Shark River

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Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.


This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.


The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over  70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.

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June 7, 2015

Tara Maya’s Quickie Check In

Nice Dragons Finish Last

This week I’ve been working on Mirror, Book 8 in The Unfinished Song, and also on a section of Sworn, Book 10. (There’s a reason; technically the events of the storyline from Sworn antedate the events in Mirror. That’s one of the odd things that happens when the Story Order of events differs from the Chronological Order of events.)

Meanwhile, relevant to this month’s theme about Fantasy Romance, check out this fun interview on fantasy in romance, romance in fantasy, blending genres, Beta heroes, pricing of ebooks and much more!

Here’s a snippet where Rachel discusses her appearance on a panel at the Romantic Times convention:

Rachel:  Exactly, and, and it’s so funny, ‘cause, like, I was sitting, I’d be sitting on a panel, and it’d be, like, you know, really badass-looking chick in tight leather and, like, a dude with abs, and, like, a clinch cover, and then there’s me with powered armor.  You know, I, I was, it was very kind of a strange situation, but I really, really loved it, because romance readers are, are some of my favorite readers, because the romance community is so welcoming of other genres, and, like, ‘cause I, when I put kissing in my military sci-fi, I got a lot of are you sure you want to do this?

Sarah:  Oh, no, kissing cooties, man!

Rachel:  ‘Cause there’s going to be cooties in your powered armor.

Sarah:  You cannot have kissing cooties.

Rachel:  And, and, but you know what, ‘cause my readership is about 50/50 male/female, and I had very few complaints about the actual romance.  I had a couple of complaints from people who either didn’t think it went far enough or thought there was too much, so it was like the amount of romance was in question, but the fact that there was a legitimate romance was just kind of accepted.  Like, I didn’t, I didn’t get nearly – ‘cause I was, I was girding my loins for, like, the true science fiction author brigade, but no, everyone, everyone was real happy with it.

Sarah:  No, it’s, it’s a total, it’s a tonal difference, I think, between science fiction and fantasy communities –

Rachel:  Mm-hmm.

Sarah:  – and the romance community, especially at RT.  I remember when John Scalzi was a guest because he was receiving an award, he came to RT – I want to say it was Kansas City, two years ago – and wrote a post on his blog about how he realized at some strange moment that he was the only dude in, like, a room of several thousand women.  No one asked him for his credentials, no one wanted to quiz him on how much he knew about something.  It was like, you’re here, there’s a bar, let’s hang.  It’s a completely different kind of interaction from what I know of the two different communities.

Rachel:  That, that is absolutely true, and, like, ‘cause I’ve done a lot of sci-fi and fantasy cons, and they are lovely, don’t get me wrong.  They’re really fun, they’re really nerdy, and it’s very exciting, ‘cause I’m also a big sci-fi/fantasy fan and reader so, again, as a fan, it was very exciting, but there is definitely sort of a geekier-than-thou thing going on, where you’ve got to constantly kind of one-up your geek cred –

Sarah:  Yep.

Rachel:  – whereas at RT it was like, oh, my God, you’re a writer?  I’m a writer!  What do you write?  That’s amazing!  Oh, you read romance?  I love Regencies!  Let’s talk about our favorite Regencies!  It was just this really, really warm, welcoming atmosphere, and every, and every interaction I’ve had with the romance community has been like that.

Sarah:  Yep.

Rachel:  It’s, it’s just been fantastic, and I, I hang out on romance blogs just ‘cause they’re freaking fun places to be.  I, that’s how I found you!  I was a giant reader of Smart Bitches.  Back when I had my day job, y’all were, like, my favorite thing to read at work –

Sarah:  [Laughs]

Rachel:  – and, and I got a bunch of book recommendations from you when I was first getting into romance, ‘cause I didn’t even read romance until I was out of college.  I’d never even –

Sarah:  Oh, no kidding!

Rachel:  Yeah, well, I’d never, I’d – my parents were big sci-fi/fantasy nerds, and they didn’t read a lot of romance, and I’d read, like, some Anne McCaffrey, which kind of blurs the line, ‘cause she’s got a lot of romance in her sci-fi, but I’d never read, like, a Regency, and then one day, I’m like, that sounds really cool, and I picked up, I can’t even remember what the first one was now, but it was, like, a free book, and I just kind of picked it up, and oh, that was the rabbit hole –

Sarah:  Yep.

Rachel:  – let me tell you.  Like, couple hundred books later, and, and I love it.  I do.

