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ANNOUNCEMENT: Bitches, by David Richards

QSFer David Richards has a new queer (gay, gender fluid, lesbian, pansexual) urban fantasy out: “Bitches.”

Sometimes you have to be a witch to get things done

Catherine, the most powerful witch alive, knows how to look after herself. After all – she’s been around for a very, very long time.

Unfortunately, something is wrong with Catherine’s powers so she is forced to enlist the help of a local coven who may be able to fix her.

If that isn’t bad enough, Catherine is being hunted by a puritanical witch hunter whose divine duty is to eradicate all witches from the face of the earth.

With the witch hunter closing in, time is running out for Catherine and the coven.

She’s survived wars, witch trials, and a wine-free wedding, but this is shaping up to be her greatest challenge yet.

Prepare yourself for a magical tale that is (mostly) historically accurate.

Get It At Amazon


Excerpt

Endor (Jezreel Valley, Galilee)
1010 BCE

It had been a long and arduous journey from Gibeah to Endor. Saul was grateful for his face coverings, which had protected him from most of the dust that had been kicked up as his horse raced towards Endor.

He felt exposed and a little anxious without his royal guard, but this journey was his to take alone. He couldn’t allow word to spread that he had spoken with the Witch of Endor. Saul had to maintain order. His army, his court, nobody could know of this. No, this meeting had to remain a secret.

He had stolen away from his fortress under cover of darkness, his finery covered with a simple cloak, and rode onwards. His face coverings not only shielded him from the dust, but also from recognition as he rode through the night, pushing his horse to go ever faster as they neared his destination.

Finally, he arrived at her hovel. As his horse slowed to a halt, Saul saw firelight flickering through the window. This pleased Saul. The matter at hand was urgent.

He leapt from his horse and, without knocking or announcing his arrival, swept into her abode.

He had been expecting a wizened old crone. The stories about her, whispered throughout the land, had painted a most unflattering picture, but the woman that he found before him could have been no older than twenty-five.

Damaris. The Witch of Endor. No crone was she. If she had been of a higher station, he would have taken her as a concubine.

She looked towards him as he lowered his face coverings, seemingly unsurprised that the king was standing in her home, and gave him a look of annoyance.

‘I seek your counsel, oh woman of the valley,’ Saul said to her.

‘Spit it out then, Saul,’ Damaris said, impatiently. ‘I’ve not got time to be fannying about with you. I’ve pots want washing.’

‘Won’t you bow before your king?’ Saul asked, surprised that he even had to bring it up.

‘Now listen here, mush,’ Damaris said. ‘You’re the one that came barging in here wanting a favour. You want me to bow an’all? You’ve got a bloody nerve.’

‘Very well,’ Saul said, glancing around Damaris’s hovel for a place to sit. He didn’t feel that there was any furniture befitting his status so he remained standing. ‘Straight to the point, then. I wish to speak with the prophet, Samuel. I hear whispers that you can grant me an audience.’

‘He’s dead, mate,’ Damaris told him. ‘You’re very much barking up the wrong proverbial. Where are my manners? Can I offer you a brew? You must be spitting feathers!’

‘A brew?’ Saul asked as Damaris passed him a mug containing hot, steaming liquid.

‘It’s my own special recipe,’ Damaris said. ‘It’s hot water and a few different herbs. Very refreshing, especially after your journey. I call it a cuppa. Go on. Drink up.’

‘Tomorrow I must face the Philistines at Mount Gilboa,’ Saul told her after taking a sip of her concoction. ‘I must speak with Samuel. The battle depends upon it!’

‘You’re one cheeky bugger, you are,’ Damaris said, snatching her mug back from him. ‘Coming in here, asking me to conjure up your dead pal. You wouldn’t need me at all if you hadn’t driven out all the conjurers and what have you. And by the by, haven’t you made witchcraft a capital offence? Well?’

‘You have my word that you will not be harmed should you do this one thing for me,’ Saul promised.

‘Pfft,’ Damaris said, waving her hand dismissively. ‘You could try, our kid. You wouldn’t get very far. And for your information, those poor buggers that you drove out? All frauds. No, there’s only one person that can do what you ask and you’re looking at her.’

‘So, you’ll help me?’ Saul asked, hopefully.

‘What’s in it for me?’ Damaris asked. ‘My services don’t come cheap, love.’

‘Name it and it shall be yours,’ Saul said. ‘Riches beyond your wildest dreams. Castles. Servants…’

‘Just give us that bangle,’ Damaris said, pointing to a golden bracelet peeking out from underneath Saul’s robes.

‘It’s yours,’ Saul said, removing it from his arm and handing it over to Damaris.

She admired the piece of jewellery, watching it glint in the firelight, then she casually threw it over her shoulder into a corner and swept out of her hovel, bidding Saul to follow her.


Author Bio

David Richards is a charismatic, mysterious gentleman in his late 20s with a zest for life and a yearning to sing. He lives in Manchester with his husband and two children, Rula and Jinkx.

Facdebook: https://www.facebook.com/DRichardsWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SnippyBitch

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