Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Foxglove In Springtime by Abigail Madison Chase ~Tour & Giveaway~








Foxglove In Springtime
Short stories and Poems
Abigail Madison Chase

Genre: Poetry

Date of Publication: February 28, 2015

Number of pages: 30

Cover Artist: Keri Knutson

Book Description:

Foxgloves In Springtime, is a collection of beautiful lyrical expressions of love in the springtime. Lovers of romantic poetry can scarcely go wrong with this collection. 

Many of the poems reflect on longing, loss and great passion. Written from the perspective of a lover, there are poems for every mood and occasion.

This thoughtful collection of poems is a treasure for connoisseur of poetry and those who are not big poetry readers.








Care Instructions for Springtime Love

Prepare your heart for love.
Carefully weed through the dirt bags
till the best bachelor or bachelorette,
begins to shake free of those who are unworthy.
Set out each season carefully planting yourself
in your best light.
Don’t dig a hole with lies.
Sow the seeds of love and happiness,
as you watch love hop your way.

Spring Showers of Truelove

Truelove showers open hearts in the springtime,
the fertile earth gives birth to the gentle beauty of,
a blissful season of truelove.

Sweet rays of springtime
thaw the freeze heart.
Gone like the first day of winter,
Love Springs forth like the hands of time







About the Author:

Author Abigail-Madison Chase is a 20 something (ok, 40something) neurotic mother of two. A highly trained professional (ok, only in her mind she's Jane Bond super heroine), along the way she writes terrible poetry and illegible books.

Abigail Madison Chase lives in the beautiful Mountains of the Western United States. Always a dreamer, Abigail has been writing since she was in Mrs. Turners 4th grade Language Arts class. There she won 1st prize in the Creative Writing Fair. Abigail holds a B.F.A and M.F.A in English and Literature.

Abigail's family, and her writing exist in a world of make-believe harmony. Each fighting for their right to become a character she want kill off. Sarcasm, quick wit and lots of laughs are the hallmark of Abigail's Wonderful World. A place were lots of peace and harmony descend upon, she and her two children is where Abigail-Madison Chase lives.











GIVEAWAY









Witch’s Moonstone Locket by Marsha A. Moore ~Blitz~





Witch’s Moonstone Locket
A Coon Hollow Coven Tale
Book One
Marsha A. Moore

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Date of Publication: March 24, 2015

Word Count: 94,000

Book Description:

Twenty-three-year-old Jancie Sadler was out of the room when her mother died, and her heart still longs for their lost goodbye. Aching to ease her sorrow, Aunt Starla gives Jancie a diary that changes her entire life. In entries from the 1930s, her great grandmother revealed how she coped with her own painful loss by seeking out a witch from nearby Coon Hollow Coven. The witch wore the griever’s moonstone locket, which allowed whoever could unlock its enchantment to talk with the dead.

Determined to find that locket, Jancie goes to the coven’s annual carnival held in her small southern Indiana town of Bentbone. This opposes her father’s strict rule: stay away from witches. But she’s an adult now and can make her own decisions. She meets Rowe McCoy, the kind and handsome witch who wears the moonstone. He agrees to let her try to open the locket, but they’re opposed by High Priestess Adara and her jealous desire to possess him.

Desperate for closure with her mother, Jancie persists and cannot turn away from a perilous path filled with magic, romance, and danger. 





