#NewRelease – Things Old and Forgotten @maeclair1 #ShortStories

I became a fan of Mae Clair’s writing with the first book I read. She is not only a talented storyteller but a friend and fellow blogger at Story Empire. I am super thrilled that she has released this new collection of short stories! I’ll let her tell you about it!

And because I am letting Mae Clair have my blog today, there will not be a Wednesday Wonder until next week. 🙂

Hi, Jan. Thanks for hosting me today and allowing me to share my newest release with your readers. Things Old and Forgotten is a collection of short fiction that includes stories in several genres—magical realism, fantasy, speculative, even two that touch on mild horror.

When I was in tenth grade, my English teacher gave me his Lord of the Rings book collection to read, and an entire new realm unfolded before my eyes. Prior to that I’d been reading mostly science-fiction, but the discovery of epic fantasy was unlike anything I’d encountered before. I was hooked and spent the next decade devouring books of wizardry, magical artifacts, and enchanted realms. To this day, I still love a good epic fantasy or sword-and-sorcery novel. When it came time to put together my collection of stories for Things Old and Forgotten, I couldn’t resist including a few fantasy tales. Below is the opening from Kin-Slayer, one of the fantasy tales included in my collection.

I will permit the ghosts their share.

****

I remember the ocean, glittering with a thousand faceted eyes, sunlight bright as diamonds on the surface. The scent of salt heavy in the air as it twined with the black smoke of cooking fires and the reek of fish left to dry beneath the sun. My home was nestled in a simple village. Small and secluded, Ceadon squatted on a bluff overlooking the water, her nexus a ragged sphere of thatch-roofed hovels.

She was a giddy perch, erected high on a pinnacle of wind-blasted rock. As children, E’ana and I often sat on the edge, watching the tide roll from shore as it carried our father and the other fishermen from sight. In the evening, we would meet them on the beach, anxious to ogle the day’s catch—seaweed-draped pots brimming with lobster and crab, nets so heavy they hugged the sand as the men unloaded a bounty of bluefish and tuna.

It was a modest life, fitting and welcome in those idyllic days of childhood. But childhood, like all things, fades with the passing of time.

At fifteen, E’ana was chosen as a First Daughter, one of the select betrothed to the Leviathan. Though I found the prospect disquieting, E’ana trembled with excitement. She slept little that night, tossing and turning.

I could stand her restlessness no longer. “You’ll make a fine bride, E’ana.”

She twisted in her bed to face me. “I wondered if you were awake.” Her voice sounded watery, as though she’d been crying. A black nebula of hair tumbled over her shoulders. “What if he doesn’t choose me? Atalayah, it would destroy Father if I were passed over! He was so proud of me today.”

Beyond the walls of the hut, wind played over the dunes, conjuring sand into fleeting demons. Wind can sound like water when it chooses—merciless, powerful. It made me think of dried fish heads twined with kelp and hung from doorways as protection against gales. Of the Elders huddled in their shacks. They feared the wind almost as much as the denizens of the deep, but there was no sky god to placate and bribe with virgin flesh as they did with the sea.

“It isn’t a failure to be passed over, E’ana. Many of the First Daughters have lasted as long as three seasons. The matrons speak of a few who survived all five and were permitted to marry.”

“What men would have them?”

My anger flared. “Better to wed flesh than die in the sea!”

“Atalayah!”    

“I’m sorry. That was jealousy speaking.”

The lie appeared to pacify her.

“And what have you to be jealous of, sister? You may never be a First Daughter, but you are a First Sword. One would be hard-pressed to name the greater honor.”

“As you say.” I had no further words, knowing they would fall on deaf ears. In time, I heard the evenness of her breathing, signaling sleep. Inwardly, I seethed. Didn’t she realize the luxuries of a First Daughter—the finest fish of the day’s catch, the best seat at village festivals, even the perfumed silks imported from the south—were simply bribes to soften the blow? The Elders told her she was destined for immortality, but she was an offering, nothing more. The Leviathan might protect us from sea dragons and merrows, but its cost of tribute was too high.

The sky had grayed with dawn before I found the peace to sleep.


BOOK BLURB:

A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.

These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.


Thanks again for hosting me, Jan. In honor of my love for autumn—a fantastic time to curl up with a book—Things Old and Forgotten will be on sale for .99c through October 31st.

PURCHASE LINKS:

US
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HP4Q6QC/r 

UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09HP4Q6QC/ 

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

I’m at Story Empire today – A detailed guide to #FacebookAds!

Hi, everyone. I am over at Story Empire today with a step-by-step guide for placing successful Facebook ads. Come on over and join us!

#NewRelease – Tree Fairies And Their Short Stories @dlfinnauthor

It is with great pleasure that I host a fellow Story Empire author today on my blog with her newest book release! D.L. Finn is not only a talented writer but an inspired one. I’ll let her tell you about her newest creation!

