Sneak Peek of Stolen by the Shadow King

New Release Coming! On February 15th, my latest fantasy romance in the Kingdoms of Lore world, Stolen by the Shadow King, will arrive!

This will be the first book in a duology. I have long been obsessed with Hades and Persephone (I went so far as to use the simplified play as a teaching tool when I taught fourth and fifth grades) and I had so much fun writing my version of their story if they had been characters in this world.

Remember, the Dragons Rising series tells the first stories in this world, then Kingdoms of Lore takes over (and I’ll have another standalone release in that world this summer), then there will be this new duology!

Okay, enough blabbering, it’s time for a raw excerpt from the upcoming enemies to lovers fantasy romance about an Underworld king and a realist witch. 🙂

Chapter One

This was a terrible idea. Maren was doing it anyway.

She gripped her oaken wand—the deep grain familiar against her skin—and stared into the Between’s billowing fog. A cool breeze touched her cheeks and forehead, and she gasped at the biting chill. All scents disappeared. The misty clouds shifted with the shapes of spirits. The spirits looked just as they had in life though now they were colorless and their bodies emitted a pale, blue-white glow. They talked quietly to one another and walked in clusters, some disappearing at the borders of the Between as new ones grew visible. This place existed between the underworld and the land of the living.
Maren cleared her throat. “I call the Shadow King.”

Every spirit rotated to face her and a chill scrambled down her back. She couldn’t see them clearly, but she imagined their looks of shock from the way they whispered in quick bursts.

Maren nodded. “I know. I’m a bit mad. But I’m sincere. I call the Shadow King.” She clicked her tongue and searched the churning mists of white and gray. “Any time now…”
Her bones shivered inside her clammy skin and she sighed. She moved her wand across the space in front of her. “Return.”

With a jarring slam, her spirit returned to her body in the land of the living. She blinked and looked up into the branches of the Sacred Oak. Clothed in autumn’s gold and brown, the Sacred Oak’s power hummed through the air and the ground under Maren’s boots. Aside from the hum, a woodpigeon’s coo and the shuffle of the turning leaves overhead were the only sounds in the Forest of Illumahrah. Maren walked to the Oak and set her hand on the trunk. Her wand shivered in her hand, knowing its Mother. All wands came from the Sacred Oak, given magically to witches in this kingdom, and sometimes, beyond. The Source, the High Power, had set this tree into the world to serve as a conduit for all magic.

Maren breathed deeply, enjoying the flow of magic simmering through her human witch blood. Then, she returned to the dusky-hued pony she’d borrowed from the fae court. With a flick of her wand and a sharply focused imagining of a ripe apple, Maren magicked a treat for the creature. Her palms and the spot between her eyes warmed with the flow of power. Once the pony had gobbled it down with its soft lips, Maren sheathed her wand at her belt, mounted up, and began the short ride back to her found family.

At the Agate Court stables, two fae lads not much younger than Maren—who was just eighteen—were mucking stalls, their horns and pointed ears showing through their tied-back hair. Maren tried not to stare. She was still getting used to seeing non-human beings. She’d always known they were around, but none lived in her home kingdom of Wylfenden. Here in the kingdom of Lore, humans with no power, human witches like her, elves, and fae all lived in relative harmony. A smile pulled at her lips. It was fascinating, and it was downright impressive that even with all their cultural differences they didn’t explode into violence.

The pony’s shoes clomped over the cobblestones as Maren led her under the archway’s green-painted runes of safety and healing. The cobblestones had been set into patterns that showed the elemental magics—air, water, fire, and earth. Even the fae’s stables were fancy. Maren took a wide brush from the rack on the wall and began brushing the pony down, a pleasant chore. Her magic couldn’t manage such tangled spells as tidying a horse, but she didn’t mind the work. The stable hands glanced her way and whispered something in the fae tongue. She couldn’t speak their language, but their narrowed eyes told her enough. No one really liked to be around the Deadspeaker.

“Thanks for not taking off while I was working today, Pony.” She couldn’t remember the animal’s name, but the pony didn’t seem to care. “I know it had to be incredibly off-putting to see a lifeless body just standing there.” When she visited the Between, her body was nearly dead with just enough spirit left in it to keep her alive and able to return.

The pony snorted, and Maren set to combing a cluster of dark burrs from her mane.

“Your Highness!” One of the stable lads had stopped his mucking and bowed at the waist. He straightened, eyes shining with awe.

