Featured Author: Shanna O’Quinn

Featured Author:

Shanna O’Quinn

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1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I am Shana O’Quinn, artist and author of Lady of the Sidhe and Secret Ones Volume 1, both in my Ages of Telamon series.  I’m your favorite internet redneck.  I love cats, classic rock, bacon, feminism and elves.  Zombies are way up there on the list, too.  Let’s just say the country folk living round about are a bit…wary of me.

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

I’m a huge fan of fantasy, horror and science fiction, and after a while I began to get ideas of stories of my own.  Over the years (and it took me years to get my first book, Lady of the Sidhe, out) it became my goal to make everything elves.  When given the opportunity, always elf. ALWAYS.

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course. 

I mainly promote using Facebook and Twitter and the Virtual Ebook fair, I’ve also hit message boards I used to frequent to leave my links there.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was an editor with his own independent publishing company, and it made me feel great.  I didn’t feel like such a buffoon. “Ms. O’Quinn/Driftwood has that refreshing ability to weave a memorable story from myth and, possibly, poetic license, not unlike the bards of old. I was captured by the title – being of Scot’s descent and a follower of the Old Religion, to boot – and became even more entangled as the story progressed.” —David Keith, November First Publications.

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book. 

Secret Ones Volume 1 is the second book in my Ages of Telamon series, the first being Lady of the Sidhe.  Basically, it is set in an alternate 1970’s where Elves live among us (mostly unseen and unrecognized) and superband White Death is topping the charts.  Little does the public know that the band has Elves in it, and that they’re only the tip of the iceberg of the creatures of legend.  Lilith, once human and once innocent, comes back out of the shadows, and the cousins of the Elves, the Drow, have re-emerged as blood-drinking vampires.  Add to that a race that was spawned from Lilith, the werewolves, and there is a worldwide disaster waiting to happen.

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

7.     I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky number.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Joehnar_draft2b                                     Print

Somewhere in the West Coast, USA

“Magdalena,” came the low-pitched female voice.

The Drow Overlord ignored the voice, choosing to pace the chamber instead.  Her blue hair bounced with each step.

“Magdalena,” it came again.  The owner of the voice stepped into the faint light from the single lamp in the room. “Magdalena!”

“What?” she finally snapped, whirling on the blonde woman.

“I need to find the others. It’s the edge we need on these Sidhe and their Mohrtei allies.”

Maggie snorted.  She was taller than the woman and much more angular, which belied the power of those of the Faery race, and her amber eyes missed little.  The blonde however, was more muscular than the Dark Elf, and she radiated power.

It may be because she had never truly died, and was much, much older than the Overlord. “My people have little experience with your…children.  It may cause more trouble than it’s worth to–”

“My followers won’t hurt your precious vampires,” the blonde interrupted. She wasn’t a Fae, but she didn’t look exactly human either. At least, like any Mohrtei that now lived.  Her blue eyes were wide-set, her mouth wide, her forehead high.  She wasn’t unpleasant to look upon, just…different.  Maggie felt like a child next to her.

“Are you–were you, human?” Maggie asked, genuinely curious.

Valillia, for that was her name, laughed outright.  “I was born to a simple, peaceful tribe of mortals so long ago, that the very face of the world is vastly different from it was in the time of my youth. We had no idea of the evils and cruelty of the world. Blissfully ignorant, as they say. What am I now? That I do not know. I am Lilith, I am the Night-mare.  I am the Mother of Wolves.”  She smiled a dangerous, sharp-toothed smile, and melted back into the shadows.

“Del, you and Janet head to the east coast and collect all the Lyceans you can.”

“Are you serious?” asked Janet, her dark eyes narrowed.  “They are called the Hidden Ones for a reason.”

“I taught them well,” put in Valillia.

“We’re gonna need all the help we can get, those rock star fools will have alerted all the Hunters, Guardians and Elf-friends they can to us,” Magdalena explained.

“I’ll meet up with you in three weeks,” the blonde tells them.  “I’m still weak after all these years, it’ll take some time to replenish myself.” She turned and was gone.

She would see others of her kind soon. Her children and grandchildren. As she went to the loft above Maggie’s headquarters where she slept she tried to remember if she’d actually given birth in her first life.  She’d been in love, she recalled that much.  Jor had been a young man, and they had met that night to go off together.  They were going to run away and it would just be him and her.  She entered her room, slammed the door, and leaned against the cold surface.  She squeezed her eyes shut at bits and pieces forced themselves on her brain.

Jor embraced her, whispering in the language of their clan, one that she’d long since forgotten.  They were completely unaware that their village had been attacked, until they heard screams ring out in the night.  It froze the pair’s blood into ice. They ran back to their people to see strangers pouring through the area, killing people at will.  Behind them were creatures Jor and Valillia had never encountered before: trolls.  Large humanoid creatures with arms like pile-drivers and fists of iron, who were bloodthirsty opportunists.  Valillia screamed as her tribe were butchered.  She and Jor grabbed pieces of wood and rushed the invaders, flailing and yelling.

It had little effect. Jor went to his knees with two spears in him.  He looked more surprised than anything as his life’s blood spilled out.  She shrieked and ran to him, only to have a sharp, searing pain in her side.  The girl looked down to see a stone-tipped spear embedded in her.  She fell over, her hands instinctively scrabbling at the wound.  She dimly heard the screams of her tribe as they died.  The humans were searching for anything of value to them while the trolls pilfered any food.  She heard men laughing as some of the trolls raped some of the tribeswomen before caving their heads in with heavy clubs.

She lost consciousness for a short time, then her eyes fluttered open.  Dawn was coming and the scent of smoke came to her nostrils.  The village was burning. Jor was dead.  Everyone was dead.  Why didn’t she die?

Why?

She somehow managed to pull the spear out of her body and drag herself clear of the flames.  And there she lay for some time.

