The Highs and Lows of the Fantasy Genre

Exile doubleMy beta reader posed a question to me this week after I told her that a story I’d written wasn’t suitable for submission to a call for high fantasy. “What on earth is high fantasy?” she asked.

It took me back to my days as a newbie writer when I was unfamiliar with a great many literary terms that I now use without a second thought. How quickly I had forgotten that feeling of not knowing something that everyone else seemed to know, while being too embarrassed to ask for an explanation!

Publishing is an industry like any other with its own jargon and conventions and we can’t expect new members to understand all the terminology from the outset. New writers are emerging every day and somehow they have to learn writerspeak as quickly as possible if they are to fit in and benefit from membership of this club of ours. Who better to educate them than those already initiated? Genres and sub-genres are a particularly complex subject and the old lags perhaps have a moral duty to help the new intake understand the lingo and conventions so that the entire industry maintains current standards.

So what do we mean by high and low fantasy?

The Exile of Elindel, Book I of my epic fantasy trilogy, is a good example of both categories. It is partly set in the real world of Anglo-Saxon Britain (low fantasy) and partly in the make-believe world of Elvendom (high fantasy).

High and low fantasy can exist in the same book, the same world too, and they can interact with each other, even overlap, but there is a major difference between them, and certain rules must be respected by the writer.

Take high fantasy, where everything is made up. The only limits are imposed by the writer’s imagination. Of course, the reader may have certain preconceptions; for example, about elves, who are usually expected to live in forests, have pointed ears and wield magic. But because this is high fantasy the author can play around with the genre. For my part, I decided that my elves would only have magic if they were royal elves. They also have the ability to understand the languages of men and animals and it made sense to me that they would be vegetarians. I could have chosen any number of mythological or magical creatures to add colour to the narrative but, in Book I at least, I decided to make up my own. No unicorns or pixies for me, just shendkin and fetchen. (You’ll have to read the book to find out what they are!)

Low fantasy places greater restrictions upon the author; it has rules and boundaries. In The Exile of Elindel, the low fantasy element consists of an Anglo-Saxon settlement in 500CE, and while some might criticise the accuracy of my historical research, the characters I portray must adhere to the strictures of their nature, setting and time period. This isn’t Dark Age Britain: The Hollywood Years with extras sporting wristwatches. The mead hall can’t have wi-fi and no one is going to send or receive a text. The Saxons didn’t have bicycles, potatoes, chocolate or bananas. There wasn’t any canned food or ball point pens. Electricity hadn’t been discovered. There were no newspapers or clocks. Shopping as a concept had yet to be invented. Even reading and writing were beyond the ken of most people.

In the same way, because these people are real humans whose existence is based on fact, they can’t sprout wings and fly. Nor can they shoot laser beams from their eyes.

But if they can, they’ve entered the realms of magical realism and that’s an entirely different genre!

BUY LINKS:
Amazon UK – https://tinyurl.com/ybhgaa3c
Amazon USA – https://tinyurl.com/ydayn6n3

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Stop the Plane and Order Me a Carriage

Stop the Plane and Order Me a Carriage

by Susan Lodge

Wedged in the middle seat of the middle row of a 747 for upwards of twelve hours, my mind dwelt on the fact that bobbing along in a post chaise, or swinging in a hammock below decks, could not be much more agonizing then travelling economy on a long haul flight. I used to enjoy airplanes. I could happily gaze from the window seat marvelling at anything that appeared through a chink in the clouds. But one flight to Australia was a test of both mind and body.

It all starts go wrong at check in. I cannot secure a window seat, the flight is delayed and when we finally get to board …

Gripe 1. The trek through business class to get to economy.

I openly salivate over the spacious seating in business class as we are herded down the aisle to steerage. The occupants of those designer cubicles tantalizingly stretch their limbs and flex their toes as we pass. I avoid their apologetic eyes and pitying smiles.

Gripe 2. Hand baggage

This appears to have evolved in the last few years from modest shoulder bag to sturdy case complete with wheels. As they are being hoisted, with a great deal of grunting and thrusting into overhead lockers that are clearly not built to accommodate them, the boarding process reduces to snail pace. Why do they need that much hand baggage ? There’s not room to swing a cat let alone unpack and utilize a case full of gear.