Princess Brielle of Wylfenden and Balaur, Maren’s best friend, walked in, her red hair lifting in the morning breeze. “How is the new foal doing? I didn’t realize I’d be here long enough to see him born.”

“Meetings upon meetings still, eh?” Maren peeked her head around the corner of the cleaning stall.

“Maren!” Brielle hefted her skirts and ran over. She enveloped Maren in a vicious hug.
Brielle had rescued Maren from the Wylfenden king’s dungeon—from Brielle’s own father—and Maren had befriended the amazing woman right away, loving the way she wasn’t like any other princess. Brielle may have been wearing a fine gown of emerald, decorated in fox fur, as befit the soon to be queen of Balaur, but Maren knew well Brielle wished to be in trousers and digging up ancient artifacts high in the mountains.

“Why are you brushing out your pony?” Brielle’s face turned stormy and she whirled on the bug-eyed stable hands. “Do you dare to insult my dearest friend, the Deadspeaker? Show some respect and take care of her mount immediately.”

“Apologies, Your Highness,” the lads mumbled as they took over for Maren.

Maren followed Brielle out of the stables and toward the side entrance to the Agate Palace, home to the fae court.

“So many discussions,” Brielle said. “If I hear one more old man say the word negotiation, I might die.”

Maren wasn’t envious of the meetings that Brielle had to endure, but sometimes she secretly wished she could pipe up with an idea or two. Right now, though she just wanted to get back inside without Brielle asking what she’d been up to.

“Why were you riding alone? I would have come with you had you waited an hour.”
Blowing out a breath, Maren decided not to lie exactly, but to keep some of the truth back until she had more answers. “I needed some quiet time to myself with the Sacred Oak.”

Brielle nodded. “It’s amazing to be so close to center of the worlds.”

The Sacred Oak held everything in place with threads of magic that reached through the earth and sky and sea. It was the keystone of existence.

“I’ll miss it when we go back to Balaur.” Maren lived in the mountain elf kingdom of Balaur with Brielle who had married the High Prince there.

Maren popped her knuckles, her head aching. If yesterday’s vision was right, was there any point to returning to Balaur?

I hope you’ll grab your copy of Stolen by the Shadow King and enjoy reading this book as much as I loved writing it! (P.S. Along with Hades and Persephone, Pride and Prejudice also inspired some of King Kynan’s and Lady Maren’s personalities. They like to bicker and banter as those two do, and of course, Mr. Darcy is one of my all time favorite book boyfriends.)

Thanks for reading,

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Video Interviews Galore

Howdy! A load of us are stuck at home and looking for fresh entertainment. May I offer my epic fantasy books? 🙂 Check them all out here: Alisha’s Books.

Or how about some video interviews with me? I assure you that not only do I talk about dragons, world building, writing craft, cats, and more, you might also enjoy the tangents I go on.

Here is a tour I did of my bookshelves 

This is an interview of yours truly lead by fellow fantasy author Nicolas Kotar 

I made an appearance on the Fantasy Fiends Podcast during their Mythology special 

And I also chatted Fantasy Fiends up about Dragons here 

If you’re into dragons, epic fantasy, quests, slow burn romance, unique magic, exotic settings, and wild plot twists, check out my books today! 🙂 You can also get a FREE library from me by subscribing to my newsletter HERE. 

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Sneak Peek of QUEEN OF SEAS

now playing on my laptop: ilomilo by Billie Eilish

The third book in my DRAGONS RISING series releases October 29th. It’s a bit of a dark read due to the developments in the story. Kind of a reverse Little Mermaid.

Things do not go swimmingly.

Elves. Dragons. Magic and mermaids. Ish. Would you like a sneak peek? Are you ready to enter the realm of the sea kynd?


Sneak Peek
Queen of Seas

A scream tore from Vahly’s throat only to be drowned in salt water. The sea kynd’s grip on her was unrelenting, his fingers digging into her flesh as they ripped through the water, heading deeper into the ocean.

Why hadn’t he just killed her on the shore when he had his spear’s edge to her throat? What was his purpose in dragging her into the sea?

Visions of torture flashed through her mind, fingernails ripped from their beds, blood pouring from a busted nose, a slow, burning drowning, the water leaking into her lungs bit by bit, driven by spellwork.

She jerked and flailed but accomplished nothing as the incredibly powerful being swam on, his gaze trained on something in the distance as if he didn’t even notice her struggling. The water stung Vahly’s eyes; Arc’s eyewort and magic was disappearing. Her heart slammed against her chest.

