Saturday, July 30, 2016

Serial Saturday: "The Clan of Outcasts" Locations: The Forest and The Palace

The Forest
along the Southern border


Velora--The Wolf

They thought I was expendable.
They called me weak.
They threw me to the wolves thinking that a pitiful girl would stand no chance against the ravening beasts.

They thought wrong.

There among the wolves I discovered who I truly am.
I am powerful.
I am valuable.
I am a wolf.
I am The Wolf.

They left me for dead.
I will return leading the pack.
And I will slay them all.


Denahlia Firron--The Hunter

They said if I succeeded, I would be a hero.
They told me it would be my last mission, then I could retire.
They told me I was chasing down the city's worst traitors, that I was ridding the world of dangerous criminals.

They were wrong.

There on the trail, I discovered the true purpose of my mission.
I am no hero.
I won't live long enough to retire.
I am The Hunter.

They sent me as their puppet, hoping I would either succeed or take the fall for their failure. 
I will return in the midst of the ones They fear the most.
And I will make them pay.

<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>

The Palace
on the Northern side of the country


Azelie Pozreth--The Paragon

They told me I was perfect.
They said I was the most flawless person on the face of the world.
They bought me and groomed me and said all young girls would aspire to be perfect just like me.

They were wrong.

Underneath the silks, crystals and flattery, I know who I truly am.
I am flawed.
I am tired.
I am the object of no one's aspirations.

They chose me because I fit their ideal of the perfect, pure human. I will hide my rebellious thoughts under the mask of beauty and wait for my chance.
And when it comes, not even the Council Itself will be able to stop me.

Edri Rodan--The Lion

They told me the scars would fade.
They said no one would treat me differently.
They thought a well-trained submissive soldier like me would never question orders.

They were wrong.

There in the barracks, the scars revealed who I truly am.
I am a rebel.
I stand in the name of justice and truth.
I am The Lion.

They thought they could cut me down with scars on my face.
I will rise up and give them scars of their own.
And those scars will never fade.

Zayra Adassa--The Queen

They said escape would be impossible.
They told me the treatment was in my best interest.
They set me up as their savior, Their queen.

They were wrong.

There in the tall spires of the White Castle, I discovered who I truly am.
I am chaos.
I am terror.
I inspire misery and discord upon those who trust me.

They trained me and conditioned me to rule.
I will bring them to their knees and demand their very lives from them.



And they will serve me forever.

Kaidan and Javira Clissander--The Twins


We said the city was broken.
We thought we knew how we could fix it.
We wanted to convince the people to let us tell them how to do it.

So we lied.

Once we achieved the authority to do what we wanted, we revealed who we truly are.
We are worthy to judge between right and wrong.
We decide who deserves to live, who needs to die.
We, and those like us, are The Elite.

There are those we have branded Outcasts, the ones who have abilities and flaws that make them more powerful than we could ever be.
They must never know of that power.
As long as we hold the trust of the people and the power of The Council, they will remain Outcasts: unacceptable, a menace.
And we can remake the world exactly as it should be.
Everything will be perfect....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reader's Review: "Wolf's Path" by Kimberly Rogers

Synopsis from Amazon:

Honeymoons are supposed to be relaxing, right? Not when the honeymoon is just a cover for a hunt. Shapeshifters Baran and Raina are tasked with one of the most unusual hunts of either of their careers — capture the infamous Beast of Bray Road. The monster humans assume is just a legend has grown more aggressive, threatening to expose the Therian race if he is not stopped. A struggle to find the truth and to stop the aggressive loner before he kills awaits Baran and Raina as they follow the Wolf's path.
>>>>>>

My Review:

Woohoo! My favorite Therians are back at it again! 
 
This time, they are taking a "break" from their regular duties to investigate the possible breach of protocol in a secluded Wisconsin town, where humans are reporting sightings of a werewolf—in other words, a Lupine Therian revealing his Beast nature, undoing generations of traditionally cloaking the existence of Therians from the humans at all cost.
 
They are supposed to be on sabbatical, since it's only their first year of marriage, but Baran and Raina can't seem to set aside their sense of duty and (in Raina's case) thirst for adventure to actually have time to give to each other and bond with each other—and the strain is showing. Amid the peril and mystery and growing animosity between humans and Elves (and by association, Therians) as the highly-publicized Wendigo attack in Washington D.C. dealt with in the last book has turned into a political minefield, with power-hungry, ethnocentrist human senators seeking to undermine the treaty and ignite a mistrust for the Elves. The fact that Raina is herself half-Elf doesn't help the couple, as they face animosity among the lawmen of the town, and a natural fear of Therians inspired by the Beast of Bray Road. 

All is not completely against them, though; the friendly owner of a the local bed-and-breakfast, a somewhat overt gossip with an eye for Raina's beauty (to Baran's chagrin!), and an overly-enthusiastic "cryptozoologist" are among those eager to aid them in their search—meanwhile, their struggles to relate to and trust each other often do as much damage as the ones trying to impede the investigation and drive them out of town, while the Beast continues his awful rampage.

Kimberly Rogers is an incredible storyteller. Baran and Raina are so relatable and real that I am just about as obsessed with them as a fangirl can get: the way he struggles to express the very deep commitment and love he feels for her, and the way she tries to tease the affection she so badly desires out of her stoic husband. I completely love their interactions, and the world she sets up, infusing our history with Therianthropes and Elves, is enchanting and wondrous to behold. The struggles within and without play havoc with the Beasts within them, as controlling and suppressing the natural instincts under stress gets increasingly difficult. I love the intrigue of the mystery, balanced so perfectly between uneasy "down times" and periods of abject peril, doling out clues and discoveries just enough to keep the reader guessing, with plenty of twists and turns all the way to the very end!

"WOLF'S PATH" is a stellar piece of urban fantasy sure to excite fans of shows like Grimm and high fantasy like Lord of the Rings, as well as those who enjoy a good mystery and vivid characters in a fantasy setting. 
It definitely earns the full measure of a *****5 STAR***** rating, and an endorsement of the Upstream Writer Certified ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED as well!

Be sure to pick up the start of this series, Tiger's Paw (a prequel novella) and Leopard's Heart (the first book) and stay tuned for the third book, coming this fall! I know I can't wait!
 