Valillia opened her eyes. She finally noticed her face was wet with tears.  Idly she wiped them away, glad that these honor-driven Dark Elves hadn’t seen her like this.  She wasn’t driven by greed or domination like these simpleminded Drow were.  She loved to live, and to make more like herself. And endure she had.

Joe sat at Keith’s bedside, generally fidgeting and biting his nails.  The man had taken a fever and drifted in and out of consciousness, but it seemed to be improving.

“You look like hell, mate,” came the drummer’s voice.  Joe’s head snapped around.

“How you feeling?” the singer asked him.

“I’ve felt better,” was his raspy reply. “I’m no longer burning up. Am I…gonna make it?”

“‘Course you are!” the elf interjected.  “You uh–well, um..”

“Out with it!”

“Ok, so you’re likely gonna start craving blood and avoiding sunlight. Good news is, unless you taste the Drow what bit you’s blood, you won’t completely become a vampire. “

“And that’s good news?” the drummer snorted.  “Guess I’ll start taking my steak rare from now on.”

“This is no laughing matter!” Lindsey’s voice, ever serious, echoed from across the room.  She came into Keith’s field of vision, and he saw with visible relief that she was all right.  Her arm was in a sling, but she seemed to be fine.  “You’re connected now with the one that bit you. She will be able to sense when you’re near and vice versa.”

“Oh, that’s lovely.”

“Roger’s been keeping an eye on you,” Joe pipes up. “And Malcolm got released on bail for the murder of that groupie.”

“Jesus Christ,” Keith exhaled. Things were just getting better and better, it seemed.

***Shanna is a published author and colleague of mine, please check this book out 🙂

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Featured Author: Christine Murphy

Featured Author:

Christine Murphy

Christine Murphy Small File

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Hi, I’m Christine Murphy, romance author by night and careerist in clinical laboratory by day.  I have long enjoyed delving into new worlds and characters through my imagination and have read hundreds of books through the years.  Having had quite the imagination since childhood, I decided to put all that creativity down on paper and share it with the world. I have lots of experience to pull from as I have traveled throughout the United States and locations throughout the world.  Looking out my back lanai, there is a small pond where the wild-life will gather and the flowers bloom in exotic pinks and purples.  This is my place of peace and freedom that I have searched for and where my husband and crazy African Gray Parrot, Raider, hang out with me.  It’s the place where my creativity runs wild as I spin tales of adventure and passion.  I have been writing in my head since I was a teenager and I finally realized I needed to capture these unique characters, civilizations, conflict, passion, and love in writing.  To capture the strong, spirited, and powerfully attracted characters and all of their adventures and share it with others who are searching for that very thing to make their lives more exciting.  If I accomplish nothing else in life, I hope to share the romantically magical worlds and the lovers that I see with all of the passionate readers out there.

I can be found at my website, http://christinemurphybooks.com/  and my Twitter or Facebookhttps://twitter.com/CLMurphyBooks, http://www.facebook.com/ChristineMurphyBooks  Check out my blog at http://christinemurphybooks.com/blog.

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events. 

I’ve been reading and writing in my head for years so after my husband had to go through chemotherapy for leukemia it taught me something.  Life is too short and if you really want to live fully do something you really love – don’t put it off.  I love to read romance and love to spin tales of romance in my head so why not write them down and share them with all of those who love to read romance.  The specific area of romance I enjoy is paranormal because I love heroes and heroines who may be vampire, or have special powers, or even be part demon. As long as there’s love and passion, I’m hooked even if I create it in my own mind.  I also like futuristic romance where a touch of science fiction may be sprinkled in.  All of my stories are fiction but I do pull from things I may have seen or done in my travels.  Some of my books have information on lab testing which is my day job where I may talk about DNA analysis or some other lab procedure.  I weave fact and fantasy together to set up quite the romantic story.

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I promote my books through my publisher, but a lot of it I do on my own and includes my website, my blog, my twitter, my facebook, and a whole bunch of other odds and ends.  I also go online and promote in groups or through different blog hops and eBook Fairs.  The biggest challenge is to find the time as I have a day job, take care of my husband and my African gray who is even calling to me now for attention, and let’s not forget the ever important writing, my first love.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too). 

I remember my first good review which was five stars and gave me so much excitement I wanted to sit down and write a whole other book then and there.  The person had enjoyed it to the point they had stayed up all night reading it and wanted to make sure I was going to write more.  They just knew the following books would be just as exciting to keep one up at night to finish them.  I’ve also had bad reviews with one star.  I kept thinking the person reviewing had started out as if they were enjoying the book actually sounding like they were praising the book in the first paragraph and as they went on by the end they were slamming the books.  I almost had the eerie feeling the person had gone from a good mood to a bad mood and thought maybe they had gotten in an argument with someone while writing my review it sounded so personal.  It was rather depressing but I just kept remembering an article that I had read not to let reviewers destroy the creative child within you so shook it off and just told myself there will always be those who love my books and always be those hate my books and there will be plenty in between.  The biggest thing was to enjoy what I was doing and no matter if no one read them or liked them, a piece of me would always be out there to share to the world through my creative eyes even after I am gone.

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

My first book is Sphinx Resurrected, the first book in The Sphinx Warriors Series.  In Sphinx Resurrected, Stormy is abducted and Transformed by the magnificent blue eyed Sphinx leader, Michael. Secretly he Joins with her to save her and must deal with the desire and needs which manifest. Michael and Stormy’s undeniable attraction to each other will make them powerful as they join as one force to battle the evil Wraith.  The next books in the Series will start being released in April 2014 and will be released one after another each month until all seven books are released including Sphinx United, Sphinx Transformed, Sphinx Imagined, Sphinx Awakened, Sphinx Tempted, and Sphinx Revealed.  Sphinx Resurrected is my first book and has had a mix of reviews.  It has been a positive learning experience and I have integrated the feedback into the next books in the Series to make them better, more action packed, more intriguing, and more passionate to capture readers imagination.