Thank you, Jan, for having me here today to share my final children’s release, “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories.”

I’ve lived in the forest for thirty-one years. A couple of years ago, I had an experience that I shared through my poetry.

It was a beautiful mountain morning, and I was enjoying the warm sun while standing on our deck. I took that moment to appreciate my surroundings when I heard a sound. My first thought was it was a radio or someone singing. Puzzled, I looked around to see where this was coming from.

I quickly established it wasn’t the usual music my husband played in our garage, and it wasn’t from the other homes nestled in the woods. The hum was coming from below where I was standing. My attention was drawn toward a patch of orange flowers where the perfectly pitched “La-la-la” floated to me. Then, a bee flew away, and the song stopped.

In that moment I was positive a bee had just sung to me, and then later I wondered if an angel had been present. I never knew what I had experienced that day, other than something special had just happened.

When I started working on Tree Fairies, a knowing flowed through me. It hadn’t been a bee or an angel like I first thought singing—it was a fairy! The fairies wanted their tale told, and magic visited that day to remind my inner child of that.

Fun Finn Facts

1. I believe magic and miracles exist. They communicate with our souls.

2. I’ve selected the path to happiness instead of collecting “things.”

                                                                  Blurb

When reality and magic meet in the forest

It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.

Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.

Excerpt

Roselle

2004

Roselle stopped midair to admire the pink, orange, yellow, purple, and red that filtered through the redwood forest as the sunset. She carefully scanned the area to make sure no one was watching, and then, with a huge grin, she dove into a double roll.

“Woo-hoo!”

Her twirling skidded to a halt when an older fairy from the school office flew directly under her. Her always-braided gray hair had yellow flowers woven in like she was meeting someone special. The fairy made a sharp turn and shot out of sight without acknowledging Roselle’s childish frolicking.

Roselle couldn’t hold back a smile. It was hard to contain her exuberance because the forest was the best place to live. Everything about the redwood trees was amazing. They made tannin, a natural insect repellent that gave them that wonderful red tone and protected them from fires.

The only downside to a smaller number of insects was fewer birds, which she loved the most. The bright yellow Wilson’s warbler was her favorite. They added so much color to the deep green forest, and the male had a little black cap that she found endearing. Right now, her warblers and many others were on their way south as fall left summer behind, which also meant they would have winter bird visitors soon.

She found the year-round birds, the great horned owl and red-tailed hawk, beautiful but annoying. Those birds could ruin a peaceful moment like this. Both seemed to forget fairies weren’t their meals. Roselle reminded them with a powerful jolt that felt like a mini lightning strike. It didn’t hurt them, but they didn’t like it, either.

Her carefree moment quickly passed when she flew by her school. She sighed deeply and headed for the forest floor. “Darn paper’s due tomorrow. Why did I wait to write it?”

The paper stood between her and the upcoming fall break. It was normally a time when she could roam the forest uninterrupted and take in the deciduous trees as they burst into red, orange, and yellow. However, this break wouldn’t be the same without her human friends, Wren and Sierra. Roselle missed their company and all their silly jokes, including the ones about her putting off getting things done.

Sierra would say, “If they had an award for procrastination, you’d win first place.”

Wren would add, “But you’d be late and miss the ceremony.”

Okay, maybe she did put things off until the last moment and might be late for school now and then, but at least, at some point, it all got done. When Wren and Sierra left for college two months ago, it was like she lost a part of herself.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

SMASHWORDS

Author, D.L. Finn

Author Bio

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

I am at @StoryEmpire today! What are your thoughts about Writing Organizations?

Please join me over at Story Empire today where I am weighing the pros and cons of belonging to writing organizations or groups.

Writing Organizations – The Good -The Bad – The Ugly

#NewRelease – Cold Dark Night @JoanHallWrites #Suspense #Mystery

I am super excited about the new release from my fellow Story Empire writer, Joan Hall! I can’t wait to read this one as I loved the prequel! But I’ll let Joan tell you about it.

Thank you, Jan. I’m excited to be here to talk about my newest release. Cold Dark Night is the first novel of my Legends of Madeira series. Each book begins with a historical event that ties to modern-day. Today I’m going to talk about the musical inspiration behind the book.

I like silence when I’m writing, but music often inspires me to write. Cold Dark Night was partially inspired by a song. Growing up in a music-loving family with a brother twelve years my senior made me appreciate the song of the sixties as much as (maybe more) than those of “my time,” the 1970s.

One of the albums my brother often listened to was The Band’s first solo album, Music From Big Pink. Among the songs that stood out for me was “Long Black Veil.” The idea of someone singing from the grave about his own death intrigued me. First recorded in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell, several artists have recorded the song, but The Band’s version has always been my favorite.

