Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Meet Susan Calder Talking About Genres #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishingLTD #Genres #Reading

1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? My fingers shift between mystery, suspense and mainstream stories. I’ve also dabbled with magic realism in short stories.

Do your reading choices reflect your writing choices? My reading choices shift between the same genres I write. While I sometimes enjoy reading fantasy, science fiction and paranormal stories, I tend toward realism in both my reading and writing. I often read historical fiction and would like to write it some day, but feel daunted by the research required and my story ideas tend toward the contemporary scene. I’m tempted to try time travel, since it would combine both historical and contemporary.      

Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt? I would attempt most genres in a short story. For a novel, which requires more sustained knowledge and writing skills, I would stay away from genres I’m less familiar with in my reading, like science fiction. While my writing is mostly realistic, I have the germ of an idea for a combination mystery/ghost story.  

2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write? Villains. I find them so much fun to write. One reason is that I don’t have to worry about making them acceptable to readers. They can say and do anything, however outrageous or cruel. And if they turn out to be likeable anyway, that can work too. Even reader indifference wouldn’t be as serious a problem for a villain as it would be for the hero or heroine. My villains also tend to be selfish and single-minded in their goals. This makes their motives in every scene clear – “What’s best for me?” Heroes and heroines usually have concern for people other than themselves, which can make their motives more complicated to understand and portray.          

3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story? Aside from occasional minor characters, I don’t use pictures or real people to inspire characters.  The basics of a person spring from my imagination; his traits come from a blend of people I’ve known or read about or seen in a film, as well as from myself. I start with an idea for a character and a plot, then both develop in the course of writing the story. I get to know my hero by how he responds to situations, and his actions trigger plot developments.      

4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story? My process for creating heroines is the same as it is for heroes. I start my novels with a few basics for my protagonist—gender, age, some physical and emotional traits, career, plus a story problem, setting, and perhaps some plot developments to occur later in the story. I can’t write character sketches before starting the book. I have to come to know the character through the story. After a couple of drafts, I look for pictures of people on the internet to help solidify my concept of the character. But I never find someone who looks exactly likely the character I’ve envisioned in the story.     

5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human? I make every secondary character opposed to the protagonist’s goal at some point in the story, even if that person is generally supportive. Isolating the heroine or hero increases the pressure on him or her, and helps maintain tension and conflict. I like the complexity of good people who mean well, but disagree with the protagonist’s approach to the story problem. Actions usually aren’t completely and obviously right or wrong. My process of making these ‘antagonists’ human is the same as it is for any character. Even villains should be well-rounded, with good and bad qualities and desires we can understand, even if we think they’re wrong or evil.  

6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain? My novel, To Catch a Fox, is currently being released. The heroine, Julie Fox, is a Calgary engineer recovering from a psychotic breakdown. She travels to California to search for answers. The novel has no hero in the usual sense, but Julie’s estranged husband, Eric, comes closest to that role. He’s a decent man, who loves her, supports her quest and is spurred to help when he learns she has landed at a cult-like retreat that could mean trouble. The villain, Sebastiano, is a co-leader at the retreat. His plans for Julie threaten her mental health and best interests. But as the story develops the reader might come to see another story character as a greater villain.      

7. What are you working on now? I’ve returned to my Paula Savard mysteries and have started book three in the series. But my experience with writing multiple narrators in To Catch a Fox has prompted me to try this form in my new mystery book. Rather than write the story entirely from Paula’s perspective, as I did the first two times, I’m adding two secondary narrators.   

8. How can people find you?

My website
Twitter: @Susan_Calder

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday's Fourth Scene The Dragons of Fyre #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishingLTD #Fantasy #Romance #Dragons

