Congratulations to author Steven Cross, on the release of his latest novel Masters of Camelot! Read on for book details and an exclusive excerpt!
Lancelot’s true love dies in a battle against an enemy aided by magic. With his kingdom and his love gone, he resigns himself to serving King Arthur, someone who is truly noble. After an innocent infatuation with Queen Guinevere goes wrong, the mysterious Merlin tells him his fate will be found thousands of years in a future where the new Camelot faces destruction from a ruthless king. Only Lancelot possesses the power that can stop him. But is his fate to die there? Is the new Camelot going to face the same destruction as the old Camelot? And how will Lancelot defeat the same magic that killed his one true love, a magic which he has never believed to be real.
Some of King Ban’s foot soldiers lumbered toward the enemy, but then the iron beasts came back to life. They flew over Ban’s foot soldiers. Noises, like the banging of hundreds of rocks on metal all at once rang out. Something, yellow bursts of fire, came from the beasts. Lancelot watched as the foot soldiers fell where they stood. He saw dozens of holes in their armor and blood seeping out of them.
The beasts then moved over the archers and hovered over them. Lancelot’s heart lurched. Most of their archers were women who wanted to serve in Ban’s army, but whom his father did not want to be foot soldiers. These women warriors possessed another kind of finesse. Many of them fired their arrows at the beasts, but they did nothing but bounce away or break.
Then a blue swath of light appeared from the beast and bathed about half the remaining archers in an ethereal glow. The light beamed almost blindingly bright and then disappeared completely – the archers gone with it.
The enemy at the walls shrieked with ear-splitting force. When Lancelot turned toward their noise, he saw the charge. In another few seconds, they were on top of them. Ban’s men met them. Blade clanged against blade.
One attacker struck at Lancelot, who blocked the blow with his shield and drove his blade into the man’s chest. When the enemy’s blood poured out, Lancelot’s stomach heaved, but he had no time to vomit—another opponent was already on top of him. He moved so fast and was so strong that Lancelot could not avoid him. The enemy knocked him to the ground and had his sword raised ready to deal the killing blow. Lancelot tried to cover himself with his shield, but he didn’t think he would – the soldier’s hand went to his neck where an arrow pierced it. Blood spurted and then he fell. Lancelot felt his weight crashing down on him, knocking the air out of him. He looked to one side and saw one of Ban’s archers, a woman with long, flowing blonde hair – Eve – one of Anna’s friends with her bow.
He started to yell out her name, but then the blue light swallowed her, and she disappeared.
Lancelot pushed her victim off, staggered to his feet in time to raise his sword just as the second attacker lunged at him. It pierced his enemy’s throat.
He froze at the sound of the high-pitched scream and looked left and right to see the invaders overwhelming King Ban’s army. Lancelot ducked as someone swung at his head, and he thrust his shield up, its edge catching the attacker’s neck. The attacker gagged as he clutched at his throat and crumpled.
Lancelot recognized the voice. He looked down and saw his beloved Anna lying on the ground near him. An invader towered over her.
Lancelot launched his sword through the air like a spear and hit the man just as he was bringing down his own sword. Lancelot ran to Anna. Her eyes fluttered and she smiled at him. “I knew you’d come.” The armor she wore was now red and blood pooled under her. “You can change things, Lancelot.” Her body relaxed and lay still.
He grabbed her wrist and searched for a pulse. He leaned over her and tried to feel the faintest breath that would show him that she was just hurt. Even as tears poured from him, his anger built.
“Why didn’t you listen? Why do you always have to be where you don’t need to be—”
Suddenly, someone grabbed him by his hair and jerked him backwards.
Robert Collier, an American self-help author, once said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” For over 30 years of teaching and over 40 years of writing, this adage describes Steve Cross.
He is a semi-retired educator who teaches writing part-time at Three Rivers Community College. While in college, he began writing, and once he started, he didn’t quit. In his younger days, he had some writing successes: several plays published by Brooklyn Publishers, articles in various magazines and websites, and some educational materials. However, these weren’t enough to convince him that writing was something he needed to pursue anymore. When he turned 60 and had almost given writing up altogether, he gave it one more chance.
Every October, the Ozark Creative Writers sponsor a writing conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As a test of his talent, Cross entered several of the contests that made up part of the conference. If he did okay, he would continue writing. If not, well, it had been a fun ride, but it was time to get off. When he placed in three of the contests, he decided that maybe his idea of quitting was premature. From there, things clicked. He had one young adult contemporary novel accepted for publication and two fantasy novels accepted. He also saw another dream which had eluded him for years come to life. He sold one screenplay outright and optioned another. Then he became a freelance editor for a publisher.
Cross finds himself busier than ever with his writing. But writing is not his only passion. He and his wife Jean work very hard in spoiling their two grandchildren, much to the dismay of their daughter Megan and son-in-law Sean. Cross also follows the St. Louis Cardinals and enjoys reading, listening to music, and writing. Still, he finds time to relax by sitting out on his deck with his loyal dog Bella on his lap and listening to the birds singing.
Masters of Camelot resulted from a lifelong love of all things Arthurian, which was reinforced by a trip to the UK, and a simple question, “What if?” He believes the principles of Camelot can still flourish in today’s world.
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