An epic fantasy of forbidden romance that chronicles the coming of age of a princess who is possessed by the Snow Queen and fated to rule her kingdom with a strong hand and icy heart. As a child, Princess Freyja looked into the Snow Queen’s cursed mirror – and was changed. Now an aloof and difficult young woman with a wit as sharp as her tongue, the future monarch is in need of a tutor. And Ambrose, a failed poet, is in need of a teaching position. He just never suspected how dangerous the extracurricular activities would be! Soon, Ambrose finds himself on a grand adventure fighting to save the vexing but alluring princess from the court occult conspiracies that have targeted her. He is opposed not only by sorcerers and the evil Snow Queen, but also the icy royal damsel who holds his heart. Will Ambrose’s love cause Freyja to thaw…or will she put him in the deep freeze instead? Sensuous, suspenseful, supernatural and filled with witty banter, this romantic fantasy will both turn up the heat and leave you thoroughly frost smitten! A 2019 Critters Readers Poll top ten finalist in the category of Science-Fiction and Fantasy.
The price of this book has been steeply discounted on Amazon for this event! Check it out! ~ Universal Amazon Link ~
Micah S. Harris is the Author of the epic fantasy romance Portrait of a Snow Queen, which took third place in the category of science fiction and fantasy in the Critters Readers Poll. Strong female protagonists and banter are trademarks of his work. Portrait of a Snow Queen is no exception and is recommended for older fans of Frozen and lovers of the witty verbal sparring in The Princess Bride.
He won the 2016 Pulp Ark Award for best novel for Ravenwood, The Stepson of Mystery: Return of the Dugpa. He is also the Author – Along with artist Michael Gaydos (Marvel’s Jessica Jones) – of the graphic novel Heaven’s War, a historical fantasy pitting the Oxford Inklings against Aleister Crowley. His lifelong love of movies also influences his fiction, whether a fairy tale retelling, horror story or paranormal mystery. He taught film on a collegiate level and has chronicled, both in print and via podcast, fascination lost genre gems.
1) My teddy bear Boo Boo ran away from home because I wouldn’t stop sucking my thumb. After this intervention caused me to declare my sobriety, we found him hanging out in a nearby tree. 2) My childhood pets include a Venus fly trap, a pink chicken, and a wolf spider…at least, it might have been a wolf spider. 3) As a kid, I read the book The Gingerbread Rabbit, so I had to have my mom bake me a gingerbread rabbit. He was delicious. 4) I attended the graveside memorial service for Schlitze, a sideshow “pinhead” (he suffered from microcephaly) who was the inspiration for the character of “Pepper” in American Horror Story. He can be seen in the 1932 cult classic movie Freaks. I wrote a book about him. 5) I was friends with the late Verne Langdon, make-up man on the original Planet of the Apes and the old TV game show Match Game among his many other projects. His company used to cast the foam rubber for the old stop motion animation Pillsbury Doughboy. 6) I have always loved cats. My last one was named “Emmy” after Emma Peele from the old British Avengers spy show. 7) I am a life-long Tar Heel who grew up nearby the real Mayberry: Mount Airy, N.C. 8) My favorite movie is the 1933 King Kong. 9) My favorite book is a tie: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin and unexpurgated, uncut Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas 10) I have the heart of a little boy…I use it for a paperweight.
Snippet “So, Maeol Gealdor of the Hyperboreans…I see that you have chosen to address us in your native tongue – which is lie.”
Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, want to be sisters. Ginnie’s widowed dad plus Tillie’s divorced mom could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again.
Ginnie and Tillie come up with the perfect scheme to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ (aka OSS). After all, if they can’t get Dad to move on, Tillie can’t move in.
When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.
Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children and 3 in-law kids, eleven granddarlings, 5 cats, and many real and imaginary friends.