Further Reading: (Urban fantasy/thrilling)
-Girls Can't Be Knights--Lee French
-Someday I'll Be Redeemed--Kelly Blanchard
-Escape From Neverland--Nils Visser
-Songstruck--Sofia Black
The Fair Folk Chronicles--Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins
        -Foul is Fair
        -Street Fair 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Splash Book Blog Tour: Meet Susan Farrell!


S.D. Ferrell is a writer, self-published author, and creative artist. She grew up on a small hobby farm just outside of Simcoe in Windham Centre, with her parents, six sisters and one brother.

Her fondest memories of childhood was on the farm and the time she spent outside with her siblings. They had grand adventures in the forest that curved around the property. She remembers a majestic willow tree with long flowing branches that grew beside the laneway – they swung from those branches until they were giddy with laughter. There were also cherry trees in the front yard that she climbed, and sat on the branches for what seemed like hours on end. Among the leaves she was free to allow her mind to
take flights of fancy.
Nature was a wonderful playground for a little girl with a vivid imagination who would one day grow-up to be a writer. "Is it any wonder," Ms. Ferrell says, "that my debut novel
starts in a forest and one of the main characters throughout the series is a tree?"
S.D. is a proud mother to five daughters and a grandmother to fourteen wonderful grandchildren. She presently resides in Simcoe Ontario and is working on the third book in the series, The Long Road Home. She is also working with an artist, Evee Fex-Chriszt, on the 4th and final book in the series, The Keeper’s Guide.

Author’s Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elsbrier.ink/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/justmesuzied
WordPress: https://elsbrierink.wordpress.com/
Amazon: amazon.com/author/sdferrell

1. What is your most recent book?

I am currently working on the third installment of the Whipple Wash Chronicles – The Long Road Home. The Valley Time Forgot, the first book in this fantasy adventure series, for readers of all ages, was published in 2012. The Shadow of Erebos the second book in the series was published in 2014.

2. Why do you think people would want to read it? What is its most compelling quality?

When I talk about the story I am very passionate about it. I think people can see how much I enjoyed writing it. They also find it intriguing when I tell them that I wrote the story for my five daughters, who are the heroines of the story.

3. Who is your favorite character that you’ve written and why?

Considering that my daughters are the heroines of the story, and most of my family have characters as well, I would have to say I don’t have a favorite character. I do have a fondness though for Jasper, one of the main characters, and Zeander a secondary character. I really enjoy writing his dialogue. Neither are based on anyone that personally know.

4. What is the hardest thing you have to do when you create a character and what’s the easiest?

I think the hardest thing is to be consistent with their personality and how they interact with the other characters. The easiest part is picking out their names.

5. How do you deal with writer's block?

I haven’t found a surefire way to deal with it yet. Hence the reason why the third book in the series is nowhere near being completed.

6. What is the one book that changed the way you write?

I haven’t read a book that influenced me so much that I changed the way I write. I have read books however, like J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit that gave me confidence to continue with my writing style.

7. What is the craziest thing you've ever done?

The craziest thing I have ever done was give up my job, pack all my things into a storage unit, and take a trip to Little Cayman on a six month work permit. It was my first time away from home, and my first time on an airplane. I lasted only three weeks, before I quit that job and came back home. There is no place like home.

8. What is one item on your Bucket List that you haven't completed yet?

Visiting Ireland which is at the top of my list for reasons that I can’t really explain, other than I have ancestors from Ireland. But I think it is much more deeply rooted than that. Hopefully one day I will find out the reason why.

9. If you could spend one week anywhere in the world, where would you go?


Easy, Ireland. But I would want to stay for much longer than a week.

10. What is your most prized possession?

My laptop. It was gifted to me by my children the night before the launch of The Valley Time Forgot. It was a show of their support of my creative endeavor, and it has given me the opportunity to follow my dreams.

11. What is the best piece of advice you have been given in regards to your writing?

Just to write and don’t worry about the editing part of it. Get all of your ideas down first, there will be time to edit afterward.

12. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to write but doesn't know where to start?

Put pen to paper or in my case fingertips to key board and just write. Don’t worry that it is not going to make sense. Just write all your thoughts down. There will be time enough to correct and rearrange in the editing and re-writing stage.

Did you enjoy this interview? Do you have any other questions for Susan? Comment with your question and I will pass it on! Meanwhile, check out my interview with C. A. King on the Portal Prophecies blog!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Serial Saturday: "The Clan of Outcasts" Locations: Harbor and Wilderness

Harbor
Along the Western Border


Aurelle Devir--Illusionist

They will tell you that my stories are not to be trusted.
They will say that there are always perfectly logical explanations to all my illusions.
They turned me out onto the streets, decrying me as merely an entertainer for children.

They were wrong.

There among those tender, eager minds, I found a greater purpose.
My illusions taught them things.
My visions helped them see the truth that their parents refused to see.
My tales speak to their mind, before social prejudice pressures them into conformity.

They thought they could silence my voice by putting me where others could ignore me at will.
I will rise again, with the blazing lights of illusions flowing from my fingertips.
And though the blazes be temporary, their message will echo for eternity.



Erlis Irrya--The Dragon

They said I would never fit in.
They told me to disguise the inhuman portion, to cover up the part that wasn't "normal."
They said I was a mistake, unwanted, an abomination.

They were wrong.

There under the very noses of the people who hated me, I discovered who I truly am.
I am acceptable.
I am beautiful.
I am Myself.

They tried to brand me as an abominable dragon, because the scales made me less than human.
Fools; I am more human than they could ever claim to be; even the part They managed to accept is still dragon to the core.
And my fury comes with a roar.


Harlock--The Castaway

They told me I must have been a criminal.
They say I might be the victim of any number of mass accidents—or the cause.
They tell me that I will most likely never fully recover my memories, so there is no point in trying.

They are wrong.

I wasn't alone when I woke up; she was there, she saved me—and together, we will rebuild the mind I lost.
I know my choices haven't all been good.
I know that eventually, I will have to answer for those choices.
I know that I want to.

They thought they could make me into whoever they needed me to be.
I will remember the man I was, and become the man I was meant to be.
And I will give them a reckoning they will never forget.

 ~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~

Wasteland

Along the Eastern Border
 

Damaris Kemp--The Phoenix


They said I was worthless.
They said I would amount to nothing.
One night, They came and burned down my family's home, thinking that when the ashes blew away, the pathetic boy would disappear once and for all.

They were wrong.

There in the flames, I discovered who I truly am.
I am worth something.
I am unstoppable.
I am a Phoenix, birthed in flames.

