The Girl with the Glowing Hair, Cover Reveal & Excerpt

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Oh. My. Shit. Y’all.

I am so excited about this book on so many levels, and now, I have an amazing cover to go with it.

If you haven’t been following along with the ethology lessons in Lily Graves’s world, this story is basically my serious—but not so serious—parody of the paranormal high school, featuring Lilith, the daughter of Lucifer, her super-villain partner, a fabulous witch bestie, an overbearing mentor, and wonder-twin guardians.

Feel free to catch up here.

Now, for the money shot…

Alisha Chambers.The Lily Graves Series.The Girl with the Glowing Hair.ebook

Isn’t she beautiful? Lori Grundy from Cover Reveal Designs did amazing, detailed work and found a girl who actually looked like Lily. Psst, I don’t have their character pages made yet, but you can take a peek at them over here.

All right, I’m dropping you in an excerpt. Enjoy!

 

I met Starr in front of her oversized colonial. Inside was all high ceilings and glossy wood. Science, research and teaching, paid my dad well, but we weren’t wealthy like this. This was Jenna wealthy, and the comparison made my skin itch. But Starr’s smile wasn’t fake.

“Hey, girlie. Get in here before anyone else gets home.” Her heels from school clicked along the hardwood floors, clanking as she turned into a kitchen that gutted me with envy. The island in the middle was bigger than the entire room at Uncle Henry’s.

She pulled two small mugs from beneath a sputtering espresso machine. My knees rattled as I cupped the porcelain in my hands. The fragrant foam sat me at her counter. Man, I could get used to the taste of that.

Snow White’s ruby mouth perked, and she sat beside me. “We have to practice down here until my mom gets home because the brats will be mayhem in about an hour.”

“That’s cool. I’m more worried about how long it’s going to take me to scribble spells competently.”

“You and those ten-dollar words.”

I bit my lip and sipped the cappuccino. “My mission this morning didn’t go well. We’re going to need your guy.”

Her cup chinked against the counter, and her fingers tapped her phone. With one final flourish, she scooped up her caffeine and posed. “Done. I’ll have the thumb drive in the morning.”

My phone lit up on the counter, which startled me. I didn’t have people who talked to me anymore, other than Starr. A message popped up:

Meet me at the diner at five.

It was from Evan.

“Well, apparently, you have a date.” The glint in Starr’s eyes made it really hard not to roll my own.

“Then, we’d better get to work.”

“Mmm. While we do, I have some update-worthy news.” She fished out a pad of paper and pencils from one of the island drawers and crafted three doodles she designed for me to practice.

I grabbed a pencil and waited. “Are you going to tell me, or what?”

She fished a locket from beneath her shirt.

“A romantic gesture?”

The purse of her lips confirmed it. From her too-perfect boyfriend. “I don’t think I can stand it much longer.”

“Have you told him how much you hate the socialite stuff?”

“Ugh. Yes. To deaf ears.”

I scribbled out the first spell, wincing at the wobbly and uneven lines. “It’s more torture to slowly peel off the bandage than it is to rip it off. If you’ve made a decision, act on it.”

“And leave me ostracized by my parents, friends, and community for giving up on such a perfect future?”

“Talk about ten-dollar words.”

She snorted. “Yeah.”

“You’ll be in good company.” Both Evan and I were outliers, as Dad would call us. “We’re way ahead of the curve, so…”

“I’m not sure being grouped with Evan is such a positive move.”

I shrugged. “He’s been a pretty good friend so far. Attitude aside, he’s helped me out a lot.”

“You make it hard not to dig my nails in that.”

“Guys and girls can be just friends you know.” An argument I’d had about Blake for three years before we did, in fact, date. But I’d never really thought of him like that until he’d made a move. I scribbled out another drawing, paying less attention to the lines and more to the emotion Blake tapped into my chest. A few bubbles of mist seeped from the paper.

Hey. Look at that.” Starr hovered above the drawing to see the change. “The spell is still distorted, must have been something inside you. What’d you think of?”

“My ex.”

“The one you left at home?”

“Yeah.” I set the pencil down and tried to push the feeling away.

“Got a picture?”

Really?

“Hey. I’m human, which means I’m curious. Come on. Was he embarrassing?”

Unlocking my phone, I gave her free reign on my photos. Her eyes grew and grew before it dropped to her lap and her mouth followed.

“Man. Talk about pretty. And you were popular.”

“My friends were popular.”

“Same thing.”

“So, our friendship means I’m popular? It doesn’t feel that way.”

“Okay. You’ve got me. Although, you’re more infamous because of the delinquent.”

