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Beast of the Bells

A dark, erotic historical murder mystery set in 1539. The story is told through the eyes of Rodrigo Aquilino, secretary to the Viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza. His mission is twofold. He must find the gold of the fabled Seven Cities of Antilla and discover the real story of the death of Estevanico who was the guide and in fact led the last expedition.

Estevanico...the black man was larger than life. One of his many admirers describes him as “tall, built like an Arabian stallion… sleek, glossy lithely muscled. He had a smile that would charm a lioness, eyes that swallowed your soul.” He wore his hair in long braids with dozens of copper bells woven in them” Of voracious sexual appetites, he was apparently irresistible to women and traveled with a harem of at least six young women.

Tremendously charismatic, he made friends and allies wherever he went; however, the clergy hated him and his habit of wearing copper bells on his person led many of the natives to fear that he was the Last Beast...the horrific destroyer, the Beast of the Bells.

Rodrigo’s innocence dissipates as he uncovers lies, torture, murder, even massacre in his quest for the truth. He is taught erotic pleasures by one of Estevanico’s lovers and ultimately finds himself capable of loving and of killing.

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T.K. Sheils


Favorite Quote: "Man is the only creature who laughs...or needs to." (Anon. maybe himself)

On October 12, the bell tolled for electronic publishing pioneer Terry Sheils. As author and editor, he put his indelible stamp of creative genius and literary excellence on e-publishing.

Terry could write in almost any genre. He moved easily from the erotic fictional biography of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, in Dreams for the Wind, and the dark Mayan fantasy, Knights Tiger, to chilling horror novels like Butterfly House, then on to lighthearted romps like his hilarious Hunter Knox mystery novels.

His interests had always been varied. As an undergraduate maintaining scholarship level marks in Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Terry wrote and directed musical comedies, sang Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs, and played John Worthing in “The Importance of Being Earnest” on stage with actors the caliber of Donald Sutherland. At the same time, he wrote a weekly news and comment column entitled “Terry a While.” While he was at it, he married the singing lead of his musical comedies, Dee Lloyd.

An inveterate innovator, Terry always found a fresh new way to achieve excellence in every field he entered. In his teaching career, he created and taught one of the first high school Theater Arts courses in Ontario, wrote curriculum for the education ministry of the Province of Ontario, and became assistant coordinator of English for the North York Board of Education. In that position he published collections of student writing and initiated a Performing Arts festival for students of all grades.

His own writing was always a constant in his life. Plays, poetry, short stories—first for his students and then for his children and grandchildren—flowed from his pen. Later, thankfully much more legibly, they poured from his computer. From the moment he took his retirement from teaching in 1992, Terry wrote novels in all genres, over thirty of them. Most were published by mundania, but others found homes with five different small independent publishing houses.

Terry firmly believed that books in the future would be read electronically. He argued that there were already millions of handheld reading devices, each capable of holding ten to a hundred novels, in the hands of potential readers. Besides, it was obvious that children and young adults loved electronic games and were comfortable with new media devices. The eventual adoption of this medium by the reading public was inevitable. With his usual enthusiasm, he plunged into e-publishing.

As one of the founding editors and authors of mundania (www.mundania.com), Terry became known for his talent, quick wit and quirky sense of humor. His hilarious Hunter Knox mystery novels (Par for the Corpse, Poe--The Musical and 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover) received critical acclaim and a wide following. His Pendragon paranormal detective series (the latest of which is Rara Ibis) proved that sex, as well as humor, can be an integral element in a mystery novel.

However, Terry was best known for his award-winning horror novels. Writing as T. K. Sheils, he won an Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) for Butterfly House, the first of his “Sabrina and Jackson” horror novels. Butterfly House was the very first electronic book ever to win an IPPY, and was selected from among the over 700 competitors. Butterfly House also won the 2001 EPPIE Award for Horror presented by EPIC (the Electronically Published Internet Connection ). Terry’s subsequent horror novel, The Craving, won a second IPPY in 2003.

Terry Sheils had strong, well-thought-out opinions but listened carefully to opposing points of view. His wit was quick but never cutting. The most often repeated phrase at his memorial was: “I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.” In his novels, however, pretensions were fair game for satire. Hunter Knox is devastating and wildly funny in his performances as a singing country evangelist.

Terry Sheils ... a fascinating man of infinite imagination and humor.

He will be missed.

—by Dee Lloyd; originally published in The Bell at ReadersRoom.com

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