They thought they could get rid of me forever.
I will return from the ashes.
And I will set their ordinary little world on fire.


Jaran Seramis--The Champion

They told me I was dangerous.
They said it couldn't be tamed.
They banished me from the kingdom as the menace who could not be controlled.

They were wrong.

There in the slums of the city, I discovered who I truly am.
I am patient.
I am skilled.
I control my destiny.

They sent me away thinking I would kill myself or be killed by something more powerful.
I will return as the undisputed champion.
And I will claim victory over them all.


Korsan Nasrok--The Mage


They said I was a fool and a heretic.
They hated me for my insight.
They told Themselves I was insane and they drove me far from all hope and humanity, hoping the frail old man would perish in the barren wasteland.

They were wrong.

Out there in the wilderness, I discovered who I truly am.
I am wise.
I bear the truth.
I am The Mage, the man who can see the world for what it is.

They cast me out to die alone.
I will return in the midst of a throng.
And I will show them things they cannot ignore.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"The Commander's Courage" Excerpt: Lockdown


A blaring alarm and flashing lights scrambled my "flight" reflex so hard I immediately sprang forward and smacked my hip on the nearest table.

"Caustic," Marx spat. Huge, metallic gates slowly slid over every windowed surface around the perimeter. Marx grabbed my hand and started ducking and dodging his way toward the door as the sliding gates slammed faster and faster.

"What's going on?" I yelled as the floor pitched gradually—inexorably. We were now fighting our way uphill on a smooth surface, dodging loose items as they slid in our direction.

"Gotta... Make... It!" Marx grunted, squeezing my hand so hard the sweat was beginning to build. The floor slowly tilted back to flat, sending us tumbling forward, but we were too late. We arrived at the entrance just as the gate covered its last couple inches. The alarm ceased, and my head rang in the sudden silence.

"IS THIS NORMAL?" I yelled before my brain registered that I was yelling.

Marx didn't seem to care. He stared at the solid gate, as we sat in the dimly-lit cafeteria that looked as if a tornado had ripped through it. The bolted-in chairs and tables were still in place, but the stack of trays at the back of the room, the swinging lamps suspended from the ceiling, and the massive bins of food packages had spilled all around the room.

He winced as he stood, favoring his left leg. He hobbled over to me and put out his hand.

"Are you okay?" He asked.

I had recovered my hearing, so I nodded and whispered, "I'm fine." I don't know what it is about big spaces and the urge to speak softly, but I definitely did just then. My hip still smarted—I was going to have a bruise for sure, but no bones broken and no cuts or anything, so all things considered, I was pretty darn good!

"What happened?" I asked, as Marx seemed to be staring at the gate in front of us and waiting for something.

He crawled over to a display screen in the corner. No matter what combination of buttons he pressed, the screen remained dark.

Marx shook his head. “The blast doors are sealed, the console’s out—the temporary disruption of the stability engines… All of it means only one thing.”

“What does it mean?” I didn’t like the way this was heading.

Marx looked me dead in the eye and pronounced it like a death sentence.

“Lockdown.”

Of all the situations I could have been preparing for over the course of my life, lockdown wasn't one of them. Sure, we had those drills in grade school where the teacher turned the lights off and we all had to huddle in the corner and make absolutely no noise.

But this wasn't a school building; it wasn't even earth. There wasn't a whole group of people; the threat might not even be one that responded to either silence or noise. It could be a monster, or another ship that rammed into us outside those steel doors. I had no protocol for that.

Marx, meanwhile, had resorted to his old technician habits: he had pried the front panel off the console and dragged the motherboard into the open. He twisted wires and untangled others, checking the screen for any activity as he worked.

I watched him mutter at the wires, while the screen above us didn't even flicker.

I sighed as I leaned against the blast door. "Can you get it working again?"
He pursed his lips. "Sometimes, yes; if it's a technical blackout, I can override the system in just this one console and at least be able to open the door and get us to a room with other people who might know more of what's going on." He tried another connection, with no success.

He tossed the wires aside with a sigh. "Looks like… whatever hit the ship just before the lockdown must have torn the outer siding somehow, or damaged an airlock. Whatever it is, the ship's defense systems detect exposure to outer space elements and lock everything down until the breach is repaired." He gave me a sidelong glance. "There's no override for that one." He chuckled and shifted his position, but the noise stopped with a hiss.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

The young technician shrugged. "Ah, it's my leg," he gestured. "There's no blood, but I think I wrenched it pretty bad when the ship tilted." He reached for the toggle of a zipper on his pant leg, just above the knee, and unzipped it. Sliding the extra material off gave us a clear view of his leg. No breaks in the skin, sure, but the entire calf was one big purple mass. I couldn't tell if it was actual bleeding under the skin, or just a really big bruise.

I shook my head. "We need to get you help.”
[…]
Marx was slumped against the dismantled console. I was too busy trying to see if I could hear anything through the metal door to know if he was awake or not.

Steady thumps reached my ear. I brightened.

"Marx!" I wiggled his hand. "I can hear somebody!" Raising my voice and leaning as close as I dared, I yelled, "HEY! WE'RE IN HERE! HEY! HEELLLP!" I even banged on the door for good measure. "HELP US! (bang, bang, bang) WE'RE TRAPPED! HELP! (bang, bang, bang) WE CAN'T GET OUT! (bang, bang, bang) HEEELLLLLP!"

My voice gave out and I realized that Marx was muttering my name.

"Laura." 

The poor guy was in bad shape. His face had gone pale. I checked his leg again. The purple looked like it was spreading up past his knee. Sweat poured down his face, but his skin felt clammy to my touch.

"We need to help the bruising, and possibly ruptured blood vessels," I decided. "Is there ice somewhere in here?" With all the other stuff I'd seen that should have been normal but ended up weird, I had to ask.

Marx clenched his jaw like he was in a lot of pain. "Yeah," he grunted. "White panel, that way." He indicated the wall over by the toppled pile of trays.

I wasn't going to risk him passing out or dying in the time it would take me to find the thing and come back. I crouched next to him. "Here," I said, hooking my arm under his. "Let's get you over there."

He cringed, even crying out when the pain was too much. He didn't even let his bruised leg touch the ground. I couldn't support him enough for us both to move.

"Even just standing here, it hurts because of gravity," he told me.