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

Here are my many links and they will only continue to grow as I keep reaching out through the electronic world to those avid readers and authors out there.

My Website:  http://christinemurphybooks.com/

My Blog:  http://christinemurphybooks.com/blog/

My Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ChristineMurphyBooks

My Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CLMurphyBooks

My Tumblr:  http://christinemurphybooks.tumblr.com/

My Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/cwmurphy2016/the-sphinx-warriors-series/

My GoodReads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6922300.Christine_Murphy

My Freado:  http://www.freado.com/users/34458/christine-murphy

My Authorgraph:  http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/CLMurphyBooks

My Red Sage Publishing Author Page:  http://eredsage.com/store/MURPHY_CHRISTINE.html

My Amazon Author Page:  http://amazon.com/author/christinemurphybooks

My TheRomanceReviews Author Page:  http://www.theromancereviews.com/cwmurphy2016

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Please enjoy an excerpt from Sphinx Resurrected

sphinx resurrected final fiona

Michael was spell-bound watching her. At first, he thought perhaps she wanted to just have the feel of the fresh grass under her feet while searching out the Life Force. But to his surprise, she was quite the quick study. As soon as she had made contact with the bare earth and searched the Life Power out, it had been drawn to her like it had been waiting for her forever. It embraced her much like the way he wanted to. To surround her in his energy and enjoy every square inch of her while she responded to him in a way the pure rapture on her face indicated she was responding now. He watched and almost felt he was guilty of spying on something intimate. She was a natural, harnessing the Life Power and quickly her body showed it. Her skin was sparkling and glowing from head to toe and he could see where her eyelashes were brushing her cheeks there was a slight glow coming from her eyes. He realized he had to intervene or she would quickly absorb too much. Being her first experience, his little Power Keeper could quickly get into trouble with what to do with it and possibly injure herself or someone near her. Had he known her intentions, he would have cautioned her on how far to go with this first experience.

He stepped up as close as possible to her as he could. Reaching out, he moved to place his hands on specific spots used for contact during the Transference of Life Power. He had to place them correctly to make sure there was no back lash from the Life Power rampantly running through her. He grasped both of her arms with his hands positioned under her forearms and slid them as close as possible to her elbows. Luckily, with the movement, Stormy naturally grasped his forearms with her hands. He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Stormy, I hate to interrupt your enjoyment, but this is the first time for you as a Power Keeper, and any more we will both be in trouble.” On so many levels – he groaned in his mind.

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 ***Christine is an accomplished author and good friend/colleague of mine.  I strongly recommend her book.

Featured Author: Lisa Capehart

Featured Author:      

L. J. Capehart

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1.   Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I live in Texas with my husband, and two of our six children. I love spending time with my new Granddaughter as much as I can. I’ve always wanted to become a writer, but never had time until recent years (as you can well imagine!). I still homeschool my youngest daughter, but she’s my last teenager.

2.    What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

I’ve read science fiction and fantasy for most of my life. My favorite author is Andre Norton. I think her work has influenced my writing, though my style is somewhat different

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I’m a fairly new writer, and still have a lot to learn about promotion. It is difficult for me, but I’m learning!

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review wasn’t very long ago! It truly made my day. It was 5 stars, and I had to share that with everyone I know.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

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I have 2 written, neither is a series. My favorite is the second, “Cube of Trevalia”. Sadly, it is still largely unknown. It’s a fantasy, about a family that is magically transported to another world, where they face danger in the search for a way home.

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).  

Here’s the link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Cube-Trevalia-L-J-Capehart-ebook/dp/B00D3V0JO0

My Author Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/ljcapehartauthor

My Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Ljcapehart

My Blog is:  http://ljcapehart.wordpress.com/

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Chapter One   

                              
The storm had come up suddenly. Seth Tucker had been so intent on the object on the table in front of him that he hadn’t noticed. A sudden, thunderous boom made him jump.
Glancing out the window of the cabin, Seth hurried over to the door. The rain hadn’t started yet, but there was a strong wind blowing. The tall, slightly husky, 36 year old moved out to the deck to retrieve the deck chairs before they could be blown out into the yard.
After carrying them in and closing the door, he absent-mindedly smoothed his dark blond hair down while he watched the sky light up every few seconds with lightning. Large drops of rain started to pelt the window in front of him. It rapidly became a heavy downpour.
Seth turned and started toward the table again, only to stop, astonished at what he saw. The square, metal box that he’d been studying so intently several minutes ago had undergone a dramatic change!
What had mere moments ago been just a silver-gray metallic looking box with odd, circular, flat disks spaced along its sides and top, was now alive with a strange glow. As Seth watched, unsure of what was happening or what to do about it, small strings of what looked like electricity began playing across the surface of the box. Both the light and strings of electricity began to expand outward, filling the entire cabin in moments!
Seth was caught up in it all before he had a chance to move for the door. He found himself unable to move as electricity danced around him. His skin tingled from it. He had the absurd thought that this might be what it would feel like to be inside of one of those globes that the kids liked at the mall; the ones where the electricity followed their hands as they moved them along the surface.
A strange crackling sound had begun at the same moment as the rest of it. The noise grew in intensity, as the light grew brighter. A sound of wind joined all the rest, as if a storm moved inside the cabin, in conjunction with the storm outside.
Seth felt like he should be running for the door, or throwing himself to the ground, but he was unable to move. He couldn’t even close his eyes. All he could do was stand and watch as the light and sound became his whole world…
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Lori! It’s been a pleasure.

***Lisa Capehart is an accomplished author and very good colleague of mine.  I highly recommend you sample her book

Featured Author: Danielle Rose-West

Featured AuthorDanielle Rose-West

1)  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

My name is Danielle Rose-West and I live in the United Kingdom with my family and our small dog. I am something of a romantic dreamer and always have been. I have always been a rather shy person.  When I was growing up, books were often my best friends!