Excerpt from Chapter One: Great Aunt Starla’s Cornbread

Warm rain mixed with Jancie’s tears, and she rose to stand beside her mother’s grave. Not ready to let go, she bent at the waist and her fingers followed the arc of her mother’s name—Faye Sadler—in the headstone. She knew the unyielding shape well. The word goodbye stuck in her throat. She’d said it aloud many times since her mother died almost a year ago, only to have the cemetery’s vast silence swallow her farewells. Rain beaded on the polished granite. Her hand, bearing her mother’s silver ring, slid down the stone and fell to her side.
If only she could’ve said goodbye to her mother before. After years of caring for her mom while she suffered with cancer, Jancie had missed the final parting moment while getting a quick bite of dinner. The pain still cut like a knife in her gut.
On foot, she retraced the too-familiar path toward her work at the Federal Bank. Although she’d landed a job as manager at the largest of the three banks in the small town of Bentbone, the position was a dead end. Within the first six months, she’d mastered all the necessary skills. Now, after a year, only the paycheck kept her there.
Jancie turned onto Maple Street. As usual, wind swept up the corridor, between old shade trees protecting houses, and met her at the top of the tall hill. September rain pelted her face and battled the Indian summer noontime temperatures. She zipped the rain parka to keep her dress dry, pulled on the strings of the hood, and corralled strands of ginger-colored hair that whipped into her eyes. Once able to see, she gazed farther into the valley, where the view spanned almost a mile out to the edge of town. Usually, farmers moved tractors across the road or boys raced skateboards and bikes down Maple Street’s long slope.
Today, on the deserted acreage just east of Bentbone, people moving in and out through a gate of the tall wooden fence breathed life into the rundown carnival. Surprised, Jancie crossed the street for a better view. She’d lost track of time since Mom passed. The coming Labor Day weekend in Bentbone meant the valley coven’s yearly carnival. She and her close group of girlfriends always looked forward to the cute guys, fair food, and amazing magical rides and decorations…even if her father didn’t approve of witches or magic. The residents of the sleepy town awoke to welcome a host of tourists wanting to see the spectacle created by the witches of Coon Hollow Coven.
Somehow, Jancie had forgotten the big event this year. Last year, she didn’t go since Mom was so sick and couldn’t be left. Jancie sighed and turned onto the main street toward the bank. She’d lost so much since her mother passed. Really, since the diagnosis of cancer.
At that time, four years ago, Jancie withdrew as a sophomore from Hanover College, a select, private school in southern Indiana near the Kentucky border—too far away. Instead, she returned to stay with her mother and commuted to Indiana University. Balancing hours with the home health care nurse, Jancie had few choices of career paths. Not that it mattered, since her remarried father expected her to find a job in Bentbone and continue taking care of her mother. Despite the sacrifices, Jancie loved her mother, who’d always managed money for a few special things for Jancie—a new bike, birthday parties, prom dresses—even though their income was tight. Mom had paid for her tuition and listened to every new and exciting college experience.
Jancie smiled at the memory of Mom’s twinkling brown eyes, that mirrored her own, when she asked about what happened during the day’s classes: if Jancie liked the professor; if she’d made new friends.
When she rounded the last corner, her thoughts returned to the work day. At the bleak, limestone bank building, reality hit. Jancie pulled against the heavy glass door, and a gust swept her inside. She peeled off the drenched jacket and hung it on the coat rack of her small, plain office. At her desk again, she took her position.
Through the afternoon’s doldrums, punctuated by only a handful of customers, her mind wandered to the carnival. She’d gone dozens of times before and loved it. But since Mom passed, nothing seemed fun anymore, like she couldn’t connect with herself and had forgotten how to have a good time. She organized a stack of notes, anything to put the concern out of her mind.
***
After work, Jancie drove her old blue Camry the five miles to the other end of town where she lived in her mother’s white frame house, the home where she grew up, now hers. Glad to own her own place, unlike her friends who rented, she’d made a few easy changes. In the living room, a new brown leather couch with a matching chair and ottoman. She replaced the bedroom furniture with a new oak suite for herself in what used to be her mother’s room. With pay saved from the bank, Jancie could remodel or build on, but she didn’t know what she wanted yet. Her great aunt Starla had told her to just wait and hold onto her money; she’d know soon enough.
Pouring rain soaked the hem of her dress as she darted between the garage shed and back stoop of the small ranch house.
Glad she’d chosen to get her run in this morning before work, she changed into cozy sweats, pulled the long part of her tapered hair into a ponytail, and headed for the kitchen.
