Year: 2017 (page 1 of 3)

Check out this new release if you love Practical Magic (I know I do)

So yeah, Practical Magic is one of my favorite books/movies of all time. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched the movie, if I turn on the TV and it’s playing, I have to keep watching. So when I saw Stephanie’s book and read the description, I knew I had to check it out. And I’m glad I did! I know I should be editing, or writing, or editing some more, but some times you just have to take a break to read. If you’re interested, check out the excerpt and see for yourself!

NEW RELEASE

June 7, 2017

Stefanie Spangler’s Urban Fantasy Dark Designs

51UHj2aObTLMagic calls out to other magic, and the Grant sisters are about to find out they’ve drawn the darkest kind to their doorstep.

Twins Ivy and Violet Grant are opposites. Ivy, a hot-tempered redhead, couldn’t wait to get off the farm and see the world. Violet, a quiet brunette, was content to stay home and help their grandmother with the family business. The one thing they have in common is their magic.

Charlie Logan’s sinister obsession with Ivy Grant has ruled his life. When he discovers a book of dark magic during a burglary, he decides to return to Oak Hill and use his newfound power to gain control over Ivy.

Ivy and Violet, with help from their grandmother, need to practice their magic to overcome the evil seeping into their lives. A battle is coming, and Ivy’s life is not the only one at stake.

 

 

Buy it now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07123MWW7

 

Excerpt

Slowly, Ivy became aware of another presence in the barn. Her eyes roamed away from the kitten cradled in her arms to the boots standing just beyond the stall door, next to her discarded sandals. Eyes wide, she sprang to her bare feet as fast as she could without trampling the kittens.

Charlie Logan was blocking the way out of the stall. The sunlight that slipped in through the gaps in the barn’s wooden planks cast his face in mottled stripes. She knew him because Grandpa Jack had always let his granddaughters roam the farm freely, and Charlie had spoken to her many times. Never alone, though. She stood awkwardly, her eyes darting around the dimly lit solitude of the barn.

“Nice kittens you got there.” He nodded cheerfully toward the kittens then smiled. His hand twitched as if he might reach out and touch her.

“Yeah,” she said quietly, looking back and forth between Charlie and the kittens. “None of them are sick or anything. Sometimes there are sick ones…” Ivy rambled nervously until her eyes settled on Charlie’s face, and then she stilled, wishing she could disappear.

Charlie moved in closer, trapping her in the corner of the stall. “They’ll all be good mousers, I bet.”

His tone was friendly, but Ivy’s guts tensed up. She desperately wanted to be away from the stall that had, without warning, become too dark and far too secluded. If she shouted, someone would likely hear her and come, but Charlie had always seemed nice enough. Maybe he did just want to talk about kittens, and she didn’t want him to get in trouble for not being busy at work.

When she made a move toward the door, his tall frame shifted. She jerked back, away from his body, pushing herself tighter into the corner of the stall. He was close enough that his scent of stale cigarette smoke and sweat forced its way into her nostrils and stomach. When he exhaled, his breath smelled of strong coffee. In slow motion, Charlie reached out and touched her hair just over her ear. Heart in her throat, she froze. Charlie Logan had not come to discuss anything good. He smiled at her affectionately as he stroked her hair.

 

Title: Dark Designs

Author: Stefanie Spangler

Genre: Urban Fantasy

 

 

About the Author

Stefanie Spangler has always loved books and reading, and one day, she decided to write a book of her own.

Stefanie lives in central Illinois with her husband and daughters. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s usually editing someone else’s book. But she also enjoys gardening, knitting, and forcing others to read her favorite books.

 

Follow Stefanie:

https://twitter.com/StefanieAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/StefanieAuthor/

www.stefaniespangler.com

 

 

And the winner is….

Penny Olson! Please email me your address and I’ll send your book out right away! 🙂 Thanks for everyone who entered and participated in the Summer YA Scavenger Hunt. I hope you had a great time and I look forward to seeing you in the fall!

YA Scavenger Hunt Stop #52

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Welcome traveler, somehow you’ve stumbled upon the 52nd stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt. Why don’t you pull up a chair, rest your feet a while, and check out some of the interesting stuff I have to offer. Then, when you’re done, scroll down for the secret word and continue your journey.

darknessfalls cover1Love free books? I’m giving away a free print mis-marked copy of my new release When Darkness Falls. What’s wrong with it? A blurry title page. That’s it. Everything else is perfect. If you’d like to win a free copy, enter the contest below, and I’ll announce the winner after the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt is over on June 7th. If you haven’t heard of When Darkness Falls, click here to read the first two chapters for free.