I shook my head. "We need something to completely immobilize it so you don't—"

A familiar whining buzz interrupted me, and my thoughts immediately catalogued exactly where I was, what I wore, and what I was doing. Funny how a buzzing alarm will do that to you. A squarish red security bot rounded the corner. Recalling my experience with it, I smiled.

"I have an idea!" I told Marx, and I reached up and took his keycard off his shoulder.

"Are you caustic? What the frell do you think you're doing?" He seethed.

"Oh, chill! Just trust me!" I slipped the keycard into his pocket, just as I had done for myself when we first met.

The security bot bleeped, and the words "HALT! SCANNING... HALT! SCANNING..." Scrolled across its surface.

Just as I expected, Marx's body went rigid, and I could let him go, as a bright red laser held him in place, hovering just centimeters off the ground.

"Is that better?" I asked him.

He could only blink in response.

"Once for yes, and twice for no."

He blinked once. I was pretty proud of myself. I walked freely over to the wall, and the bot dragged Marx along behind me.

Other Excerpts From This Title:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Splash Blog Tour: Meet Anna Kringle!

 Anna is a bubbly fairy princess from a small country town far, far away. Raised around rednecks and obsessively muddy trucks, she was faced with a strange need to fill empty paper with words. So she decided she might as well write stories. With the help of her friendly mice and other neighborhood animals, she has worked very hard to make this hobby a profession, and hopes to make the world a bright and colorful place through her works.

Anna discovers new stories in between slaying dragons and leading the children of her realm on a musical revolt against normality.

AnnaKtheAuthor@outlook.com



1. What is your most recent book, whether you have one about to be released, one your currently working on, or one released recently in the past?

My current book is A Risky Gamble: Book Two aboard the Trivial Venture. It's the second fast-paced, swashbuckling adventure with Captain Ithaca and crew! It's a fun series, this book will be releasing at the end of August. *Editor's Note: Here's the link to Anna's first book, Trivial Venture, on Amazon; I am definitely inclined to pick up a copy after this interview!)

2. Why do you think people would want to read it? What is its most compelling quality?

Well, it's a little bit of everything; a little rebellion and adventure, a few smoldering looks and awkward moments, all tied up in a comedy of errors. It's lighthearted and quick, perfect for if you just need a quick break from the everyday humdrum.
The characters are darlings and knaves, depending on who we're looking at. And I think the everyday frustrations of Ithaca trying to make her way in the world are very relatable.

3. Who is your favorite character that you’ve written and why?

Ohh, I love this one! Of all my darlings, I am most proud of Alanor, from Return to Masonry. She was a challenge to write, and turned into a beautiful and complex young woman. With her help, I was able to explore and shed light on some of the realities of living under abuse and neglect (Something I've noticed is far too prevalent in the world).
Alanor, Slate and the whole cast helped me work through struggles of grief and loss and self doubt, and truly took on lives of their own, and I'm very proud of that.

4. What is the hardest thing you have to do when you create a character and what’s the easiest?

The hardest moment is trying to allow the character to “grow up” without me. It really is a lot like child rearing in a way; I start with a fragment of an idea, just this little glimpse. I encourage it to come out and empathize with them, and all of a sudden they are their own person and I have to sit back and figure out how this singular personality will react in the bizarre life events I've thrown at it. It's daunting, and electrifying all at once.
The easiest... is that first glimmer. The excitement of opening up a new world drives me through the first phases of writing, and it's a lot of fun.

5. How do you deal with writer's block?

Oh goodness... The short answer: I beat my head against the brick wall until it falls down. It's more complicated then that, perhaps. I jump to a different project, or I run through writing exercises. Basically, I just keep writing SOMETHING, anything until my brain gets working again.

6. What is the one book that changed the way you write?

Oooh, that I've read you mean? Hmmm.... I'd have to go with Digital Fortress, by Dan Brown. It's a fascinating espionage story, and they way he set it to paper was beautiful. He had a knack for bringing everything full circle, pulling everything together that I really admire. It's something I've tried to emulate and make my own.

7. What is the nerdiest thing you've ever done?

That's really hard to choose, but I believe that would be using Dr. Seuss to explain Narcisism; We were debating a socio-cultural point in a drama class, and I made a point about someone having a Yurtle the Turtle complex. Or maybe I was talking about my cat... Either way, Yurtle the Turtle was the perfect example for the topic.

8. What is one item on your Bucket List that you haven't completed yet?

I have not learned all the languages I want to yet. I have quite a list, and only a few under my belt.

9. If you could spend one week anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I believe I'd go to Scotland, first. I hear it's quite lovely. Perhaps I'll take my fiddle and learn a few new ditties.

10.  What is your most prized possession?

Having lived sparingly over the last few years, the one piece I made sure I always kept near was my Great-grandmother's violin. Even traveling, I made sure my pretty 'Gwen' stayed with me.

11.  What is the best piece of advice you have been given in regards to your writing?

Ohh... The most helpful was probably from my journalism professor from college; he helped me learn to convey the most information in the fewest words. And that's definitely something that stuck. (I have a tendency to ramble on a bit at the keys...)

12.  What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to write but doesn't know where to start?

Why, I would invite you to tea so we could figure it out! It always helps to have someone to walk with you on those first few steps. Everyone's beginning is different, but I've always been partial to “Once Upon A Time...”

Did you enjoy this interview? Do you have any questions for Anna? Comment below and I will pass it along to her! Meanwhile, check out D. R. Perry's interview of me-----> Write Now!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Reader's Review: "Ghost Heart" by Ripley Patton


Synopsis from Amazon:

In the aftermath of a brutal tragedy, Jason and Passion are on the run. Marcus is lost beyond reach, and The Hold is in shambles. If that weren't enough, Olivia Black has been taken by the CAMFers to be used as Dr. Fineman's personal lab rat in his merciless quest to uncover the mysteries of Psyche Sans Soma once and for all. But only if he can break her.
They are scattered.
They are devastated.
They are ruined.

Their only hope is Olivia's stubborn determination to thwart her captors and unlock the secrets of her ghost hand before Dr. Fineman can. Will she finally find the strength within herself to embrace the full power of her PSS?

And will it even matter if Marcus has already betrayed her?