“Long Black Veil” inspired the opening chapters of Cold Dark Night. The circumstances between my character Adam McLaury and the person in the song differ somewhat, but those familiar with the words will recognize some similarities.

In the following passage, Lillian McLaury visits her husband in jail. He’s awaiting execution for murdering a man on the streets of Madeira.

Excerpt:

“I’m not sure I even want to live if you’re gone.” Lillian hung her head.

“Don’t talk like that. Isaac needs you. So does our unborn baby. You’re still young. Much too young to pine away. Someday you might meet someone else. If you do, it’s okay. And one day, in another life, we’ll be together again.”

She straightened, then wiped the tears from her eyes. “You believe that?”

“Of course, I do. I’m prepared to die. I can go to my grave with a clear conscience, knowing I’ve done nothing wrong. There’s one other thing I ask of you.”

“What is it?”

“Find the person responsible. See to it justice is served.”

“I promise to do everything I can.”

“That’s all I ask. And don’t give up. I’m still holding out for a miracle.”

But three days later, Sheriff Bass walked Adam to the gallows to die for the murder of William Skinner.

At the bottom of the steps, Ethan stopped. Scrubbed a hand over his face. “I’m sorry, Adam. I truly hoped someone would come forth with evidence implicating the real killer. I know you’re innocent. Don’t need proof, but—”

“You were doing your job. I understand.”

The hangman stood at the top of the gallows. His no-nonsense demeanor had been the subject of several conversations among Madeira’s residents. Many of them thought him to be unfriendly. He motioned toward the crowd. “Come along, Sheriff. Can’t keep these good folks waiting. It’s time to get this over with.”

“Then, you do it. I did my job bringing him here. I’ll have no further part in it. I believe this man is innocent, and I’m washing my hands of his blood.”

And Pontius Pilate said similar words when he handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Adam nodded to his executioner as he ascended the steps on his own. Divine intervention hadn’t come. His knees buckled as he looked at the rope that would soon be placed around his neck.

Reverend Potts, the local minister, rushed to his side to steady him. Compassion shown in the older man’s eyes.

The hangman showed no sympathy. He took Adam by the arm, led him behind the noose, then placed it loosely around his neck.

Adam scanned the crowd. Entire families had turned out for the event. Some sat together in buggies, while others stood on the courthouse lawn. Children laughed and played, as if blissfully aware of what was about to happen. One small girl peered around her mother’s skirts, her eyes wide. A teenage boy peddled refreshments.

Why would anyone allow a small child to see something like this? There had been hangings in Madeira before, none of which he’d cared to attend. He wouldn’t bring his wife, much less his son. But many people acted as if hangings were a source of entertainment.

At last, he saw Lillian. She stood near the back, ramrod straight, not shedding any tears. Maybe she’d cried all she could cry. Perhaps she’d taken his advice to be strong.

The crowd began to sing “Amazing Grace.” When the song ended, Reverend Potts asked, “Do you have any last requests?”

“Look after Lillian, will you?”

The older man nodded. “Of course, my son.”

Adam met Lillian’s eyes again as she mouthed the words, “I love you.”

Her face was the last thing he saw before the hangman pulled the hood over his face. He would go to eternity confident in Lillian’s unwavering love for him.

><><><>< 

Thanks again for hosting me, Jan. Cold Dark Night is available on Amazon. It’s on sale for .99 through June 15. After that, the price goes to $3.99, so this is a good time for readers to grab a copy.

Blurb:

New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Dark-Night-Legends-Madeira-ebook/dp/B0968CXZQ9

Connect with Joan:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Bookbub  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram

FALLOUT #NewRelease – Harmony Kent

I am happy to bring a new book release from a fantastic author, Harmony Kent!

Fallout Blurb:

WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?

Excerpt

After that excitement, the remainder of the walk passed in a blur. At long last, they reached zone 8. The place looked deserted. But then appearances could be deceiving.

Cautiously, they picked their way through empty streets, inhabited only by litter and signs of old violence. The low, mournful howls of wind around corners and through abandoned, open buildings made for their sole companion.

Where had everyone gone? Not that he wanted anyone to find them, particularly. A crack of thunder preceded the sky opening and pouring rain down upon them in sheets. The visibility dropped by about eighty percent. He and Priya huddled deeper into their collars and hurried on.

Soaked through and chilled to the bone, they rounded one final corner and came to a stop. Just like in zone 9, the area around zone 8’s army portal stood derelict and deserted. It gave Kaleb all he needed to suspect that all was not as it should be.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into Harmony’s new book. Now here’s a little bit about the author!

Author Bio

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Links

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk/

Story Empire (co-authored): https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page

FALLOUT Pre-order Link: mybook.to/FALLOUT