When would she be unable to breathe? Surely any second the magic would fail, then whatever torture this male had in mind would be pointless because she’d be dead.

She closed her eyes against the water and tried to feel the earth’s power inside her chest, humming, drumming, singing in her veins. But the pulse was weak and she couldn’t smell anything at all, let alone turned earth or trees or verdant mosses.

The sea kynd pulled Vahly onto a black coral shelf into a forest of slick kelp that clung to her body. He pushed her to the coral and put a foot on her throat. She grabbed one of his webbed toes and yanked with all she had. His foot slipped only a fraction before he had her again, pinned like one of the dead butterflies in the study boxes at the Lapis library. The coral bit into her back, shredding her vest and cutting through to her flesh, but pain didn’t come. Blood stampeded through her veins and adrenaline made her numb.

“Stop struggling. There is no use.” The sea kynd’s voice thundered through the water like a drum, roaring with the magic that allowed his kynd to speak.

The desperate urge to demand answers, to ask why he was keeping her alive, tore at Vahly’s throat, but she knew her voice had no such magic. If she opened her mouth to speak, the words would only be garbled nonsense and the water might decide to rush into her lungs and finish the job before her captor had the pleasure of doing it himself.

His gaze, eyes wide and irises too black, strafed her face as he studied her. Water lifted his dark hair and the ends of his beard. Foamy bubbles crowded around his coral spear like magic just itching to strike out at her.

He lowered the spear, whispered something, then pointed the weapon at Vahly.

Her heart hung for a beat, dead in her chest.

Power flooded the water over her face and chest and throat and it felt like one thousand hands pressing and pushing and scraping. Then the magic slithered over her body to her legs. An invisible weight clamped onto her lower half. A searing pain lashed across the sides of her neck and her fingers flew up to feel the damage his spellwork had wrought.

Tiny flaps of skin undulated beneath her fingertips.

She shuddered.


She had gills.

And then the magic shivered away, leaving only a tingling in her throat and a heaviness in her limbs.

“Speak,” the sea kynd demanded. He used the tongue of the dragons. But of course, Vahly’s mind distantly reminded her, sea kynd knew all the tongues spoken. They used their knowledge to name threats they saw to their world, to make declarations of war and blood.

A cough erupted from Vahly’s throat and he removed his foot, allowing her to float to a standing position. She was definitely heavier or she would’ve drifted up to the surface. So this was how the sea folk walked along the bottom of the ocean. Vahly’s stomach rolled at the feeling and she clutched her middle, afraid she was about to retch. She fought the anxiety and nausea, then managed to straighten and face him.

“Did you—” Another cough tore through her. “Did you turn me into a sea kynd?”

Images of her gryphon familiar, Kyril, as well as Nix, Arc, and Amona washed across her heart, stinging, lashing, burning. If she were changed, she’d never see them again. She’d be on the wrong side of the world, the war. Cut away from them. A sob caught in her throat and she squeezed her eyes, unable to cry of course because now she was one of them, a creature unable to weep, to feel, to empathize. Vahly felt as though she were being stretched apart, like the agony of losing everyone too soon without having the chance to properly fight for their lives would rip her into pieces as surely as any sea kynd’s teeth.

But at that moment, the sea kynd stared down at her, his lips parted. His teeth weren’t jagged, sharp maybe, but more like her own teeth and Arc’s. For some reason, her fear settled into the back of her mind. Shock, that was it, she thought distantly. This was her mind’s defense against this horror.

“You don’t have razor teeth,” she said in a warbled, stunned voice.

He cocked his head and glared, fury and confusion warring in his features. His frighteningly black eyes blinked as he studied her face. He opened his mouth as if he were about to say something, but then closed it again.

Her senses drowning, overwhelmed, Vahly snapped, “If you’re going to kill me, why not just do it?” Her throat was on fire, and her words punched through the water. It had to be an effect of the magic he’d performed on her.

The sea kynd’s mouth twisted into a grimace and he raised his scarlet coral spear.

She’d done it. He had been showing mercy and she’d agitated him enough to make him finish this job.

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Writing Fantasy: 3 Ways to Brainstorm Folklore

now playing on my laptop: Ambient Mixer Studying at Hogwarts 😉

Do you write or read fantasy? Want to check out three brainstorming ideas?