She is the author of five published books (and several unpublished ones) and is in two anthologies. You can find more about Monique and her works at: www.moniquebucheger.blogspot.com
1) Ginnie–if I could cast a girl as Ginnie in a movie today–it would be Gracie on the cover. Gracie has a fun personality and an impish grin. 2) Tillie–if I could cast a girl as Tillie–it would be Jessie on the cover. The 2 of them just did a beautiful picture shoot that embraced the essence of Ginnie and Tillie. 3) Uncle Ben–i always picture Bruce Boxleitner I enjoyed him a s a kid on a show called “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Babylon 5”–recenty he has been featured on Supergirl and he was the actor who played the main character on the original movie, Tron. 4) I would love to see Bruce’s ex-wife, Melissa Gilbert as Aunt Sadie –I loved her as a kid as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. 5) Ginnie’s dad Todd–my first inspiration for Todd was John Schneider–Bo Duke from Dukes of Hazzard. John would be too old to play Ginnie’s dad if it was filmed today–but he was the original dad image, when I dreamed Ginnie up years ago. 6) Uncle Jake–I could see Michael Weatherly (Tony DiNozzo) from NCIS playing a contemporary Uncle Jake–minus the 3-piece suits. 7) Miss Amanda– I could see her portrayed by Emma Watson (real life Belle and Little Women)
Heart thumping, Ginnie jerked Calliope to the right.
Traxx and Tillie broke left.
The car zoomed between them.
Brakes squealed. A horn blared. Tillie shrieked.
A second car, this one burgundy, followed the first car, blocking the rest of the lane andGinnie’s exit.
Without prompting, Calliope gathered herself and launched into the air, seeming to grow invisible wings. Ginnie was electrified. She loved the sensation of floating and the thrill of power that came when riding a jumping horse. Adrenaline fizzed through her like diet soda and Mentos as she and her horse sailed over the hood of the burgundy car.
…it immediately created a toilet paper shortage. No restrictions had yet been put into place the day I went shopping at Walmart. As always, the items I needed were available. I loaded my cart and headed for the paper aisle. Wait! What the heck happened? A single pack of toilet paper sat on the otherwise empty shelves, left there, most likely, because of a tear in the packaging. I grabbed it. The paper wouldn’t spoil because the package was ripped.
Two women, one elderly and one a younger version of her, stopped in shock, just like I did. I couldn’t help myself. Tears filled the older woman’s eyes, and I had to do something. I handed her daughter the pack, fully expecting to find one somewhere else. Besides, we were okay for a while. How could Walmart, of all places, be out of TOILET PAPER? And why THAT item and no others?
In the coming weeks, when nary a roll was to be found anywhere, I fantasized about the hoarders having to eat it. Roasted TP. Grilled TP. TP Soup. TP pie. I hoped they choked; until I realized that some of them might be families with kids, and they’d be up the creek without a paddle if they hadn’t bought it all up that first week. I began to wish them well and decided to order some online. The next available delivery date was sometime in June, in two months, but it wasn’t guaranteed. A friend suggested I search Amazon for a bidet.
Having lived in Italy in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, I was familiar with bidets, simple low basins separate from the toilet with shower nozzles that sprayed upward. Back then, they were a place to float toy boats, complete with a fountain in the middle. I did not know their true purpose until I was much older and no longer living there. We had plenty of toilet paper back then.
The bidets I found online ranged from a hand-held sprayer, which can double as a cloth diaper cleaner (for those with babies who still use cloth diapers), to a seat attachment that requires no aiming. It appears that the sprayer might take some practice in order to avoid a wet bathroom. But then, if you turn on the no-aiming-required spray without your rear end covering the inside opening of the toilet seat, you could give your ceiling a wash. At least you could with the Italian ones. Amazingly, the guaranteed delivery date was in three days. I clicked the button, quite satisfied with myself.
Neighbors drive to a local farm, where a box of fresh veggies is placed in their trunk, and they drop some off at our front porch. Other neighbors are busy sewing facemasks for a local nursing home. I gave them some colorful fabric and a treasure trove of elastic left over from my long-ago sewing days. Kids ride their bikes in the quiet streets, six feet apart from each other most of the time. Couples walk holding hands (come on…they live together!) and greet other walkers, keeping their distance and using their ‘outside’ voices. Everyone asks everyone else, “How are you doing? Need anything?”
The air smells fresher, the office is gradually getting cleaned out, and my tennis-pro husband burns off energy doing yard work and cutting the hedge shorter and shorter. By the time this is over, it’ll be six inches tall. We’re finally using up the canned goods in the pantry, at least those whose expiration dates are newer than July 2015.
The worst part of this for most people is the loss of jobs and income, although we’re all hoping it’s temporary. We hope to scrounge enough to pay the mortgage for the next couple months, until the tennis courts open and people take lessons again. Younger people with families at home are worried, including our children with their families. Some can work from home, others cannot.
