Author in the Spotlight: Stephen B. Pearl
Stephen B. Pearl is an ex-lifeguard, mystic, Mad Scientist, amateur anthropologist, home handyman, backyard mechanic, and writer. The face he wears changes with the company he keeps. His cats know him as pride alpha. Well servant might be more accurate.
He brings his varied experiences to the books he writes which range from Paranormal, Nukekubi, Worlds Apart and The Hollow Curse to Science fiction, Tinker’s Plague, War of the Worlds 2030 and Slaves of Love and high fantasy, The Horn of the Kraken, set in the universe of the Ragnarok role playing game.
For more about Stephen and his works visit: www.stephenpearl.com.
About Horn of the Kraken
During the sword age of Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse, a group of heroes must steal the horn of the kraken from Hakon, the bastard pretender to the throne of Norveig, who is using it to force kraken to sink the ships of Jarl Eric Bloodaxe, in a bid to win the war between them.
Can a Karl’s son, who would rather be a skald, lead a Seith witch, who is plagued by ghosts, a near giant Galdr, with the power of the Runes at his disposal, a Maiden of Ratatosky, mischief woman, who may be more trouble than she’s worth, and a Ulfhednar, wolf warrior, who is a traditional foe of him and his gods, into a battle to save their way of life and the freedom to choose the gods you call your own.
Want to hear a reading from Horn of the Kraken? Check it out on youtube here: https://youtu.be/r7X_I1zHqH4
The book begins with the introductions of Fjorn, a skald and the son of a Karl, whose lands are under attack by Hakon’s forces.
Next we meet, Sigurlina a young Seithkona struggling to control her spirit powers, who was driven out of her village by a crusader ambush where both her parents were slaughtered.
Then we are introduced to Audun Bear Friend, a Galdr, rune mystic, and navigator whose ship is attacked by crusaders using a horn that can summon kraken. Audun’s crew are slaughtered by the crusaders, who torture him. He escapes and kills his captors but is marooned on an iceberg.
We encounter Ragna, a Maiden of Ratatosk, mischief maker, who is involved in shady dealings. Ragna had been a Karl’s daughter until the crusaders made her a thrall because her father practiced religious tolerance.
Finally, we are introduced to Vidurr, an Ulfhednar, shamanic man wolf, whose village was burnt by crusaders who crippled Vidurr’s father and left him to suffer the straw death.
The Norn appears to each of these characters offering them life and a means to strike back against Hakon and his crusader allies.
Fjorn meets Jarl Erik Bloodaxe and Queen Gunnhild, who send him on a mission to misdirect Hakon’s forces. Ships have been sinking with alarming frequency, and they suspect it is Hakon’s doing. Gunnhild also charges Fjorn to bring her items from Finnmark.
It is revealed that Fjorn is the illegitimate son of Jarl Harald, making him Erik’s half-brother. Given the history of deaths among Erik’s half-brothers this puts his life in jeopardy.
Fjorn rescues Audun from the iceberg. No one believes Audun when he claims that Hakon can control Kraken.
Sigurlina journeys to the town of Ekena where she befriends Ragna and Munin, the shade of a girl. Having to find shelter out of town, do to Ragna’s legal entanglements, the three females journey to Munin’s farm picking up a freezing raven on the way. At the farm Sigurlina binds Munin with the raven to prevent the girl’s spirit becoming a Haugbui.
Fjorn and his crew are attacked by kraken after hearing a strange horn. Audun’s forewarning and knowledge of the coast get them to a safe harbor. Once in the shallows they are aided by Vidurr, who grants them grudging hospitality and joins them because they have a common foe.
Sigurlina, Ragna and Munin, now a raven, return to the docks in hopes of finding passage to the capital, Avaldsnes. They meet Fjorn and his crew and help them obtain the items on the Queen’s list in exchange for passage.
One item on the list is a Niflheim ore dagger held under strong enchantments in a cave guarded by dreyri, giant vampire bats.
The group retrieves the dagger, but must flee because the dagger acts as a beacon for draugar, undead soldiers of the Goddess Hel, who will stop at nothing to recover it.
They race from the town and sail as fast as they can, but are over taken by draugar. After repelling two attacks they must weather a storm. After the storm they face the dangers of cold and wet. As they approach Avaldsnes they are again attacked by draugar. Sigurlina sends Munin ahead with a message for help. Two Selkei, seal people, arrive and help drag the draugar into the sea.
Fjorn and his companions deliver the dagger to the Queen and their news about the horn of the kraken to Jarl Erik.
Queen Gunnhild invites Sigurlina to see a magical working. It is a mini Yggdrasil, which will channel energies into the land creating a warm, living zone. To do this she has collected nine of her husband’s half-brother’s skulls to represent the nine realms. Now she needs an artifact from each of the nine realms to call the energy she requires.