Here are some go-tos:

  1. Pinterest. I looooove making boards for each of my books. If you use it, it can help you settle on a character’s appearance and set the mood for atmosphere. Pictures of eerie forests from specific places where the folklore sparks your interest or handsome elves crafted by artists from around the globe can up your writing to a new level. For instance, if you search “dark polish folklore” in order to be inspired by that country’s lovely legends, you’ll see this. Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 11.46.44 AM.pngJust that old woman scratching symbols into the dirt brings about ninety stories into your head, doesn’t it? And that woman clutching the totem/carved image? A+ stuff right there. You can also search terms like “folk magic” and see what the world thinks about those words visually. That sort of search always spawns ideas. Here is a peek at my board for The Matchweaver’s Loom (will be in the Once Upon An Enchanted Forest anthology in September and will kick off a new series for 2020).Screen Shot 2019-08-07 at 10.04.27 AM
  2.  Music. Listening to sounds that evoke strong emotion will help you write and improve your reading experience too. Don’t laugh, but I listened to Enya the first time I read Tolkien and it was one of the best reads EVERRRRRR. If you write, try having a playlist of really sad, super exciting, or especially moving music going while you plot or draft. (you might need quiet for editing/revising–I always do) Here is one of my playlists. Soundtracks are a go to for a lot of writers. Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 11.40.21 AM
  3. Podcasts. When you listen to podcasts like Hidden Brain, Lore, or 99% Invisible, story ideas just flow right into that head of yours. I can’t count how many plot points and worldbuilding details in my books have come from podcasts! npr_hiddenbrain_podcasttile
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Dragons Rising Book Two is out now!

now playing on my laptop: Nightmare by Halsey

Hello readers!

The second installment in my epic fantasy series Dragons Rising is available now! In Band of Breakers, Vahly explores the ruins of the old human civilization both in the mountains and under the sea.


And that’s where things get very interesting.

Vahly finally meets her familiar, a gryphon with remarkable powers.

Grab Band of Breakers today to find out what they can do together!

Warning! This book ends on a cliffhanger! I am so sorry, but it had to happen that way. The third book, Queen of Seas, will be available at the end of October if all goes well and I will have a cover reveal on that bad boy very soon, so be watching this space.


Want to read the first chapter of Band of Breakers? Here it is!

In the dead of night, the Lapis library was as silent as a tomb. 

A high fever had struck Vahly down, and they’d been forced to stay with Amona for over a week. But the hallucinatory dreams and violent dizziness did nothing to dispel the strange urge inside Vahly, the bone-shaking urgency her magic thrummed through her body. With every heartbeat, her magic demanded that she travel to the western mountains. Now. Immediately. Before it was too late. 

Too late for what? Vahly didn’t know.

The fever had abated, and the night of their departure was here. 

Finally, Vahly could give in to that insistent drumming in her veins and rush toward the mystery of what her magic sought. She couldn’t leave fast enough to suit her.

Arc theorized that Vahly’s new magic had caused the fever, but it didn’t matter now. They had magic to follow and sea folk to overcome. And no one knew how much time they had left before the flooding started and the end began.

The western coast was such an odd destination, a place where humans had once flourished and now only sun-faded art, flooded streets, and castles eaten away by time remained. Her mother Amona had taken her there a long time ago—to the lands above the great city the Sea Queen had flooded in one of her first efforts to cover the world in water—but Vahly had been too young to process the gravity and history of the place. Vahly pressed a hand against her chest, the magic pushing, pushing, pushing. No, the fever didn’t matter and neither did the strange quest. It simply had to be done. 

The silence in the Lapis caves dragged a distinctly creepy feeling down her spine. The library was always quiet, but not like this, not this deep sort of silence. Usually, a youngling wailed from somewhere inside the labyrinth of tunnels and rooms, and oftentimes, dragons of mating age would stay up late drinking and teasing one another. 

But tonight—nothing.

She really hoped the grave-like stillness wasn’t an omen for their quest to see the scant ruins and caves above the sunken human city of Bihotzetik. 

What if the fever had been a warning? A counterbalance to her need to get into the western mountains?

Exhaling her stress, she held up a lantern. The light painted Amona’s blue-scaled hands as the Lapis dragon matriarch pushed a bookshelf away from the northeastern wall of the library to reveal a round, wooden door in the rock wall, a brass knob glinting from its center. 

The door squeaked open under Vahly’s hand. “I had no idea this was here.”