I have loved reading since I was a small child. My very first books were by Enid Blyton. She completely fascinated me with all the different worlds she introduced me to. My very favourite books were her Far Away Tree series. I still remember every story in those books even now! Magical!

I love to read still, of course, and I enjoy spending time with my husband when we both have time off from work. I love to get out and about. I walk very day for exercise and it really helps me to plot my books. I really am a very ordinary person getting to live the dream of being a writer!

2)    What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

I have always been an incurable romantic, as I said. I just love romance and how two people find the love of their lives in different circumstances. For me there was never any question that I would write romance. Even if I tried to write something else, like pure fantasy, it would end up with romance in there somewhere! My stories are totally products of my imagination. I have a huge imagination and I always have. I love to explore different characters and scenarios in every book. Sometimes my heroine’s do have a little of me in them. I guess that’s hard to avoid!

3)    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I have found it difficult to learn to market my books. At first I didn’t even realise I needed to do that! When it dawned on me that I had to get to work on social media etc to promote my work, it was quite a learning curve. I had never used facebook, twitter or any other social media site before. I am still learning now how to work with them. But I have made some wonderful friends and contacts, so it has been a blessing. I am growing in confidence every day with marketing and connecting with people and I am really enjoying it now.

4)    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

I do remember. My very first review was for four stars and the lady said it was a beautiful story. I was ecstatic! I remember running round the house telling everyone. I laughed, cried and felt on top of the world. There was nothing like knowing someone had loved my work! It made all those hours of hard work so worthwhile!

5)    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

My book is called Wild Fire and it is the first in a series called The Fairy Tale Match. It follows a dating agency that is actually run by real fairy godmothers. They have found that since the world no longer believes in magic or them, the only way they can help their charges is to run a dating agency.

In my first book, my hero Jake’s sister actually joins the dating agency on his behalf. She wants to find him true love because a tragedy in his past has closed his heart and she also has another motive, rather more selfish! The heroine, Laura, is looking for love and a new start. She comes to Jake’s ranch to spend three weeks with him, but he has no idea who she is when she first arrives. A lot happens through the course of their story, including enemies past and present that really test the couple. Of course, unknown to them, their fairy godmothers are working in the background to help the couple overcome their difficulties and find everlasting love.

So far, I’ve had some really great reviews for the book. Many have told me that it is refreshing and different. They have laughed with the fairy godmother’s antics and enjoyed the suspense aspect of the story. My second book in this series, Forever You, is also now available.

6)    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

I have several links, as follows:

My blog: http://daniellerosewest.blogspot.co.uk/

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Danielle-Rose-West/451370021626958

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRoseWest

Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/author/daniellerosewest

Amazon Author Page UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Danielle-Rose-West/e/B00EF5GXSO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/daniellerosewest

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7213651.Danielle_Rose_West

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/daniellerosewes/pins/

Email: danielle.rosewest30@gmail.com

I truly love to hear from readers and you can find more about my books on most of these pages.

7)    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky number.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. It has been such fun.

Please find an excerpt from Wild Fire. I hope you enjoy reading it.

 247 Danielle Rose-West (smaller) copy

Excerpt

Laura couldn’t help but smile to herself as she climbed up onto the fence to sit and watch the class. Three young women in the group were all working very hard to gain the attention of the handsome riding instructor. The man was quite obviously enjoying the competition, blatantly spreading himself around the three in a way that was fascinating to behold. He bestowed his easy smile in one direction, then another with compliments flowing free and fast. The women preened under his flattering and then glared daggers at each other when he was looking in a different direction.

The man glanced over to the fence and saw Laura. He sent her one of his huge dimple filled smiles, his eyes gleaming in interest. He gave a small nod in her direction, which she returned. The class came to an end and the group made their way out of the paddock, taking the hot sweaty horses back to the stable for grooming. The instructor made his way over to Laura.

“Hi,” he called out to her as he approached, flashing his dimples at her again. “I’ve not seen you around here before. Are you a guest in one of the cabins?” He strode up to the fence and casually draped his arm around the post next to Laura’s leg. His dark eyes ran over her form, the admiration in them making her flush, but he didn’t make her heart flip over the way a certain dark haired, blue eyed man did.

“Actually, I’m staying with Jake and Kerry,” she replied, smiling down at him from her vantage point on the fence. “I just got here yesterday for a visit.”

“Ah, how wonderful to hear the sound of home. A fellow countrywoman if I am not mistaken?” She nodded to confirm his query. “It is always so lovely to meet up with people from home. I have been here in the US for several years now, working as a riding instructor for various ranches and still sometimes I get homesick. I’m Walter Nobel by the way.”

“I’m Laura Hamilton,” she replied, with a small laugh. The man was a real charmer. She could see why the women took to him. He had an easy smile and a naughty twinkle in his eyes. “Have you family back in England, Mr Nobel?”

“Please, call me Walter or Walt. Mr Nobel makes me look around for my father.” He gave an exaggerated shudder. “I left him back in England along with the rest of my family and I certainly don’t miss them. They are the reason I left, actually.” He gave her a cheeky wink, making her laugh. “Have you known the Carters long?” he asked, propping his boot up on the fence near her foot and leaning closer.

“A while,” she replied evasively. Somehow she didn’t think Jake would appreciate anyone else knowing the circumstances of her arrival here. She quickly changed the subject. “Do you enjoy working here?”

“I love it. How many people can say they get to earn money doing something they truly love all day long?” He cocked his head to one side as he regarded her with a deep intense look. “What about you Laura? Do you do what you love for work?”

“Not yet, but I hope to one day,” she sighed wistfully. “One of the reasons I came here was to see if I can settle into a new life in the States. Maybe I can be as lucky as you and find my perfect job here too.”

“So, you may be sticking around here permanently?” Walter asked, his voice dropping to an intimately low caress. “We must take the time to get to know each other better. Being fellow countryman and all, we should stick together.” He gave her a naughty flirtatious smile.