“I’m sure I’m breaking all sorts of social norms with the pair of you.”

Her laugh made the grime from my old life slip away, even if just a little.

“I knew there was boy drama in your life somewhere. Makes me feel less alone, you know, so stop holding out on me.”

“He broke up with me for my best friend after I moved.”

A sharp intake of breath released a hiss from her ruby lips. “Bastards. You should sic your psycho on them.”

That teased a laugh out of me, and I took up scribbling again.

Each round sent new billows of fog into the kitchen, larger and thicker each time, until Starr had to turn on the oven fan to clear the room. Her siblings giggled and ran around in it, but the distraction stalled the magic.

The eldest sat at a stool opposite me, looking a bit more traditionally like a witch.

“She’s not a witch,” Starr’s sister said.

“Nope. She sure isn’t.” Starr wrangled one of the other three siblings, who squealed and kicked her feet as she got swung around. “You know what she is?”

Brown gaze overbearing, almost like a hot touch.

“Nephilim. A strong one. Lucifer’s.”

Alarm clanged straight through me, and my fingers dug into the counter’s edge without my consent. I looked to Starr for an explanation. How could she know that unless her sister already told her about my mother?

“Mary’s what we call a bloodhound. She can interpret magical origins of pretty much anything, and she just started training this last year.” The child in her arms swung down to its feet and tugged her toward the fridge. “Fine. Yes. I will feed you heathens, but you have to go wash up first. You know what momma says.”

“The war on germs means hand-to-hand combat,” the youngest three hollered before zooming off to the bathroom.

“The war on germs means hand-to-hand combat?” I asked.

Starr shrugged. “If it works, it works.”

“Speaking of work, I’d better go meet Evan. I’ll keep practicing and let you know what’s up tonight.”

“Yes. I want to hear all about your date.” She shooed her eldest sibling off the stool to do as the littler ones had, and with no retort, I ran off to meet Evan at the diner.

He sat on the bench outside with two Styrofoam cups—the smaller of which he extended to me before I sat. Coffee.

“Thanks.” Starr’s words wiggled in my brain, but I shook it off. We were barely friends, and I needed more of those than I did anything else. “How come we’re not inside?”

The chill battled with the heat in the cup against my fingers.

“I can’t stay. Have to get straight home.”

“What, are you grounded?”

The straw bent under the pressure of his mouth. “Not yet, but I will be.”

“What did you—?”

“We have to go in this weekend. It’s our only option. Sunday between dusk and dawn, so whatever you have left to figure out, figure it out.”

Offense pounded against my lungs and heart. Good thing I’d made some progress, and really, I didn’t want to wait longer than I had to. Not with people in danger. So, I agreed and sipped my coffee, burning my tongue.

“Good.” Evan stood and walked away, stunning me in my seat for a few minutes before I made my own way home.

 

 

The Official blurb:

Lily is the daughter of Lucifer, a mother she’s never met.

When she’s laughed off the soccer field, Lily’s delivered to her FBI uncle and a new, paranormal, high school where she’ll be trained to keep other creatures in line.

Gaining few allies under the thumb of her obsessive mentor, she struggles to prove that something more is going on in their little town than anyone wants to admit.

If you like the innocence of Twilight, the snark from Buffy, and the wit of the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll be engrossed by Alisha Costanzo’s new dark and satirical YA series.

Read GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR and fall into a world worse than hell–welcome back to high school.

 

Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.

 

Personification: a Personal Favorite

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Probably one of my favorite and one of the most utilized literary device in my bag—alliteration is likely the top—Personification is a helpful little pixie, amplifying feeling and imagery and depth in a scene with a little magic.

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Some of my favorite edits in a story, mine or otherwise, have transformed weak language into strong images, especially those that use to-be verbs or a lot of step-by-step action. Personification is my go-to fix for these, like:

Ria fell, banging her chin on the ground, verses, The ground jumped up to kiss Ria on the chin.

She dreaded this moment, verses, Dread sank its nails into my chest, piggy-backing across my shoulders and ribs.

He was in love, verses, Love ate at his insides, bloating it with rotten flesh and a swarm of maggots.

 

Now, I don’t feel as though any lesson I give would add much to what’s currently out there, so what I wanted to do was showcase how beautiful and powerful personification can be with some examples.

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The cave sneered at us with the promise of pain.

Wind’s wails cursed us.

The Ferris wheel’s eye tore open my soul, ravaging my insides and scattering them about the small carnival.

My computer throws a fit every time I try to use it. 

Thunder grumbled like an old man. 