Her phone alerted her of a text, and she read the message from her friend Rachelle, always the social director of their group: R we going to the carnival?
Jancie typed a response. I guess. R Lizbeth and Willow going?
Yep whole gang. What day?
Don’t know yet. Get back to u. Jancie worried she’d spoil their fun. Even though they’d all been her best friends since high school and would understand her moodiness, she didn’t want to ruin one of the best times of the year for them. Since Mom passed, they’d taken her out to movies and shopping in Bloomington, but this was different. Could it ever match up to the fun of all the times before? “I don’t know if I’m up to that,” she said into open door of the old Kenmore refrigerator while rummaging for leftovers of fried chicken and corn.
The meal satisfied and made her thankful she’d learned how to cook during those years with Mom. Not enough dishes to bother with the dishwasher, one of the modern upgrades to the original kitchen, Jancie washed the dishes by hand and then called Starla. When she answered, Jancie asked, “Can I come over tonight? There’s something I’m needing your opinion on.”
“Why sure, Jancie. C’mon over,” the eighty-five-year-old replied with her usual warm drawl. “Are you wantin’ dinner? I made me some soup beans with a big hambone just butchered from Bob’s hog. My neighbor Ellie came over and had some. She said they were the best she’s eaten.”
Jancie glanced at the soggy rain parka and opted for an umbrella instead. “No, I just ate. Be right over.” Keys and purse in hand, she hung up and darted for the shed.
Five minutes later, she turned onto the drive of the eldercare apartments and parked under the steel awning where Starla gave her a whole arm wave from her picture window. Jancie made her way to number twelve on the first floor.
The door opened, and Starla engulfed Jancie in a bear hug, pulling her into the pillow of a large, sagging bosom. Starla smelled of her signature scent—rosewater and liniment.
Jancie had loved her great aunt’s hugs as long as she could remember. Stress and worry melted away, and she hugged back. Her arm grazed Starla’s white curls along the collar of her blue knit top embroidered with white stars—her great aunt’s favorite emblem.
“It’s so good to see you. Come sit a spell, while I get us some iced tea.” Starla pulled away and gestured to the microsuede couch decorated with three crocheted afghans in a rainbow of colors. “I thought we were done with this hot weather, but not quite yet. That rain today’s been a gully washer but didn’t cool things off much.” The large-boned woman scuffed her pink-house-slippered feet toward the kitchen. “Would you rather have pound cake from the IGA or homemade cornbread?”
Jancie laughed and followed her into the kitchen. She wouldn’t get through the visit without eating. “You’re just fishin’ for a compliment. You know your homemade cornbread is better.”
Starla arranged plates with thick slices of warm cornbread and big pats of butter on top, while Jancie transferred the refreshments to the aluminum dinette table.
“With your hair pulled back like that, you’re a dead ringer for your Ma. So pretty with that same sweetheart-shaped face.” Starla folded herself onto a chair beside Jancie. “You look to be getting on well…considering what all you’ve been through.”
“I’m doing okay,” Jancie said through a mouthful of the moist cornbread. She washed it down with a swallow of brisk tea that tasted fresh-brewed. “But sometimes, lots of times, I feel lost, like I can’t move on.” She ran a hand across her forehead. “I didn’t get to say goodbye. I spent time with her through all those years, and it shouldn’t matter, but it does every time I visit her grave and most every night in my dreams.”
“Oh, honey. I know it hurts.” Starla smoothed Jancie’s ponytail down the middle of her back and spoke with a voice so slow and warm, it felt like a handmade quilt wrapping around her.  “You spent all that time and gave so much. Just like when I cared for my husband some twenty years back. I know. I never got the chance to tell Harry goodbye either. Time will heal all hurts.”
Jancie looked down at the marbleized tabletop to hide her teary eyes. “I don’t think I’m ever going to heal, Aunt Starla. I don’t know if I can ever move on.”
“There is one thing you can try. I’d have done it, if I’d have known before decades softened my aching heart. Way back, I was desperate like you.”
Jancie looked into Starla’s blue-gray eyes, set deep inside wrinkled lids.
Her aunt leaned closer. “Not many know about this,” she whispered as if someone outside the apartment door might hear. “There’s an old story about how a member of the Coon Hollow Coven, one who’s recently lost a loved one, is made the teller of the moonstone tale.”
Jancie rolled her eyes. “That’s just a silly story, one of lots that Mom and Dad told to scare me when I was little, so I’d stay away from the coven. When the moonstone locket opens at the end of the tale, you’ll get your wish but also be cursed.”
“Oh no.” Starla shook her head and pushed away from the table. “Let me get Aunt Maggie’s old diary. I got this in a box of old family things when Cousin Dorothy passed. ” She lumbered to her spare bedroom and returned with a worn, black-leather volume only a little larger than her wide palm. Once seated, she thumbed through the yellowed pages. “Here.” She pointed a finger and placed the book between them.