Gripe 3. Invasion of space.

The passengers sitting either side of me have claimed the hand rests rendering me straitjacketed in seat. Even worse a rogue foot is gradually edging its way into my allotted leg space. I try to stem the steam from my ears and reflect how lucky I was on my last flight when I sat next to the perfect passenger. He was totally besotted with his female companion and they seemed to merge together in one seat – thereby leaving me a nice lot of space. Not sure what he was trying to achieve in such a restricted area. But if they were fidgeting (so to speak) they were at least being quiet about it.

Gripe 3. Reclining seats

I have the desire to lop something heavy into the seat in front when it falls back into my already limited personal space. Batman Returns is now being viewed two inches from my face. I can’t focus on the screen so switch it off, put my head back and try to relax.

Gripe 4. Touch screens attached to back of seats .

I don’t begrudge the small person behind using their touch screen even though they have not quite mastered the art. The incessant tattooing vibrates on the back of my head. After fifteen minutes it is clear they can find nothing to amuse them on the TV or film menus. The assault stops and I hold my breath willing them to go to sleep – but alas they have become bored and proceed to drum their feet on back of my seat. My unscheduled full body massage is now complete.

Gripe Five. Food.

I manipulate the multiple contents of the tray carefully, arranging the most promising item in secure position. However as I unpack the plastic cutlery I decide to take Food off gripe list. Its arrival has caused the person in front to get their seat out of my face and the tattooing on the back of my head to stop.

There is, of course, an upside to this journey.

As the plane transports me to the other side of the world, my fellow passengers doze off. Ah bliss – I can now switch on my Kindle and in my forced confinement escape to my own private library.

Now, let’s get back to the travel in Regency times. There was a particular coach journey that Esmie Elstone has nightmares about, whilst she endeavoured to escape the repercussions of an unfortunate wager.

Indulge in a bit of romantic intrigue with my latest release.

Esmie Elstone is thrown into panic when she hears of Captain Rockford’s return. But she is determined that the days of him interfering with her life are over. His ruthless meddling during his last visit had resulted in her being foisted on her aunt for a third pointless season in London.

To alleviate the boredom of society life, Esmie helps run a discreet betting enterprise under the guise of a sewing club. But there are some things you just shouldn’t wager on, and Esmie’s integrity is soon put to a dangerous test.

Richard Rockford had known Esmie almost all her life. As neighbours, her father, Admiral Elstone, had depended on Richard to keep an eye on his daughter when he was away at sea – a responsibility he had always taken on willingly. But her cruel and thoughtless actions, from the day he had left four years earlier, had shaken him. Now, he was back, and he wanted answers.

But when Esmie tumbles into a treacherous conspiracy, can he really turn his back on her?

Susan Lodge’s first publishing success was a story purchased by a major UK magazine followed by a drawer full of rejections. Finally a breakthrough gave her the confidence to seek and secure a publisher for her historical romance novels Only a Hero Will Do and Rebellious Cargo.

After working in several cities including London and Bristol, she and her husband moved down to the Hampshire coast to raise their family.

Learn more about Susan and her books on her website and blog. Stay connected on  Facebook, Twitter and her Amazon Author Page.

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The Star-Crossed Seamstress – a New Release for Author Suzanne G. Rogers

Romance at its finest with this new release from the incomparable Suzanne G. Rogers. This beautifully written sure-to-be-bestseller is an historical romance that will touch your heart as it sweeps you away to an era long gone.

Skylar flees a family scandal in Boston, expecting assistance in society from her English relatives. Once her plans fall apart, however, she is obliged to earn money with her skills as a seamstress. Just when she’s given up on the notion of marriage, her path crosses that of a charming laborer who inexplicably sets her pulse racing.

When wealthy Joe Fiddick hits a patch of bad luck, he seizes the opportunity to do something meaningful by helping a neighbor and her pretty granddaughter with repairs to their cottage. As it turns out, he has more in common with the granddaughter than he realizes…and what they share spells disaster for their budding romance.

Will Joe and Skylar be star-crossed lovers or can the rift between them be mended?

EXCERPT
“Let’s start with the window in your workroom,” Joe said. “It can’t open and close properly because the hinges are rusted?”