The systems that should facilitate what the government has done to ease the burden are broken and scrambling to find fixes. When this happens again, hopefully in the far distant future, they should be prepared, and the process should run smoother. The same goes for medical supplies and personal protection equipment. There were no stockpiles when this virus shut us down. After this, there will be.
We pray for the sick, that they will recover, and for those who’ve lost loved ones. We pray for those who are feeling the pain of lost income, especially those with young children. We pray for the teachers who have poured themselves into making lessons their students can do from home, and we pray for the parents of those students. We pray for the homeless and the prisoners who have little choice in anything. We pray for Bill’s mom in a nursing home, and for all those who live and work there. We pray for doctors, nurses, hospital staff, first responders…everyone helping others though this.
We were both sick in January, and so were some of our kids and grandkids. Could it have been this virus, this invisible scourge, that made us miserable for a while and then left us to recover? Perhaps. Perhaps many people have had it unknowingly and are now immune, with antibodies that can help someone who is seriously ill to recover. In time, we may all be tested, and then we’ll know for sure.
For now, we practice social distancing. We stay home and catch up on things we’d been meaning to do for the last twenty years, and thank the good Lord we have a home to shelter in. We follow the rules, not to protect ourselves, but to protect the people around us, known and not known, just in case. We are witnessing the spirit of the people who live here, who, when faced with calamity, reach out and help their neighbors. We have never been prouder to be Americans than we are right now.
The bidet arrived right on time. It looks nice in its box, which will remain closed until we run out of toilet paper, an unlikely issue with our kids and neighbors watching out for us. Neighbors, if you run out, we have some to share. I want to try that bidet.
Now about those toilet paper hoarders…
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Karlie Lucas is a school crossing guard by day and a writer/artist by night.
A graduate of Southern Utah University, Karlie received a B.A. in Creative Writing, with a minor in art. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, The International English Honor Society, SCBWI, as well as ANWA, the American Night Writers Association.
Karlie is interested in all things magical and mysterious, especially elves and dragons. She is an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.
When not writing, Karlie can often be found drawing, baking, watching her favorite old school shows, or just spending time with her family.
She currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a cat named Kally.
If you had 3 wishes, what would they be? A. More people to read my books, because I think they have a good message a lot of people need in this day and age. B. A life-time supply of Hershey’s Mint chocolate Chip cookie candy bars. They are the best! C. To actually own a house with enough space for all the kids I hope to have, along with a library/work area for me, a craft room, and a den/man cave for my hubby.
Where do you write? I typically write at my computer, which is currently in what should be the dining room but is more like my office. If not there, I write in a notebook wherever the mood hits me.
How long does it normally take you to write a novel? It depends on how cooperative my characters are, how many distractions I have going on, and how stressed I am. But I can usually get a rough draft for a novel-length book in about six months, though this is basing off of me having a full-time job on top of everything else.
What are your inspirations? My inspirations are probably a combination of authors who have come before me, such as J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. But I think my recently departed grandfather, on my dad’s side, is a great inspiration for reaching for your dreams.
What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it? The hardest part was finding the time to write. I worked full time when writing this so it was hard to balance that with being tired after work and wanting to write.
What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult? The drive, for me, is that I promised myself I’d do this. That and my husband likes it when I read him my stuff and he’s always asking if there’s more to read yet, so that helps a lot.
Emma Thomas hasn’t been home in years. Only back in Staunton for a few months, she plans to put her investigative reporter skills to use in exposing the trafficking group using her peaceful, idyllic hometown to move drugs. But when she stumbles onto more than drugs, bullets start flying and she has to ask the one person she left Virginia to avoid for help.
Detective Adam Marshall has been working this cartel case for months. On the precipice of breaking the organization wide open, he can’t believe the one woman he’d never been able to get over now holds the key to closing his case. His head warns him to steer clear, but his heart won’t let him walk away when Emma’s life is on the line.
Thrown together by chance after so many years, Adam and Emma work together to break the biggest case of both of their careers and heal some old wounds in the process. Falling in love wasn’t on the docket for either of them, but things don’t always go as planned.