I’m also re-releasing Burning Bright, my contemporary YA about a girl with a dark past whose future may ride on the fate of a Bengal tiger with a similar gory history.  Check out a sneak peak of the new cover. It’s awesome! I’ll be doing a bunch of giveaways in preparation for that, so if you’re interested in hearing more about that, as well as upcoming releases (such as the sequel for When Darkness Falls and the thrilling end to my Live Once trilogy) sign up for my mailing list! There’s freebies with every newsletter, and I promise not to spam you! REVEAL SOON GRAPHIC1

 

And now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for…. My secret word is

If the Flash Player doesn’t work, my secret word is “SHE“.

Now you can put all the words together (in order from 1 ~ 140) and reconstruct the “Secret Legend.”

When you’re done, enter the grand prize here.
Your next stop is the amazing Amy McNulty, but if you have any questions, make sure to visit the main post and list of participating authors here.

Have fun and happy hunting!

 

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YA Summer Scavenger Hunt!

In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt. This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

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RULES

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed secret legend HERE.

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.

THE MAP (participating authors)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Rose
  11. N.M. Howell
  12. Lara Ann
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil
  26. Jo Schneider
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Chanda Stafford
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert
  105. Rachel Medhurst
  106. Tee G Ayer
  107. May Freighter
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Megan Linski
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. Brian King
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson
  120. J.L. Hendricks
  121. A.L. Knorr
  122. T.M. Franklin
  123. Konstanz Silverbow
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy

Starts June 1st!

Just go through the “treasure map” above to find the keywords and reconstruct the secret legend. Once you’ve got it, enter for the grand prize HERE. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for other giveaways or free books as you search for the keywords, most authors will be offering their own prizes as well.

For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.

TIMELINE

Authors will post the rules and the full list of participating authors sometime in June, and have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize.

 

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Things I love about writing, and things I hate.

Things I love about writing:

  • Coming up with new worlds and story ideas. For me, coming up with new ideas starts with a spark. A flash of inspiration that shows me the key scene in a book. For one of my books, it was the MC sitting in the middle of a bridge, at night, while it’s raining, holding a bloody knife. I saw it in a flash of lightning, and that helped drive the whole book forward.
  • Never running out of ideas. I swear, I used to worry about this, but I have three finished first drafts waiting for their literary lobotomies, and more ideas than I’ll probably ever have a chance to write. For example, I’m about 80% of the way through with Darkness Falls 2 (hated the ending so I had to fix that or I’d have been done by now), and then I’ll get Harbinger, book three of my Live Once trilogy out, AND I also want to publish an adult urban fantasy about curses and witches, and serial killers. It’ll be a blast! (I should label that under things only writers think are fun.)
  • Talking with my readers. I love getting their feedback, finding out what they’re reading, and just really interacting with others who love books as much as I do.
  • Meeting other writers. I love talking shop, if you will, but it sucks that I live in a tiny little town without a lot of opportunities to meet up without driving half a day.

Things I don’t like:

  • Okay, this one has been bugging me for a while. It’s bad advice. I was at a “thing” (don’t want to get too detailed) where the speaker was telling young writers that in order for their work to get noticed by an editor or agent, it had to be 100% perfect. No mistakes. Not one. Ever. In the entire manuscript. They won’t even look at your story if there’s one spelling or grammar mistake. Forgot a comma? Forget about getting published. Ever. In your entire life. And if the editor sees a mistake, they’ll burn your manuscript and send you back the ashes. Okay, I made that last bit up, you get what I’m saying. It was awful. I wanted to badly to stand up and raise my hand and tell them they were 100% wrong, but I didn’t want to make a scene in front of the kids. Yes, agents and editors want things polished, but from what I understand, an amazing story is more important. In my experience, agents and editors expect books to need at least some work. That’s just the way it is.
  • Pickles. Can’t stand ’em. Blech. (I couldn’t think of anything else writing-related after my mini-rant).