>>>>>>>
 
My Review:

Oh man, after the shocking ending to Ghost Hold, I was glad to already have this one in my possession! I needed to find out what happened to these characters!
Olivia is kidnapped by FREAKING DOCTOR DOESN'T-DIE, Marcus has no memories except of his life as David... Passion and Jason are all that remain of the group, and they are with David and trying to find Olivia... 
Meanwhile, the poor thing is going through the absolute wringer as Dr. Fineman tries to get something he can use from her... And short of using her, taking the PSS from her. With "help" from Mike Palmer, the triple-double-turncoat. 
Friends and enemies all around her, Olivia grows as a character, away from the heady love interest who served as a welcome distraction from reality, when they could afford such distraction. Now, as the tension climbs, she cannot be distracted from what she needs to do: find the secret to her ghost hand that has it reaching into people and pulling things out, and survive long enough to escape the facility.

I admit, I tore through this one pretty quickly because I wanted to read Ghost Hope, the final book in the series that just launched recently—but I still very much enjoyed it. The development in all the characters, scattered as they are, proceeds and changes them in ways that will empower them to win the final battle when it comes. 

And just when things are going to turn out in the "good guys' favor"...
Patton drops a bombshell. And it blows everyone to kingdom come. (LITERALLY!)

It's intense, it's striking, it's maddening and awesome by turns, and it absolutely gets the job done. Once you read Ghost Heart, it's only a small hop away to the end of Ghost Hope and the culmination of everything these characters have been working toward. I said it from the first, and it still holds true: Ripley Patton, simply put, writes GREAT YA. Olivia is a singular heroine among dystopian heroines today because she doesn't ever push her love interest away, but she doesn't obsess over him when she ought to be figuring things out for herself, either. Secondary characters (those that survive... RIP MY TWO FAVORITE PSSERS!!!!) are given a chance to shine and step forward as people every bit as dynamic and complex as the main characters—meanwhile, assumptions drawn ahead of time are shattered in a truly original way rather than fulfilling the cliche.

You better believe Ghost Heart gets a *****5 STAR***** rating from me, and the whole series nets an Upstream Writer Certified TOTALLY RECOMMENDED. The PSS Chronicles wins everything. (And hey! Everybody's in Oregon now, so there's that...)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cover Reveal: "Fragmented" by Madeline Dyer!

Earlier this year, I bought an ebook that I'd seen mentioned a bunch of times on Facebook, written by a fellow member of a writer's group I followed. I read it, loved it, and featured a review of the book here on my blog.

Now, it is my immense pleasure to be among the first to present to you the cover of the sequel, coming August 7!

Without further ado...
 

fragmented1400

About Fragmented (Untamed Series, #2)

After the terrible battle against the Enhanced Ones, Seven and Corin find themselves on the run. With the Enhanced closing in, Seven knows they need to find other people on their side. So, when the opportunity arises to join the Zharat, one of the last surviving Untamed tribes, it seems like the perfect solution.

But the Zharat lifestyle is a far cry from what Seven’s used to. With their customs dictating that she must marry into their tribe, and her relationship with Corin breaking down, Seven knows she has to do something before it’s too late. But that’s easier said than done in a tribe where going against the rules automatically results in death.

And, with the Enhanced still out there, nowhere is truly safe for the Untamed–least of all for the most powerful Seer in the world… and Seven soon discovers how far people will go in order to ensure that she’s on their side in the War of Humanity.

Battling against the emerging web of lies, manipulation, and danger, Seven must remember who she was meant to be. Her life has never been more at stake. Nor has humanity itself.


Preorder links for Fragmented will soon be available--please check http://www.MadelineDyer.co.uk 



About the Author

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and holds ak8rMO5Mu-3 BA with honours in English from the University of Exeter. She has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Madeline is currently working on a YA paranormal thriller. Fragmented is her second novel.

Author Links

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reader's Review: "The Lie" by Mary E. Twomey


Synopsis from Amazon
With the predator defeated and Prince Killian safe at home, Blue settles into the new life she’s made for herself with the royal family of Europe. A Wayward in a world of Vemreaux, Blue struggles to adapt before her deadly temper takes her over. Baird is intent on searching out and destroying more unearthed tyranny, with or without his sister. When a visit from the elusive Everest Sinclair brings more treachery than they could have predicted, Blue knows she must protect both her Vemreaux family and her Wayward family, no matter the cost. 
>>>>>

My Review:

Confession: I actually finished this a while ago... And it broke my feels so hard I had to process my emotions before writing this review.

The first book was shocking and intense, yet also very intriguing in its completely original premise and the thrilling treatment thereof. The second book just amped up everything introduced in the beginning, all the way to the stratosphere. I had never read a dystopia like it, and I was so keyed up by the end that I hardly knew what to expect for the third book!

In a word, "THE LIE" was PERFECTION. Twomey is an absolute wizard with words. I may have no very clear idea of what the individual characters look or sound like, but MAN, each name comes with a set of emotions that just settles in my gut and won't go away. I know what they feel like, more than anything else.

Blue: brash, daring, patient, subservient, loyal, innocent, loving, caring Blue! Blue who would not hesitate to eviscerate the thing that would threaten those she loves, who does not shrink away from her fate as the sacrificial Light—and yet who utterly dissolves to nothing when the one she loves most tears her down.
Baird: hard, unwavering, unyielding, untrusting, stoic, focused, scheming, strategizing, masterminding Baird! Baird who has raised his sister as The inimitable Light, who has heavily ingrained in her all of the skills, the motivation, the mental capacity, and the soul-crushing perfectionism that she would need to survive until she fulfilled her destiny to "end the tyranny", all the while grooming himself to not care if she dies, not care about the entire population of "tyrants" he has demonized for so long—yet when his carefully-erected wall is breached by someone he cannot control like he controls Blue, yet whom he loves just as much, he crumbles into an absolute mess that nearly brought tears to my eyes.
Sam: protector, defender, loving, playful, tender, and true Sam! Like every fictional Sam ever created, Sam pursues the unloveable, embraces the unreachable, defies things even he doesn't understand in order to restore peace and harmony to the ones around him.

Liam made me giggle. Suzette gave me sighs of relief. Elle gave me joy. Everest made me think. Griffin was undaunted and faithful. Frederick was fearless. Killian inspired respect; Alec, calm. (Fun fact: I guess I never realized—or it wasn't as significant back when I first read it—but guess what Alec is short for? Alexander Hamilton; MIND. BLOWN.) The interactions between the characters were very true and natural, and most of all relatable; even the "down time" between the plot points served to strengthen and expand the character development, rather than just "filling the empty space."