“It would be lovely to be friends.” She stressed the word in the hopes that Walter would take the hint and not keep flirting with her. She thought him nice enough, but he didn’t set her pulse to racing or her heart pounding. The last thing she wanted to do was give him the false impression that she was interested in him. From what she’d seen, Walter was interested in all women. She had no desire to become one of his conquests whose name he probably forgot in moments or maybe never even knew.

“Do you ride?” he asked,  running his eyes all over her in a caressing sweep she assumed was meant to make her weak at the knees, but didn’t. Unfortunately, her hint seemed to have fallen on deaf ears or he was deliberately ignoring it.

“No, but it is something I want to learn,” she replied to his question. “Actually, Bill is giving me a lesson later today.”

“Why bother him? I’d be happy to teach you. I’m always available for a little……private tutoring.” He gave her a lopsided grin, his eyes full of an invitation she had no intention of taking him up on.

“That’s very kind of you, Walter but I really don’t think I could take a member of the Carters workforce away from his regular duties.” Laura decided a more direct turndown might be in order. “I’m more than happy to learn with Bill.” She began to climb back over the fence, when Walter snagged her arm, sliding his hand down her arm and gently rubbing his thumb along the sensitive flesh of her inner wrist.

“It would be no trouble at all, I assure you, lovely Laura. Jake would probably be happy for me to teach you. He relies on Bill heavily, especially when there are horses near foaling. We’d be doing him a favour.” He smiled persuasively at her, tugging on her arm. “We could start now if you want? My next class isn’t for an hour.” His eyes took on a heavy gleam of desire as he looked her over again. Boy, this man had the hide of a rhinoceros. What did it take to get him to quit? Laura was about to firmly pull her arm out of Walters grip, when a hand clamped down onto his wrist and yanked it off for her.

Jake stood over Walter, looking furious. “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Nobel?” he demanded. Laura thought he’d looked angry yesterday, but it was nothing to how he looked now.

“Calm down, Carter. What is your problem? I was only offering a riding lesson to your lovely guest. Thought I’d save Bill the job.” Walter calmly rubbed his wrist where Jake had gripped him, looking remarkably unruffled by Jake’s anger.

“I know exactly what kind of riding lesson you were offering and I doubt it was the one Laura was after. I’ll thank you to treat our guest with respect. While we’re on the subject, I don’t like the way you push yourself at our female clients. Rein it in or I’ll be speaking to Kerry about finding a new instructor. Got it?” Jake’s voice was deadly, his expression hard.

Walter shrugged, laughing softly but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. The charming air dropped away and his face took on a harder edge. “I never push myself on women, Jake. Quite the opposite if you must know. Can I help it if women love me?” he asked, spreading his hands wide with an innocent expression. “Come on, Carter,” he continued in a friendly voice, winking at Jake in a conspiratorial way. “You knew what that was like once, didn’t you. Before….” He gestured to the left side of his face.

Jake froze at the implication of Walter’s statement. Rage boiled in his veins and his fists balled at his sides. He was on the verge of punching Walter Nobel’s overly pretty face, the desire to break his perfect nose overriding his better judgement, when a small hand clamped down on his arm. He looked down to see Laura standing next to him. She shook her head slightly as she twinned her arms through his, effectively stopping him from his murderous intentions.

“Jake, did you come to get me for that tour you promised?” she asked, smiling sweetly at him. “Please excuse us, Walter. I’m sure I’ve kept you from your work long enough.”

“I have enjoyed our chat immensely, lovely Laura. Meeting you has been the highlight of my dreary day.” Walter declared dramatically, clasping a hand to his chest. “By the way, that offer for a riding lesson is always open to you. Just say the word.” He gave her a suggestive wink, grinning widely. Laura felt Jake tense up beside her, waves of anger rolling off him. She gripped his arm tighter.

Shaking her head at Walter’s nonsense, which she was sure was just to get up Jake’s nose, she sighed hoping Jake wouldn’t attempt to hit him again. “That’s very kind, Walter but I’m sure I’ll be fine with Bill.”

He gave an exaggerated sigh of despair. “Another time then, fair Laura,” he replied, executing a small bow in her direction, he threw an insolent salute to Jake before he swept off towards the stables.

Jake growled low in his throat. “I wanted to punch his stupid fake smile right off his arrogant face,” he hissed out in a low voice.

“I know and if it wouldn’t land you in jail with a huge law suit round your neck, I might have let you,” Laura told him. “He shouldn’t have said what he did. It was wrong of him. I can’t believe he would speak to his boss that way. Isn’t he worried you’ll fire him?”

“No, because he is one of best at what he does or so Kerry says. She hired him. I don’t really get involved with that side of the business. I avoid him usually. I can’t stand him and as you noticed, he can’t stand me either.” Jake gritted his teeth, unaware his hands were twisting together as if he had Walter’s neck between them.

“I can see that,” Laura said, letting go of his arm and stepping back from him. She felt the loss immediately, but didn’t want him to feel she was being too familiar with him. “Really, you shouldn’t let him get to you. Surely you could see he was just trying to wind you up on purpose. His opinion of you shouldn’t matter.”

He couldn’t admit to her that normally he was never bothered by Walter’s pathetic pursuits of women. If they were too stupid to realise the man was a Casanova that was their problem. It had, to his complete annoyance, bothered him to see Walter pursuing her. When Jake had seen the two of them together in what looked like such a cosy position, he’d felt like someone had hit him in his guts. He’d flashed right back to Victoria and every feeling of betrayal had come rushing to the surface.