·Can you remember if there was a moment when you decided you wanted to be a writer? Before I begin, I’d like to say thank you for having me here for a visit today. I am excited to connect with your readers and hope they enjoy our chat as well. Way back in my younger days I worked as a research assistant in a chemical engineering company. I spent all day, every day alone in my lab watching whatever mixture I had created that morning do its thing. Every hour, I recorded the temperature and pH for around six hours. I couldn’t leave it alone for any length of time because chemistry unattended chemistry experiments can often go very, very wrong! One day, as I sat on my stool watching the mixer spin, I starting brainstorming an idea for a murder mystery. I jotted the ideas down on a legal pad and before I knew what was happening, it had become a chapter. Every day I wrote on that legal pad and then at night, when my husband worked, I typed it up. Eventually that became my very first full length novel. It has never been seen by anyone but I still have it.
·What inspired you to write your first book? My absolute favorite kind of story is mystery/suspense with at least a touch of romantic tension. I also studied forensic science and criminalistics in graduate school so when I decided to write the first book, it was only natural there would be a serial killer in it. I can’t say I was inspired to write a certain book, since the process sort of evolved out of too much time on my hands but the genre most definitely came from my interests in all things crime investigation.
·How did it feel to finish your first book to a publisher? What was the most terrifying thing about submitting your first book? I’d been writing for several years prior to subbing to a publisher. I had self-published a couple of books before self-publishing became a real thing. The idea of an actual publisher came about when I received an email newsletter listing several small presses that didn’t require an agent. I’d just finished a romantic suspense book titled Witness Protection whim and a prayer I sent it off to one of them. The most terrifying part of it was having someone that wasn’t a friend or family member actually read my book and make a decision on whether or not other people would pay to read it. Until this point, writing had been a hobby and stress reliever. When I received that acceptance email for the first time…well, there are no words to accurately describe the feeling. Now, three publishers and a dozen books later, I still get that same feeling.
·Was it easy to tell your friends and family that you were writing romance? What was their reaction? Well, my sisters assumed I wrote porn and my mom was afraid for my soul because sex is a sin… I’m totally serious! It took them all a while to realize that there are so many levels to romance and that there is so much more to it than sex. My books don’t tend to be overly sexy, I sort of let the story and the characters decide but I like happy endings. Romance is about love and support and feeling cherished. Sex is just the cherry on top.
·Is it still just as exciting to have a book accepted? Why do you think that is? Yesterday I received the box of paperbacks of Murder on The Mountain. It was just as exciting to see my name on a book cover and my story on the pages as it was the very first time. The novelty never wears off and I have no idea why.
·If you were going to prepare a meal for the man / woman of your dreams, what would it be? I cook for the man of my dreams every single day. We just celebrated our twentieth anniversary a couple of days ago and I’d do it all again. Our favorite meal to share is steak with sautéed onions and mushrooms, baked potato and salad. I didn’t even know I liked steak until we were dating and he cooked me dinner one night. And I had absolutely no idea how to cook it properly. He’s a good man because he has never once complained about a botched meal ever, even when I knew how bad it was.
·If you were given one wish, what would you do with it? (No, you can’t cure diseases or solve world peace… but for the rest… go nuts). You know that meme that circulates every so often that asks if you could have an hour to sit on a park bench with someone who would it be? That would be my wish. An hour with my parents to tell them about all the things that have happened since they passed away. When I lost my dad several years ago, it was heart breaking but I still had my mom. Now that they are both gone, I find myself hoping that I’m still making them proud.
·If you weren’t a writer, what other artistic outlet do you think you’d have? I used to play the violin. Maybe I’d play again. Or learn to play the guitar and piano finally. I’ve always wanted to do both. I’m not especially gifted in music but I did okay and miss my violin days sometimes.
·Do you have a secret skill that you canshare with us? I don’t have any super hero talents or anything like that but I really enjoy crocheting. I am self-taught and always have a couple projects going on at a time.
·If you could have one super power, what would it be and why? So, if I were to have a super power, I’d want the power to be able to teleport myself from place to place. Need a loaf of bread from the supermarket? Done. Have to go to the bathroom but don’t feel like walking there? Got it covered. The applications would be limitless!