To quote Queen Gunnhild. “Do you understand? Can you understand? The Gods care not! We are pieces on a gaming board to them, nothing more. Once I am done though; then let Surt’s fires rage, let the worlds collapse. My land will yet stand, and when the new world forms; we will be first. I will rule all, and my power will stretch over the nine worlds. So, at the least; I will rule as queen of a living realm in a world trapped in a season of death. At most; I will be a goddess more powerful than Odin himself, reining over a new and vibrant Midgard.”
Gunnhild orders Sigurlina to bring anything that could serve as links for the remaining seven realms she comes across to the capital.
At the capital the heroes learn that while Jarl Erik has forbidden direct action against Fjorn, to remove him as a possible contender for the throne, he has, to appease his Queen, agreed to send Fjorn on high risk missions until he is no longer a threat.
Spies report that a storm has damaged several of Hakon’s ships and that they are returning to Winchester for repairs. Erik surmises that one of the damaged ships must be carrying the kraken horn. Fjorn is ordered to obtain or destroy the horn.
Fjorn and company infiltrate the court of King Aethelstan, Hakon’s patron, in Winchester. Fjorn pretends interest in learning about the White God as the others pose as his household. Once in the court they will liberate the horn and escape before the enemy forces become aware of them.
Plans go awry. They sound the horn of the Kraken as they are escaping. Kraken swarm the Winchester docks. The horn is lost in the sea.
Fjorn and his companions return to the Orkney Islands to await another mission.
More works by Stephen B. Pearl:
From ancient times nukekubi have haunted the land of Japan. Living as men by day, these beasts slip their heads free of their flesh at night and go in search of human prey. These hapless souls are driven into a terrified madness that results in their death.
Human hearts and human minds battle to survive against the hatred of a distant world of bigotry and despair.
I am Doctor Richard Green. The Darmuks came across the stars pretending friendship. Humanity flocked to them. Ashley, Zane and I struggled to understand the technology they offered.
Now war rages, Man against mutant beasts. Worse, the Darmuks have taken Ashley, made her a modem for their biological computer. Their mistake! I can defeat their science, and give my species a chance, but to do it Zane and I must join Ashley. We must sacrifice all we are and hope it will be enough.
Ray, a modern day wizard, and Cathy, an enchantress and exotic dancer, must deal with a succubus that is perverting the energies of a strip club to drive it's patrons to act of violence and rape.
More About Stephen B. Pearl
Stephen B. Pearl was born in a time when computers filled rooms and had less computing power than a child’s toy today. He held his breathe with the rest of the world, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Burling first walked on the moon. Stephen’s Father, Vernon, helped, in a small way, to make that happen. He was a research chemist and did work for the space program.
Stephen has a guarded fondness for technology that is reflected by his love of sustainable energy systems and electric cars. He also sees the same spirit of adventure that fueled the moon mission as being an innate part of the Norse who crossed the Atlantic in search of new lands and traveled much of the ancient world.
His views on life tend to the moderate though he normally votes left of center. Being Pagan Stephen feels open to take wisdom from where he finds it. As such he feels that the Buddhist view of the middle road holds great truth. As does the Confucius principle of looking at the solutions of the past as well as the Norse view that actions have consequences that will play out over time. His primary philosophical influence is the Pagan view that the divine is the manifest, thus the universe itself is the godhead and the natural world is the ultimate source of wisdom and guidance. This is reflected in all great mythologies.
He also loves Science which he sees as a tool for understanding nature thus the divine. The only failing Stephen sees in science is that some arrogant humans see it as an end unto itself and declare themselves above all other ways of understanding the universe. Of course, Religion does the same thing and those arrogant humans have been known to burn people alive, so Stephen doesn’t adhere to the extreme of either camp.
Stephen has had several books published, The Hollow Curse, Slaves of Love, Tinker’s Plague, Nukekubi, Worlds Apart, War of the Worlds 2030 and now Horn of the Kraken, set in the universe of the Ragnarok role playing game and has contributed to the PWP Samhain and Yule anthologies as well as the Morbid Seraphic, Hot Shots 2 and the Love, Time, Space, Magic anthologies. He tends to write within the speculative fiction field.
Many people consider Stephen’s work to be on the dark side. With the exception of War of the Worlds 2030 Stephen disagrees feeling his writings reflect what humans are actually like, the good and the bad.
He believes that good fiction is born of good facts; as such he tries to know something about the underpinning reality that informs his story. Writing Horn of the Kraken has proven to be a crash course in Norse culture and metaphysics for him.
The greatest problem Stephen has struggled with regarding his writing is that he is dyslexic. Despite years of training the minutia of written language still challenges him, but, as he says, “Everybody’s has something. I have a gift for character voice and brevity of word, a good imagination and a brain that embraces abstract concepts well. Life is all about working to your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses.”
For the rest, Stephen lives in southern Ontario with his wife and cats, as well as a changeable number of stray cats, possums and raccoons he ends up feeding because he is a self admitted sucker for anything small furry and hungry. He’s fond of salmon and has a long standing crush on Alyson Hannigan that his wife, Joy, chuckles at. The rest is subject to change.
For more about Stephen and his works visit: www.stephenpearl.com.