The Scottish Highlands called my wolf from its hiding place.

I could likely go on and on and on and on…but I think you get my point. When you’re working through your WIP, give personification a chance.

 

Share your favorite uses of personification in the comments below and let me know what your favorite literary device is to use.

Camp NaNoWriMo: the Final Update

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Camp NaNoWrioMo, how I miss the simplicity of life when I could complete you.

But life happens, especially when you own a business.

What I still love about July and trying to write a whole piece in a month is that I always—ALWAYS—gain out of it is more words than I would have written otherwise.

Did I win? Not officially. But having 5,000 words I didn’t have before is a different kind of winning, and I’m okay with that.

So, instead of lamenting about where I went wrong, I thought I’d share some of what went right.

Here are some of my favorite bits from the short so far:

 

I shook it off, compartmentalizing, and swung into the kitchen to show Maddy my face before I disappeared upstairs. She’d mount my head on the wall if I snuck off without saying hello.

“You’re back.” Maddy’s smile lit up the stark kitchen, my nephew banging around the metal bowls to coat the fried chicken. “Have they been feeding you? Theo, make your uncle a bowl of stew to take with him.”

“I can feed myself just fine.” Although, I struggled to find the time away from the crew to find safer options as I wormed into their cliques. The taste of human flesh wasn’t my favorite, but I’d scavenged it a few times as a cub when I was desperate.

A few of the younger bosex gravitated my way as I ate grilled animals and human snacks. The older crew called me a hipster or vegan or hippie, but the plan wasn’t to convert them all, just their young, and the boys saw in me a lot of what they wanted as a man. Mostly, I was good with the ladies, and their hormones controlled much of their thoughts, but that was why the Assetato sent me in to infiltrate the group.

My nephew handed me a box with stew and bread enough to last me the night, and I nodded him my approval.

“Don’t hide away all night. We have a surprise performance from some locals that you wouldn’t want to miss, and I could use you at the door.” Maddy pinned me with her practiced mothering look, one she practiced on me throughout our childhood before she ever became a mother. It didn’t matter how many times I told her that she was only a few minutes older than me; she claimed older sibling status and waved it in my face like a dude with a big dick.

I might have gone through a phase. Sue me.

 

###

 

I sent her a deadly wink and enjoyed the pink brushing her cheeks.

“You must be Maddy’s younger brother.”

I snorted. “Yeah, by two and a half minutes.”

“Twins. Makes sense. She worries about you.”

I draped an arm over the back of the empty hostess stand. “Does she? I didn’t realize she talked about me so much.”

A slender shoulder shrug, bouncing her hair as she drew a swig from her own beer. “Maybe it’s just me. We’re nearing friendship territory. Girls night and all.”

“It’s likely just you, little red. My sister isn’t a frilly type.”

The quirk of her mouth sweetened her scent. “Neither am I.”

“Must be why she confides in you then.”

“Oh, you don’t think she talks about you every chance she gets?”

“Not unless she wants me locked in a cell.”

“Are you telling me you’re as dangerous as you look?” She swiveled on the stool, crossing her legs and swinging her beer between her fingers. Her lips puckered around the tip of the bottle, her thumb running along the moisture on the neck.

A fire rumbled in my gut as I thought of a few things I’d like her to do with her mouth.

“Depends on how dangerous you think I look, little red.”

Her smile said she appreciated the name. “You make it sound like you’re the big bad wolf.”

“More of a surly bear.”

Her gaze danced along the front of me. “Big enough, but aren’t bears supposed to be hairy?”

I grinned for her. “Not when we live in the age of clippers and razors.”

“Are you trying to put images in my mind, bear?”

“None that aren’t already in there.” A new group of patrons pulled me from the naughty look in her eyes.

 

###

 

I had the door open, waiting for her without pause, and her finger found my arm on her way by. Close behind her, the door shut, and we were alone. The moon swaying with her hair as she bounced to her car and threw the bag in her trunk.

“Did you need me to check the backseat?”

“You mean that bear nose can’t smell it from here?” The slow blink of her eyes as her gaze tilted up at me teased me, but it didn’t persuade me that she might know more than she let on.

 

###

 

The steady flow of people kept me busy, but I checked on Kaia often enough to question myself. Other males seemed to take note of her as well, both human and not, and a pang of protective instincts hit me below the belt.

Worse off when Maddy stomped out from the kitchen with a tray in her hand and settled up to their table. I cringed at their laughter and smiles and the way Kaia touched the man’s arm.

And I lost myself in the bouncing beauties a young blonde in a blue wig laid out for me on the bar. I grinned at her attractive smile and made her a drink to match her costume.