Skylar nodded. “Yes. I should dearly love to have fresh air, but I cannot seem to force it open.”

He recoiled. “Insupportable! You cannot perspire over a petticoat or suffocate over a seam!”

Skylar couldn’t suppress a giggle. “Or gasp over a gown.”

His eyes crinkled at the corners. “Or faint over a fichu.”

“Or swoon over a sash.”

Joe chuckled. “Or pant over a pantaloon.”

“Or…or…become clammy over a coat.” She wrinkled her nose. “I suppose that last one wasn’t very good.”

“On the contrary, I thought it was splendid. In addition, since I’d just exhausted my cleverness, you win the game.” He made a gesture of invitation. “Will you show me to the window in question?”

“Indeed, I shall. Follow me.”

As Skylar led him into the cottage and down the hall, she had a smile on her lips. Joe was only a laborer, perhaps, but obviously he was possessed of wit as well as good looks. Even though he was poor and lowborn, she imagined he must cause quite a stir in his neighborhood.

In the workroom, Joe unlatched the window, gave it an experimental push, and peered at the hinges. “I’m going to need to pop out the pins on these hinges and sand off the rust. After a drop or two of oil, the window will give you no reason to complain.”

“I hope you’re right.”

When she leaned in closer to examine the hinges, his physical proximity made the fine hair on her forearms stand on end. Her eyes met his and for several heartbeats it was if something unspoken passed between them

She cleared her throat. “I see what you mean about the rust.”


The Star-Crossed Seamstress can be read alone or as part of The Mannequin Series.

The Mannequin (Book One) is available at your favorite bookstore here.
Grace Unmasked (Book Two) is available at your favorite bookstore here.

Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the website for the Sweet Romance written by Suzanne G. Rogers.

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Virtual Book Tour – Sharon Ledwith’s Birthday Bash!

In celebration of Sharon Ledwith’s birthday, all of her books are on tour, on sale, and ready for you to discover. Make sure to follow the tour and enter the giveaway for two signed books, open internationally!!
Tour Schedule:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/02/book-tour-schedule-sharon-ledwiths.html

About the Books:
Legend of the Timekeepers (Book 0.5):
There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe. 
Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.
Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis (Book 1):
Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.
Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret (Book 2):
Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to do whatever they can to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.
With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.
Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:
Lost and Found: Mysterious Tales from Fairy FallsThe Fairy Falls: 
Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:
Purchase Your Copy of Each eBook for the Sale Price at Mirror World Publishing:
Additional purchasing options listed below (but the books are not on sale on those platforms).
Meet the Author:
Escape to the past
and have a blast.
Sharon
Ledwith

is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE
LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM
FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading,
exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a
serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her
hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com
Sharon’s Facebook
Page:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith
Twitter:
@sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith
Amazon Author U.K.
Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO

The books are only on sale through Mirror World Publishing, however, they can be purchase on other platforms:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Giveaway Details and Entry Form:
One winner will received 1 signed paperback copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and 1 signed paperback copy of Lost and Found. This giveaway is international!!

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Torn from Home

c33eb-cover_processedIn this life many of us are torn from home. The reasons this happens to us are varied. It could be economic necessity that forces us to move elsewhere to find work. It could be further education or marriage that take us far away. Perhaps we are promoted and transferred to a different location. We might be compelled to escape from a bad neighbourhood or situation, or we simply cannot pay the rent any more and are thrown out onto the street. For many unfortunate souls, being torn from home happens because they are refugees who must flee for their lives and seek asylum in another country.

Whatever the reasons, rarely are we torn from home because of personal choice. Pulling your roots from the soil that nurtured you is always painful. Relinquishing the known for the unknown takes courage. Being forced to do this as a matter of survival is not a decision any of us would relish.

It’s nearly forty years since I left the place I still call home and, while my childhood there was not a happy one, there are some memories of the place I cherish in spite of everything, but they leave me with feelings of homesickness and nostalgia that make my heart ache.

So I cannot imagine how much more painful feelings such as these must have been for Krystyna Porsz. In my novella Being Krystyna – A Story of Survival in WWII I described how she witnessed her city, her country, being ravaged, ruined and enslaved by the Nazis. She lost everything, including most of her family, and was taken against her will to the hell of Ravensbrück concentration camp.