The tension ran high, and the conflict culminated in one devastating twist after another. Lies exposed everywhere; assumptions made and conclusions pre-drawn were proven false time and again until the characters themselves were worn down to the uttermost, and me as the reader was left questioning my sanity as I read. Then, once everything was reduced to shambles, Twomey begins the process of rebuilding, this time with no more secrets, everything in the clear, everyone with a purpose and a plan for how to accomplish what needed to be done.

The Vemreaux Trilogy is a solid masterpiece among dystopian YA. The heroine is neither sloppy nor stony; the events are not contrived nor pointless. Everything happens for a reason, and the very vocabulary of all the descriptions and imagery feel very carefully selected and deliberate to evoke the most emotion out of the reader at all the right moments—not a single sentence was wasted. The violent physical peril was no match for the psychological and mental cataclysm that also served to break the characters even further than the most savage "predator."

I could go on, in an attempt to capture the grand spectacle of this marvelous finish to a truly breathtaking (literally!) series, but let me move on. "THE LIE" earns an absolutely well-deserved *****5 STAR***** rating, as well as an Upstream Writer Certified ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED. If you or anyone you know:
A) Enjoys dystopian or "alternate history" genres;
B) Is sick of the recent spate of cardboard teen girls trapped between the love of a young man (or two) and complete devotion to her family and suffering from debilitating rejection by her society which means she's gotta rise up and stick it to the man and it ends up breaking her in ways she "never quite recovers from"; and
C) Is looking for something that ISN'T just a localized social experiment or an isolated pocket of pointless tyranny that has no regard for anything outside of the interests of one country, and a Big Bad Government we are made to hate and is inherently evil Just Because;
D) and also doesn't mind spates of intense violence of a particularly grisly nature....

Then absolutely you and they MUST read this trilogy. It is, in my personal opinion, one of the (extremely rare) greatest things to happen in Young Adult dystopian literature since the Mistborn novels or the Broken Empire trilogy.
Further Reading: (Sci-fi dystopian/intense thriller/alternate history)
 -For None of Woman Born--S. D. Curran
-Domechild--Shiv Ramdas   
-Sky Knight--Sandra Harvey
-Burn Our Houses Down--Kelsey Garmendia
-Ghost Hand--Ripley Patton
-Road Brothers--Mark Lawrence
-Dissolution--Lee S. Hawke 
-Untamed--Madeline Dyer

Monday, July 11, 2016

Introducing: The Summer Splash Book Blog Tour!

Hi friends! If you're just seeing this blog for the first time: I am someone who writes a lot, reads even more, and jumps at the chance to support fellow authors! So naturally, when someone in my network suggests doing a blog tour with a bunch of different authors and bloggers, I jump at the chance!

What is the Summer Splash?

Summer Splash us your chance to discover indie authors whose books you might not find in big-name bookstores or libraries--and they might even live in your area! Starting next week, you'll see a series of interviews from eight different authors, gain access to their books, and find out about upcoming releases. Get the inside scoop on some hot new reads, find out more about what goes into the making of a book, and find your next Awesome Summer Read RIGHT HERE on the Tour!

Why the Summer Splash?
So often, independently-published books don't get the "airtime" they deserve, or new releases go unnoticed because word-of-mouth only goes so far. These wonderful people have demonstrated a commitment to their craft and a dedication to producing quality literature, a cause I can definitely get behind! This is our chance—mine and yours—to not only bring great books to the attention of our friends, family, or coworkers who are always itching for something new to read, but also to give a little moral (and, if you buy the book, financial) support where it will count toward furthering the cause of literature, and give these hard-working authors a little something to brighten their day.
For me personally, I love to inspire, not just with my writing, but by recommending others who have also published--connecting authors with readers! I loved the opportunity to find out about other authors, and this kind of tour is an opportunity to expand networks for both of us!

Who is involved in the Summer Splash?

I will be introducing you to the following authors: 

Kristan L. Cannon--www.kristancannon.blogspot.com
Catherine Banks--www.CatherineBanks.com
Carol Ann King--www.portalprophecies.com
D. R. Perry--www.drperryauthor.com

PLUS a Special Guest Interview with one of my favorite authors!

If you have been following my blog for a while and know about all the book reviews I do, you might have guessed already who it is going to be. My guest author was the second person to ever send me a book to review—back when I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing—and I am so excited to introduce him to you readers! His books have been among my absolute favorites to read over and over again! No more clues—I will reveal my Special Guest on August 15, so don't miss it!

When will this be happening?

Every Monday from now to September, you can stop by here and be able to meet the different authors through their answers to my interview questions. Keep a lookout for the updates! (If you're on Facebook, I will be sharing the interviews on my author page, www.facebook.com/leslieconzattiwriter)

Where can we find more author interviews?

If you want to learn more about me and what I'm writing, or if you are interested in learning more about the other authors, maybe in a different style than my interview, go ahead and either subscribe or bookmark the blogs listed above! Every Monday is a new interview!
How can we participate in the Blog Tour?

Browse the blogs above for cool writing-related stuff! When you see a new interview--comment, like, "+1", reTweet, or share on social media! If you have a question for any of the authors that wasn't covered in the interview, feel free to ask it--and you may even get a response from the authors themselves! Let's give these authors as much visibility as possible! Every little bit helps!

COMING NEXT WEEK....

She's a fantasy-lover and a fellow "compulsive writing addict." Though she refers to her stories as "Trivial Ventures", I think you'll find them anything but that! Join me next week to get acquainted with Anna Kringle!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Suggestion Box, Vol. 3: "One Thousand Words" List #50

Larklyn the Sylph
Suggested By: KartheyM

With Assistance From: +Jeffrey Gartshore*, Cheryl Fasset,  S. Rose LeClaire*, +Raven Ramsey, Autumn Siegel, R. R. Virdi*, Olivia C., Jennifer R, Samantha Stanley, +Chelsea the Napster*, Amy Hopkins Kelly Blanchard, Ashleigh Meikle, +Lee HawkeKimberly Rogers*,  Nan Sampson Bach*, Jessica R., Dara Klinkner, Rachel Lindeken, +A.D. Poole, Meaghann Ande, Zachary Totah+Kileah McIlvain*, +Cassie Greutman , Kayla Vanderbilt, Dawn Chapman+Joe Conzatti , Ryan Howard, Sheryl Rowdy, Suzanne Wdowik, +Christian Falde, Claerie Kavanaugh

*These people helped with the plot of Serenity's Light/Soul Mates specifically! 