He’d had to remind himself that this was Laura. She wasn’t his. If she was interested in Walter, it was none of his business. But his feet had taken him over to them anyway. He’d wanted to rip Walters arm off for touching her. It was totally irrational, but he felt like Laura belonged to him as if they were connected somehow. He tried to keep rejecting the emotions, but they kept springing up. She drew him to her like a moth to a flame. His mind had been on nothing but her all morning; to then see her smiling and chatting, apparently having a wonderful time with that stupid arrogant jerk had been too much. She obviously didn’t feel a thing for him and he’d rather die than let her know Walter’s interest in her had got to him.

“It’s not just his opinion,” he corrected. “He is simply saying what everyone else thinks. I’ve heard the whispers. They all say what a shame it is, what a waste.” He turned bitter eyes to Laura. “He just had the guts to say it to my face.”

They fell into an awkward silence, each staring at the other. Laura wanted to reach out to him, the hurt she’d seen on his face when Walter had made reference to his scar had cut into her heart like a knife. She wanted to be able to hold him close and soothe that pain away, but she didn’t have that right. She wished she could tell him it didn’t take anything away from his handsome face, but that was too personal. She was too afraid to reveal what he did to her and how he made her feel. They barely knew each other, after all.

Instead she swallowed hard, trying to dislodge the lump in her throat. The last thing he needed from her was pity. “Not everyone holds that narrow view,” she finally said. “There are people who think what’s on the inside is far more important than what is on the outside.”

“What happens when what’s on the inside is broken?” he asked quietly.

Her heart bled for him. She touched his arm gently. “I believe all things can be healed; given time,” she said sincerely.

“I don’t.” His soft reply cut her deeply. Whatever had happened to him had left a scar far deeper than the one on his face. She wondered if any woman could touch it. She doubted that she was special enough to even try. Unsure what to say, she decided to change the subject completely, but he was already turning away from her.

“If you don’t mind, I need to get back to work,” he told her abruptly.

“Of course.” Laura wished she could keep him with her, but she could see him shutting down in front of her eyes. “Will you be having lunch with us?” Her foolish heart hoped he’d say yes. But he shook his head.

“I need to stay out with the horses today. Bill will though. He is looking forward to giving you that riding lesson.” He gave her a small smile, making her stomach clench and her heart turn over, then he walked swiftly away.

Laura headed back to the house to make lunch for three, feeling lonelier than she had in her entire life.

*****

“It didn’t work!” Flo said smugly to Lotta, waving her wand in her face. “He’s walking away again. I told you it wouldn’t work! It was too boring and mortal.”

“You must have patience, Flo,” Lotta told her, gritting her own teeth and trying to practice what she was preaching. “He was most definitely jealous. You saw the way he flew up to them. He has feelings for her. I can feel it in my wand!”

“I still think we need something more dramatic and romantic to get his attention.” Flo fluttered around, her face screwed up in thought. “Didn’t she say she’s having a riding lesson?”

“Bill is giving her one, not Jake. Why?” Lotta eyed Flo suspiciously. She didn’t trust the little fairy godmother one bit.

Flo’s face was starting to go red. That was never a good sign. She began bouncing on her tiny feet. That sign was even worse. “What are you cooking up?” Lotta asked, becoming alarmed.

“I have a perfectly wonderful idea!” Flo announced. “Romantic, dramatic and perfect. This should get a kiss or two out of our prince. He’ll be declaring his love in no time!” She sighed whimsically.

“You are not turning anything into anything it shouldn’t be are you?” Lotta inquired.

“No, no. Of course not!” Flo waved her wand around as she disappeared in a twinkle of stars.

“Tell me what your plan is!” Lotta yelled after her, but she’d already vanished. Lotta grumbled under her breath as she began a frantic search for her bothersome partner. It took her half an hour to locate Flo in one of the stables, happily patting horses on their heads with her small plump hand. She was beaming at them and heaving big sighs of bliss, fluttering her eyelashes in romantic raptures.

“What have you done?” Lotta asked abruptly, too upset for any finesse.

“Don’t worry. You’re going to love this idea. You won’t have to undo it. It’s perfect!” Flo exclaimed, patting the horses all over again. “This will get Laura and Jake together in no time.”

Lotta persisted in questioning Flo, but she wouldn’t say any more. Lotta decided the only thing she could do was keep her eyes and ears open and hope she could avert any disastrous consequences of Flo’s idea. She slumped against the stable walls and wondered what the consequences were for a fairy godmother that quit!

***Danielle is a very kind and giving colleague and friend.  She has a fabulous book and I KNOW you will enjoy reading it!

Featured Author: Lauren Algeo

Featured Author:    Lauren Algeo

 

LaurenAlgeo_500x500Lauren and her dog Kip

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Hi, my name’s Lauren Algeo. I’m a 28 year old graphic designer from Kent, England. I currently write during my daily commute and spare time but would love to write for a living one day. I find writing a great way to unwind after a day at work and I get inspiration from everywhere. I always have a notepad in my bag for jotting down ideas. I live with my boyfriend and our dog, Kip, a German Shepherd we got from a rescue centre last year. For me, dog walking is a great opportunity to think through story ideas and new plots!

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events. 

I’m a huge fan of horror stories and thrillers so they were natural genres for me. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Lee Child, Jo Nesbo and James Patterson so I credit them with my love of those genres.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

At the moment I mainly use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for promotion, as well as Goodreads. It can be quite difficult to find time to fit in promotion as well as writing and the day job but it seems to be going ok so far. I’m learning all the time and always appreciate any promoting suggestions.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was a 5 star one on Amazon for my first book, Hikers – Part One: Power. It was really exciting to see it there and I love getting new reviews (good or bad), it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions to my books.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

The first novel I published, Hikers – Part One: Power, is part of a horror series, the Hikers Trilogy. I’m currently editing Hikers – Part Two: Passion, which will be available to buy soon. So far the reaction has been great and I’ve had quite a few people contacting me to ask when Part Two will be out as they can’t wait to read it. I plan to start writing Part Three as soon as Part Two is published, and already have plenty of notes to get started with.