I doubt I’ll ever go home. Krystyna did not want to. What happened to her was so awful, so life-changing, that she kept moving forwards and never looked back. She made a new home and a new family for herself in a foreign land and she stayed there until she died.

Krystyna was even torn from herself, refusing to reclaim both her cultural identity and her real name, despite being safe in the UK, because for the rest of her life she feared the Nazis would return. Given the resurgence of fascism on the world stage now, I think she was right.

On Holocaust Memorial Day today let us spare a thought for everyone who has lost their home, in war and peace and for whatever reason, because, as Krystyna could testify, once you have been torn from home, it is lost to you forever.

Being Krystyna:
Amazon UK – http://tinyurl.com/gm4d9qy
Amazon .com http://tinyurl.com/z66aalk

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The Editing Process – What to Expect.

My thanks to author Sloane Taylor for having me on her blog this week.

https://sloanetaylor.blogspot.com/2019/01/edits-ugly-truth.html

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Happy New Year

FANTASY SOULS-EXCERPT-CAROL BROWNE-mockup

When it comes to seeing in the new year and summing up the old one, I’m lagging behind the rest of my author pals. I had to work at one of my day jobs over the festive period and have been battling a virus for ten days so my heart hasn’t been in it.

I’m feeling brighter today and, while I always wish I’d done more with each year that passes, if I am honest 2018 did see a certain level of achievement that should spur me on to greater things in 2019.

In my capacity as The Wordsmith I gained some interesting new clients and proofread and edited diverse pieces of text, among them a dissertation on ICU patient care for a nurse and a horror story for a budding author. I did a number of CVs and covering letters and was also asked to write two poems to help in the marketing of a kitchen appliance!

While the business of keeping a roof over my head took up most of my time and energy, I still had some small success as a published author. My non-fiction novella Being Krystyna-A Story of Survival in WWII received many superb reviews on Amazon and was also featured in a talk given at the Houses of Parliament by a professor of human migration.c33eb-cover_processed

In November, Gateway to Elvendom, book two of my fantasy trilogy The Elwardain Chronicles, was published by Burning Willow Press and in December their charity anthology Crossroads in the Dark IV featured my short story Ghosts in the Machine.

On a personal level, I joined the Labour Party and committed myself to the socialist cause and to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who I hope will be the next UK Prime Minister.Gateway to Elvendom finished art wrap1-page-001

One of the best things I did in 2018 was to join the writing community on Twitter. It’s not just an opportunity to gain more followers but to engage with like-minded people and to share tips and information that will benefit all of us involved in the writing and publishing industry.

I finally got myself a smartphone in 2018 so I have a camera at long last, and I made my first video which was shown at a book launch party on Facebook.

While I’m sure I must have done more than all that in 2018—it seemed more like a century than a year while I was going through it—I hope I can be much more productive in 2019. I do have another book coming out; book three of my trilogy, which is entitled Wyrd’s End. I’ll be working with my editor on that sometime soon. I’ve been working on both a prequel and book four but I don’t expect either to see the light of day this year! I have another short story in the Burning Willow Press charity anthology which will be out in December. And there are a couple of books already written I need to find homes for.critd iv

Plans for 2019 so far include a local book signing in January and attendance at the Deepings Literary Festival in April. I think it’s time I joined Instagram too. Oldies like me have to take their time with new technology but we get there in the end.

I never make new year resolutions as a rule but having interacted with so many writers recently and realised what a self-doubting, introverted, self-deprecating bunch we are, I think it’s time to stop with the self-criticism and fear of rejection and start appreciating and valuing myself and my abilities. I don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to ask daft questions and make mistakes. My opinion is as good as anyone else’s. And so is my writing!

Happy 2019, everyone!

Amazon author page US: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0034P87QC
Amazon author page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0034P87QC
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@CarolABrowne
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolBrowne
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5171653.Carol_Browne

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The Fae’s Amulet – New Release for Author J F Posthumus

from J.F. Posthumus just in time for the necromance lover on your Holiday list!

What would you do if you had the power to destroy the world…

In her younger years, Catherine Woulfe was known as the Lady of Death…but those days are long past. Now, at over 300 years old, she is older, wiser…and painfully dull. Instead of using her necromancy skills for things like killing people and taking over governments, she now works as a private investigator, helping people find their lost treasures.

But when a charismatic stranger walks through her door, searching for one of the most powerful artifacts ever created, she is drawn into a case where she must use all of her old powers—including several forbidden ones—if she is to find the missing amulet. When the last person to see the amulet goes missing, she realizes it’s time for the Lady of Death to summon her minions and go on the warpath.

Angels and demons are searching for the amulet, as is a mysterious dark elf about whom little is known. Everyone is stalking her, waiting for her to find it so they can grab it for their own; meanwhile, her client has awoken feelings long suppressed, which is proving to be…distracting. Can Catherine find the trail of the thief and recover the amulet before the thief uses it to summon a deity that will destroy the Earth? More importantly, if she gets it, will she give it back?

EXCERPT
A knock on the door pulled my attention away from the emails I was sorting through for the day. I lifted my brows in surprise at the visitor standing in my doorway. Dark eyes met mine, and it took every bit of willpower to keep from admiring the way his designer clothing fit his body. He wore the perfectly tailored three-piece suit with the same ease most wore jeans and a t-shirt. His face was elegant and had aristocratic features, which fit his six-foot-three-inch frame perfectly.

Thankfully, unlike most people, I wasn’t intimidated by his height, stature, or handsomeness. Or his reputation.

“The Consigliere,” I said. “To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?”

“Dubious?” The Consigliere’s honey smooth baritone carried across the room. “You wound me, Lady Catherine. I am here on good business.”

“That’s Miss Woulfe to you. Good for whom?” I said through gritted teeth I hoped looked like a smile.

“For all parties concerned, naturally.”

Naturally.

I drew in a breath and let it out slowly as he entered my office, allowing the door to shut with a soft whisper behind him.

The man was handsome and immaculate from his brown hair to his loafered feet.

He could have been a model for Men’s Fitness or a Chippendale’s dancer. There was sensuality in his movements, and he exuded confidence. We moved in similar circles, and his reputation preceded him wherever he went. While I was spoken about in cautious whispers, he was spoken about in awe, if not longing.

And the bleeding sod refused to take his twinkling brown eyes off me.

His gaze made me want to check my snug, professional-looking chignon to make sure no stray, black strands were flying loose. At least I didn’t have to worry about my long-lasting lipstick.

I paused a moment and glanced away as though I were pondering his unspoken request. When I met his eyes again, I replied in a flat, cold tone, “No. Whatever it is you’re trying to sell, you can take elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

“You don’t know what my business is; nor do you know who besides you could benefit…yet you dismiss it.” He was still looking at me, smiling, while his words poured from between his yummy lips. “Is my reputation that sullied in the circles in which you walk that you won’t even listen, or is there another reason for your behavior?”

I snorted. “Not hardly, and you know it. There are few reasons you, of all people, would desire my services, and it isn’t for the appraisal of any occult item.”

“Are you as wrong in your appraisals as you are in your presumptions?” Fergus Sterling taunted before continuing, “Your reputation must have been paid for.”

He held out a photograph.

My impulse was to cursorily glance at the picture, but my eyes locked on it once I saw the item captured on the paper. Ancient workmanship surrounded a jeweled eye of blue. The amulet was legend, myth, and history.

“Ilygad Amon,” I said, realizing a moment later I had said the words under my breath instead of speaking properly.

Sterling’s voice was smug. “So, you do know some of what is reputed.”

Ignoring his attempt to rile me, I took the picture and looked closer at it.

“The captured eye of the Christian demon, Amon,” I explained, “transmogrified into a jewel by ancient fae Magick—some claim by traveling gypsy witches, others give credit to followers of Anubis—and locked into a box made of equal parts gold and lead. It’s ancient and used only in the darkest Magick.”

“Would you be willing to help track down this piece, verify its authenticity, and turn it over to parties who wish it to remain unused or, at least, contained from further use?” Sterling asked. I could hear the smile in his voice as he waited to see how I would react.

“How do you know I won’t try to keep it for myself? I am, after all, a practitioner of the Dark Arts, or to be more precise, a necromancer of considerable talents.” I offered him a placating smile. “Or is that why you came to me? You could easily authenticate this piece, unless my parents were incorrect when they said you’ve been alive since the middle ages.”

“How sweet of them to make me younger than I am,” he replied jovially. “I could do the job, but my age and reputation are considered disadvantages to the interested parties. They want someone who has less experience with such powerful objects.”

“Then they obviously aren’t aware of half the items I possess,” I replied. “Who are the ‘interested parties?’ I don’t go into anything blind.”

“You know my reputation, so you know I don’t give out my clients’ identities.” Sterling countered. “They were referred to me by Zeus and Merlyn.”

I wasn’t going to touch that one with a fifty-foot pole. Instead, I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair.

“Have a seat, and let us discuss fees.”

Once Sterling was seated in the plush, antique chair opposite my oak desk, I nodded. The Eye of Amon was an artifact I’d only heard about growing up. Finding it and verifying that it was more than myth would certainly add to my resume. The job would have to take precedence over any opinion I had of the arrogant, but delectable, male in my office. “My standard fee for such a task is $250,000, plus expenses.”

“A quarter million?” he retorted. “That’s all?”

It really annoyed me that I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or incredulous.

“You have a problem with my fee?” My voice was sharp, like a whip’s crack.

“Had I known you charged bargain prices, I would have sought you out sooner, for other clients.” He smiled cattily. “Of course, I’d only do so if you deliver what’s being asked for.”

I knew I was leaning toward him, narrowing my eyes and smiling tightly. I didn’t care, though. “Of course. And, of course, you won’t have a problem signing a contract. Correct?”

“Correct.”

Turning slightly, I opened the drawer to my left and removed one of the contracts I kept there for such occasions. I had two types of contracts: one for mundane, normal people and another for anyone of a Magickal, supernatural, or preternatural persuasion. The latter contract was binding in multiple ways.

It took less than five minutes for me to fill it out, then I slid the papers across the desk to Sterling.

“You know how this works: read, sign, and date. No blood is required for this particular contract.”

Wife and a mother of five, J.F. Posthumus is an IT Tech with over a decade of experience. When she isn’t arguing with computers and their inherent gremlins, or being mom to the four younger monsters (the eldest has flown the nest and is doing quite well on his own), she’s crafting, writing, or doing some other sort of art. An avid gamer, she loves playing Dungeons & Dragons, and a variety of other board games with her family and friends. J.F. is also a hopeless romantic, thanks to all the fairy tales she cut her eyeteeth on. They were what she learned to read before discovering the Boxcar Children Mysteries. From there, J.F. Posthumus fell into the rabbit hole that’s reading, where she discovered a love for mysteries, fantasy, and the occasional romance. Since writing was her favorite subject, J.F. naturally incorporated her love of murder, mysteries, and fantasy into her works.

When J.F. came up with the idea of a body being found at a local building, it was only natural to create a necromancer for the job. From there, Catherine’s story unfolded, complete with monsters, magic, and a little bit of romance…

Learn more about J.F. Posthumus on her website. Stay connected on Facebook and J.F.’s Facebook Author’s Page.

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BOOK EXCERPT – “The Exile of Elindel” (Book 1 of the trilogy “The Elwardain Chronicles”) by Carol Browne

My thanks go to Fantasy Souls for sharing an excerpt of my book The Exile of Elindel on this amazing blog …

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FANTASY SOULS-EXCERPT-CAROL BROWNE-WRAPPING

Synopsis

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.
Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.
A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

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Blitzen Learns How to Fly – A Festive Children’s Story from Author Tina Ruiz

Tina Ruiz has outdone herself with her heartwarming children’s holiday story Blitzen Learns How to Fly. The characters are believable. The pictures are bright and cheery, and the story will hold a child’s attention from the first page to the last. The lesson on bullying and confidence building is evident, and the rest of the tale is simply charming. This is the perfect gift for every young person.

Blitzen was born at the North Pole, but he is unable to fly. Because of that, he is taunted and called names by the other reindeers. Rudy saw what was happening, and he decided to teach Blitzen how to gain some confidence. And with a little magic powder from Santa, Blitzen is not only able to fly, but he becomes part of Santa’s famous team.

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Tina Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz wrote twenty-seven books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

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