Over 25 Fantasy Books Free on Kindle Unlimited

When N.M. Howell posted about putting together a fantasy promo, I jumped right in. What better way to get eyes on some awesome books than by grouping them all together? Click here to visit N.M. Howell’s page and see all the fantasy awesome-ness available on KU. Don’t have Kindle Unlimited? Some of the books, such as N.M. Howell’s Marked by Dragon’s Blood, are on sale for a limited time.

fantasy free kindle books

…and life goes on…

My book launched! It happened! I can’t believe it! Wait, now what? Just kidding. 🙂 Right now I’m about 3/4 of the way done with the first draft of book 2 in the Darkness Falls series and waiting for my edits back on Harbinger. Hopefully the stars will align and I’ll finish book 2 and can transition right on to working on the beta comments. Then, Harbinger goes off to editing at the end of the month (really? it’s that soon?) and I can focus on book 2 with a fresh view again. After that? We’ll see. 🙂

It’s here!

Get your copy of When Darkness Falls here, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

 

 

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When Darkness Falls comes out on May 2nd!

I can’t believe it’s already here! If you got an early copy via Kindle Scout, please consider leaving me a review, I really appreciate it! If you haven’t, you can pre-order your copy here.

 

Ready… set… go! :) YA Scavenger Hunt!

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Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PINK TEAM–but there is also a red team, an orange team, a gold team, a green team, a teal team, a blue team, a purple team, and a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

I have the honor of hosting Colleen Houk, founder of the YA Scavenger Hunt.
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New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.
Find out more information by checking out Colleen’s website , follow her on Facebook and Twitter, or find more about the author’s book here!
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Exclusive Content:
Hello Readers!
I’m excited to bring to you a deleted scene from RECREATED, book two in the REAWAKENED series.
In this scene, Lily is in Amun-Ra’s palace dreaming of Amon and sees when he meets Ashleigh for the first time as the sprite tends to the fairy tree she calls home.

RECREATED Chapter 13-deleted scene

I twisted my hands nervously while the girl bustled about the room, turning down the thick comforter on the giant bed, laying out a filmy sort of nightdress, and showing me a washroom where she filled a basin with water and passed her hand over it. The bowl glowed a sunset-orange and when the brightness faded, steam rose from the newly warmed water. Waving her palm across a panel on the tiled wall dimmed the lights. After I put on the nightgown the servant had laid out, I pressed my hand against the various panels in the washroom, curious to see what each one did.

Finishing up, I toured the rest of the chamber.

As awed as I was by Amun-Ra’s home, now that I was alone, my worry over Amon rose to the forefront of my mind. Without the help of the sun god, I didn’t know how I was going to make it through my trials. Convincing him to help me had been the goal and now that he wouldn’t, I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go next. I’d boasted of finding Amon on my own, but the truth was, I didn’t even know where to start.

I settled into the bed and closed my eyes attempting to sleep but several hours passed until a fitful rest found me. Even then, my dreams took me to the Netherworld. Amon was awake and traveling in a forest, one unlike I’d ever seen. The trees shimmered and moved in the breeze with the sound of wind chimes. The color was wrong. Instead of various shades of green, the leaves looked more like a sky blue and they twinkled as if the leaves were coated with sparkling minerals or sugar.

Sadly, Amon was awake which meant we couldn’t communicate, but at least I knew he was alive, at least as alive as you could be in the Netherworld, and he wasn’t fighting a monster for a change which was a relief. Ducking under one tree, he ran his hand up a branch and came away with a shallow cut. Frowning, he tore away a piece of his tunic and wrapped it around his injury.

He moved from place to place in the forest trying to catch something. Water dripped from the trees and pooled on the ground but every time he dipped his hand into a puddle, the water dried up. When he cupped his hand around a leaf to guide the droplets to his mouth, the glassy leaf somehow curled and the water defied gravity, remaining stubbornly where it was.

Though it was raining and he turned his open mouth to the sky, he caught not a drop. Amon appeared to be desperately thirsty. His lips were chapped and he tried continually to wet them. Frustrated, he shouted defiantly to the trees that they would not beat him. That he would overcome this setback. Only the tinkling sound of the rain on the leaves answered him. Eventually, he gave up, put his back to a wide tree trunk and sunk down to the forest floor, resting his arms on his knees and pressing his head against them.

I wished I could comfort him. Offer him the cool drought of water he obviously needed. I thought about my sumptuous feast with Horus and Amun-Ra and how I’d taken the delicious ambrosia for granted. Water dripped onto his head, ran in rivulets down his neck and beneath the collar of his shirt. He swiped at it, licked his fingers and then beat against the trunk of the tree in angry aggravation.

That’s when I saw her. Amon hadn’t noticed her yet. A tiny sprite with translucent wings sat in the crook between the trunk and a branch of the tree watching him. She giggled silently, her hands over her mouth, and waved her finger in the air. A second later a stiff breeze shook the tree and a limb shifted, dropping nearly a bucket full of water on the top of Amon’s head.