One Good Dragon Deserves Another

And don’t forget to check out Rachel Aaron’s latest books, Nice Dragons Finish Last and One Good Dragon Deserves Another, which are Urban Fantasy:

Sarah:  Cool!  So you mentioned earlier that you were working on dragons –

Rachel:  Mm-hmm.

Sarah:  – which of course is the thing that I like most.

Rachel:  Yay!

Sarah:  What are, what are you working on, book two?

Rachel:  I’m working on, I just, I finished the, the second book about a month ago, which is called One Good Dragon Deserves Another, and – ‘cause we got a theme here –

Sarah:  Mm-hmm.

Rachel:  Nice Dragons Finish LastOne Good Dragon Deserves Another –

Sarah:  Of course.

Rachel:  Dragon theme, and this book is really fun.  It was kind of a bear for me to write because I, I would just, I just had a, I just had a wrong-headed idea about the series and I kept trying to make it work, and it didn’t work, and I can be very stubborn.  I kept trying to make it work, and eventually I just had to say, okay, this plot is clearly not working.  Let’s back it up and try something totally different –

Sarah:  Mm-hmm.

Rachel:   – and that’s when I fixed it, but it took me a lot longer than it should have because of that.  But we’re on, we’re on track now, and I’m very excited about the book.  It’s all about sort of – you know, in the first book, it was all about Julius gets kicked out – Julius is my nice dragon – gets kicked out in the middle of Detroit, in the DFZ, which is the Detroit Free Zone, which is ruled by a, by a spirit who has ordered all dragons kill on sight, and his dragon form has been sealed, so he’s stuck as a human without all his powers, and he’s really just –he spends the whole book just desperately trying to survive and keep his head above water –

Sarah:  Right.

Rachel:  – and in the second book, he’s really got his feet under him more, and you really start seeing him kind of come into his own, and it’s, the books are, you know, Julius is twenty-four, so he’s, he’s definitely an adult in these books, but they’re really almost a coming-of-age story, ‘cause Julius was this big slacker.  He was, you know, he lived in his, he lived in his mom’s basement of her mountain, basically, and hiding from all of his more powerful siblings, and it’s the story of how this dragon whose motto used to be keep your head down, don’t draw attention, shut up, and hope they go away, started, becomes, starts really coming into his own and standing up for what he believes in, and he is a very nice, nice dragon.  He’s a very good person in a world where niceness and goodness are seen as unforgivable weaknesses to be exploited, and so he has to kind of be almost, almost aggressively nice, if that makes sense, and I have a lot of fun with that, ‘cause I really love, I really love the idea of compassion as a, compassion as a strength, because it gets shown as a weakness so much.

Sarah:  Yep.

Rachel:  And so I loved, I love working with that.  And also in this book, the secondary character, Marci, who’s the love interest, ‘cause there’s a little romance between Julius and Marci, and she’s a mage, she really comes into her own in this book.  Marci is just amazing, and she is so too short for this ride, but makes it work.  Oh, it was so fun.  Her stuff is so fun to write, but this, I mean, it just goes crazy, and, yeah.  I don’t believe in, like, small stories.  All my stories always get enormous, and, like, not in terms of word count, but in, just in terms of the scale and the scope.  I like to go big or go home, and that definitely happened in this novel, Sarah.  It’s going to be really fun.

You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript.

Buy Nice Dragons Finish Last and One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron.

June 6, 2014

Collide: A Riverbend Novel (Book #1) by J.L. Hackett and Sara Daniell

new fontCheck out the first novel in the Riverbend series, Collide.

Reese Johnson lost her mother when she was a child. She was pulled from Riverbend Elementary and home-schooled from then on. Mayor Johnson had to protect her and in order to protect her, he had to hide her from the world. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house. Ever. But when her father goes missing, she’s thrown into a foster home and into Riverbend High where she’s treated horribly by the other students. They don’t get her. In fact, they are scared of her. The town holds her responsible for her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance. What other reason could there be that she was left untouched and unharmed? She had to be the one responsible, right?

She is thrown into the home of the Satterly’s. She’s overwhelmed by the love and compassion Johanna and Rick Satterly show her, but is confused by the cold shoulder their son Havock gives her. Their other son Garrett, however, is kind and welcoming. Too welcoming. Forming a relationship with this family isn’t easy for her, but this very family will be the one who saves her from the darkness that threatens her.

Download Collide for only 99 cents on Amazon!