Emma clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle the scream that tried to escape. The shooter looked toward the window. Had he heard her? She turned to run, her boots instead slipping on some leaves, sending her crashing to the ground. Heavy footsteps moved across the floor of the cabin, echoing in the quiet woods around her. Emma scrambled to her feet and ran for all she was worth, crashing through the brush, no longer even trying to be quiet. The door to the cabin slammed open as she sprinted for the pathway back down the mountain to her car. The air reverberated with the echo of several gunshots. Tiny hairs prickled on the back of her neck as a light whistling noise passed her ear. “Stop! I’m warning you! Stop or I’ll shoot you!” The man’s voice echoed off the trees but she kept running. It was a stupid thing to say, since he had already tried to shoot her. Her gut told her there was no way she’d get out of this alive if she stopped moving. Halfway down the mountain, Emma’s toe caught one of those roots again. The action sent her sprawling to the ground, and she began to roll down the mountain. Grabbing at branches and brush, she finally stopped herself and pulled her aching body up off the ground. Her knee burned where the fabric had torn and flesh had scraped against the ground. Footsteps and voices sounded behind her, but they were further away than she’d expected. Her little fall seemed to have given her an advantage. She pulled herself up, ignoring the pain in her injured knee, and ran as fast as she could. The sun had almost completely become lost below the treetops; the darkness made it hard for her to navigate. Finally, Emma burst out of the trees, gasping for air and sweating like a fiend. Her old car sat quietly, right where she’d left it. She dug in her pocket for the keys, but they were gone. She must have lost them on the way down! Running straight to the back of the car, Emma groped around up under the bumper. Her fingers grasped the small magnetic box and she pulled the hidden key out of its safe storage container, grateful her father had insisted on putting it there when she left for college. As she ran to the driver-side door, the back door window exploded beside her, covering her in tiny little pieces of glass. Yanking open the driver door, she jumped into the seat, slammed the door shut, and jammed the key into the ignition. Just as the engine turned over and she floored the gas pedal, the man from the cabin ran out of the woods. Her tires ground into the shoulder, spewing a cloud of rocks and dirt. Eventually, she gained control of her car and took off down the mountain roadway known as the Blue Ridge Parkway. Clutching the wheel, she prayed she’d stay on the road. All the way back to Staunton, she kept an eye on the rear-view mirror. When a dark-colored car came into view, she panicked, but it had a different shape than the one she’d seen and turned off a couple of exits later. As soon as Emma hit the Main Street exit, she drove straight through town. Twelve years she’d stayed away from Staunton, avoiding her hometown and missing her parents, to not have to do the very thing she was about to do. Emma took a deep breath and steered her car onto the street that housed the Staunton Police Department. She had no other choice. There was only one man who could help her figure this out.
Science teacher by day, writer and baseball mom by night, Carolyn LaRoche lives near the ocean with her husband, two boys, rescue puppy and four cats. She loves crocheting, books, food videos and trying new recipes.
Their friendship put him in harm’s way. Will it be enough to save him?
Across the dark water to the land of ancient Gaul, renegades take Cedwyn and the littl’uns farther from home and rescue. Led by her heart rather than her head and without any thought for her safety, fifteen-year-old Guinevere sets out alone to save Cedwyn. And if she fails…? Eleven-year-old Cedwyn’s trust in Guinevere is absolute. But will his sacrifice to save her and protect the littl’uns end with the loss of his own life?
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I’m a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds—Ancient Egypt, Medieval Wales, and coming soon, a hair-raising adventure through ancient worlds in search of 5 rare Phoenix Feathers. All of my books come with Free study guides and/or extensive Back-of-the-Book materials. My husband and I love to travel. In 2008, we spent three weeks in Egypt traveling by local train from one end of the country to the other; in 2014, we spent three weeks in the UK driving over 1700 miles through England, Wales, and Scotland; and in 2016, we spent a week in Iceland. We’ve also traveled to Mexico, Jamaica, and Aruba. Our next big adventure will be to Greece and Italy. When I’m not writing or traveling, our 4 grandkids keep us busy.