The Final Entry:


"Serenity's Light/Soul Mates" Part 10


Nerissa was tired. The thick, inky blackness seemed to absorb energy the same way it absorbed light. As she sparred with Larklyn all around the exhibit hall, she was dimly aware of Kenneth picking up the artifacts one by one. Hope and despair battled equally within her. Would it actually work like all the legends said? Would he really be able to wield all the artifacts at once? Or would his human nature get the better of him and twist him into yet another denizen of The Darkness?
Larklyn lashed out with another tendril of Darkness. Nerissa hissed through bared teeth at the sudden pain. It had been so long since she had felt its icy, burning, stinging touch. 
Behind her, Kenneth yelled something about his friends. Nerissa threw a punch, realizing too late that the sylph she fought had stopped to stare in horror at whatever the Lore-Master was doing. Her fist connected squarely with Larklyn's face, and everything burst into brilliant white.

When it cleared, she could clearly hear twigs snapping as Larklyn's scream of pain prolonged. Nerissa's eyes adjusted to the dimness after the light, she recognized the unnatural stillness and the twisted ruins surrounding them.

"No!" Larklyn wailed. "It wasn't—I didn't mean—"
"What is this place?" Kenneth murmured as he looked around. The flicker of Serenity's Light still rested in the front of the crown on his head.
Nerissa gestured to the blank emptiness all around them. No Light meant no moon or stars; just black, black sky and the dim golden essence of so many torches dispersed at random by a people desperate for light of any kind. One burned brightly over their heads.
"Welcome to my world, Earth-dwellers," she announced.
With a long wail, Larklyn appeared in the firelight, her swollen and bruised face streaked with dirt. Her clammy hand clutched at Nerissa's arm.
"I'm sorry," she choked. "Sorry... So sorry! I—" 
Nerissa pushed her away. "You listened to The Darkness and let it lead you away. You allowed it to extinguish Serenity because the allure of power was too much for you. You had no consideration for the consequences of your actions—consequences that the world has suffered just so you could have and do what you wanted."
Larklyn collapsed in a quivering heap on the ground in the middle of the group. "I did this; I destroyed the world. I condemned an innocent world to darkness forever." She began to weep and moan.
"No." 
Relaya stepped forward and crouched in front of the sylph. Larklyn lifted her eyes as the Fae continued. "Not forever," she said gently. She pointed to the gem now set in the crown. "There is still Light in Serenity yet. We can have hope."
Nerissa nodded. "Indeed; now that the pieces of Serenity are in one place, all that remains is to combine them and Serenity will return to its rightful place to give Light to us all."
All eyes turned to Kenneth, who immediately raised a hand to the Collar around his neck and balked. "Well, wait a minute... I mean, do we have to do this now? What about—"
Nerissa smiled. "Your wife; I understand. Luckily, now that we are here, it will be easy to travel by portal and back again." She turned to Larklyn, who still cowered on the ground. "You'll stay here and wait for my return, and will bring the Relics with me to return Serenity; is that clear?"
"Yes," Larklyn muttered miserably.
Nerissa stepped back and nodded to Agnes.
"Rift-Keeper, shall you open a portal?"
Agnes fingered the special earrings she still wore. Like little sonars, she could hear a faint ringing sound like the chimes in her backyard if she focused on a particular spot. 
"There." She pointed, and her fingertip seemed to puncture time and space, parting the air in front of them to see a place bathed in bright golden light on the other side. 
Fascinated, Kenneth reached forward as well and pulled the portal wider so they all could fit through. 
They stepped onto a thick green turf in a world awash with color, as alive as Nerissa's world had been dead.
Nakoma shrieked with laughter and executed a cartwheel.
"My home!" She crowed. "The Druid Circle!" Kharrie flapped her wings and joined the exuberant wood Sprite.
Kenneth chuckled. "The Druid—" He stopped and his eyes flickered. "Then that means—" he began scanning the various clouds of fairies for the butterfly cloak he could not forget.
"Welcome travelers," said a voice behind them. The three humans and two Fae all whirled around. 
The speaker smiled from under a crown of gauzy wings. "I am Lady Allyra, the Warden of the Fae." She noted the man wearing a crown. "Not a Fae, but a king, I see. What is your realm, your majesty?"
Everyone watched nervously as Kenneth bowed his head. He coughed to steady his frantic nerves. "Um, ah, my realm is far, Milady." He reached up to his neck and fumbled, finally yielding to Nerissa's assistance to unbuckle the Collar. "But I have a gift for you, if I may." He held out the open collar to her.
The woman who called herself Lady Allyra nodded benevolently. "Most generous! It has been some time since I have received a gift. You may approach."
Kenneth took slow, measured steps, his movements slow, as one approaching a skittish horse. He put the Collar against her neck, and she bent her head forward for him to clasp it.
The minute the catch slid into place, the woman stumbled forward in a mild faint. Kenneth braced his feet to catch her in his arms.
"Whoa, easy there," he murmured.
Her hands clutched his elbows.
"Kenneth?" She slowly lifted her head and stared straight at him. "What are you doing here?" Her head craned from side to side, as if becoming aware of her surroundings for the first time. "What are—where is—who are all—why—how did..."
Nerissa darted forward and shoved Kenneth and Arielle toward the curtain at the edge. "The magic of the Collar is leaching her mind! Get it off and get her out NOW!"
Kenneth wrapped an arm around his wife and felt Jens supporting him from her other side. Together the group barreled through the gauzy barrier and into the midday forest on the other side.
Nerissa darted in and unsnapped the Collar as Arielle regained her feet.
"Oh my head," she moaned. "Kenneth," she reached for her husband, "what are you doing here?" She pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead and squinted up at him.
Kenneth took her hands, trying not to let his excitement get the better of him. "Arielle," he stammered, "Arielle, I—"
"Yes?" She frowned at him. "Ken, what's with the crown? Why are—"
She could get no further as her husband wrapped his arms around her and kissed her deeply and fondly.
Arielle pulled away, concern mingled with shock in her eyes.
"I am so confused right now!" She whispered.
Kenneth took a step back. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean—I've just, I've been waiting so long to do that—"
Arielle blinked. "Do what? Kiss me? Are you kidding? You're my husband, you don't have to—" she stopped as their present situation overwhelmed her again. "Wait, okay, what are you doing here, again? And who are all these—" she glanced around at the burly giant and the two slender women with flawless skin and pointed ears, "people? And, come to think of it, where's here? What was that place?" She turned back the way they came, but her eyes saw only empty forest. "Wh-where did it go?"
Kenneth gulped. "Arielle, honey," he said softly. "How much do you remember?"
Arielle came back to stand beside him as she thought. "Well, I remember the team, we came here looking for... Something. I got lost—" she gasped. "The meteor! The Hebrides! The nebula! That's where we are?" She looked up at him. "Wait, how long was I lost?"
Kenneth gave her a wry smile. "They told me you were missing almost two years ago."
Arielle jerked away frantically. "TWO YEARS?" She exploded. "I was in that place for two years?? And, what, you just left me there? You didn't look for me for two years?" She stared at him with reproach in her eyes.
Kenneth shook his head. "No, you have it wrong; those two years... Every day since you went missing... I didn't just start looking for you after two years." He held out a hand to her. "I never stopped. It took me those two years just to find you. And—" he gestured to the group standing respectfully off to the side. "These people helped me find you. That's Nerissa and Relaya, Jens, and Agnes." He held Arielle's hand and smiled at her. "I would never have gotten you back without them." He turned to make eye contact with each of them. "Thank you all," he said warmly.
Agnes smiled and nodded, but Nerissa coughed and fidgeted with the hilt of the sword hanging from her belt. "Well, um, I think it's time for us to, uh—" she gestured to her head and raised an eyebrow to Kenneth.
He recalled the crown he still wore. "Oh," he snatched it off. "You should probably have this."
Nerissa accepted it, and clasped his hand. "Thank you for saving Serenity, Kenneth," she said softly. "The story of your valor will be passed down to our descendants for many generations to come."
Arielle sniffed. "Valor?" She murmured. "What valor? What is she talking about?"
Kenneth glanced at his wife sharply. "What do you mean what valor? I'll have you know I can be very valiant!"
She shrugged. "I'm just saying, valiance really isn't one of your dominant personality traits!"
As the Fae left, Jens trudged forward. In the Old Norse tongue, he told Kenneth, "I thank you for your wisdom. You took in a slobbering drunk and made him fit to lead his father's clan." The burly Northman cracked a grin. "When I return to my own time, the stories I will have to tell will not be believed! Lee-viss and YowTowb... Least of all the car-with-no-horses and the roasting-box!"
Kenneth chuckled. "It's called a microwave, Jens—but you don't have to know, I guess."
The friendly giant waved over his shoulder and trudged down the path leading to the portal that would take him back to his own time and place.
Only Agnes remained. 
"Where will you go?" Kenneth asked.
Agnes pressed her lips and huffed. "Well, I can tell you that I don't fancy traveling all the way back to my little old house in New York where I live alone with no family and nothing to do but sit for the rest of my days!" A slow smile crept across her face. "Luckily I happen to know a perfectly decent family who could use an extra pair of hands around the house—the one belonging to a certain museum curator we all know."
"Museum curator?" Arielle arched an eyebrow at Kenneth.
He shared the old woman's grin. "I'll explain later," he muttered to Arielle. To Agnes he said, "Say hi to Sarah and Lilly for me, okay?"
"I will," she promised as she stepped through the portal and disappeared.
Silence reigned in the forest. A thick, foggy cool crept in as the sun slowly sank under the horizon.
Arielle shivered and huddled closer to Kenneth's side.
"Now what are we going to do?" She asked.
Kenneth had not the slightest idea. "Well, if we can figure out what day it is—"
"You didn't say goodbye."