Fallout Boy. That’s whose voice was blaring through my earbuds as the bad omen stepped out of the back of her driver’s black shiny piece of plastic that probably cost more than my parents house. I tried not to stare as she self-consciously tucked a few strands of her long dark curls behind her ears, but I couldn’t help my stupid self. It’s a shame something so fine was kept in hiding for so long. The skirt she was wearing showed enough of her legs to make my imagination run wild. If only it were a tad shorter. . . I felt an elbow plow into my side. I pulled my earbuds from my ears and frowned.

“Damn, Havock. You’re gonna bite a hole in your lip. What has your attent-” Jude stopped mid-sentence when his eyes landed on her ass. He inclined his head just enough to get a better view. He smiled in appreciation. “That my friend is the definition of perfection.”

“Or insanity.” The bell rang and we grudgingly headed towards the school building. “She’s like something expensive on display. So shiny you can’t help but stare, but if you touch it your mom will beat your ass. She’s bad news, man.”

“Ah, you don’t believe all that shit do you?”

“No, but I plan on staying as far away as possible. That girl is nothing but trouble. Talk about family drama…” I opened my locker, got the few books I needed, then looked at Jude who had a neighboring locker. I started to say something to Jude but low and behold there she stood in front of us, apparently lost.

She whispered below her breath to herself.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Talking to yourself won’t help your already shattered rep in this town,” I said before reminding myself that I’d made a promise to myself earlier in the year to do better about filtering the things that came out of my mouth.

A tear fell down her cheek as she clutched her books tightly against her chest causing her cleavage to show a little more from her v-neck shirt. Of course the universe would put something so perfect on this Earth that was too crazy to get close to. It was punishment to men everywhere. She only made eye contact with me long enough to make me feel like a total dick then started down the hall.

“She’ll never survive in this school,” Jude said as he shook his head. “They’ll chew her up and spit her out before the week is over.”

“Before the day is over,” I concluded.

To read the rest of the story, download Collide for only 99 cents on Amazon!

Find more from Sarah on her blog, Twitter and Facebook. Find more from J.L. on her blog and Facebook.

June 2, 2014

Blind Sight by Nicole Storey

Blind Sight Blog jpegEnter the world of The Celadon Circle with the first book, Blind Sight.

Jordan has visions of monsters, demons, and death. Seventeen, orphaned, and born into the family business, she doesn’t have friends, she doesn’t have choices. Her uncle, older brothers, and a few annoying angels dominate her life, demanding she tow their lines – and the punishment is severe when those lines are crossed.

When Jordan is ordered to help hunt down a monster, she’s not sure which she dreads more: the elusive, blood-thirsty creature or spending time in a cramped backwoods cabin with a brother who despises her. To make matters worse, a demon shows up and warns Jordan that she could be her family’s next assignment.

In a game between Good and Evil where God seems to have tapped out early, lines are blurred and not everything is as it seems. Jordan learns a little too late that the real monster is closer than she thinks.

Download Blind Sight from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboApple and Smashwords.

BlindSight Excerpt 1.jpg

Download Blind Sight from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.

Find more from Nicole on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.


May 13, 2014

Don’t Forget! Review Copies Are FREE

Hood and Fae-bigI just wanted to take a moment to remind you that review copies of my books are always free! If there’s a book of mine you’ve been wanting to try, just email my assistant, let her know which one and she will send you a copy. All I ask is that you leave a review of the book when you’re done. This does not have to be a 1,000-word essay on your blog, but can be as simple as a recommendation to your friends on Facebook or a quick sentence on Goodreads or Amazon. You can even review just Hood & Fae, my new novella which is currently only available in the Faery Realms bundle.

UPDATE: Hood & Fae is now on Amazon, available independently, as well as at other online retailers.


Guest Post: Author Dana Michelle Burnett

Faery Realms Final 3DI’m so excited to be on the blog today talking about the Fairy Realms Bundle! I have always loved stories about fairies of every sort. As a kid I devoured anything about them that I could get my hands on about fairies, sprites, or pixies. As I grew older, I kept my passion for fae under wraps.

I kept my fairy books hidden under my bed, out of sight from any of my friends that might stop by. While I still loved the fanciful stories, they were not the sort of thing to make you popular in the seventh grade. See that was in the days before Kindles or iPad, reading wasn’t exactly the cool thing to do and reading about fairies…Well, that was just social suicide.

Of course secrets always have a way of getting out and sure enough I outed myself one day in study hall. I sat there, barely awake, doodling on the cover of my notebook. What was I doodling? A wood nymph…Yeah, that spread like wildfire as soon as one of those snobby too-perfect popular girls looked over my shoulder and saw it.