Courage is not a fleeting thing. It sucks what is deep inside you out, and feeds on fear. It wasn’t until he came to the last turn in the cave that he heard the voices at the entrance. He tried to remember if he’d covered their footprints. He couldn’t. By the time he’d gotten here, the pain in his side was unbearable. He inched closer, straining to hear the words. “…must be…” “I know…this far.” It sounded like Baard and Ulf, but he wasn’t sure. Whoever it was stood at the entrance. It sounded like they were trying to figure out if they’d come this way or another. “There’s no one…” “What about…blood…?” “We must of…the…”
Cedwyn froze against the rocks. He knew it was them now. Somewhere they’d found the blood trail. Bloody hell. He never looked for that. He hadn’t even realized he was bleeding until he was nearly here. Sweat broke out on his forehead. He wiped it off. His breathing came more rapid now. His chest hurt. If those two found them now, when they were so close to getting away…Squeezing his eyes shut, he concentrated on what he should do now. He had to know what was happening outside the cave. A flutter of wings and the sound of hands slapping clothing accompanied the curses of the two. “What the…?” “It’s just bats, Ulf. Don’t go crazy. We’ve just startled them.” “I hate bats. Nasty good for nothin’ creatures.” “Let’s go back a ways. See if we missed something.” “Right, those kids wouldn’t stay here. Those bats would’uv scared ‘em right out of their wits,” Ulf said. “Sure, Ulf. Like they did you.” Baard’s chuckle sounded faint. Cedwyn waited a moment and crept up to the corner. Holding his breath, he moved forward until he could peek around the edge. He saw…no one.
There is a hidden treasure in the grand old mansion on Piccadilly Street, in a place called London, but not the real London of English fame. There’s also a lot of mystery and a murder that’s been unsolved for decades. But it’s the treasure that captures Mary’s interest.
Mary lives in this house along with her family, her Brownie friends and a ghost. When the ghost reveals her secret about the hidden treasure, there’s no stopping Mary, her Brownie friends, or her enemies from searching for this treasure.
Why the intrigue? Apparently there’s a little bit of magic connected to this treasure. And so the adventure begins. Who will find the treasure first?
Emily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.
She writes about the extra-ordinary in life and her books, short stories, and articles are receiving considerable attention. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca
“You have no idea what you have returned to.” Oisín did an about-face and resumed his tongue-lashing on his father. “The Brownie kingdom is on the point of extinction. With Penelope on the prowl, all the Brownie groups are grumbling and arguing amongst themselves. We may have a war on our hands in the near future. And all you can think about is whether or not I have the right to this kingship.”
With the mention of Penelope’s name, all ears perked up. Mary was the first to ask, “What do you mean, Penelope is on the prowl? I killed her in a ball of fire.”
“Ha!” Oisín snorted. “You cannot kill a Brownie with fire. Not a Brownie with her kind of power. She will be our downfall. Especially if she manages to get her hands on the ring.”
Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the children are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.
The royal wedding approaches and the country is alive with anticipation.
Among the craftsmen traveling to the capital is Constance Rendare and her family. An artist, a widow of an unhappy marriage, and the mother of a young son, she dreams of escaping the cruel servitude of her father’s household. Wilard Naron serves the Earl of Dentin. He returns to the capital, his childhood home, to collect his earnings and finally free himself from his father’s reputation. Kidnappings, bandits, and a plot against the king complicate the journey. The conflicts throw Constance and Wilard together as their circumstances grow steadily worse. The more the pair uncovers, the direr the future looks for the country and for them.
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Constance’s point of view:
A servant opened the door before Dentin could answer my question. I didn’t turn to check who it was and they didn’t enter the room. I forced myself to breathe evenly. “A pitcher of water and glasses,” Dentin requested in calm, conversational tones. “Also, if you could locate Lady Dentin and let her know I require her presence in my book room.” Then the servant left, leaving the door slightly ajar. “What do you mean she isn’t well?” I demanded as the earl retreated to the opposite side of the table and claimed the chair there. He took his time arranging his overtunic and adjusting the position of his dagger. Clearly, he didn’t intend to answer me. “You can’t expect me not to ask after using such ominous wording,” I pointed out, my annoyance at his delay overriding my awareness of his station. “We were discussing my sister. Tell me the truth plainly or…” My brain faltered for a threat that would work, but none came to mind. Across the desk, Dentin had stopped fidgeting and now regarded me with blatant amusement. “Don’t laugh at me,” I protested, torn between laughter and tears myself. He cleared his throat. “I never laugh at people who threaten me.” “Even when they fail miserably at it?” I asked with a half smile. “Not even then.” He straightened in his seat as I became aware of movement behind me. “You summoned me, my lord?” Lady Elsa’s soft voice soothed my frustration. I would have an ally now. Dentin rose to his feet and came around the table to greet his wife. “Madam Rendare became overset, and I hoped your presence would help as we discuss the repercussions of my news.” Something passed between the countess and the earl I didn’t catch, but I did witness the earl’s attempt at an expression of complete innocence before he deposited her in a seat next to me. “What were you going to mention?” Elsa turned to me, and her expression melted into concern. “She is white as milk, Simon. What did you say?” Leaning over as best she could with her growing belly, she caught and held one of my hands in hers for a moment. She then frowned at her husband. “Explain.” “I am only trying to convince her she needs to focus on her sister’s welfare, not her father’s. She can do more in that area than any other.” “Simon…” The sound of gentle reproof in Elsa’s voice helped me quiet my frustration with her husband. “Tell her the full truth and let her decide for herself what to do. It is her decision, not yours.”
Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website: www.caspeace.com
Three years have passed since Baron Reen’s trial. A
terrible accident on the island of his exile has transformed him into a
nightmarish scarecrow creature with dark, mysterious powers. Staging his own
suicide, Reen breaks free of his prison and, with the help of the former queen
Sofira, embarks on a ruthless quest for vengeance against his worst enemy, the
woman responsible for the overthrow of his schemes and his own ruination:
Sullyan is tasked with investigating Reen’s suicide.
The missing body and a series of disasters in Port Loxton—a vicious murder, a
brutal ambush, and a devastating fire—raise suspicions in her mind. She probes
deeper, determined to uncover the truth, unsuspecting of the evil that’s about to
Reviews for this series: “Cas Peace’s Artesans of Albia series immediately sweeps you away to a world so deftly written. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real. Smart. Powerful. Compelling.” Janet E Morris: Bestselling sci-fi and fantasy author of: Thieves World, The Sacred Band of Stepsons series; the Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage; The Silistra Quartet; and editor of the Bangsian In Hell series. “A thoroughly believable and hauntingly evocative tale portraying one of the best magical systems ever devised. What are you waiting for? Step through the veil and immerse yourselves in the worlds of the Artesan series.” Andrew P. Weston – Author of the internationally bestselling “IX Series”
The Captives The red-haired man who had once been Othal, swordsman of Lerric’s personal guard, looked about him in confusion. He had somehow traveled through a misty, shimmering cloud to this strange place, and he had a task. He had a vague recollection of something dreadful happening to him, something violating, invasive, and agonizing, but had no clear memory of what. Or who had done it. He could not even remember what he had done yesterday. His life before this moment was a blur. All he knew was he hurt and an imperative existed in his mind. If he did not carry out his orders to exacting standards, he would suffer horribly.
Shivering in fear, he scratched at his chest, yelping when his dirty nails caught on a painful spot. He glanced down at his clothing, pulling it away with one hand. The raw, running sore that met his eyes nearly provoked a memory, but it left as quickly as it came. As he readjusted his clothing, Othal forgot both pain and sore.
He hid among winter-bare woodlands, close by a worn path. Evergreen shrubs surrounded black-limbed trees, affording him cover from the wind and the cold, as well as casual eyes. Not that there were any. He had been here since dawn without seeing a soul.
His eyes, prickling from the cold, gazed at the rope. One end was tied to the bole of a tree opposite; the other lay at his feet. He had brushed snow over its length with a branch, also wiping out his own tracks. His subjugated mind did not question what he had done. His actions were automatic. All he needed to do now was wait.
There it was. The thump of hoof beats. His own heart pounded as he readied himself. He took up the free end of the rope, eyeing the pathway to his right, from whence the rider would come. Courage and sure-footedness were prerequisites for runners and their horses. The pair would be moving fast.
Othal had orders not to permanently damage horse or rider. It was vital they be fit to carry out their duties. He must time his attack to perfection. Too early and the horse might see the rope in time to jump it cleanly. Too late and it might tangle its limbs, breaking a leg or its neck. Neither was acceptable. Othal desired the horse to swerve abruptly, throwing its rider, who should land softly on the recent fall of snow.
Well, that was the plan.
The muffling snow was playing tricks on him and the pair was closer than Othal had thought. He was nearly too late with the rope. He jerked it tight at the last moment, but still the horse tripped over it. Squealing in fear and pain, the beast thudded to the ground in a flurry of legs, kicking out and scattering snow. Taken by surprise, the rider yelled, pitching over the horse’s shoulder to land heavily at the base of a tree.
Othal leaped from hiding, another shorter length of rope in his hands. He sped to the dazed rider as the horse scrambled upright. He knelt beside the groaning rider and pulled the young man’s arms tight behind his back.