The distraction didn’t last long, but before I knew it, Maddy jabbed her knuckles into my back. “Did you want a dinner break? I saw you eyeing that stew pretty hard.”

I rolled my eyes at her mom-tone.

“Or was something else distracting you? Not often so many women give you the sex-me eyes and you don’t take your dinner in the broom closet.”

“I have always wanted to know what a Smurf tastes like.”

 

 

Okay, I’m going to have to stop myself before I share the whole damn thing. Obviously, I’m excited about what I’ve got down.

Have you been pushing yourself to write more? Read more? Get more done? Let me know in the comments below.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Reapers

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The famous Grim Reaper figures were inspired by the black shrouds and mourning robes at death; the scythe, like one harvesting corn, reaps thousands of souls with its swing; and in Greek mythology, Chronos, or Father Time, was the harvest god, who ate his children to symbolize that nothing lasts forever.

No wonder the mythology morphed into this cloaked skeleton, holding a scythe, and ethereally hovering over a shaking victim succumbing to mortality.

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My reapers do deal in death, although they are too numerous to solely being responsible for transporting the dead to their afterlives. Reapers are time keepers, so they’re interested in details—controlling the universe, climates, populations, and lower-level businesses or agencies.

They’re good planners, diligent, and always meet a deadline.

And it’s not smart to get in a reaper’s way as they cannot be bribed or tricked, and few fight a reaper and survive. But none have beat death.

Created by archangel Ezekiel, they were meant to remain neutral between heaven and hell. Reapers can, however, be controlled by a demon or angel. They all also have a talisman, which, if found, can be used by a sorcerer to govern them.

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The scariest and strongest of the reapers can become essence to sneak around and immobilize their targets. Many can transform into the person or role they are “taking.” And many become ravens.

I’m looking forward to learning more about them in book two; they have a lot of potential.

 

Stay tuned for the cover reveal coming August 8th and more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world.

Sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.

 

BORN TO LOVE WILD: Character Interviews & Release Party

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Born to Love Wild Digital

BORN TO LOVE WILD: A Paranormal Romance Short Story Anthology by Stars and Stone Books

Featuring: USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Pepper McGraw, M.T. DeSantis, Read Gallo, J. Bigelow, and Andie Biagini.

 

Buy Now:

 Kindle| iBooks| Kobo| Google Play

TheBorn to Love Wild authors all came together to answer some questions about their stories for the anthology. Here, four of the authors interview their characters with the same set of five questions.

 

Andie Biagini – “Water Temperature”
An engineering student and a cryptozoologist. One of them can talk to sea monsters, but it’s not who you think.

What did you do on summer vacations as a child?

Madison: My family spent as many days at the beach as we could. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Madison: Luis has the most gorgeous brown eyes. They’re the color of sea glass.

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Madison: He gets bossy when he thinks he knows what’s best for me. We’re working on it.

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Madison: I would pay off my student loans, donate to a marine conservation organization, and then go on some really fabulous vacations. There are so many beaches I haven’t been to yet.

What’s next for you and your partner?

Madison: He’s working and I have my internship, but we have the rest of the summer to see where things go.

 

Bigelow – “Focal Point”

Sometimes a wizard from Sweden needs help from a medium from Michigan. 

What did you do on summer vacations as a child?

Faas: I learned how to use my abilities from my grandparents and helped them on their farm.

Elizabeth: I played with other kids in the woods. I didn’t realize they were spirits until later when I tried to introduce one to my mom and she couldn’t see him.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Faas: Everything. But, if I had to pick one thing, it would be her behind. I love watching her walk.

Elizabeth: His eyes. Faas looks at me so intensely as if I’m the only one and there’s nothing outside of us.

Faas: Because there isn’t.

Elizabeth: Hush. (Said with a smile)

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Faas: The way she treats everyone and everything with kindness until they prove her wrong. There aren’t many humans like that.

Elizabeth: He can be snarky, but when the time comes for him to work, he’s serious.

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Faas: I’d give it to research for cancer. Too many people die of this disease and it can’t be cured with magic.

Elizabeth: I’d put it into art programs in Michigan. I think being creative is an outlet for what bothers a person. There’s a point in the process of making something, no matter what it is, where you fall into the art itself and the outside world disappears…Metaphorically.

What’s next for you and your partner?

Faas: Figuring how to stay together.

Elizabeth: We’re sticking together. We just need to iron out the details. Any relationship takes a lot of work, but we’re willing to put in the effort.

Faas: We’ll do well. We started out as friends and having that foundation helps.