So yes, I was known as the freak, the one with her nose stuck in a book, the one reading about forest nymphs. That followed me all the way through high school, but that’s okay. When I became a writer, I never forgot those “fairy tales” from my youth. I wrote my own twisted version of one of my favorite fae legends and something amazing happened…readers actually like it.

Yes, suddenly I wasn’t alone. There were other people out in the world that loved the idea of magic as much as I did! It was as if all of a sudden I was that humiliated kid again and could thumb my nose at all of the “popular kids” that made my life hell for years.

Which brings me to why I’m telling you all of this, thanks to my own little Gypsy Fairy Tale Series, I got the chance to work with some really great authors that love all things fairy as much as I do. In fact, my novella Once (Gypsy Fairy Tale Book One) is included in the Fairy Realms Bundle.

So, now that we’re friends, and I’ve confessed one of my most embarrassing moments, I’d like to ask you to go and download Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles: Multi-Author Bundle of Novels & Novellas for 0.99 cents. You could read it just because it’s so popular right now on Amazon, but you could also read it for that poor girl that was ridiculed in the seventh grade for loving fairies.


Find out more about Dana on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

May 5, 2014

Bloodfire by Helen Harper

BloodfireCheck out the first book in Helen Harper’s Blood Destiny series: Bloodfire.

Mackenzie Smith has always known that she was different. Growing up as the only human in a pack of rural shapeshifters will do that to you, but then couple it with some mean fighting skills and a fiery temper and you end up with a woman that few will dare to cross. However, when the only father figure in her life is brutally murdered, and the dangerous Brethren with their predatory Lord Alpha come to investigate, Mack has to not only ensure the physical safety of her adopted family by hiding her apparent humanity, she also has to seek the blood-soaked vengeance that she craves.

Download Bloodfire from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords.


A sound came from outside and the waiting pack straightened their shoulders and puffed out their chests as if they were one.  I did the complete opposite and tried to hunch down.  The wooden doors at the right of the hall swung open and twenty or so people, all dressed from head to toe in designer black, came casually striding in.

As if they owned the place, I thought, gritting my teeth and hunching down lower.

The Brethren stopped and lined up in front of us.  All of their hands were resting lightly on weapons that hung from their belts.  Even from my lowered position I could see the glint of steel.  Flexing their authority, no doubt.  I looked fixedly down at the floor instead.

A tall gray haired man stepped forward, eyes sweeping over all of us.  The room was so quiet that I fancied I’d be able to hear Anton’s balls finally dropping behind me.  I risked a glance up at their new leader.  He wasn’t what I’d expected. No obvious outpourings of power or charisma.  He didn’t look weak physically but neither would I have thought that I couldn’t beat him in a fair fight.  This was just a guy – and an old guy at that.  I studied him carefully.  There was certainly an air of grace and elegance surrounding him and he held himself with confidence and the suggestion of strength but still…I didn’t see it.  Maybe it was a shapeshifter thing.

He started to speak. “The Brethren brings condolences for the loss of the Cornish pack’s alpha.  We know that he was a good leader who kept the Way and held you together.  Do not fear that we will not uncover the truth of what happened.” His slate gray eyes slid over the room. “His death was untimely and – unexpected.”

I blinked at the sudden unexpected rise of tears and my throat constricted and felt tight.  John had kept us safe, all of us safe.  He had never treated me differently, despite my non-shifter status, and had even spent a ridiculous amount of time training me to fight so that I could hold my own against the rest of the pack should they suddenly decide that having a puny human amongst them was them was too much insult to bear.  And there were some who thought that way – Anton behind me for one.

A memory rose unbidden of my ten year old self and John outside the keep.

I had been crouched down, throwing dagger in hand, shaking in fear.

“Mackenzie Smith, if you give into fear then it will rule you.  Take the fear and turn it into focus.  Use that focus wisely.  Feel for the creature and prepare your mind.”

We had been hunting a small wyvern that had been terrorising local farms.  The Cornish pack was generally peaceable and didn’t engage in much fighting (well, very few people or even Otherworldly things came to sleepy Cornwall to fight) but John had insisted that this was the time I put my training to the test in the real world.  I had straightened up slowly and targeted my thoughts towards the clump of trees at the far end of the field.  No fear.

A huffing sound had vibrated towards us.  I had blocked out everything else and focused on the noise, willing the wyvern to leave the safety of the brush and come out.