Amona donned a half-smile. “I’m allowed some secrets, Daughter. Listen, I’ll keep an ear to the ground and contact you if I hear of anyone following you or if any intend to harm you.”

Nix stood beside Arc, a pack slung over one shoulder and wing. The black of her pupils nearly overcame the bright yellow of her irises. “Why would anyone want to ruin the one chance we have against the Sea Queen?”

Arc had a scroll open on the table beyond the secret door. He probably hadn’t even noticed the door or Amona’s words. Absently tapping his bottom lip with his thumb, he squinted at what appeared to be a list of dragon herbal remedies, complete with colored drawings of green leaves, purple stems, and white blooms. As an elf with royal blood, his vision was exceptional, far better than Vahly’s or any dragon’s. The squinting and thumb tapping were simply his thinking pose.

Amona handed Vahly a bag of what smelled like fresh bread. Amona had insisted on seeing them off herself, with no one else around to preserve their lie that Vahly and the others were closeted in meetings about the coming war and her new powers. Amona had said none needed to know that Vahly’s earth magic was still rather limited. Fear would only complicate things and dampen the hope Vahly had given the dragons and their new allies, the elves. 

“My kynd are not perfect,” Amona said in answer to Nix’s question about a possible attack. “No kynd can be. The Jade matriarch, Eux, informed me that not all of the Jades came to the swearing in Red Meadow.”

Vahly gripped the door handle. “What?”

Amona grimaced. “Eux believed all had come because of her command through the Call.”

Nix’s wings flicked in agitation as she tied her red hair into a knot on top of her head. “I made the announcement to all the Breakers at the ciderhouse. Euskal and Aitor spread the word. I don’t think we missed anyone. I did a head count during the oath. They were all gathered up beside Miren.”

Nix was right. Vahly had heard Euskal calling around when she’d been in Nix’s rooms, helping her pack up. And Aitor had ignored the fact that his face had been all but ruined by a Jade and had gone off gladly to round up any Jade Breakers who didn’t often come by Nix’s. He’d returned with a full list of those attending the oath. On the day they all swore allegiance to Vahly, every Breaker who had ever crossed Nix’s threshold—and many strangers as well—had stood near the bald-headed Miren. 

Amona frowned at Arc, then looked back at Vahly, her eyes filled with concern. “Eux says there is a band of Breakers who keep far away from every other highbeast. They broke away years ago, and no one has seen them.”

“They’re probably dead.” Vahly walked over to Arc, then tugged on his surcoat. “Every time I turn my back on you, you’re trying to learn things. The reading will have to wait, my dear elf.”

A sly grin slid over Arc’s bow lips. “I don’t mind being called dear.” 

Vahly’s heart thudded inside her chest. She chuckled at herself and shook her head. 

“Vahly.” The matriarch’s voice held the sharp edge of a command, and Vahly found herself standing straight and listening intently. Their bonding was definitely still intact, and she was glad of it. It was almost as good as having Amona along on the journey. The security of knowing she had backup in the form of a matriarch was no small thing. Plus, the familiarity of her mother’s voice eased her fears about what she might be headed into and how she might very well turn out to be too weak to fight the Sea Queen. “I don’t think the Jade Breakers are dead. There are rams enough in the high mountains to feed a small group if they are smart about the way they hunt and manage the land.”

Nix sniffed. “I would strongly prefer it if we didn’t use the term Breakers for these miscreants.”

Vahly grinned. “Like our Breakers aren’t miscreants?”

Nix raised her chin haughtily. “My Breakers would never skip out on swearing allegiance to you, Earth Queen.”

Smoke twisted from Amona’s nostrils. “Only to me and to Eux, hm?”

Vahly held up a hand. “Let’s remember we’re all on the same side here. The past is the past. All right?” She dipped her head respectfully to Amona. “My matriarch?”

Amona let out a smoky breath, her gaze never leaving Nix. “You know, I put up with quite a bit from you and yours over the years. And you pulled my daughter into your schemes as well, even though she had no need for more gold.”

“I didn’t befriend her until she came to me, and by then, she was an adult, and she made her own decisions. With respect, Amona.” Nix deigned to bow her head briefly. 

Amona lips parted like she was about to say something, but then she closed her mouth. 

“Time to go?” Vahly raised her eyebrows and forced her voice to sound cheerful. “Yes, I think it is time to go. Goodbye, Mother and Matriarch.” She touched Amona’s forearm.