Elizabeth: That doesn’t mean we won’t fight or get angry, but we know what’s at stake. We’ll find a way.

 

M.T. DeSantis – “Forever Love”

To find a chance… A chance to find…

What did you do on summer vacations as a child? (Or, if not applicable, what’s your favorite thing about summer?)

Karli: I mostly kept to myself. I’d hang out in my room or the basement and listen to music while drawing or coloring. It sounds lonely, but I enjoyed it.

Ellowyn: Is “summer vacation” a human concept? Since the fae have no such thing, I shall say that my favorite thing about summer is the warmth of the nights. I can lie naked beneath the sky and not be bothered by a chill upon my skin.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Karli: Ellowyn’s contrast of color just draws me to her. Her ebony skin and silvery-white hair are so alluring.

Ellowyn: Karli’s shapely bosom is my favorite part of her physical appearance. They both arouse me and provide a place to rest my head when I require comfort.

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Karli: Ellowyn occasionally has a grudging streak. Maybe it’s a fae thing. Living forever probably messes with your emotions. I guess I’ll find out.

Ellowyn: Karli thinks of life in human terms. She will rush to do something, and I must gently remind her that we have eternity. Fortunately, she does not rush when we are together, if my meaning is clear.

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Karli: I would build a shrine to the fae dance in the mortal world. Such beauty should be shared with everyone.

Ellowyn: The fae have no use for money. Though, I suppose purchasing a following of devoted humans to perform my every whim holds some appeal.

What’s next for you and your partner?

Karli: I am going to get used to my new existence. My life has changed so much since I met Ellowyn, and I’m excited to explore everything this life has to offer.

Ellowyn: Next and forever, I will be at Karli’s side. She is my forever love.

 

Traci Douglass – “Blood Strong: A Blood Ravagers Novella”

One guardian demon in love. One witch with a secret crush. One evil threatening their newfound connection.

What did you do on summer vacations as a child?

Spud: Dad used to take mom and I out into the Big Horn mountains for cookouts.

Emma: I remember to Summer Solstice celebrations in Nantucket, before we moved to Wyoming. So much fun.

What do you like best about your partner, physically, and why?

Spud: (looks over at Emma beside him) You mean beside the fact she’s the most beautiful woman in the world?

Emma: (blushes then kisses Spud) Aw. You are so sweet. There are so many things I love about Spud. His strength. The sexy little horns on his head. But most of all I love his huge heart.

What drives you crazy about your partner, and why?

Spud: (holds up his hands and shakes his head) Nope. Not going there. Nope, nope, nope.

Emma: (laughs, elbowing him in the side) C’mon. I won’t get mad. Promise. I’ll tell you what drives me nuts about him. His sense of decency. He’s always worried about what other people are going to think. Will they be offended? Should I say this? How can I make them more comfortable around me? Be who you are, I say. Let them adjust.

Spud: (snorts) Well, I guess she can be kind of mouthy sometimes.

Emma: Hey! I am not mouthy. I speak my mind, that’s all.

Spud: Mouthy.

Emma: (crosses arms) So you’ve got a problem with my attitude then?

Spud: I thought you said you wouldn’t get mad?

(interview pauses as bickering commences)

If you were offered an obscene amount of money, what would you do with it? Why?

Spud: (runs a hand through his shoulder length brown hair, sighing) Right now? I’d try to buy back what I said a few minutes ago. At least then I’d have some peace and quiet.

Emma: (cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling with anger) Peace and quiet? (looks at interviewer) Seriously? See this is exactly what I’m talking about. If you feel a certain way, Spud, then own it. Don’t push your feelings aside and pretend they don’t exist to make me happy.

Spud: (lets his head fall back as he exhales slow) I love you Emma. I love everything about you. You are my soul mate, my bonded partner, my everything. When you’re happy, I’m happy. Period. The end. Is that enough realness for you?

Emma: (blinks at him, expression astonished) Uh… wow! I don’t know what to say.

Spud: (glances over at her and grins) How about a kiss then?

Emma: I thought you’d never ask.

What’s next for you and your partner?

(No answer, as Emma straddles Spud on his chair and passionate making out commences. Interviewer quietly leaves the room.).

 

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NaNoWriMo Update,Take Two

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So, here I am, traveling again, and wouldn’t you guess it, I’ve written diddly squat.

This means I need a plan.

And that is early morning writing sprints. Before the real commitments of my day smack the creativity from my life, I need to plant it and write.