In between writing Hikers Part One and Two, I published a book called The Perfect Date. It’s a slight change of genre for me, more of a romance thriller, but there’s a plot twist that people have been very complimentary of so far – so not your average ‘romance’, more thriller!

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

For all the latest news on my books, go to:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/HikersTrilogy

Twitter:  @LaurenAlgeo

To purchase ebook or paperback versions of Hikers – Part One: Power visit:

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hikers-Part-Power-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B35DZMG

Amazon USA:

http://www.amazon.com/Hikers-Part-Power-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B35DZMG

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341549

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

LaurenAlgeo_205x285

Thanks for having me! I’d like to share an excerpt from Hikers – Part One: Power. It’s a horror thriller about an ex-Detective Inspector, Scott Brewer, who hunts hikers, a family of hired assassins with the power of mind control. Brewer is joined on his mission by Georgie Duncan, a moody teenager with a turbulent past, and together they must find a way to kill the seemingly invincible hikers. This excerpt is from the very start of the trilogy. I hope you enjoy it!

Hikers_Cover.indd

Prologue

 ‘It’s time.’ The voice in his mind urged.

He felt a moment of doubt but couldn’t think of a rational reason why. He had been planning this for days. He was ready. They would all pay.

He slipped his right hand into the pocket of the large duffel coat he was wearing and felt the weight of the gun. He closed his hand around the cool metal and rested his finger on the trigger.

He stepped onto the escalator and surveyed the scene as it descended slowly in to Waterloo’s main train station. It was lunchtime and people were bustling to and fro in front of him. Not as busy as rush hour in the morning or evening but busy enough for him to blend in to the crowd.

He felt a shiver surge through his body and he pulled the heavy black coat tighter around himself. The weather had begun to turn and he knew there were cold days ahead.

‘There! There!’ The voice whispered excitedly.

He looked towards a small crowd gathered round some video equipment near the middle of the station. A TV actor was filming part of a drama series there today. The man could see him sitting in a chair to the side of the equipment, being fussed over by a makeup artist. He felt a tug of anger as he focussed on the man’s smug face.

That should have been his life. He deserved fame, money and recognition. Instead he had nothing.

He walked towards the set slowly, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself. He set his face in a mildly curious expression, as if he was just heading over to check out what was being filmed. A couple of others were doing the same but this was London and most people weren’t too bothered about minor celebrities when they had their own important lives.

The TV star was talking to a young woman who had just had her picture taken with him. She was giggling and toying coyly with her hair. Women just threw themselves at celebrities. He felt that ripple of rage again. He was only a few steps away now.

The actor half turned towards him as he reached them, a friendly smile on his face. He assumed the man was just another fan coming to say hello.

The man began to pull his hand out of his coat pocket. It looked as though he wanted to shake hands and the actor started to extend his own towards the man. Their eyes met for an instant and he felt that moment’s hesitation again.

Before he could comprehend it, his right hand was being thrust upwards and his thumb clicked off the safety.

‘Now!’ The voice in his head screamed.

The TV actor barely had time to register the change in intent before the man shot him in the chest.

The sound was deafening and echoed around the station but the man barely noticed, all he seemed to hear was an insane laughing in his mind.

He turned swiftly and shot the young woman before the actor’s body had even hit the ground. His shot was wide of target and only clipped her left arm but he didn’t care.

He twisted and turned, firing at anyone in his line of sight. He spun to the right suddenly and felt the gun being guided to a middle-aged man who had been walking past.

The man was frozen to the spot, his eyes wide with shock and a sandwich dangling in his stiff fingers. He had on a dark pinstripe suit and was carrying a brief case by his side.

The man thought he heard the voice whisper through its chilling laughter. ‘Bang.’

This time his shot was perfect and he hit the man dead centre in the chest. His finger carried on squeezing and the gun bucked in his hand as he found running targets. There was panic everywhere but the urgency that had consumed him seemed to be subsiding. The gun clicked empty and suddenly the crazy laughter that had filled his mind was gone.

The world seemed to swim back to the man slowly. He looked around confused. People were fleeing away from where he stood and there were several others lying on the floor. He could see blood pooled around some of the motionless ones. Others were writhing around, trying to drag themselves to the safety of cover.

He looked down at the gun in his hand, realising what he had done. Now all he could hear was screaming.

***Lauren is a friend and colleague of mine with a wonderful book to share!  Make sure to check out her links as well.

Featured Author: Christopher Courtley

Featured Author:     Christopher Courtley

pic

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I’ve been telling stories, writing poetry and prose, and drawing (or more like doodling) for as long as I can remember. I’m not happy unless I’m creating. A consequence of this, perhaps, is that I’ve also been a bit of a misfit for as long as I can remember. As a child I had what one might call a fey nature. I was a very solitary, private person for much of my life, mostly nocturnal and attracted to dark and lonely places, old forests and brooding wastelands, ruins, graveyards; a lover of mist and moonlight, fascinated by the creatures of the night, and by death, the paranormal, and the occult. This disposition has served to shape both my life and my work.

2.  What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I’ve always loved fantasy, especially dark fantasy, and Gothic horror, and found that these elements often come together in fairy tales of the type collected by the Grimms in addition to those included in the Arabian Nights and not a few written by Hans Christian Andersen as well, so naturally some of my earliest writings have been in that vein. I’m also a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, so his work has had a major influence on my own, especially pertaining to the realms of Faerie and my poetic experience of them.

3.  How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I use social networking almost exclusively to promote my books. Right now the most important promotional tools for me besides my blog are Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google +, and the Virtual Ebook Fair.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Yes, I remember it well. I almost don’t need to copy-paste it because I remember it almost word-for-word, but I will do so anyway for the sake of accuracy: “if you like the dark side of things this book is for you.i love the short stories and the poems if you like that odd creepy feeling when your reading.this book will surely do it for you”. This review made me feel really good because this is exactly the sort of reaction I was going for.

