Category Archives: Excerpt

Chapter One of The Erroneous Talibani by Richard Asner


     Hamid Khalifa is the head of the Mid-East Division of the CIA. Born in 1971, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hafez Khalifa who immigrated from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. in 1965. At 18 he attends HarvardUniversity and is there the required time to earn a B.A. and then an MBA in business. After graduation, he joins the U.S. State Department and spends seven years with them before accepting a position as assistant to the head of the Mid-East Division of the CIA. Two years later, he is offered and accepts the job as head of the division.

    It is now February 3, 2007 and Hamid makes a call to long-time friend Larry Lamont, the envoy to the deputy U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.

    “Good morning, Larry, Hamid Khalifa!”

    “Oh yes, Hamid. How have you been? Haven’t seen you since you left the State Department. How has the CIA been treating you?”

    “I haven’t had a moment to call my own since I left there four years ago. It’s a real rat race, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

    “Well, as you may remember, this place can get rather hectic at times too. So what can I do for you today, Hamid?”

    “I was wondering if I could meet with you in your office sometime soon to discuss an item of some importance.”

    “Of course, Hamid, would you care to give me some idea of the subject matter?”

    “I’m sorry, Larry. It’s something I’d rather not discuss over the phone.”

    “I understand. Why don’t we meet here tomorrow at eleven o’clock and perhaps we could have lunch together afterward. Would that fit your schedule?”

    “That sounds great, Larry. See you at eleven.”


    It is eleven A.M., February 4 and Hamid approaches Larry’s secretary. “Hamid KHalifa to see Mr. Lamont.”

    “Oh, yes, Mr. Khalifa. Mr. Lamont is expecting you. Go right in.”

    “Hamid, you’re a sight for sore eyes. You look great. Have you been working out?”

    “Working in, would be more like it, Larry. Working out is not part of my life right now. I wish I had the time.”

    “Well if you’re that pressed for time, this meeting really must be important. I hope you’ll have time for lunch.”

    “Of course! I always have time to visit with old friends.”

    “Well, let’s get to the point. What’s on your mind?”

    “I have recently learned of the negotiations that have taken place between the U.S. and India as well as the U.S. and Pakistan. As the CIA is responsible for the securing and safeguard of all intelligence that is needed in times of crisis, the information you have regarding the safeguards used by the Pakistani government to secure their nuclear weapons is information that should be available to and guarded by the Central Intelligence Agency. This information should be readily available for our agents to act on a moment’s notice. I strongly feel, as head of the Mid-East Division of the CIA, this is information the Agency should have.”

    “I heartily agree with you, Hamid. However, I’m sure you understand I must clear this with the ambassador.”

    Final agreement is reached and the requested information is released to the CIA on February 27.

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Excerpt From Empyreal Fate by Rachel Hunter!

And now, a sneak peak of Empyreal Fate by Rachel Hunter!

Darrion stared, dazed, into Amarya’s face as she loomed above him, concern defining her frame. Lifting himself, he sat, uncertain how he had come to lie upon the ground. He did not remember falling; he had no recollection.

“You did well,” the elf congratulated, extending a slender hand.

Darrion rubbed his head, feeling a tenderness that had not been there before. “What happened?” he asked, taking her hand and rising.

            “I saw not of your mind, but from what I could figure, you gained entrance to the thoughts of a rambling oak. I know this to be true, for I could see your eyes swimming beneath the lids. Such does not occur unless a connection is made.” Amarya beamed, eyes sparkling with pride despite her pupil’s faint. With eager strides, she began smoothing the creases of his tunic. “You drifted too far, however – missing the mark. Your focus broke upon more than a single entity; your mind roamed in places it was not meant. As a result, your consciousness receded, and your celestial bond forged hollow spaces to compensate. Once that barrier snapped, the voices of many within the Illex, not merely the trees, poured through you. It was an overload of understanding – most mortals cannot handle such. But no need to fret; you’ve far surpassed the most capable of beginners. I am simply surprised you made contact at all.”

            Darrion stepped back, feeling the lightness of his chest. With clouded thoughts, he speculated the feat he had barely attained. Few words could describe his awe – the confusion – that enveloped him. Dizziness clothed him as a tumbled reed.

Resting one palm against the bark of an oak, he listened – intent – as though searching for a beating heart against the trunk. Despite his wavering state, he was glad for Amarya’s tutelage. This feeling… it was almost surreal.

            “To my knowledge, never has a human discerned as much as you.” Amarya’s pale hand sought Darrion’s shoulder, and he melted at her touch. “I’m uncertain what it means – for indeed, your ability comes as no coincidence… But the mortal mind proves oft unable to comprehend the spiritual realm. Not that it’s impossible, but man forgets his possession. He knows not of the awareness beyond material senses. You, Darrion, are not like other men. You – you’re different.” She shifted her jaw, examining him as if for answers.

“It’s true… I never knew the depths to which magic strayed,” Darrion murmured, almost trembling from his ethereal venture. “I used to think it all frivolous tricks of the tongue.”

“Not quite,” Amarya offered. “Those who perform incantations, as you suggest, are sorcerers – mere magicians who rely on handholds and false words to create masked illusions. In some cases – nigh, but rare – such illusions become reality. Regardless, the art lacks in form. Words are the derivation of mortals – a human contrivance, unnecessary for understanding. They are not real, as nature is real. Nay, words are but crude concepts – trivial in the matter of divine understanding. What is meant in one tongue may be opposite in another. How can a concept so unsure create something so pure? The answer is simple: it cannot.”

-–Scene from Empyreal Fate– Part One of Rachel Hunter’s Llathalan Annal series.

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