I know. I know. That’s what I said last week, but you know what it’s like to visit with family. Plans and people become the priority. Well, writing needs to shift back up there, and do it will, even if I have to wake up extra early to get it there.

So, bear and little red, I’m coming for you.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your struggles and triumphs, and I’d love to hear about your WIP, regardless of the stage you’re in.

The Shoemaker’s Apprentice Excerpt & Pre-Order

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If you are a Boden fan, that seven-foot-tall leprechaun who tells bad puns and loves Ria, check out an excerpt from his new story, “The Shoemaker’s Apprentice.”

He turned out to be everything I thought he was.

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We wound our way through hills, trees, and mist until we came up behind one of the waterfalls on the American border. The water wet my hair and shoulders as Hailey dragged an old chalk stone across half-dry rock beneath the cascade.

Irv pat me on the back, smiling wide. “Can’t say I’d mind seeing you again, buddy, and I hope to all things holy that I can get in on the action next time. But I wouldn’t mind you calling a fella for a thank-you whiskey when peace is upon you, either.”

I agreed. My tongue stuck to the back of my throat, not ready to step through a gate that led home.

A shimmer covered the jagged pieces of earth, and breath sucked into my lungs as Hailey motioned me forward. Each member of their squad laid a hand on me, and we stepped through together.

Drenched in chills, the world whooshed around us, upturning my stomach with its topsy swirling. 

In a blink, my feet hit the springy grass beyond the wooded entrance of the faerie mound.

My bags thunked softly against the ground, and the team made quick work of their goodbyes, nodding to the two armed guards that stepped from beyond the cloak of magick.

My thank you didn’t suffice, but it was all I had.

Unless I included the bag on my back and four around my feet.

The coward in me—the one that’d run away all those centuries ago—wished they’d stayed behind. When what I needed was to face the guards and my punishment myself.

I dropped my last bag on the rest as the two approached. We’d never had guards when I lived here. Few of us left our mound for the human world. With the way humans were, the change surely became necessary.

That was, after all, what sent into action the events that ruined my young life. What killed my little sister.

The sentries accessed my baggage—one tall and lean, the other small and slender, an elf and a pixie. The elf poked around the canvas, but the pixie took more interest in me.

“Name?”

My mother tongue hit my ear like a painful echo.

“Boden Einarsson, son of Unnur and Halldor.”

They shared a brief look before the elf nodded.

“You’ll have to come with us.”

I bowed my shoulders in consent.

“You’ll need to relinquish that weapon before we take you inside.”

They could have it.

Past the glittering trinkets on tree trunks and branches, we walked into a holding cell. They were different than the ones I remember from picking Fannar up after one of his benders—less iron and more light. 

I sat at the oak table, hands in my lap to keep its natural truth properties from igniting a spell. Odd, I’d never felt one as strong as I did now, but my powers had morphed, evolved. So much had changed in such a short time.

Ria’s blood whispered magick across the left side of my face, sharp and tingling where the iron sliced into it but tendrils crept deeper.

Even before she touched me with her blood, our magick mixed together, and part of her lingered with me, easing the emptiness. The effect doubled when her skin met mine. I’d never experienced such attachment before.

The longer I waited, the more I itched to rub her stone between my fingers.

A portal opened to the room via the far door, and cold air pushed against my damp jeans. The faerie that entered was a council guard, someone working towards becoming an agent from the leaf insignia pinned on his collar. Down-turned features showed that he lacked the sense of humor custom to most of their enlisted.

“We need a record of where you obtained the weapon before I take you to meet the official who will review your statement.” The drone tossed down a pad of paper and pen and frowned when I didn’t snap to it.

“A friend found it.” I twirled the red stone between my left thumb and forefinger.

“Write it down.”

My smile irritated the crinkle in his brows, but I leaned forward and wrote it down.

A friend found it.

I couldn’t help myself, twisting Ria’s charm with more intent. My outward calm was her doing. A bluff is only as good as the audience, and the rest of the fae never did get my sense of humor.

The drone sneered. “Leprechaun.”

Baited.

Probably not such a good idea to antagonize the organization I’d run from, the one ready and willing to punish me for what happened in the woods east of the mound.

I shut my eyes to recall Alvilda’s small, sweet face. She’d been more present for me these last few weeks, as heavy as they were when she’d died.

Hey. We want the real story. The whole thing. On paper. Now.” The drone’s fingers thumped against the table to accentuate his authority.

“Wrote it on oak. The spell shows I am telling the truth. A friend found it.”

Silver eyes narrowed at me. “How can you see the spell?”

I shrugged my left.

He examined the mark on my face, matching it with the sword I handed in. “A friend found it?”