About the Author:

Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand.

Every day at the beach is magical!






Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/marshaamoore

Goodreads author page  http://www.goodreads.com/marshaamoore







Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let Me In Burkheart Witch Saga Book 2 Christine Sutton

Let Me In
Burkheart Witch Saga
Book 2
Christine Sutton

Genre: Urban paranormal fantasy

Publisher: DevilDog Press, LLC

Date of Publication: November 15, 2014

ISBN:
ASIN: B00PPJJ34K

Number of pages: 138

Book Description:

Kayla has returned home to find that the fairy tale continues. She finds out some facts about her family history that may be her ultimate undoing.

With the help of a coven of witches, Kayla is tasked with defeating vampires, werewolves and evil witches that threaten to destroy her happiness and her very life!

Will she get her happily ever after, or will she fall victim to the evil that courses through her veins?

This novella will take you through a whirlwind as you join Kayla on another fairy tale adventure. Previously published as Kayla Enchanted.

Available at   Amazon   BN   iTunes   Smashwords





Excerpt:

He laughed, watching the little pigs scramble to clean up the message he had left. He didn't really believe in playing with his food, but this was so much fun!
He could tell that the bitch was terrified, and he loved it. Pigs tasted so much better when they were afraid.
While the bitch pig, the pussy pig, and the little pig in a blanket slept in their bed, he had ripped that rabbit's head off with his bare hands. As he smeared the blood all over the sidewalk to leave them a message, he hadn't been able to stop himself from taking a long drink from its mutilated little body. It tasted so good that he had almost marched into the house and ate all three of them right then.
Self-control had won out. He had simply left the message, knocked over the sad little straw hut and sat in the bushes to watch them scamper around. They had rushed in when they found the message and locked up the house as if that would do any damn good at all.
He had to admit that he had not liked the look on the woman's face. As she had walked into the house, there was a look that appeared to be defiance as she scanned the yard for danger.
He would rip that smug look off along with her lips, nose and eyes. He hadn't realized that the whole time watching them, he had been digging his now extended claws into his own thigh. The blood had partially soaked through his denim jeans and began to drip onto the well-manicured grass. He released the grip on his leg and wiped his hands on the dry part of his jeans.
He knew it would heal completely before nightfall. The mixture that his blood contained was great for self-healing, and even better for speed and strength. There would be no stopping him this time. Even that little witch's magic wouldn't do the trick. He had a few 'tricks' of his own to show her. Wouldn't that little pig be surprised?













About the Author:

Christine Sutton is the author of more than fifteen short stories, novellas and novels. While she tends to cross genres within horror, she is always passionate about scaring the hell out of you.

Her passion would have to be serial killer fiction, but she also loves ghosts, ghouls, demons and monsters of all types. Christine's work ranges from modern day fairy tales to demonic soul eaters to ghostly children that just want to play. Her writing has been called passionate, realistic, gritty, fun, enthralling and tons of other cool adjectives.

You, too can pick up some of Christine's work and come up with some cool adjectives of your own. It won't be hard. I promise.


Twitter: @csuttonauthor











Sunday, March 15, 2015

Angel Codes AngelFire Chronicles Book 3 Ami Blackwelder




Angel Codes
AngelFire Chronicles
Book 3
Ami Blackwelder

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Angel suspense

Publisher: Eloquent Enraptures Publishing

Date of Publication: March 14, 2015

ASIN: B00SU3X9MA

Number of pages: 258
Word Count: 80,000

Cover Artist: Ami Blackwelder

Book Description:

After Kian has been kidnapped by his demon sister Dumah, he falls into a spiral of good vs evil and must overcome all of Dumah’s cruel games or face loosing himself to the darkness.

Ali must learn to be strong without Kian at her side to save him, to save her friends and family, and to save Manhattan. While Lucianda mends her broken heart after the death of Jacob, Molly and Jen must also come to terms with this Otherworld that exists under their noses.

Will Ali save Kian? Will their love survive?

Find out in this final book, the conclusion to the AngelFire Chronicles series.




Available at Amazon

Get it free March 20 and 21
Other Books in the Series:

She Speaks to Angels
Dumah's Demons
Falling Angels
Angel Codes









About the Author:

Ami Blackwelder is a Paranormal and SciFi author. Her stories range from Tween & YA to Adult. Growing up in Florida, she graduated UCF and in 1997 received her BA in English and additional teaching credentials. Then she packed her bags and travelled overseas to teach in Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China and Korea. Thailand is considered her second home now.

She has always loved writing and wrote poems and short stores since childhood; however, her novels began when she was in Thailand. Having won the Best Fiction Award from the University of Central Florida (Yes, The Blair Witch Project University), her short fiction From Joy We Come, Unto Joy We Return was published in the on campus literary magazine: Cypress Dome and remains to this day in University libraries around the USA.

Later, she achieved the semi-finals in a Laurel Hemingway contest and published a few poems in the Thailand’s Expat magazine, and an article in the Thailand’s People newspaper. Additionally, she has published poetry in the Korea’s AIM magazine, the American Poetic Monthly magazine and Twisted Dreams Magazine.






