thousands of years.”
“Gil-Gamesh? What is that?”
Percival placed his hand on Bryan’s shoulder and walked him through the ranks of knights. “It is a name I heard on my quest for the Holy Grail for good King Arthur. It was the name of a great hero in ancient Persia. It is the name I took as the champion of Avalon.”
“Avalon? You mean the mythical island from the King Arthur legend?” Bryan questioned him. Percival grinned with a devilish smirk, something he does from time-to-time.
“Yes, Bryan Drake, this is Avalon. But my story doesn’t begin here. It begins nearly 3,000 years ago. I was witness to the death of King Arthur at the hands of his son Mordred at the battle of Camlann. I retrieved his sword Excalibur and was about to return it to the Lady of the Lake when Merlin stopped me.”
“Merlin the Magician? The wizard who advised King Arthur?” Bryan asked. “He’s real too?”
“The one and the same … Merlin told me that with King Arthur’s death, the age of magic was coming to an end. He thought the only way to preserve the magic and all magical beings was to bring them here to Avalon.” Percival explained how Merlin combined his magic with that of Excalibur and opened up a mystic portal. Anyone touched by magic was whisked away to Avalon.
“Touched by magic? You mean like the dragon I saw earlier and the Dwarf too?” Bryan implied.
Percival nodded his head. “Dragons and Dwarves, unicorns and Elves, goblins and trolls … All things created by magic, as well as humans imbued with magic themselves. A new age had begun, but at a great cost.
“Excalibur was shattered, the Knights of the Round Table were decimated and the forces of evil began to gather themselves together. They wanted to wipe us from the face of Avalon forever. To aid in the coming battle, the Elves of Alfheimer and the Dwarves of the Gilded Halls took the broken pieces and forged them into the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon … Twilight and Dusk.”
Percival drew the swords and showed them to Bryan. “Twilight is the light of Avalon, a shining blade of pure starlight that can cut through anything. Dusk is the darkness within Avalon, a soul reaper that feeds on the souls of its victims to power the ungodly blade. I took up these swords, but not as a king, a champion for justice. I was the first Gil-Gamesh and that honor has been passed on from generation to generation.”
“I still don’t understand what any of this has to do with me?”
“Because, Bryan Drake, you are of my blood … my kin,” Percival told him, “And now you are the new Gil-Gamesh of Avalon.
“You wielded Twilight and Dusk in your battle with Donegal. The swords represent the balance between order and chaos, a balance needed to maintain the peace in our troubled lands. Only a true heir of Percival can wield the swords and become the Gil-Gamesh.”
“But why me and why now? I have a family that needs me. I need to get back to them,” he declared.
“Fate has brought you to Avalon, Bryan Drake” Percival chimed in. “It has always been your destiny to be the Gil-Gamesh. It is up to you to accept your destiny and determine the future of Avalon.”
Percival held out the swords to Bryan, as if to pass on the legacy of the Gil-Gamesh to him. Bryan seemed unsure to take them and Percival sensed his apprehension. “Avalon has been without a Gil-Gamesh for more than 500 years Bryan. The people need you.”
His words rang true—duty, honor and commitment—the same things that made Bryan join the Navy all those years ago. Somehow, someway, he was brought here for a reason. He didn’t like it but it was his only chance to live. Perhaps someday he could find a way home, but now he had to accept his destiny.
Bryan took the swords from Percival. “I don’t know what the future holds for me, but for now, I will do what is right.” The dream began to fade and the last thing Bryan saw before he floated back into darkness was the proud look on Percival’s face.
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.