“Yep. Don’t know where from. Don’t know who from. Don’t know why.”

“Who is your friend?”

“A friend. You know, the type of person you’d protect with your life?”

Features touched in distain, nostrils flaring. “If the big wigs didn’t want ahold of you, I’d have you under a truth extraction to watch you squirm.”

“If you wanted some squirming, you only had to ask.” I winked and sent him back a step.

“Get up. Let’s go.” He jostled me upright, ushering me through the door with the dramatic flair only a faerie would take time for.

This time, we stepped through to a plain, corporate-looking hallway. Clove smoke swirled in the air as the drone opened the wide Alder door. The sweeping room imposed the occupant’s importance, and the tree emblems signaled his high rank.

Beyond the shelves and displays spread a dark desk, lit with magickal enchantments, but the show-stopper was the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking their mound, the curve of the wooden barrier around the clusters of homes, the small farms, the city center, and the edge of the palace with its ceremonial gates. Beyond them spread the half-frozen mountains, a river, and the shine of clear water replacing smaller peaks of the Hekla volcano.

Cold flashed through my bones, dropping me into the shallow but frozen depths of the lake, the weak ice around me crumbled each time I tried to climb out. Fannar saved me, but not before falling in himself. The warmth he siphoned into me kept me alive and handicapped my brother. 

It fractured our already strained relationship, and not long after, I got our favorite sister killed.

The drone nudged me into a seat with his foot, and I sighed at the silhouette of shoulders and whirls of smoke, itching for one of the cigars in my bag and a glass of whiskey.

“Thank you, Neisti. You can go.” Familiarity swam in that dour voice as the council member turned. Light highlighted his short blonde hair, slender nose, and strong chin—one we shared.

“Fannar.” 

 

 

Long ago, the death of his little sister broke his family apart.

After a close call left him blind in one eye, Boden must return to the home he fled as a young leprechaun.

For hundreds of years, he has feared facing his family and punishment for his sister’s death.

Boden needs to make up for his mistakes before he can fight a war for the woman he loves.

Find out what secrets are unleashed in THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE.

Pre-order now on Kindle, on Nook, or on Kobo.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week One Update

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Hey, lovelies.

I’m almost a week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m already behind. 

This isn’t much of a surprise, however, as I worked a one-day show with my mother for July 4th, which meant two days to drive, set up, open, close, break down, and drive back. Disassembling the tent was a bit of a rush with the thunder and lightning threatening us the entire hour (it takes us two or more to pack up, usually).

So, I’m behind two days. Fortunately, that only means 1,300 words to make up, which I can more than do by the end of the month—and maybe even the week.

Thankfully, I pushed past a mild block to hit a bit more than my word count.

Now, with a nine-year-old over for the night, five other project vying for my attention, and another big two-day travel coming next week, I’m sure I’ll have a few more bumps. 

The only thing I can and will do is sit with the intention to write as often as possible, so that’s my plan.

How is your WIP? Let me know in the comments below.

TRANSCENDENT Cover Reveal

I’m a day late, y’all, but traveling will do that. This cover by Dean Samed is amazing, and I love working with him. He makes our big beasts look pretty darn beautiful. Can’t wait to show you all what we have in store for the pre-order limited edition hardback boxes!

Let me know what y’all think of this one.

Transmundane Press

There exists a realm beyond reality. A place where nothing is what it seems and anything is possible.

Each soul who travels to this mysterious world finds something different.

Some voyagers get lost in this land of DREAMS, forgetting their way back to the path, to home. Others experience intense VISIONS, glimmers of the past, present, and future, discovering sacred knowledge and infinite wisdom. NIGHTMARES also lurk in this land, twisted and horrible creatures wait in the darkest corners while HALLUCINATIONS reveal the unspoken truths of our hearts and souls.

Are you ready?

Step through the gate and leave everything you knew behind.

Step through the gate and become TRANSCENDENT.

Transcendent - Amazon Kindle.jpg

Dean Samed always does a wonderful job!

The Official Blurb:

A parallel dimension exists below the surface of reality.

Its doors swing open every time we sleep, allowing us passage into the land of DREAMS, a plane rich with exotic…

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BORN TO LOVE WILD: Pre-order & Excerpt from M.T. DeSantis

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Born to Love Wild Digital

Excerpt from M.T. DeSantis’s “Forever Love”:

If she didn’t find love tonight, she never would.