Giveaway


An ebook copy of Angel Codes
1 keychain by Bewitching Book Swag open to US Shipping






Saturday, March 14, 2015

Gluten Free Cookbook: 60 Easy Recipes



In the Gluten Free Cookbook you’ll find fast and easy recipes that cover breakfast and brunch, snacks anddelicious gluten free wraps, quick salads, soups and stews, healthy main meals, delicious desserts and smoothies.

The gluten free recipes include: Cilantro Turkey Burgers · Baked Chicken Wings · Chicken-Avocado Wraps · Protein Grain Free Burgers · G-Free Chicken Fajitas · Grilled Taco Salad · Mediterraneo Tomato Salad · Fajita Stir Fry · Chicken Nuggets · Mediterranean Meatballs with Mint Pesto · Gluten Free Chocolate Bars · Vanilla Madeleines · Lemon Cookies and many more.

The Gluten Free Cookbook is your guide to preparing delicious, easy, and gluten free recipes:
  • - 60 delicious and easy gluten free recipes
    - Tasty recipes for the whole family (even kids will love)
    - Vegetarian alternatives for non-meat eaters
    - All recipes are 100% gluten-free.
The Gluten Free Cookbook -60 Easy Gluten Free Recipes for a Healthy Gluten Free Diet- provides a viable path to a gluten free diet.



  Kindle    Paperback

My Opinion
Overall this was a fun cookbook. The recipes were totally simple and all that I tried tasted great.
My favorite had to be the Shrimp Rolls with Nut and Ginger sauce. 
Of course the entire DESSERT section was amazing!!! But, heck when is not?!?!?!
My own draw back with this book would be the lack of pictures. It has a few, but I'm a visual person and I like a picture with each recipe. 
Oh and the whole thing of eating chicken wings at breakfast....Yeah haven't done that since college....So,other those minor details, which really don't effect the recipes at all this book ROCKS.
It's perfect for anyone in hurry or just learning the diet of Gluten Free.

Should you want to try this book out Antares has given me a few copies to giveaway to my readers ...
Please Email if you'd like in on that giveaway.
beejee77 at gmail dot com


*****This book was provided to me by Antares Press in Exchange for an Honest review****

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Unhinged: The Haunting of Secrets #2 by Shelley Pickens



Unhinged
The Haunting of Secrets
Book 2 of the Trilogy
Shelley R. Pickens

Genre: YA, mystery, paranormal

Publisher:  Fire and Ice
Imprint of Melange Books

Date of Publication:  March 2015

Word Count: 62,364

Cover Artist:  Caroline Andrus

Book Description:

Being normal isn't always a good thing, especially if it ends up killing you.
Aimee, the sixteen year old girl who can see your every memory with just one touch, is fresh out of the torture room after risking everything to capture a killer.

Despite her instinct to avoid contact with others, she tries her best to find a new normal at school - perhaps even a boyfriend. But for those who are cursed, happiness and normality aren’t easy to obtain. A bizarre illness is spreading like wildfire through the school causing those around Aimee to lose their sanity before falling into a coma. Slowly, all the people she loves succumb to this strange disease.

Alone and terrified, she must use her curse to find a way to save her family and friends. As she delves deeper and deeper into their memories, she realizes a delusional person from her childhood named David is the bigger threat that could end up destroying her. Despite the danger that surrounds her, she struggles to solve the puzzle before it’s too late to help those she cares for the most.

But as David moves closer to eliminating her, one puzzle still remains. Will she be able to save herself?

Book 1 The Haunting of Secrets Available on Amazon  BN   Goodreads

About the Author:


Shelley Pickens is a Spanish teacher by day and a novelist by night. She's been in love with everything paranormal since she can remember. After years of teaching high school students, she decided to take her firsthand knowledge of young adults and apply it to her passion for creative writing and fantasy. When not teaching or writing, Shelley likes to spend time with her husband and two beautiful children in Atlanta, Ga. Her escape from reality is her love of complex thriller and science fiction TV series like Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow. In her spare time she is an avid watcher of little league baseball. THE HAUNTING OF SECRETS is her debut novel.





THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

He drew me here to this house in the middle of nowhere to die by his hand. I’ve never liked guns, but they sure do seem to like me. In fact, I’m staring down the barrel of one right now. The clarity of mind you have knowing that death is coming for you any second is astonishing. There are so many things I would have done differently; yet so many memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. Funny hearing myself say that. For me, memories have never been something to cherish; they were always something to fear. I have absorbed so many memories in the short sixteen years of my life that it is hard for me to figure out which ones are real and which ones are borrowed. Needless to say, few of them are good. Knowing what I know of the people in this world, I should welcome death. But I don’t. I have a reason to live now: Logan. He’s the reason I haven’t gone insane; the reason that I came here tonight to willingly give up my life so this insane asshole pointing his gun at me can feed his delusions of grandeur. 
He tells me that this is my fate: to die by his hand. That’s the funny thing about fate; people think it’s written in stone. They believe the age-old adage that you must ‘accept’ your fate. But that just isn’t true. It’s simply a way for people to accept the things they can’t change. If something good happens then fate ‘lent you a hand’. If something awful occurs, then fate was ‘cruel’. Yet either way, the fates I believe in aren’t left to chance. I believe you make your own fate; that life is fluid, ever changing and what you make of it is completely up to you. So tonight, if I have to die to save the ones I love then that is what I choose–no one else. But who says I have to go down easy? If I go down, so does he. Tonight, I will look fate straight in the eye and tell her to go to hell.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fire Above by C.H. Maclean ~Reveal & Giveaway~




Fantasy
Date Published: April 13, 2015

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

I love her so much, I'd risk anything.

She and I don't have names. We're just slaves, after all. But our hearts don't care, and we're lucky, we have a chance at a scrap of happiness in our terrible lives. My father is the Queen's pet.

But when my love discovers the lords' newest atrocity, she lashes out, does the unthinkable, and attacks one of them. Her courage is heroic, but now they have stuffed her in prison, getting ready to slaughter her.

 With nothing to lose, I dare to dream of a life far from the lords. I fight for our freedom, and escape to the woods with my love. We can do no less than free all of our people in the effort.

Our flight through the woods is only the start of our journey. The lords’ flaming attacks, their deception, the loss of so many of my people—I don't know if I will survive, or if I even want to. But for my love, I will do almost anything, even battle the fire above.



 Excerpt


    In that moment of indecision, my love struggled to rise and moaned, “Run, you fool! If you love me, run!” A plan burst into my mind, born of desperate hope. Perhaps it would be enough. I had to try.

    The guards, distracted, turned to look at her.          

    “I'll be back for you,” I swore. I waited until they looked back at me, then turned and ran into the night.

    I could hear them pounding after me. I cut into the woods immediately, slowing down and making a great deal of noise. I looked over my shoulder and could see one clearly after me.

    I ran in a large circle, keeping the guard chasing as close as I dared. When I began to approach the castle again, I sped up to give myself a bit more time. If I could just knock down the guard near her, we might have a chance. But when I came in sight of the castle, I saw two guards standing in front of my love, each firmly grasping his weapon, ready to fight. A third stood behind her, looking into the forest. Looking for me.

    She stood, arms bound behind her, feet shackled together. I stumbled, tears clouding my vision. The crashing from behind me drew closer. I saw her face in the moonlight, beautiful and proud. She thought I’d gotten away. She’d sacrificed herself so I could escape. What would she say if I just threw it all away now?

    So I cut left, trying to gauge how far to go to miss the one chasing me and avoid the two edging forward. The guard chasing me caught up and angled his run to cut off my escape, edge me toward the other guards. Legs burning, lungs gasping, I ran as hard as I could. Exhausted and starving, I was no match for them, fit, fed, and well-rested as they were. But her face gave me strength. And they didn't run like I ran. They didn't know the woods like I did.

    The guard behind me dove, fingers brushing my shoulder. I leaped, grabbing a branch and swinging as the onrushing guard leaped at me. What would have knocked me down just grazed my swinging legs and sent him sprawling. Landing, I cut left close to another tree, and the last guard stumbled over a hidden tree root. I kept to the shadows, using the night to my advantage until I reached the common footpath away from the castle. Running away from the castle, my footfalls loud on the path, I slowed to an easy stride. I looked over my shoulder to see the guards burst from the woods and start running.

    They were still after me. Knowing my love was back there, I almost gave up, let them catch me. At least we would be together for a short while. Then I remembered the bandits. They had fighters,
 maybe they could free us both! Spurred on, I lengthened my stride, knowing the guards could never keep up. I ran like my life depended on it.




About the Author


              To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You'll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

                With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.'s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She's just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.”  C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren't respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

                Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.'s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn't leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I'm not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.'s spouse, rolled their eyes.

                So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it's not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or...” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

                C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five pets, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.


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