5.  Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

My book, TROLL STEW: A STRANGE BREW OF DARK FAIRY TALES & POEMS FOR ADULTS, is a collection of original dark fairy tales and fairy-related poetry. While it isn’t exactly a series, it’s a small taste of things to come. So far the reaction to this very first book of mine has been overwhelmingly positive, so I am excited about releasing my next, even larger collection of dark fairy tales, which I hope will be finished well before the end of this month, since it’s perfect for Halloween, tending more toward the Gothic, with some elements of weird fiction thrown in as well.

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

Well, my official website is www.christophercourtley.com and my blog is located at www.courtleymanor.com.

You can get the paperback edition of TROLL STEW here: http://www.amazon.com/Troll-Stew-Strange-Fairy-Adults/dp/148492746X/ and the Kindle edition here: http://www.amazon.com/Troll-Stew-Strange-Adults-ebook/dp/B0091K7HJC/

I also have a sword and sorcery series in the works called The Valruna Saga, which is currently only available from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/8341

For more information on this developing series, you can also visit the official page at http://www.christophercourtley.com/valrunasaga.html

Some additional links you might be interested in are:

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtleymanor

My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/courtleymanor

My Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/christophercourtley

7.   I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

An Excerpt from “The Palace At Winter’s End”, one of the stories included in TROLL STEW: A STRANGE BREW OF DARK FAIRY TALES & POEMS FOR ADULTS:

book

That night, for the first time since she had come to the palace, Autumn had a dream.

She was riding through the forest. It was a sunny afternoon, and the leader of the wolf pack was running alongside her and Amani. They were hunting the unicorn.

“We’re close,” said the wolf. “I can smell him.”

Then suddenly their prey darted out from behind a tall thicket. With unnatural speed, Autumn drew her bow and shot an arrow into the unicorn’s neck. The beast stumbled and then fell to the ground, twitching in the agony of its death throes, its blood bright scarlet on the snow.

Autumn dismounted and she and the wolf approached the dying unicorn. As she stooped to examine her fallen prey, Amani came up behind her and neighed loudly.

“What have you done?” the horse said with her own voice.

She turned to Amani, on the point of telling him that she was only doing what her mother had wanted her to, but the words died upon her lips.

For it wasn’t Amani anymore. It was the unicorn, no longer near death, nor even wounded.

Then, with an anguished cry, Autumn realized that the arrow was in her own neck.

She awoke in a cold sweat. It was just before dawn, and she could see through the narrow gap between the drawn drapes the silvery-grey of the twilight.

Turning her face from the window, she tried to go back to sleep, but found that she couldn’t. So she just lay there in the waning darkness, pondering her strange dream. She was still wide awake when her mother brought in her breakfast tray.

“Good morning, daughter,” the queen said cheerily as she placed the tray beside the bed.

“Good morning, Mother.”

“Did you sleep well?”

“Not exactly. I had a terrible dream, and then couldn’t get back to sleep.”

“Would you like to tell me your dream?”

“Perhaps later.”

“Very well. Enjoy your breakfast, my darling.”

The queen drew the drapes aside to let in the light and left the room.

Autumn picked at her breakfast absently, the stark images of the dream still lingering in her mind.

Then, after she had finished eating, she rose and dressed, and headed straight to the library. It was not long before she found what she was looking for; a compendium of legendary creatures she had spied while perusing the books on the night of her arrival at the palace. She turned to the page where there should have been an entry for ‘unicorn’, but to her disappointment, she discovered that it had been torn out. So she closed the book and after carefully returning it to its place on the shelf, went looking for her mother.

She found the queen sitting beside the hearth in the dining room, staring into the fire.

“Mother, tell me about the unicorn.”

“You have seen it for yourself,” the queen replied without taking her eyes from the flames. “What more is there to tell?”

“Why do you hunt it?”

“For sport.”

“No other reason?”

“No. Why?”

“Because I recall having read once, though I can’t remember where, that the unicorn’s horn was once thought to have magical and healing properties.”

“Well, yes. I suppose that it does. But I have no need of such.”

“Well, then, what do you intend to do with the unicorn once you’ve finally killed it?”

“Oh, I will never do that.”

“You mean you don’t wish to kill it?”

“No, I mean that I can not. I will never catch the unicorn.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do.”

“Then why do you hunt it?”

“I believe I have already answered that question. But come, why all these questions concerning the unicorn?” Now at last she looked at her daughter, and silver flames danced with the shadows in her eyes. “Was it him you dreamt of last night?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me your dream.”

Then Autumn related her dream, to which the queen listened attentively, but without any change in her expression. Then, when the girl was done, she said nothing, but turned back toward the fire.

“Well?” asked Autumn with growing impatience. “What does it mean?”

“What do you think it means?”

“I don’t know. I’m asking you. I wish you would just give me a straight answer for once.”

The queen glanced at her daughter’s face again and smiled softly.

“Only you can know for sure what your dream is trying to tell you, my dear. But I will say this: It does contain a grain of truth. As I said, I can never catch the unicorn. But you can.”

“I can? How?”

“You must go deep into the forest alone, and wait for it there. It will come to you.”

“But I don’t want to catch it!”

“That is precisely why you will.”

“I understand now. You want the unicorn, but you can’t get it for yourself, so you think to use me to lure it into a trap! Well, I won’t do it!”

The queen laughed. “Nor would I not want you to. Where would be the sport in that?”

“I don’t get it,” said Autumn. “What’s the point in hunting something if you know you can’t ever catch it?”

“The joy is in the hunt, my girl. There is only one unicorn; if I ever succeeded in slaying it, there would be no more hunt. Whatever would I do with myself then?”

“Well, why would I want to catch it?”

“That is another one of those questions you must answer for yourself, my darling. But I will say this: if you never catch it, you will never know the answer to that question. Such is the way of things.”

***Christopher Courtley is an accomplished author and colleague of mine.  I strongly recommend his book and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!! 🙂