The heat left Amona’s gaze as she looked at Vahly. “I wish you safe travel. Be wary of the rogue Jades. They may not believe you are what we know you are, or they may simply kill without stopping to consider the consequences.”

“Sounds about right,” Vahly muttered.

“Call to me if you need aid,” Amona said. 

“Stars and Blackwater, Arc, come on,” Vahly said, eyeing him as he replaced the scroll he’d been reading. 

He joined her, and they started into the tunnel.

“Before these two light one another on fire,” she whispered to Arc, jerking her head in the direction of the dragons. 

Nix gave Amona one last nod, then walked behind them. “I think you and the elf are more likely to ignite than anyone else.” She winked a large, yellow eye. One of her blue wings masked the side of her scaled, round-cheeked face. 

Arc took the lead, allowing Nix and Vahly to walk side by side. The lantern’s light flickered over his form, casting his powerfully shaped shadow across the tunnel’s dry rock walls. 

“Who would’ve guessed we’d be traveling with an elf?” Nix smirked.

“Not this lady,” Vahly said.

Dark and narrower than any of the tunnels in the Lapis dragon palace, the passageway twisted and turned under the earth like the belly of a petrified snake. Cool water dripped from the ceiling, gathering on Vahly’s head and in the crook of her arms. 

Buzzing and drumming through her feet, earth magic urged Vahly’s legs to run, but she held back. This couldn’t be a rushed trip. It was a good hike to the western mountains, and hurrying overmuch wouldn’t do anything except wear her recently healed body out too soon.

In silence, they continued on as the tunnel began a slow ascent. Dim moonlight filtered in from the distance, showing spindly ferns and thick moss on the passageway’s walls. A mouse squeaked and hurried past, making Nix grunt in disapproval. 

“They could’ve tidied up a bit for us. You are a queen, after all,” she muttered.

North of the main Lapis palace entrance, the tunnel opened into the Red Meadow. A crescent moon limned the flowers and the river, the sight forming a wish inside Vahly, a wish that they could stop here and enjoy the beauty instead of sneaking farther into the wilderness with no clue as to what they might find there.

Vahly’s nerves sparked. What if she was leading Nix and Arc on a wild ferret chase? One that led to a death by either thirst or rogue Jades? 

Built by her ancestors, a crumbling stone bridge reached to the far side of the river. Arc went across first, the endless night sky making him look small, and Nix followed, the edges and hollows of her wings collecting starlight like jewel dust.

The small stones of the bridge crunched beneath Vahly’s boots. “I’m seriously worried I’m dragging you two into an unending nightmare.” 

Nix snorted a laugh. 

Arc turned, frowning. “I assure you, I’m fully awake. My nightmares involve a great deal more drama.” 

“More drama than following a leader who has no idea where she’s going?” Vahly asked.

Arc glanced at her. “I know where we’re going.”

“I don’t mean the trail. I mean, I’m not at all sure about this whole follow-my-gut thing.”

Nix’s wing brushed her arm. “What are our other choices? You don’t have your full powers yet. We need to wake your magic completely or we have no chance against the Sea Queen.”

“Indeed,” Arc said quietly.

Nix spread her hands. “And anyway, I was bored.”

Vahly rolled her eyes. This bravado was a mask. Nix just didn’t want to stay around the ciderhouse where the imaginary ghosts of Dramour, Kemen, and Ibai haunted every corner. Nix needed time away. So did Vahly. Their loss was an avalanche waiting to start. If the details of whom they had lost crept into her immediate thoughts, if she indulged in any intimate memories, the whole mountain of grief would bury her. She simply could not think of Dramour’s laugh, Kemen’s conspiratorial nod, or Ibai’s intense gaze as he mixed potions for healing. 

Her eyes burned with hidden emotion as they came to the end of the bridge. She could almost hear her heart cracking, preparing for a life-altering fall. She cleared her throat of the thickness that had gathered there. 

“But how long do we give this?” she asked.

Arc stopped to move his bow to his other shoulder while Nix and Vahly stood by the rippling water.

“What if we wander for an entire year?” Vahly asked. “An entire lifetime?”

Nix raised the scales above her eyes. “We’ll be dead by the Sea Queen’s hands long before any of that. Remember?”

Vahly crossed her arms. “Your bedside manner used to be much better.”

Nix opened her mouth to say something, but the water churned at their feet.