“That’s it,” came John’s voice.  “You WILL do this.”

I remember gripping the dagger tighter and taking a step forward, probing the trees with my eyes until I spotted a sudden movement on my far left.  I took a step forward, and then another.  Without warning the wyvern had burst out of the copse and flown like a dagger towards me, staying low to the mossy ground.  I kept hold of the fear and, as the creature swooped close, I swung up, gripped onto its leathery neck and hung on with one arm.  The wyvern had screeched in rage and dragged me up.  It had veered one way then another, trying to shake me off before a taloned claw came swiping round to scrape me off.  I had raised my leg and snap kicked the claws out of the way.  I felt hot inside and knew that the fire, if I let it, would burn out of control.  With my free hand I felt for the soft space in between the beast’s shoulder blades and sank the dagger in.  Of course once the wyvern tail-spun down I had belatedly realised I was far too high and that hitting the ground was going to be very hard and very painful.

“Focus the fear and fan the flames,” I had whispered to myself, before letting go of the wyvern’s neck at the last minute and rolling to the side to avoid being squished.

My technique had been sloppy and careless but John had run towards me with a huge grin splitting his face.  He’d gathered me up in a bear hug.

“See? See?  I knew you could do it.  You might not be a shifter, girl, but you have got skills, and power.  You’re amazing.”  His eyes had shone down at me with pride and I had realised in that moment that nothing else mattered.  I had killed the wyvern and he was proud.  It didn’t matter that I was human; I could focus my mind with more skill than most shifters and I had taken down the little dragon when half of the pack would have been too scared to try.  I belonged.

Later we had stripped down the carcass together and burnt it.  I still had a tooth from the creature’s mouth in the small chest where I kept my meager valuables.  John had not let me fail at anything – but now he was dead and I had failed him.

Not without some effort, I zoned back into the present and realised that the gray eyed man was still talking.  “These are dangerous times and you are without an alpha.  For thirty years we have left you in peace.  We respect the Cornish pack and the work that you do keeping this corner of the country safe, however we also offer you an opportunity to brighten these sad days.  We will aid you by conducting the ceremony and appointing a new alpha, as is our responsibility.  We will hold evaluations and interviews with every single pack member to ensure the appropriate alpha is chosen.

“And we also extend you an invitation.  The best and the brightest among you may join us, come to London and become part of the Brethren, the shape-shifter elite.  We have spaces for new recruits.  This is your opportunity to join in the battle to keep all of this world, not just Cornwall, safe from all harm.”

A tremor of excitement and fear ran through the assembly.  Well, that was interesting.  Not only would the individual pack members be able to leave and join other packs around the country but they now could also become part of the so-called elite.  I knew that just as there would be many shrinking from this challenge, just as many would rise to it and demand it.  My brow furrowed.  No doubt the Brethren were really just looking for cannon fodder.  I felt my hackles rise while forcing myself to acknowledge that this could be a good thing.  As much as I might despise them for their reported brutality and aggression, the Brethren could be doing me a massive personal favour.  A new alpha would keep my geas in place, and the Brethren’s recruitment drive would surely allow me to see off the likes of all those troublesome shifters who still couldn’t accept me.  And who were probably champing at the bit to show off anyway.  I was still contentedly sure that Julia would be named alpha  – otherwise why else would her Voice now be working?

Without false modesty I knew that, despite my human shortcomings, Julia was right and the pack benefited from at least some of my skills.  I might not able to shift but I was pretty much the best they had in any fight, to the extent that since I’d turned into a teenager and gone into defense full time they hadn’t lost any shifter to anyone or anything. Apart from John.  I grimaced and shoved that thought away before it overwhelmed me.

Beside me, I could hear Tom panting like a puppy, patently desperate for approval.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if he jumped up then and there screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!”  Never mind, I’d manage to convince him otherwise later.

Forgetting that I was supposed to be keeping my head down, I scanned the ranks of the other Brethren shifters. I was curious now about what their feelings were about taking in some of their distant country bumpkin cousins.  My eyes travelled down the line.  There was a bored looking blonde haired woman with a stance that suggested predator –wolf perhaps – then a slight dark man who was obviously a fox judging by the calculating cunning in his eyes, then there was…uh-oh.

The next shifter was looking right at me.  Green gold predatory eyes gazed into mine expressionlessly.  I snapped my eyes back to the floor and stopped breathing.