Karli tugged at the halter top of her dress where it weighed against the back of her neck. The dress was not one she would normally wear. The neckline dipped low between her breasts, showing the curving tops of what had been called her “best assets.” How she wanted to cover up. The only thing about the dress she liked was the color. At the top, it was the green of grass beneath noonday sun, and it flowed down into darker shades, ending in a forest hue. The fabric, so light, whispered around her bare legs like a spring breeze, making Karli shiver. In a bold moment, she’d bought the dress for the dance at which she now stood—the summer eve’s dance of the fae. Her grandmother’s stories from years ago promised beauty beyond comprehension and love found by midnight’s arrival. Those humans lucky enough to catch the eye of a fae might be granted eternal life to spend forever with their love.

Karli hugged herself. So far, the first part of her grandmother’s tales had proven true. A violet hue joined the sky’s usual blue. Silver shimmers, more brilliant than stars, fluttered through the unending color overhead. An orange tint glimmered across the moon, the result of the human and fae worlds blurring together. Something exotic spiced the air. It was clove and pepper and roses and, at the same time, none of those things. Yes, her grandmother’s first promise was kept. It was the second one, the finding love, that Karli doubted. She’d never had much luck there.

But then, wasn’t her bad luck why she was here? And if she didn’t actually get out among the dancers, she’d never see if her luck improved.

With a deep breath to steel herself, Karli stepped from beneath the elm tree where she’d spent the last hour hiding. Out under the sky, the music grew stronger, filling Karli’s ears and soul in a way no human melody ever had. The languid plucking of strings and haunting tones of flutes played a song both sensual and ethereal. All around, fae and humans swayed to the sound. Two human men held hands, gazing at one another with expanses of stars in their eyes. A nymph with sky-blue skin and waist-length raven hair glided between Karli and the men. A human man followed, steps slow and trancelike. His dark eyes fixed on the nymph with love or lust or some combination of both. When they passed, the two male dancers were locked in a passionate embrace, bodies rippling in time to the music.

Karli watched, knowing she shouldn’t stare. What would it take for someone to hold her with such desire? She shook her head and turned away—to find herself gazing into a set of green eyes flecked with silver.

“You are human,” the eyes’ owner said. It was a fae woman with ebony skin and ivory hair. She looked about Karli’s age, but for fae, the appearance of thirty meant she could be three hundred.

“I am.” Karli ducked her head, heat rising in her cheeks. It hadn’t been a question. “I mean, you know that.”

The fae laughed, low.

The sound struck a chord in Karli’s body, humming in tune to the music.

The fae held out one slender hand. Delicate fingers tapered almost to points. “I am Ellowyn, and you wish to dance.”

Ellowyn. The name was a song in itself, a harmony of bells. The silver in Ellowyn’s eyes danced to the tune of her name. Of its own accord, Karli’s hand reached to grasp the fae woman’s. Ellowyn’s flesh was satin and lace. Karli shivered.

Smoldering heat curled in Ellowyn’s gaze. She pulled Karli closer until their bodies almost touched. The tease of contact fluttered over Karli’s skin like feathers tossed in the wind.

“What is your name?” Ellowyn purred the question.

Karli’s mouth went dry. The desire in those four simple words sent sensations she’d never known coursing through her. “Karli,” she said in a breathy half-whisper.

Ellowyn smiled, revealing brilliant white teeth. “Karli.” In the fae’s carnal purr, Karli’s name was a decadent dessert of chocolate and cream. “Dance with me, Karli.”

© 2018 M.T. DeSantis

 

Featuring: USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Pepper McGraw, M.T. DeSantis, Read Gallo, J. Bigelow, and Andie Biagini.

Pre-Order Now:

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Learn More:

Traci Douglass – “Blood Strong: A Blood Ravagers Novella”

One guardian demon in love. One witch with a secret crush. One evil threatening their newfound connection.

Cara McKinnon – “A Change of Heart”

She’s a hybrid shifter who’s not supposed to exist. He’s a wolf who was born to protect her. But her secrets force him to choose: his mate, or his pack loyalty?

Sheri Queen – “The Robinson Agency”

Some are born with the gift to see into the future. Others create their own destiny.

Pepper McGraw – “Full Moon Shenanigans”

The full moon’s coming and it’s time to embrace the wildness within.

M.T. DeSantis – “Forever Love”

To find a chance… A chance to find…

Read Gallo – “The Flying Saltines”

When a river falls in love with an ordinary person will New York City survive?

J. Bigelow – “Focal Point”

Sometimes a wizard from Sweden needs help from a medium from Michigan.

Andie Biagini – “Water Temperature”
An engineering student and a cryptozoologist. One of them can talk to sea monsters, but it’s not who you think.

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