Heart beating a tattoo on her chest, Vahly stepped back and hauled Nix with her. 

Could the sea folk have somehow reached this fresh water? 

A shimmering light like a blurred moon rose from the silver-tipped ripples. A voice tripped through the air, a singing, notes warbling and numbing Vahly’s senses. 

Shaking herself, Vahly stepped between the light and her friends.

“Be not afraid,” the light said, the sound reminiscent of wind chimes.

Arc knelt beside Nix.

“What are you doing?” Vahly drew her sword as Nix growled at the being.

Head bent, Arc spoke quietly. “Earth Queen, Mistress of the Call Breakers, I present to you the Spirit of the River.”

Vahly and Nix exchanged confused looks. 

Vahly narrowed her eyes at the Spirit, trusting that Arc was not simply acting gullible. “A pleasure to meet you.” She copied Arc and knelt in the sandy rocks beside the river’s edge.

Nix took a knee as well. “Just how many secrets are you keeping, elf?” she hissed out of the corner of her mouth.

The Spirit rose higher in the water. Silver scales glittered around the edges of the Spirit’s circular form. Vahly’s breath caught at the beauty and strangeness. 

“Don’t fault the elven lord,” the Spirit whispered, the words dropping slowly like honey from a summer comb. “Of the sparing few who know of me, I ask that they hold talk of my existence to themselves.”

“With all respect,” Vahly started, “why do you now present yourself to us?”

“The world needs you, Earth Queen, and I must do my part to aid you on your journey.”

Vahly glanced at Nix, who shrugged. “Thank you. How exactly can you help?”

The Spirit dipped beneath the water for a moment, and a small wave lipped over the rocks to wet the toes of Vahly’s boot. “I am no warrior, but I helped your kynd build this bridge, and I came to love them.”

Images flickered to life at the far side of the bridge. Vahly stared in wonder as the ghostly shapes of humans accepted smoothed stones from a light that brought them to the surface—the Spirit was aiding them. There were at least a dozen humans, no, more than that. Males wearing hooded tunics digging a trench for drainage and laughing—the sound muffled and distant. Females with light hair like Vahly’s stacking rocks and creating short walls. Youths shoving one another into the river playfully and bearing the lectures of their elders.

Vahly put a hand to her cheek and realized she’d been crying. She wiped the tears away quickly, cheeks hot and her heart aching like a starving stomach. 

The faint images faded, and Vahly battled the desire to run after them, to beg the Spirit to show them more.

Not noticing Vahly’s secret longings, the Spirit spoke on. “When Astraea rose to power in the salt water realms, her aura tainted even my waters. Indeed, her foul ocean blacked my fresh currents during the flooding that took the last of your family, Earth Queen.” 

The Spirit spoke the Sea Queen’s name like a curse. Vahly was with her on that sentiment. 

Silver light surrounded a river rock deep under the current, then the Spirit seemed to lift it above the water. “Take this. When you need aid, press a kiss onto its surface, and I will do my best to rally the creatures of fresh water to your banner.”

Vahly took the rock and grasped it tightly. The damp surface chilled her fingers, and the scent of algae and metal found her nose. What would it look like if this being rallied its creatures? Water snakes, spotted frogs, and salamanders racing over land to join Vahly at the coast? 

A new thought sprang to mind, a child of the first. 

What if Vahly could call up the creatures of the land? Was that already within her power? If so, she had no idea how to do it. Swallowing, she rose from her knee and stepped forward. 

“Thank you, Spirit. May I ask how you summon your creatures? Is that something an Earth Queen should be able to do?”

The Spirit tipped to one side before righting itself. “I don’t have the knowledge of what an Earth Queen can or cannot do.”

Vahly frowned, disappointment tugging at her like a deep fatigue. “Oh. Of course. Thank you for the gift.”

Nodding once, the shimmering light lowered itself under the river’s dancing surface. With a splash, it was gone, and Vahly was left with the uncomfortable knowledge that there was so much more to learn about the world she was meant to save. And yes, some discoveries might prove beneficial like this river being and this special rock, but other revelations would hold threats she hadn’t prepared for, evils lurking unseen. 

If she didn’t figure out how to wake her magic in full soon, what she didn’t know might kill her before the sea had its chance.


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Updates on the Dragons Rising Series

now playing on my laptop: the Game of Thrones Season One soundtrack 😉

Hello all! (here is me in my Renaissance Faire garb being ridiculous)


Fate of Dragons, Dragons Rising Book One, is kicking tail in the charts and I couldn’t be happier!