I’m no-one, no-one worthy of attention, I whispered silently, trying to quash the rising panic.  I couldn’t endanger the rest of the pack by being discovered.  Every sinew in my body screamed but I forced myself to keep my eyes and head trained on the ground.

Don’t look up.  Don’t look up.  Don’t look up.  Seconds passed.  Minutes.


To read the rest of the story, download Bloodfire from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboiTunes and Smashwords.

Find more from Helen on her website, Twitter and Facebook.


April 30, 2014

Sprung by Kelbian Noel

FinalSPRUNG_coverMEDDiscover Kelbian Noel’s Witchbound series with this sample from book 2, Sprung.

Since she discovered magic, seventeen-year-old Skye Jackson’s life is almost perfect. Almost. Even perfect has its glitches.

What happens when the one with all the power makes the biggest mistakes? Welcome to my life. 

Four months ago, I couldn’t have been happier. When my parents got divorced, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. Especially when Mom married a guy half her age. But then I found out I wasn’t the average Joana. Discovering magic existed and, best of all, I could use it, made everything easier to deal with. That is until I got a little too spell happy. But what girl wouldn’t defend her best friend against a world-class creep? Now I’m stuck in a nightmare, forced to make life and death decisions I never dreamed I’d face.

Love the magic. Hate the responsibility.

Sprung is available to download from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


I tiptoe across the room to stand in front of the chest. Running my fingers across the dark ancient wood, I glance back at Nana, one more time, before making my move. She’s fast asleep, still seated in her favorite chair in front of the window. Head slumped to the side, mouth parted, slightly.

With lips bitten together and eyes squeezed shut, I hold my breath and ease the top drawer halfway open. Slipping my hand inside until I find my treasure, I pull back slowly, the small green book firmly grasped between my fingers.  With a final glance at Nana, I sink to the floor, leaning my back up against the corner wall.

I’ve been visiting her in this home for almost five years, but it wasn’t until a few months ago things changed. Five years, without a word, and I’m the first one she opens up to? I stroke the rough pages of the book with my fingers. It can’t be a coincidence. From what I’ve learned so far, magic never is.

I close my eyes again and mutter the spell she taught me on the very first day.

“Solidify this room and refresh this place. Sterilize my thoughts, anoint their minds. Consecrate this space.” A slight breeze blows across the room and I tilt my head upwards with a smile. After all these weeks, and all the spells, the wonder of it all is still firmly intact.

Magic is real. And it’s in me.

All those weeks ago, this Secrecy Spell kept every nurse and orderly from doing so much as knock on the door. For hours, she filled my head with stories she’d been telling since my childhood. Tales that, up until now, I thought were just that—fairy tales, stories to coax a little girl to sleep. But I was wrong. And she was harboring a huge secret.

Ever since, that same spell has allowed me to snoop at will—provided she doesn’t wake up from her nap anytime soon.

I gaze back down at the book, holding it close to my face and picking up where I left off.

She was the most beautiful woman with a rich life beyond measurement. But love can sometimes play the villain. For a heart as pure as hers, the break was clean. She loved fiercely, and when the Universe changed course, she forced its hand. Extending a life that was meant to move on.

But her lover’s soul had been promised to another and, despite her efforts, the love was gone. In despair, she vowed to spend the rest of eternity searching for his replacement. She cast a spell more powerful than any other had seen, one that would seal her fate and the future of all Elementals.

From that day forward, the Pure would revere, the Tainted would covet.

 “Elementals,” I whisper.

I’ve seen the word at least fifty times in just the first half of the book. The names of most of the spells are in a language I don’t recognize, but in parentheses beside each one is always the word Elemental.  Still, I have no clue what it means.

If only I could ask her. I turn the page, my gaze shifting briefly to Nana.

With a finger, I quickly scan through the pages of the text.  “Elemental, Elemental, Elemen—“ I hold the book even closer to my face. “Elementals, the vessels of Pure magic. These four rare individuals hold the ultimate power. Ancient and pure.  Seoirse—Earth, Govad—Air, Irving—Fire, Conley—Water.”


I read through the rest of the page, glued to the story, taken by each word.

 ~Ireland (1413)

Four clans: Seoirse, Govad, Irving and Conley. The most powerful witches known to man and beast. The originals.  Elementals.

Together they wielded the purest of magic. Healed the sick, fertilized the land, and drove out demons. Their magic was revered, but with reverence came covetousness.

The Tainted soon emerged.  Joining the family, simply for power, their children were trained to use the magic to their advantage, wielding it to succeed in unfair undertakings such as wealth and popularity in the face of competition.