The rider yelped again, but Othal took no notice. The youth’s eyes flew open, fastening on Othal as the ropes bit. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he rasped, his pale face spattered with dirty snow. “I’m a King’s runner. You risk death by harming me. I carry nothing of interest to you, scum, so you might as well let me go. And my horse is branded, so you won’t be able to sell it.”
Othal knew this. He knew all about Elias’s runner system and how it operated. He had heard Lerric’s grudgingly admiring comments many a time, and his sullen laments about not having the funds to set up a similar service himself. Othal ignored the rider and crossed to the shivering horse. He caught its reins, soothing it with a murmured word. He ran a practiced hand down its slender legs, relieved to find no heat in the tendons. He led it forward a few steps. It was sound.
He breathed a sigh of relief. He had fulfilled the first part of his orders. Going back to the young man, who was still trying to convince his captor to let him go, Othal stared down at him. The youth was barely more than a boy, and Othal felt a twinge of doubt. Would the lad be old enough? Would he have the knowledge his master required? What if he wasn’t a local? But that was not likely. This place was so remote, so isolated. No one in their right mind would come here looking for employment if they lived far away. Many did not even know of its existence.
Bending to the lad, Othal tapped him below one ear with the butt of his dagger. The youth collapsed, unconscious. Checking that the precious message pouch was still secure on the runner’s belt, Othal picked him up and slung him across his horse’s saddle. Using the rope he had brought the beast down with, Othal fashioned long reins to the horse’s bit. He walked behind the animal, driving it like a plow horse, stepping in the prints of its hooves to mask his tracks as he made for his hiding place. Now all he had to do was wait for his master’s call.
Amber Gilchrist lives in New Mexico with her husband and six children. She writes YA, Romantic Comedies, and series mysteries. She calls her lifetime of jumping from one job to another ‘experience’ for her books and not an inability to settle down. Amber loves mysteries and a good, happy romance. She also loves to laugh. Sometimes she likes all of them together.
A fan of quirky movies and indie books, Amber likes to be with her family, is socially inept, and fears strangers and small yippy dogs. She alternates between writing and being a mom. She tries to do both at the same time, but her kids don’t appreciate being served lunch and told, “This is the hot dog of your discontent.” So mostly she writes when everyone else is in bed.
Audrey Scott might be a children’s librarian, but that isn’t all she can do. When her best friend, Gretchen Holden, stands accused of a murder, Audrey can’t handle doing nothing more than bailing Gretchen out of jail. She has to figure out who really killed Gretchen’s stepfather, a universally hated federal judge.
With a not small list of potential people the judge has wronged, Audrey and her friends have a rough ride ahead of them trying to decide who had a motive, means, and opportunity to put the judge in an early grave. With the help of Derek Hennessy, erstwhile enemy turned very good friend, and her normal crew of cohorts, Audrey won’t stop until the threat no longer looms.
1. I’ve been to lots of foreign countries, including Germany, China, and
Mexico among others.
2. I have six kids, and yes that is a lot
3. I was on a TV show in the early 90s.
4. I used to pretend I was a fox/mermaid combination whenever my friends
pretended to be superheroes.
5. My first book was written in the 80s and the heroes name was Marvin. I
don’t know why I thought this was a good idea. Thankfully, it was lost many
6. I have a weird autoimmune disorder that makes me potentally allergic to
literally almost anything. And then then the next day I won’t be allergic to
that particular thing anymore It’s sounds fake, but it’s not It’s called MCAS.
7. I was a musical theater major my freshman year of college.
8. I don’t really have a bucket list. But if I did the only thing that
would be on it is going places.
9. I don’t really watch TV or movies They require a lot of attention for me
and it always ends up feeling like a chore. There’s probably only half a dozen
shows I’ve actually seen every episode of, my favorite being Chuck.
10. I LOVE true crime. Like in a way that is maybe slightly unhealthy . I listen to so many true crime podcasts.
Okay here’s the pics for the characters. The
redhead is Audrey and the blond guy in the suits is Derek. The woman in the
orange sweater with the black hair is Jane. The dark-haired man in the purple
sweater is Alex. The man in the pale blue button up is Kyle. The woman in the
black sweater with black hair is Gretchen. Tom Hiddles is my Woody inspiration.