I have updates for you!

  1. The Fate of Dragons audiobook should be available on Audible mid May. Caitlin Davies narrated (she has also recorded several of Lindsay Buroker’s books~cue fangirling) and she knocked it out of the park, dudes. It’s awesooommmmeee.
  2. Book Two, Band of Breakers, will be up for pre-order on or near Friday, April 26th, so get ready for a sneak peek on that front. Eeee! Hint: Elves are happening.
  3. If you haven’t read my other epic fantasy series, Uncommon World, you might be interested to know that book one in that series, Waters of Salt and Sin, will be available in audiobook on Audible any day now! Heather Costa narrated that one and she is AHmazing. It’s a big ole book too so you’ll get your credit’s worth for sure on that one. 😉
  4. Can you help me name the gryphon who will show up in book two? Check out my fan group on Facebook to participate OR sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss the voting form! Here is the Facebook Group Link and here is the link for the newsletter (where you can also nab a free library of ebooks by me!).



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Fate of Dragons Characters: Meet Vahly

now playing on my laptop: Brennistein by Sigur Rós

It’s time to meet our hero!!!

Raised by dragons, Vahly is the last surviving human. She bears a Blackwater mark between her eyebrows—a shimmering oval that represents the origin of creation and magic in this world. She should be very powerful, but she has no magic at all.

Life, amirite?

Vahly loves a good game of dice at the cider house. She is a bit like Han Solo in that she tends to be reckless and not take things too seriously.

Well, the dragons and the elves need her to wake her dormant powers to save them all.

It’s not going to be easy.

Check out this graphic my designer made for Vahly of the Earth.

Fate of Dragons, Dragons Rising Book One, releases April 3rd!!! Woo hoo!!!

They longed for a savior. Instead, they found me.-3

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Fate of Dragons Characters: Meet Nix

now playing on my laptop: stuff my kids are making me play :/

Bring out the dragonsssssssss

Oh yeah.

All my life I’ve wanted to write a dragon series and finally I DID IT.

Want meet one of my favorite dragons in my upcoming book, FATE OF DRAGONS, Dragons Rising Book One?

‘Course ya do.

Meet Nix.

Not surprising, she loves gold.

Nix refuses to join any dragon clan and instead runs her own network of spies and smugglers. All the dragons in my upcoming series have dragonfire. It is far more powerful than your basic fire. Greek fire inspired that bit of worldbuilding. 

She can shift from her full dragon form into a human-like form with scaled skin and smaller wings.

Nix is saucy and every dragon at the local cider house adores her.

Check out a graphic my designer created for Nix.

Copy of They longed for a savior. Instead, they found me.-3

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Fate of Dragons Characters: Meet Arcturus

now playing on my laptop: My Blood by Twenty-one Pilots

Do you like elves in your fantasy novels and movies?

I do. Tolkien’s Legolas. Christopher Paolini’s elves. There are many from which to choose.

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In my upcoming FATE OF DRAGONS, DRAGONS RISING BOOK ONE, Arcturus is the main elf of note.

Fascinated by magical sciences, Arcturus is a tall, battle-scarred, dark-haired elf with a big problem.

His memories have been altered… 

Most of my elves have names inspired by stars and planets. They possess a version of air magic in which they wield light, shadow, and wind in interesting ways.

Arcturus has royal elven blood, but instead of longing for a crown, he spends his non-warrior time in his alchemy lab. He is specifically interested in how the magic from all the creatures might combine.

And just today, the wind told him a secret that will change everything.

Here is a graphic my designer created for Fate of Dragons (out April 3, 2019).


Copy of Copy of They longed for a savior. Instead, they found me.-2

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now playing on my laptop: Dumbledore’s Office from Ambient Worlds on YouTube

Hello Fantasy Family!

Check it out—we have a FATE OF DRAGONS map!

Wooooo hooo! What do you think?

My epic fantasy series will release at the beginning of April. I can’t wait to share this world and these characters with you.

The dragons live in the Lapis and Jade caves while the elves hang out in the Forest of Illumahrah. The last human in this world, Vahly, lives with the Lapis dragons and can be found gambling at the ciderhouse on Dragon’s Back ridge.

The artist’s name is Ren and I found her on Fiverr years ago. She also did the map for the Uncommon World. 🙂

colorSugarrabota copy.jpg

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