Dissonance abounded within the village and the Elementals saw it fit to alter access to magic. No longer was it a birthright, but a spiritual connection. The Earth’s mystical power would only yield to those able to commune with its elements.

With this change came an opportunity for all individuals to access Elemental power, magic in its purest form. Thus, a new problem emerged—magic was discovered and used by hundreds. The elements were manipulated, through animal and human sacrifices. Tainted arts began to thrive.

After decades of discord, the Church interceded, vowing to put an end to magic. An end to the Elementals.

But only for a time.

A loud clatter jolts me to attention and I shoot up from the floor. Tucking the book in my back pocket, I quickly close the drawer.

Nana groans, stretching her legs out in front of her. “Did I fall asleep on you again?” She wipes the side of her face with the back of her hand.

“It’s okay,” I say. Darting across the room, I bend to pick up the fallen tray. “I—I have to go. I’m supposed to be at Claire’s and—”

“Secrecy?” Nana sniffs. “Why?”

“Um,” I lick my lips. “I…you looked so comfortable I didn’t want them to wake you.”

“Hmm.” She glances at her watch and my gaze shifts to the floor. “Magic isn’t for such frivolous things, Skye. If that were the case—”

The door to her room opens and an orderly rolls in with her afternoon serving of pills. Nana and I lock gazes, and as he passes by me, I place a hand on his arm, forcing him to make eye contact. “Not today,” I say. “She’s doing just fine.”

With that, he offers a curt nod, and circles back and out the door.

Nana smirks.

I cross my arms. “What were you saying about frivolity?”

She clears her throat. “You know what those things do to me. Come.” She beckons for me to sit down on the windowsill across from her. “One more story, before you go.”



To read the rest of Sprung, download it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

To find more from Kelbian, visit her website, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.

April 29, 2014

Hood and Fae: Excerpt 7

Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing additional excerpts from the novella Hood & Fae, the first of my new urban fantasy series Daughters of Little Red Riding Hood. Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords or Google Play.

Hood and Fae-big

Cormac waved at me and we both hid behind something I thought was a big boulder, but upon postmortem discovered was the wreck of a station wagon. Skeletons sat sideways inside. Not sure what killed them, as they had their seatbelts on. Granted, garroted around their necks.

“I think I know what echelon we’re in,” I whispered, “Wr…”

“Wreyth,” Cormac said with me.

“You know it.”

“I know goblins.” Not a lot of affection there. “Do you have a gun?”

“Right here.” I showed him the Spirit Gun.

“That won’t work,” he said. “It’s an exorcist gun.”

“So what, it only works in a gym?”

“It only works on ghosts or spirits possessing bodies not their own. It won’t kill a human, unless he’s a werewolf or a vampire. It won’t kill a goblin who is in his own echelon.”

“Do you have a gun?” I asked.

“I hate guns.”

“Seriously? I like guns a lot better than punching. They don’t hurt.”

“I’m pretty sure guns hurt people.”

“I meant they don’t hurt my knuckles.”

Cormac snorted. “Goblins love guns too. Unfortunately.”

He was right. Every single one of the goblins was packing heat. They had some impressive pieces too. Pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, machine guns, grenade launchers, flamethrowers….Sheesh.

“I guess we both better weapon up. Think our friends will mind?”

He gestured to the skeletons. They were not only armed, but the rusty trunk, which Cormac broke open, contained dozens more guns and packs of ammo, and even a nest of grenades. We each grabbed two guns. I packed as many more guns and ammo into the picnic basket as would fit. I wasn’t sure how stable those grenades were, so I almost left them. At the last minute, I plucked two and squirreled them away with the other weapons.



“Can we die here?”

“Yes. And if we die here, we regenerate here—but not as humans. As goblins. We won’t be just dead; we’ll be damned too. So try not to get killed.”

Awesome. I felt a lot better now.



Faery Realms Final 3D

Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords or Google Play.

WARNING: This novel is only appropriate for older teens and adults, because it contains #$%*&@ words. Spelled out for real, though. Even that one that starts with “F.” Yeah, it’s in there, in a couple places. Also, “dumbkof,” but that’s in another language, so it won’t bother you.

April 24, 2014

Hood and Fae: Excerpt 6

Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing additional excerpts from the novella Hood & Fae, the first of my new urban fantasy series Daughters of Little Red Riding Hood. Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords or Google Play.

Hood and Fae-big

All around, the once beautiful forest had been transformed, as if it had been ravaged by a forest fire then turned into a dump yard. The Douglas firs were blackened skeletons, surrounded by tattered skirts of plastic grunge. Trash blew everywhere: empty bags of chips, crumpled spit wads of aluminum foil, newspaper (really? who even reads those anymore?) plastic bottles, glass bottles, beer cans, whole subdivisions of cigarette butts.

 “It’s like all the delinquents of all the high schools in the country snuck to this very spot to have a smoke,” I marveled.

“Why do you think the trees are all burned? A lot of pyromaniacs end up in echelons like this. But not a lot of firefighters.”

“Where’s Bryn?”

“I don’t know. She can’t be far, but we don’t dare rush. This may the juvie hall of Hell, but it’s still a dangerous place.”

“Is it… did we really go anywhere? Everything looks the same, but warped.”

“Every echelon is like a mirror earth. A funhouse mirror.”

“But some are less fun than others.”

“I don’t know which one we’re in yet, but I can tell it’s one of the Ghoulie earths. If it were an echelon of Hades, it would be much worse.”

Ghoulie: the opposite of Faerie. “But it’s still part of Hell.”

“Yeah. So watch your back.”

“Can Bryn see all this without a Talisman?”

“She can now. She’s here in her human body, same as we are.”

We heard a scream.

“I’d say we found her,” Cormac remarked.



Faery Realms Final 3D

Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords or Google Play.

WARNING: This novel is only appropriate for older teens and adults, because it contains #$%*&@ words. Spelled out for real, though. Even that one that starts with “F.” Yeah, it’s in there, in a couple places. Also, “dumbkof,” but that’s in another language, so it won’t bother you.

April 22, 2014

Hood and Fae: Excerpt 5

Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing additional excerpts from the novella Hood & Fae, the first of my new urban fantasy series Daughters of Little Red Riding Hood. Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords or Google Play.

Hood and Fae-big

My sister loftily ignored the arrows of pique Cormac shot at her. While he dressed with minimum movement and maximum speed, she averted her gaze and addressed me. “He could have learned the name of the real Forest Ranger any number of ways.”

“The uniform fits him pretty well,” I noted. Really well.

Bryn snapped her attention back to Cormac. Her eyes bugged and her jaw slacked. Personally, I thought he’d looked damn fine without a stitch on, but he did look dashing all gussied up, and Bryn had always had a thing for a man in uniform. On the other hand, Bryn had always had a thing for stubborn, too. She crossed her arms.

“So the uniform fits impeccably over his incredibly broad shoulders. That doesn’t prove it belongs to him.”

“You are one nutwing headcase, Lady. Take a look at my driver’s license, if you still don’t believe me.”

He tossed Bryn his wallet, which had been in his pocket. I crowded next to her to examine it over her shoulders.

“His driver’s license photo matches.”

“It’s pretty suspicious,” said Bryn. “Nobody looks that good in a driver’s license photo.”

“Thanks,” he said dryly.

“And his badge,” I added.

“Since when do Forest Rangers even have badges?” asked Bryn.

“And hey, look at this…” I pulled a folded up bit of paper from the wallet.

“No!” His face flamed bright pink. “You don’t need to read that!”

“Ha, now we’ll see what you’re hiding,” Bryn said triumphantly.

“Pretty sure we saw that already, Bryn.”

“Shut up, Roxy. Let’s see what…oh.”

It was a feature article from National Park Magazine, honoring Cormac Huntsman, with full color photographs. Bryn’s face turned as pink as Cormac’s.

“Wow,” I said, perusing the article over Bryn’s shoulder, “Did you really evacuate a family from a burning house, save a seeing-eye dog from drowning, and rescue an endangered grizzly bear cub from poachers?”

“The reporter made a much bigger deal out of that stuff than necessary,” he muttered. “It was a team effort, I just happened to be point man a couple times. I was just doing my job—any one of us would have done the same.”

Bryn held her hand over her face. She hissed at me, “Roxy, is your gun loaded?”

“Sort of, uh…” –with spirit bullets, but…

“Good, please shoot me now. I can’t believe I held a naked Forest Ranger at gun point.” Her voice rose into the octave used by squeaking rodents. “I called him a pervert!”



Faery Realms Final 3D

Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords or Google Play.

WARNING: This novel is only appropriate for older teens and adults, because it contains #$%*&@ words. Spelled out for real, though. Even that one that starts with “F.” Yeah, it’s in there, in a couple places. Also, “dumbkof,” but that’s in another language, so it won’t bother you.

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