Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Journey by Dan O'Brien Book Tour

Welcome to the seventh day of The Journey blog tour. It will run until August 9th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:

The Frozen Man. The Translucent Man. The Burning Man. The Wicker Man. The guide known only as the Crossroads, together these are the signposts and totems of the world that the being called the Lonely inhabits. Seeking out the meaning of his journey, the Lonely is a being consumed by philosophical inquiry and adventure. Filled with exotic places and age-old questions, the Journey is a book that seeks to merge the fantastical and real. Join the Lonely as he seeks out answers to his own existence and perhaps the meaning for us all. 

A few questions for the author:

If not now, then when? 

When I have time. I have an order and a reason to the long list of things that I am doing. This list is always subject to the present moment, when I feel like the writing of one novel should take precedence over another. However, if I have deadlines for particular items, then I will always meet my deadlines before the whims of the day.

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? 

Nothing. I am in the process of moving toward what I want most. There is everything to gain and nothing to lose. Tempering expectations and realizing that what I want might not look like I had hoped is important in reaching my goals.

Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? 

All the time. I am fortunate to have a wonderful woman in my life who understands me and loves me despite my glaring flaws. We often will just sit without speaking for extended periods of time, and these moments are among the best spent of my entire life.

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

The Southern Oasis

Like waking from drifting dreams, he opened his eyes. Bleached white desert extended for as far as his eyes could see. His bare feet felt no heat from the sands, but instead a resolute coolness that frightened him. 

The sun beamed overhead. 

Broad tendrils of a mighty star crawled across the entire desert, leaving nothing unturned. The Lonely placed one foot in front of the other, committing him farther and farther toward an unknown destination with each step. 

The desert sand swirled and danced in places. Translucent columns of warm air and sand maneuvered side by side like darkness teasing the setting sun. The Lonely watched as shadows in the distance took shape. 

The Oasis was magnificent. 

Tall, bronzed walls rose high into the sky. It was higher than the Lonely could perceive without shielding his eyes from the blistering sun overhead. Twisting columns of undulating stone stood guard at the steps of the monolith. 

The Lonely stepped from the cold white sand onto the hot stone steps of the structure. Had he been able to react to pain, he may have cried out with the suddenness of the temperature change. Instead, he gazed up at the mounting stone windows and decks that rose into the air and hung as sand-colored clouds.

The steps crept into shadow, and the Lonely paced with them. Beneath the overhang of the monolith, the Lonely was given a reprieve from the heat. 

Music waltzed over the air. 

Drums beat. 

Horns flared. 

A cacophony of sound and rhythm floated over the air like so many stratums on a fall day. The Lonely moved closer to the massive twin doors that framed the overhang beneath which he had found himself. 

Twin rings of gold were centered on the doors. Their surface was covered in runic symbols. Together they formed such a pair of iridescent luminance that the Lonely would have been blinded if the sun had glinted off them. The heavy light of the sun surged against the back of the Lonely.

He reached out for the doors, but stopped. Inward the massive doors swung. A gust of florid aroma slapped him across the face. Cool whiskers of air caressed his face like the subtle touch of a woman. 

The music was louder now, more pronounced. 

He could feel it deep in his chest. 

“Welcome to the Oasis of Eternities,” called the gentle voice. The words sang in his ears. Her voice was as the cooing of a thousand doves. 

“Here you may rest,” she continued. 

Raven’s hair hung past her shoulders, wisps carving the delicate musculature of her back. Not the hardened or rippling muscles of a trained athlete, but the grace of cat: sleek, elegant. 

Her tan skin was nearly obsidian, her hazel eyes sparkled as gems in the darkest of mines. A shimmering white dress clung to her perfectly as a second skin. “I am Ilori and you are the Lonely.”

The Lonely stared ahead. Her beauty was a unique treasure. In the North he had not seen a woman, much less anything that could begin to rival such splendor. 

“I have come for the Burning Man,” he spoke, his eyes never leaving hers. 

She smiled. The even white line of her teeth was accented by the crimson turn of her lips. “In time….” she replied and then her gaze fell upon his uncovered feet. Her smile slipped and was replaced with a frown. “You look so sickly.”

The Lonely looked at his hands, his feet. He was indeed dirty. Before he had thought himself tan, but now he saw that he was much lighter than Ilori. “I arrived like this. I did not know any other way to come.”

Ilori stepped closer to him now. She smelled of lilies and honey, of magnificent fruits and fragrant gardens. Her hands touched his forearm. “We will see to better garments. You are a guest here.”

The contrast between her polished skin and his own dirt-marred flesh was such that the Lonely had to resist the urge to pull away in terror. He smiled politely and as she lifted her hand away, he hid his arms deeper within his tattered clothing. 

“I would appreciate that very much.”

He felt like a child. 

She looked like she was not much older than a young woman. He moved forward as she turned. Her lithe frame seemed to glide and prance across the floor. The doors closed without a sound and soon the Lonely was being ushered through the Oasis of Eternities of his own accord. 

The walls were cream-colored. 

The floors carved of marble. 

Tapestries lined the walls, enormous, ornate rugs that depicted beautiful, unfathomable things. Gems and artifacts lined the way speaking of histories and peoples unknown and forgotten to the sands of time. 

Each room was shaded, despite the location of the monolith being deep in the desert. Trees, potted and pruned, lay along their path as they moved from one hall to the next. They passed other inhabitants, most of whom were alabaster women of such beauty and unmentionable grace that the Lonely could only look upon them in awe. 

Soon the rooms passed faster and faster until they appeared to all be the same. Ilori walked at such a brisk pace, that the Lonely had to jog to catch up. As she rounded a corner out of sight, the Lonely dashed forward, but stopped short as she was waiting for him patiently. 

“This is the bath house. Inside you will find suitable garments. Rest within the waters and find peace. When you are ready, join me in the room down the hall marked with three diagonal slashes,” she spoke. 

“What is the significance of the three slashes?” 

She twisted her lips. “There are many rooms in the Oasis of Eternities. To wander these halls without a guide is to wander for all time. I allow you this one passage without a guide.”

The Lonely wished to ask more questions, but at that moment he was struck by how tired he was. In the North, he had not felt the need for sleep or hunger. But there in the Oasis, he felt as if he had not slept in ages. 

His stomach rumbled. 

“I will do as you say.”

Ilori nodded and then turned swiftly. Her ethereal dress swirled at her waist, her dark skin glistening as she whisked away beyond his reach. 

The Bath House was grandiose. Situated at the center of the room, a clear pool churned with turbulent waters. Steam rose from the water, sweet smells emanated throughout the room. 

The walls were black granite, striated with thick crystalline lines. The Lonely ran his hands over the smooth surface, once again feeling cool despite the temperature outside. 

Pulling the rags from his frame, he lowered himself into the pool. The breath of the steam soothed his muscles. He could feel the steam crawl across his skin, relieving him of hardships and aches. He then began to ponder what the Frozen Man had said. 

There were elements of truth to its logical rigidity. 

However, there was also much sadness. The water sluiced the soot from his skin and slipped gently into the surrounding pool. Bubbles formed at its edges. Ripples craved a grand landscape along its surface.

Looking to the ceiling above, he saw only azure; brilliant hues of blue and white in confluence. He tried to recall when last he had seen the sky such as this. Memories lingered, though time had displaced them. Was he dead? What is life? He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to drift. His questions could wait until his audience with the Burning Man.

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:

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