He looked up quickly and though she tried to hide, he spotted the little tree sprite. As exasperated as he was, Amon addressed her kindly. “I won’t hurt you,” he said. “Please, don’t be afraid.”

“I’m not afraid,” she said with a touch of an accent I couldn’t place. “There are beasties who come to the Turquoise Forest who are much more frightening than you are.”

“So you’re the one who’s been torturing me,” he surmised.

She had the tenderness of heart to look guilty at least. Then, she said, “I didn’t hurt you. I just…doused you a little. And I willna apologize for it.” Cocking her head as she peered at him, she asked, “Are you very angry, then? Will ya try ta kill me now?”

“No,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve encountered many things that would, but I take no delight in killing.”

“You’re a strange sort of monster.” She put her hands on her tiny waist.

“Am I?” he responded with a tired smile.

“Oh, yes. You’re much more fun than tha’ old scorpion tha’ tries ta sting me. Aren’t ya at least going ta try ta sting me? Perhaps ya can’t. It looks as if ‘ur tail is missing.”

“I don’t have a tail.”

“Pity. His tail is rather impressive. There’s not much about ya that’s impressive as far as I can see. Are ya a dosser then?”

“I’m not sure what a dosser is. And I’m much more impressive with my weapons.”

“A dosser’s a fella up to no good. I don’t see any weapons.”

“No, then, I’m not a dosser. My weapons are magical. I call them from the sand.”

The sprite frowned. “We don’t trust magical folk but seeing as how ‘ur knackered nigh ta death, ya don’t seem to pose much of a threat. Been gawking at ya for the last two days.”

“Oh. That’s good, I…suppose?”

“Maybe ya can show me a bit o’ magic. No weapons, but something ta prove ya speak the truth.”

“I would. But I’m so very thirsty that I don’t think I’m able.”

She scowled while Amon smiled and then she furrowed her eyebrows as if attempting to puzzle out a difficult problem. “I heard ya,” she muttered, glancing at the tree trunk. “Stop interferin’, ya thick excuse for a tree. I suppose we can help,” she said reluctantly to Amon.

“Can you?”

“Yes.” Then a mischievous twinkle lit the fairy’s eye. “Must be hard ta be so thirsty when it’s been bucketing down like ‘tis.” She smiled secretively. “I know how ta ask the tree ta give up her water. But you’ll have ta promise ta tell me all abo’t ‘ur magic after I do.”

Amon nodded.

“And ya can’t tell anyone that we helped ya, either,” she warned. “It’s my job ta guard this tree. If all the creatures in the Netherworld knew how ta take her water, well, there wouldn’t be any left for the trees then, would there?”

“No, I suppose there wouldn’t be.”

“So? Will ya promise?”

“I will.”

“Very good.” The tree sprite looked over her shoulder and peered into the depths of the branches around her and then crooked her finger at Amon to call him closer. “The secret,” she whispered, “is in the wantin’. You can’t want it.”

“Not want it?” Amon questioned with a bewildered expression.

“Right. If the tree knows ya want it, then she won’t let ya have it.”

“But, I’m terribly thirsty. I feel like a desiccated corpse left to dry to a husk in the blazing sun. I’ve never been so parched. How can I make myself not want it?”

The little fairy shrugged. “Ya have ta want the water for the tree more than ya want it for ‘urself. That’s the only way she’ll share it with ya.” She came closer and cupped her hand in front of her mouth. “She doesn’t trust men very much. Do ya see?”

“I see.” Amon nodded soberly, took a step back and examined the great tree that stretched wide limbs over his head. Reaching out a hand, he patted the trunk. “Well, tree, I’m not thirsty. Nope. Not needing a drink at all, though I just crossed the desert of a thousand burning suns where it was hot enough to make even a hell demon sweat and beg for relief. I can see that you need water though. Lucky for you, it’s raining something fierce here.”

The tree fairy giggled and then quickly pressed her hand to her mouth.

“It’s a good thing you have all that rain, too,” Amon went on, “because there are some parts of the Netherworld that are so dry, you’d think nothing could survive. Nothing but desert plants and fire scorpions, that is.”

“Oh, we don’t like fire scorpions,” the little sprite sobered and said with a shudder.

“I agree with you there. Nasty brutes. Why, the damage they could do to a tree such as yourself…” Amon stroked the lowest limb of the tree. “It pains me to think about it.” Slowly, a thin limb crept closer to Amon and a broad blue leaf unfurled showing that it held nearly a cupful of water. Amon raised his eyebrows. “Oh, no,” he waved his hands, “I couldn’t. You’re such a beautiful tree and I’m not worthy to even stand in your shade.”

The limb pressed closer and touched the leaf to the edge of his lip. “Well,” he said. “If you’re sure.”

Drinking deeply, Amon licked the last wet drops from his lips and smiled warmly. “Thank you. Imagine, a tree as lovely as you being stuck in the Netherworld. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The tree lowered another leaf to Amon and another and while he drank the sprite nodded sadly. “We were tricked into coming here.”

“Tricked? How?” he asked.

“Well, ya see, this here’s a fairy tree.” The sprite patted the limb she sat on proudly.

“I’m afraid that doesn’t mean much to me,” Amon said.

“It means the tree is magical.”

“I would assume as much since the tree is here.”

“It didn’t used ta be here though. It used ta be on the top of a lovely hill in Ireland.”

Now her accent made sense. She spoke with a lovely lilt to her voice—an Irish brogue I could listen to for hours.

“Ireland? Is that near Egypt?”

“I’m not sure.”

“I’ll have to ask Young Lily when I next talk to her. She is able to show me the world through her phone. Do you have one?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never heard of a phone.”

“It’s a miraculous device. So how did you and this gorgeous tree come to be here?”

Amon was rewarded for his compliment with another leaf full of water and the overhead branches shifted to keep the rain off of him as well.

The sprite tucked her wings behind her and sat on the limb with her arms wrapped around her drawn up legs. “I loved this tree before I even knew she was magical,” she said. “I always sat beneath her and dreamed about the far off places I’d like ta visit. On warm evenings, I’d climb her branches and gaze up at the stars. It was a grand thing.

“But then a man came to our village. He saw me at the market and wanted ta take me away from my da. I didn’t like the way he looked at me. He offered my poor father a lot of money if he would give me over ta him and my family was destitute. The money would help them immensely. I legged it to the tree and cried, telling her all my problems. She heard me.

“The trunk of the tree opened like a door and I stepped inside and was swallowed up in her. She kept me safe and warm. I knew no one could hurt me there. The tree would protect me. But the man figured out what had happened because he, too, had magic. Which is why I want ta learn about yours, by the way.

“One night when the moon was full, he chanted a spell and the tree began ta shake. The man hurt her somethin’ terrible. The leaves shriveled and fell off, the trunk twisted, and great drops of sap seeped from the cracks he made in her trunk. A limb was torn brutally away and then another one fell. The man told the tree she had to either give me up or give up her heart.”

“What happened?”

“The tree didn’t know what ta do. If she gave up her heart, the man could steal her power and use it ta hurt even more innocent girls. The tree refused ta release me. She loved me and would not give me up ta him. Instead she pierced the heart of the man and kill’d em, something the tree was forbidden ta do.”

“I see. What happened then? Did the tree let you go?”

“No,” she answered sadly. “It couldn’t. The tree was struck down for killing the man and she died with me still inside. Because she was a fairy tree, she was brought ta the Afterlife for judgment and was sent ta the Netherworld because of the death of the man, even though she was just trying ta protec’ me. We both thought it best for me ta hide while the sentence was carried out so I stay’d tuck’d away in the trunk. When I finally emerged after the tree was planted in the Turquoise Forest, my form had changed ta what you see now. “We later learned that the man who had come after me was immortal. He knew the tree loved me and would protec’ me. He faked his death somehow and fooled the gods too. With the tree that sheltered our village gone, his power went unchecked and many people were made ta suffer.”

“That story is much like my own. An immortal terrorized my people as well.”

“Ah, that explains why I like you more than the fire scorpions.”

Amon laughed. “Is that the only reason? Am I a least better to look at?”

She tilted her head. “You’re a fine thing I suppose. Though I still haven’t seen any magic. I’ll hold out judgment until I do.”

“Fair enough.” Amon wrung out his tunic. Water seeped from between his fingers. “So the two of you just stay here in the Turquoise Forest?”

Shrugging, the sprite said, “Where else would we go? We’re safest here, I think.” She stroked a broad leaf, “Besides, it’s my job ta take care of the tree now, just like she took care of me.”

Abruptly, the vision of Amon, the sprite, and the fairy tree vanished and I found myself in a dark enclosed place.

 

CONTINUE THE HUNT

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