"AUGH!!" Arielle screamed and scurried to the other side of the clearing. "What is that?" She pointed, trembling and wide-eyed. "Where did it come from?"
Kenneth met the little wood-sprite's glare with suitable regret. "Nakoma! I'm sorry, we had a little emergency situation to take care of..." He held out his hand to Arielle, but she still balked. "It's okay, honey," he reassured her. "It's just another of my new friends. I actually met Nakoma right in this very spot. I told her about you, and she offered to help." At last, Arielle inched forward and Kenneth could introduce her. "Nakoma, this is my wife, Arielle."
The little sprite grinned, showing all her teeth. "You found your soul mate!" She gushed.
Husband and wife shared a glance. "Yeah," Kenneth said with a grin of his own. "I did, for good this time."
"I can help you return to your tribe," Nakoma offered. She pointed to the sky. "It is the first nightfall after the night you were lost in the woods, Kenneth," she declared. "Your tribe searched for you all day but could not find you. They are still on the island for one more night. Even now, they are searching one last time."
Kenneth heard faint threads of voices on the wind. He nodded. "Thank you, Nakoma." He crouched down and held out his arms.
The young Sprite ran to hug him without hesitation. "May you and your mate never stray far from one another again," she whispered. 
Arielle chuckled. "Yeah, I think my traveling days are over for a while."
Kenneth stood and grabbed her hand again. "That goes for both of us," he agreed.
Nakoma scurried back into the Druid Circle as the voices came closer.
"So," Arielle murmured urgently, "what's the story?"
"Well, when we first scattered in the woods, we were actually tracking Nakoma—"
"Poor thing!"
"Yeah; it's the guys from Dublin, they don't like unexpected variables of the non-human kind."
"The fairy-gold hunters? Oh, Kenneth!" Arielle frowned. "Why would you hook up with them of all people?"
He shrugged. "They wanted the vast hoard of treasure supposedly to be found in a Druid Circle. I happened to lose my wife on the very same island where a Druid Circle could be found. I was willing to do anything to get you back."
Arielle smiled and leaned into his shoulder. "And now you have me."
Kenneth wrapped her in a bear hug. "Yes I do." He paused as things clicked into place. "That's it! I was tracking the sprite and got lost, and then I found the place where you had been living for the last two years—"
"And now you're bringing me home!" Arielle finished. She laughed, "It's perfect! Just enough truth—"
"But with all the bits about magic portals and time travel taken out," Kenneth noted. He took her hand and led her toward the main path through the forest.
"Ready?" He asked.
Arielle just leaned on his shoulder. "Oh, I never want to be too far away from you ever again!" She sighed.
He patted her head. "We're soul mates," he repeated Nakoma's term. "No matter what, nothing can separate us for long."
Together they walked down the path to the camp, and to home.

And they stayed together for the rest of their lives.
THE END.

Single Posts In This Series: