Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tea Leaf Tales: For the Price of a Bird of Paradise Song

On my daily walk going nowhere in particular other than through the fresh air, this majestic bird chirped at me, “Please, I beg you, free me from my captivity.”

“But you are in every bird’s idyllic home—paradise—where food and water and sunshine are everywhere.”

“True, those are freely abundant, but I wish to travel and see the world whispered about by the finches and squawked about by the scaup ducks. They have the life, not me.” The bird lowered his tone, and I drew nearer. “I have seen my brothers and sisters make the same pleas, but once cut free, they were forced into a worse prison of a narrow tube of stale water with no sunlight, but I can tell you are different than those who’ve passed by here before. You can transform my stem into wings, can you not?”

I worked to hide my smile and replied, “That may be true, but what will you give me in return?

“A beautiful song.”

I withdrew my pocket knife, and as I slashed his thick stem, a whistle grew into a clear note, into a trill, into a melodious warble…and off he sailed…for the high price of his first song that I deemed a fine trade.

Tea Leaf Tales is a series of original ten-sentence short stories by Marsha A. Moore, relating to photos/scenes that resonate with her.
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The First Secret is a Story ~guest post & contest by author of The Dragon's Message, Lori Fitzgerald

Today, I'm so pleased to welcome Lori Fitzgerald, author of a new fantasy book, The Dragon's Message. She's sharing a bit about what inspired  her to write this wonderful tale. I love her cover art! Please be sure to check out her book. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy!

“The first secret is a story…”
by Lori Fitzgerald            

When I was in high school my father bought me a navy leather-bound edition of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. I read it in bed by dim lamplight in the still hours after midnight during a week when the lancing pain of an ear infection made sleep elusive. The enchantment on each page made the pain bearable and, at the same time, illuminated a magical path for my life to follow.
In college my friends knew where to find me: lurking on the deserted third floor of the library near the Celtic myth section of the stacks. As an English major I specialized in my passion, medieval and Arthurian literature, so most of my stories are infused with Celtic and/or medieval settings, and The Dragon’s Message in particular takes place in a medieval fantasy land. Medieval literature abounds with hidden meanings, for in the landscape of the medieval mind, a character, setting, object or even action have both a literal and a symbolic meaning.  There are many secrets in The Dragon’s Message. Allow me to share a few hints to their discovery with you.
Lady Rhiannon of Caer Idris lives in a world filled with castles, knights, and tournaments.  In the very beginning of the story, Rhiannon’s heart is set pounding – in fear? or in longing? – by the sight of an entourage’s heraldic banners and the coat of arms on the lead knight’s shield. Medieval heraldry began as practical badges of recognition, so that armored knights could be identified in battle.  However, the symbols, or charges, also represented the qualities that the knight and his family held important. Sir Gwydion’s family banners are a blue background with a gold band at the top. The gold (“Or”) symbolizes generosity and elevation of the mind, and the blue (“Azure”) symbolizes truth and loyalty. These are keys to the quest in the story. The family coat of arms is, in medieval heraldic terms, “Azure, a unicorn passant reguardant Or, a chief embattled Or, file Azure.” This means the shield has a blue background, and a gold unicorn with one front leg reared and its head turned to look behind it is in the center. The unicorn symbolizes extreme courage, virtue, and strength. The top part of the shield is a gold band shaped like the top of a fortress turret, which symbolizes protection…or fire. On this gold band is a blue “file” symbol (it looks like an “E”) which is the symbol of the oldest son. This is how Rhiannon knows that the troop’s leader is Sir Gwydion. Other sons would have different symbols on the shield. And here is a hint for Rhiannon’s family coat of arms: look to the tapestry in the main hall of her castle for its interpretation.
Rhiannon’s medieval world is also populated by fantastical creatures such as dragons and unicorns. Unfortunately, these creatures are dying breeds. For many years wizards under the direction of various ruling lords have been stealing these creatures’ magic for their own. Rhiannon is the keeper of the Dragon Tome, a special book that holds the language and the secrets of the dragons. But there is more than meets the eye to this lady, as some names in the story suggest. Her castle “Idris” in Celtic/Welsh means “fiery,” and was also the name of a legendary giant in Celtic myth who lived on a mountain ridge (Cadair Idris). Her great-great grandmother’s name, Aelwyd, means “from the hearth.” And even the runes that the dragon messenger writes with “its red-gold ember breath in the darkening sky” hold multiple interpretations, because dragons “do not speak in as simple or as many words as we do, for their throats are clogged with embers. So each rune has many meanings, and can be interpreted in many ways, often depending on the other runes that they are with.”
In true medieval fashion, many secrets abound in The Dragon’s Message. I invite you to enter the world of the Dragon Tome and discover them! 

A dragon writes a cryptic message with its ember breath in the evening sky...

Lady Rhiannon watches from the turret wall with an ache in her blood. She's the only person who can decipher the message as the sole keeper of the Dragon Tome. When an old enemy threatens the castle, her father charges his knight with escorting her to a safe haven—the same knight Rhiannon had a crush on as a girl. But she must now convince him to change his plans, for she has her own sacred charge to fulfill...

So begins a journey to hidden ruins where magic slumbers in the stones and love lies in the heart, waiting to awaken. As Rhiannon and the knight face seemingly insurmountable odds, only the dragon knows if they can fulfill their destiny...

An excerpt from The Dragon’s Message:

When Rhiannon was small and had just learned to read, her mother brought her into the hall one day when her father was on campaign, and led her to the large table upon which a great map of their lands lay.  She instructed Rhiannon to read the words of the landmarks: castle, road, mountain, forest, village.  The young girl touched words inscribed over a place where trees met craggy peaks.  “What does that say, my love?” her mother prompted.
            “Here be dragons,” Rhiannon answered, glancing up at her mother.
            Her mother nodded, smiling.  She knelt down in front of Rhiannon so they were at the same height.  The lady’s hazel eyes sparkled as she whispered, “I have a secret to share.  But I can only share it with a little girl with red and gold hair,” she pulled playfully on Rhiannon’s braid,” who knows how to read.”  Rhiannon giggled.  “Are you a little girl such as this?” Rhiannon nodded eagerly, and her mother laughed.  She stood up and gestured at a tapestry on the wall.  “Come, child, the dragon guards our treasure.”
            Hand in hand they walked to the tapestry of the sleeping dragon.  “Your great-great grandmother wove this tapestry when she was an old woman.  It took her a long time to complete, with her hands gnarled so, like the twisted oak by the drawbridge.”  The dragon was curled up in front of a turret, with stone dolmens in a semi-circle behind it, interspersed with trees and a mountain peak in the background and bright blue sky above.  The dragon’s scales were crimson and woven through with glittering gold thread, and its curved horns and talons were gold.  As they paused in front of the large tapestry, Rhiannon looked closely at the eyes of the dragon; she thought perhaps she could see a slit of gold, as if the dragon were only pretending to be asleep. 
            Rhiannon’s mother stood on tiptoe and moved part of the tapestry to the side, revealing a slit in the stone wall.  With her free hand she reached in and drew out a large leather-bound tome.  She motioned her daughter to come sit with her on one of the benches that lined the walls.  “Look and listen well, my daughter,” she said, and ran her fingers along the smooth cover, “this book is our special treasure, and it contains many secrets within its pages.  I am going to teach you how to read them.”  She opened the book as Rhiannon snuggled closer to her, her mother’s loose red-gold hair falling over the girl’s shoulder and brushing the crinkly parchment pages of the book which she turned until she came to the picture of a girl.
            “The first secret is a story…”

About the Author:

Lori J. Fitzgerald lives in New York with her fellow English Major husband and their two little bookworms. Medieval literature is her passion, and she wishes she could spend more time traipsing around Renaissance Faires and shouting “Huzzah” at jousts. She was a middle school English teacher for many years and was best known for her dramatic readings of The Princess Bride. Lori is currently a Staff Writer for the website Once Upon A Fan, the popular fansite for ABC’s hit show Once Upon A Time. You can contact her by email at WhiteRaven829@gmail.com.

Contact Links:

Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cover Reveal ~ Secret of the Souls, an upcoming fantasy novel by Terri Rochenski


Secret of the Souls

Release Date: October 6, 2014
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Fantasy

Back of the Book

Thrust out of their homes by a human High Priest on a vengeful mission, the Natives of Derlund no longer have a place to call their own. One escaped capture, however, and now she, Hyla, is the only one who can save her people.

For, Hyla, though, saving her nation isn’t her ultimate goal—returning to the Pool of Souls is. Becoming its Guardian and preserving their faith is her heart’s desire. The perils of her current journey, though, could leave her unable to fulfill that dream.

To find her way back to the Pool, Hyla must live among dangerous, powerful humans willing to defend the Natives, and must submit herself—her Talents—to them. While her protection is paramount, plots to end Hyla’s life will push her to her physical and emotional limits.

On the edge of sanity, her courage tested, and convictions nearly broken, Hyla’s final test of loyalty to her faith comes with the death of one she could have loved.

Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tea Leaf Tales: Only for my Besties—A Magic Elixir

For my extra special friends—that’s you—I’ve got something incredible to share. But first, promise that you won’t tell anyone, or at least just guide them to my directions here—that’s okay—but only if they’re on your absolute bestie list.

One day last week, I noticed my neighbor a few doors down loading and unloading several five-gallon buckets from the back of his SUV. The guy is the ultra-handy sort and always up to do-it-yourself projects, one after another that make mere mortals feel even more ordinary.

Sometimes, I like to walk past his house to get ideas for my own projects, or to enjoy the mental challenge on the way home of trying to find time that doesn’t exist in my schedule to take on one more job.

Anyway, this time my reason was pure snooping, nothing principled, idealistic, or industrious as I strolled past looking like I had nothing better to do than enjoy the settling dusk, but instead spied purple water in one of his buckets—not just plain purple water, but a gleam of violet phosphorescence haloed the surface. I lingered behind a bush, and my neighbor poured the elixir on his bougainvillea vines, rose bushes, and creeping sunshine mimosa. Before my eyes, those plants grew thicker foliage, more abundant blooms, and headier fragrances so strong that I was delirious with the scent in my nose even after I returned home.

The next morning, when he loaded the empty buckets, I followed him to the back of our housing area, along the pot-holed construction road to this unmarked well. Since then, I’ve worked my own magic on my jasmine vines, which are now engulfing the porch with sweet, angelic, popcorn-like blooms…and the secret is now yours.

Tea Leaf Tales is a series of original ten-sentence short stories by Marsha A. Moore, relating to photos/scenes that resonate with her.

Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Copper Girl's Birthday ~ guest post by urban fantasy author Jennifer Allis Provost

 Today, I'm pleased to bring my readers a guest post from Jennifer Allis Provost about her new urban fantasy release Copper Girl. Check the bottom of this post for a great giveaway contest!

Copper Girl’s Birthday List
by Jennifer Allix Provost

I know writers say this all the time, but I adore my MC, Sara Corbeau. She’s smart, funny in spite of her bad jokes, and she appreciates the simple pleasures in life. Below is Sara’s birthday wish list, showing just what a down-to-earth gal she is. 
Coffee: Sara loves coffee, so much so she drinks it all day and all night. Cinnamon cappuccinos are her favorite, but she will happily drink black coffee, a shot of espresso, etc. She partakes of other forms of caffeine as well, especially if Micah’s serving tea with honey.
Hooded sweatshirt: Easily Sara’s favorite fashion accessory, she owns one for every day of the week, though most of them are black. They’re perfect for ensuring that no one sees her Elemental mark.
Bread: Sara doesn’t have a sweet tooth, she has a carb tooth, and the government rations she’s supposed to be eating taste more like sawdust than bread. She has a habit of going to the Promenade market with her best friend, Juliana, and stocking up on contraband bread and cheese. And if a bottle of wine sneaks its way in the bag, what of it? Can’t have good bread with bad wine.
Old movies: Sara once rigged up her Picture Vision so she could watch pre-war movies. You know, from back when the acting was good. After the war, the Peacekeepers rounded up everyone with talent and forced them to work on government projects. Sara keeps her head down, and works in a corporate office sorting reports.
A gift certificate to a salon: After obsessively dying her copper-colored hair for more than a decade, those tresses could use some tender loving care. It’s not that she wanted to dye her hair, but the color was yet another marker of her Elemental abilities. She has to be careful, or she could end up like her father and brother. Not that anyone knows what really happened to them.

Copper Girl
The Copper Legacy
Book One
Jennifer Allis Provost

Genre: urban fantasy
Publisher: Spence City
Date of Publication: June 25, 2013
ISBN: 978-1939392022
Number of pages: 248
Word Count: appx 80k
Cover Artist: Lisa Amowitz

Purchase it at Amazon or BN

Book Description:

Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara's dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

Excerpt Chapter 1

It seemed like a good idea at the time.
My office, like most modern offices, cranked the air conditioning down to Arctic proportions during the summer months. Consequently, we workers arrived in the morning dressed in sandals and sleeveless tops, donned heavy sweaters upon reaching our desks, and ended up shivering by noon. Ironically, when our workday ended we were hit by a wall of oppressive heat the moment we stepped outside the main doors. No, this wasn’t a flawed system in the slightest.
That day, I wasn’t having it. I had the grand idea of spending my lunch hour outside, away from the icy wind stiffening my fingers and chilling my neck. After I unwound myself from the afghan I kept in my desk (and only used in the summer months), I gathered up my lunch and my phone and headed out for an impromptu picnic in my car.
What I hadn’t considered was that the office runs the air conditioning so cold because it was, well, hot outside. Very hot, in fact. So hot that the cheese was melting in my sandwich and the lettuce looked like something that had washed ashore months, maybe even years, ago. I was parked in the shade and had taken down my car’s convertible top, but I still couldn’t manage to get comfortable. I’d already shed my sandals and cardigan, which left me wearing my sundress and…
Dare I?
I glanced around the parking lot of Real Estate Evaluation Services, the ‘go-to firm for all your commercial real estate needs’, according to the brochures. No one, human or drone, was taking a noontime stroll, and, by virtue of my being on the far side of the lot, no cars were near mine. Most of my coworkers didn’t even have cars, so the lot was rarely more than half-full. What was more, from where I sat, I couldn’t even see the office.
I dared.
I took a deep breath and channeled my inner wild woman, then leaned the seat back and slipped off my panties. Removing that small bit of cotton made an incredible difference, and the heat became somewhat bearable. Enjoyable, even. Was that a breeze?  
Ignoring my decrepit sandwich, I fully reclined the seat, set the alarm on my phone, and closed my eyes. A nap. Now that would make today bearable.
Suddenly, he is there.
Kissing me, holding me.
I know I’m dreaming, because he’s perfect. His lips are soft but insistent, his hands gentle. I glide my fingers across his back, feeling thick cords of muscle, before sinking my fingers into his hair. It’s superfine, like cobwebs, and when I crack an eyelid, I learn that it’s silver. Not gray or white, but the elegant hue of antique candlesticks and fine flatware.  Cool.
I squeeze my eyes shut again, not wanting the dream to end any sooner than it has to. He kisses me once more, and I can’t help melting against him. His hand travels up my leg, up past my hip… shit! No panties!
I try twisting away, but he already knows. I feel his mouth stretch into a smile, and he moves to nuzzle my neck. “What’s your name?” he murmurs.
“Sara,” I reply. “Yours?”
“Micah.” By now, his hands have traveled to my waist, and he slides one around to stroke the small of my back. “Why did you summon me, Sara?”
“I didn’t,” I protest. “I don’t know how.” I would say more, but he nibbles a trail from my neck to my shoulder, and pushes my dress to the side. As for me, I let him .
Micah raises his head, and I get a good look at him for the first time. His eyes are large and dark gray, like thunderheads, his features chiseled into warm caramel skin, and his unruly mop of silver hair seems to float around his head. He wears an odd, buff-colored leather shirt, made all the odder in this heat, and matching leather pants and boots. Boots?
“You did summon me,” he insists. “My Sara, you must tell me why.”
“Does it matter?” I ask. I pull him back to me, kissing him with all the passion I’ve never felt with anyone during my waking hours. Micah kisses me back, fingers deftly unbuttoning my dress while his other hand rubs my lower back. I’ve never felt so free, so alive as I do in Micah’s embrace, and I have no intention of rushing this. None at all.
My phone screamed for attention, thus ending the best dream that had ever been dreamed. Ever. I fumbled to silence it, then shook myself back to reality. I still felt warm and glowy from the dream, almost after-glowy. It wasn’t until I stretched and got tangled in my clothing that I noticed anything was amiss.
The straps of my dress had slid down around my elbows, and the dress itself was unbuttoned to my waist. What’s more, my bra was all askew and a nipple was dangerously close to freedom. I shot a quick glance around the parking lot as I fixed my clothing; luckily, there was no one around, either of the human or robotic drone persuasion. I hoped no one had gotten an eyeful of how I was apparently fondling myself in my sleep.
Some dream. Soon enough, I got the top half of my dress squared away and reached into the passenger seat, only to come up empty. My panties were gone. 
Great. Either one of my coworkers had found me sleeping and stolen them, or a randy squirrel had absconded with my delicates. Hoping for the latter, I stuffed my feet back into my sandals and returned to the office and my ever-growing mountain of paperwork.
Speaking of the mountain there was a fresh sheaf of reports on my desk, ready for sorting. My title, if it can be called that, is Quarterly Report Collator.
This impressive moniker means that I have the ability—no, make that the responsibility—to place various documents and reports in their proper order, usually alphabetically. I’ve even been known to utilize ascending numbers when the occasion warrants, a feat those who get paid far more than I do cannot seem to manage. As long as they keep paying me, I’m fine with my place on the food chain, low though it may be. It sure beats the alternative--a luxurious but caged life as a sellout government shill, performing spells on command as if they were parlor tricks. My family may have lost much, but we still have some pride left.
I dove right into the heap of reports, for once appreciating the mindless work since it gave me the mental space to dwell on my dream lover. Why would a man in my dream claim that I’d summoned him? And what was with his getup? Micah had looked like he should be playing the part of a swashbuckling hero in a trashy romance novel, not hanging around in the parking lot of a midsized corporation specializing in commercial real estate acquisitions and liquidations.
And his name: Micah. I was certain that I’d never heard it before, which puzzled me. If I were going to create a dream lover, wouldn’t I give him a regular name like Tom or Joe? A name I was at least familiar with?
I swiveled in my chair and called up my search engine. We are not, under any circumstances, supposed to use this bit of technology that is standard issue with each and every one of our ergonomically correct workstations. I’m not quite sure what the punishment for internet usage is, but I’ve always imagined ninjas dropping out of the ceiling and hauling me off to their lair. After enduring a mild torture session, I’m given a cup of hot sake and sent on my way.
I could have waited until I got home. I had a nicer computer and better, faster internet access than the office does, but I couldn’t wait. Not while the image of Micah’s thundercloud eyes still burned in my memory, inciting not-safe-for-work thoughts.
I typed in Micah: define, and the results page immediately listed a bunch of Biblical references. Mmm, not exactly helpful. I clicked around for a while until I found one of those sites that specialized in the meaning of names. It read thusly:
Micah ( mī ' kə ) he who resembles God.
Huh. My dream man was certainly attractive, but I didn’t know if I’d go so far as to call him a god. Then I remembered that there was a type of stone called mica, which also seemed like an unlikely source for me to pull a name from. In the midst of typing mica: stone, I was interrupted.
“Hey, beautiful.”
I glanced up and saw Floyd, the office sleaze, hovering at the edge of my cubicle. Better and better. I clicked off the browser and nonchalantly swiveled away from the keyboard. To throw the ninjas off my trail, of course. “You and Juliana heading over to The Room tonight?” he asked.
The Room is a local hangout, stocked with stale beer and watered-down liquor, not to mention a floor that has never, ever been mopped. Not. Even. Once. But it’s cheap and close to the office, so we all go. Since I started working at REES, I’ve been a regular. “We haven’t discussed it.”
“Everyone’s going,” Floyd pressed. “C’mon, I’ll buy you a drink. You like gin and tonic, right?”
I heaved the stack of reports from my lap to my desk and uncrossed my legs, squarely planting my feet in order to deliver the Keep Away From Me speech to Floyd yet again, when I remembered my lack of undergarments. Quickly, I snatched my afghan from where I’d tossed it before lunch and spread it across my lower body like a shield.
“Whatever,” I mumbled, which Floyd counted as a victory.
“See you there,” he drawled. I hate him.
I spent the rest of my shift with my thighs clamped together, having mild anxiety attacks whenever I stood. Or sat. Or reached for anything. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was more than ready for something eye-wateringly alcoholic. Juliana, my best friend and REES’s office manager, was game, as she usually was, and we made it to The Room in time for happy hour. Normally, I feel like I’m in her shadow, what with her long, dark hair, matching eyes, and the body of a pre-war pinup girl, but tonight I didn’t care. Right about now, a little overshadowing was just what the doctor ordered.
After a few bowls of pretzels, and more than a few cocktails, I confessed my al fresco state, to which Juliana and I clinked glasses and downed a few shots in honor of my missing panties. Floyd, the scum, welshed on his promise of gin and tonic. I really do hate him.
About the Author:

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, two birds, three cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

Twitter: @parthalan

Tour giveaway details:

prize pack including a signed copy of Copper Girl, swag, and a necklace inspired by the token Micah gives Sara.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tea Leaf Tales: The Forlorn Boot

Crowds parted as people scurried around this battered boot, forlorn and without mate or owner, as if its rough condition made it disgraceful.

Its leather, softened from wear, seemed like a dear, wrinkled face that made me smile, and I picked it up, wondering what fabulous tales it might tell.

It recoiled, curling both toe and tongue and croaked with a throaty whisper, “What want do you have with a useless, tired thing like me?”

“My wise boot, you have stories to tell that could compare to none. Will you please share them with me?” I asked.

It unfurled its tongue and said, “Entertainment is for those who have nothing productive to do. Give me a job, and I’ll tell all my tales whilst I work.”

I scratched my head and replied, “I am truly in need of a proud doorstop that will serve me without fail…if the job suits.”

The toe stretched, and the laces straightened when it replied, “I shall be honored to be in your employment.”

“And tell me tall tales from years ago?” I asked, and the boot winked its top eyelet.

Tea Leaf Tales is a series of original ten-sentence short stories by Marsha A. Moore, relating to photos/scenes that resonate with her.

Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chlorine gas oozed from the dragon's blood ~ Sunday Sample from Seeking a Scribe by Marsha A. Moore

My Sunday Sample is from Seeking a Scribe, the first of five Enchanted Bookstore Legends, an epic fantasy romance. This is the book that began the adventurous tale of magic, danger, dragons, wizards, and romance. Find descriptions and purchase links for all five books below.

In this sample, Lyra McCauley and her small group of guides reach the division between good and evil lands. There, one of the guides, Glisla, turns traitor. Cullen, the Imperial Sorcerer and Lyra's beloved, along with the Imperial Dragon (golden dragon/Head Guardian), come to Lyra's aid when she is being attacked.

In the distant edge of the dense woods, Lyra barely made out the form of a green dragon. A breeze carried the foul odor of evil from that direction, making her nose wrinkle in disgust.
When their band reached the Geminus tree, the discordance of powers caused the air to crackle with electricity. The treetop swayed wildly in a gust. Lyra looked up. A magnificent golden dragon sailed toward her, larger than any dragon she had seen. His translucent wings connected all along his body to the tip of his tail, like huge sails. It could only be the Imperial Dragon.
She stood entranced by his vast golden aura trailing far behind him. His power reached inside her soul and connected to her new internal fire. In that instant, she gained insight into her purpose. Suddenly, she was one with the good of Dragonspeir, as strong as the bond with her family and belief she could find happiness with Cullen. The three were inseparable in her spirit.
While lost in this revelation, something pushed her hard past the Geminus tree. She landed on her side in the bleak shadow world and stared back at Glisla, whose body and arms leaned forward from shoving her.
“Lyra! Get up! Come to me!” Cullen shouted, holding his hand to her just inside the boundary.
The Head Guardian let out a piercing screech.
Something whoshed above her. “You’re my prize now, Scribe,” a huge green dragon snarled while his talons latched onto her waist.
She screamed and writhed.
Before it could even lift off, the Imperial Dragon came at full speed, tackling the beast half his size.
Tossed free, she landed eighty feet farther within the dark land.
The dragons wrestled between her and the Geminus tree. Fire and magma drakes circled her like vultures. In one swift bite, the Head Guardian bit cleanly through the neck of his opponent. The huge green head landed with a thud in front of Lyra, its spinal hornlets lodging in the soil. A stench of chlorine gas oozed from its blood.
        Her legs trembled and buckled as she attempted to stand. She could feel the heat of the drakes’ breath from above. She needed to get back over the boundary. 


Information about the Enchanted Bookstore Legends:

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications. 

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.  

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.  

Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One
Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love. 

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love? 

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.

Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two

Lyra McCauley receives an alarming letter from the coroner who evaluated her deceased aunt, originally thought to have died of cancer. The news causes Lyra to take leave from her job and travel from sunny Tampa to the frozen island community in northern Michigan. Questioning whether Dragonspeir magic was responsible for her aunt’s death, she resolves to learn the truth and accepts the Imperial Dragon’s appointment into the Alliance sorcery training. 

Additionally, becoming proficient in magic craft is the only way she can bridge the gap between her mortal human world and her lover’s. Cullen, a 220-year-old wizard, is dependent upon his Dragonspeir magic for immortality. He is her only family now; she cannot lose him.

Evil forces block her and try to steal her inherited scribal aura. Riding a stealth dragon, a cloaked rider pursues Lyra. Both the Alliance and Dark Realm alchemists lay tricks and traps. Her aura equals that of the first and most powerful Scribe, but will Lyra’s novice training allow her to discover the truth…and find a life with Cullen? Or will the Dark Realm keep them apart?

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three 

When Lyra McCauley learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague, she doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra. 

She leaves her college teaching and puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.

Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four

Lyra McCauley, current Scribe of the Alliance, is the only one who can decode magic hidden in the recently retrieved ancient texts written by her ancestors, the first four Scribes. Information in those writings can help Lyra locate the four missing keystones, which will restore power to the Alliance and allow overthrow of the Dark Realm. With peace restored, she and her beloved, Cullen, could finally marry.

Time is short with the Black Dragon’s Dark Realm increasing attacks to avenge the death of his heir. Many innocent lives are lost. Alliance residents are forced into hiding. Magicals and blue dragons follow leadership of the Imperial Dragon and the other three Guardians into battle to defend the Alliance.

While Lyra unlocks the ancient magic, she opens herself up to scribal powers from her ancestors. She alone can fight the deadliest of the Dark Realm’s forces—the cimafa stealth dragons—but at a cost. The energy flux threatens her health and ability to learn where to find the missing keystones. Can Lyra overcome this shrewd tactic of the Black Dragon to decimate the Alliance?

 Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five 
~the final volume~

Barbaric Dark Realm warfare threatens to overtake all Dragonspeir lands, including the Alliance. Lyra McCauley, the fifth Scribe of the Alliance, finds herself in a desperate competition to gather four missing keystones. Those amulets of the four natural elements guarantee victory for the side possessing them. The Dark Realm’s alchemist, Eburscon, beats her to finding the water gem, the Pearl of Pendola. Three more keystones remain: the fluorite containing earth energy, the moonstone of the sky, and the fiery, dangerous Emtori Ruby.

The powerful gems, stolen centuries ago, channel astral energies and can restore much-needed Alliance power—the last hope. The wizard, Cullen, who is Lyra’s beloved, relies on Alliance magic for his immortality and will perish if the land falls to the Dark Realm.

Lyra uses her rare magical energies of quintessence and the Staurolite, governor of the four natural elements, to guide her to the hidden keystones. However, greed and power drive opponents, who challenge her in close pursuit, planning to destroy the Alliance, or to claim the power of quintessence for themselves.

The Dark Realm captures the ten-year-old Alliance seer, Kessa. Her abilities can give them information about the locations of the keystones, complicating Lyra’s plans. Will her love, allegiance, and quintessence allow her to save Cullen, Kessa, and the Alliance before the Dark Realm claims all of Dragonspeir?

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous, epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.