Lagon smiled. A slaver’s ship had docked. The wizards on board would pay well for the dragon’s pelt and they would wait in port until the skin was cured. He left the tower and walked down the path to the rocks. One half of the blue pelt soaked in the brine. Though a red brought more coins, he had a use for the remaining High Peaks dragon. He intended to bargain for another blue gem and a string of red ones for Arana.
When images of her naked and bound to his bed arose, his phala throbbed. He drew a deep breath and fought to control the image. When he took her for the first time she would be in the speakers’ hall after a mating flight. The heirs of the three other towers would witness the event so no one could say the son she bore belonged to another man.
He barked a laugh. She disliked and feared him. He would possess her. Once she gave him a son he would make her his wife. From the moment he’d seen her during the takeover at High Peaks he had desired her. But she had been a child. No longer.
“Come back.” A woman’s shout interrupted his reverie.
He wheeled and saw the only child of his loins running from her nurse. Her ebony-colored hair had escaped its braid and flew in a dark cloud around her face. The girl halted at his side. “Why did you kill the dragon?” Her dark eyes flashed with anger.
“For my own reasons. You have no right to question me.”
“He was brave. I watched the battle from the tower heights. If he had fought one or even two dragons, he would have won. Who was his speaker?”
“He had none.”
She put her hands on her hips. “You should have kept him. He was stronger and cannier than the Sea Cliff blue.”
Lagon’s hands clenched. How could she have a loyalty to High Peaks? She was his daughter, not the get of the long dead lord of that now deserted tower. He grated his teeth. That lord had taken the woman Lagon had wanted. In the end, the Lord of High Peaks Tower was dead and Lagon had possessed the woman until she had ended her life after Lorana’s birth.
“Go to your room,” he commanded. The moment he was sure Arana was with child, Lorana would go to the slavers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday The Children of Fyre #MFRWHooks #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing #fantasy #romance

Join the writers at #MFRWHooks here  for some great excerpts. Today I'm talking about my coming release. I don't have the cover yet. The book is scheduled to be released some time next month. This is the final story in the island of Fyre series. Cerene is the first of the four major characters.


In this return to the Island of Fyre, each of the heros and heroines of the three previous books have children. Lorton is the youngest son of the Wizards of Fyre and he has bonded with the yellow dragon. The dragon through the magic of the stones has been rejuvenated and is now green. Dragon sends Lorton to travel to where the Dragons of Fyre are raised. There he meets Arkon son of the hero and heroine of the Dragons of Fyre. There have been four eggs laid and there must be two young men and two young women found to bond with them. On the island where the evil wizards were exiled, Cerene has grown up as little more than a slave. She can use all the fyrestones unlike her father. She learns about the kidnapping of Riara, daughter of the hero and heroine of the Temple of Fyre and vows to save her. The four must unite with their dragons and finally destroy the evil.

The first bell of the morning roused Cerene. She stretched and touched her toes before sliding out of bed. A trip to her private necessary and a quick wash sent her back to her room in the hareem of the ancient home of the wizards. From the tales she’d heard about the one they’d been forced to abandon, this one spoke of poverty. The one they’d left had been a massive stone structure with high walls and iron gates. Even their numbers had dwindled since returning to this place. This stone house with wooden fences and flimsy gates didn’t suit her father or the other wizards. Their desire to regain the past colored their days.

For her the fence made for an easy escape to the waterfront, the beach and the woods. She had also discovered secret passages within the walls and had explored. These hidden ways had allowed her to spy on the wizards.
She pulled on wide legged trousers and sat to tuck them into her boots. After pulling a tunic over her head, she laughed. She refused to wear the shapeless chiton worn by the women, slaves and breeders alike. She braided her hair and let the plait hang down her back. Though her hair was the same icy blonde as the wizards, hers had streaks of the colors of the fyrestones, red, orange, yellow and blue. Though she had never seen a blue stone. Her green eyes, unlike the frosted gray of the wizards spoke of her less than pure blood.
Cerene sat on the bed and spilled the contents of a leather pouch on the blanket. Metal chains, metal cages either empty or holding fyrestones and a single red stone. She lifted three chains and watched the caged stones flare to life. The yellow shed a ray of light, the orange a tongue of flame and the red brought her a sense of wellbeing. She hung the necklaces around her neck and tucked them beneath her tunic. She scooped the remaining treasures into the pouch and slid them into a small nook between the stones of the wall.
The second bell rang. “Cerene, get out here now.” Malda, the Hag Mother, shouted.
With brisk steps, Cerene entered the main room of the hareem. A dozen slave women, two breeders and six girls stood in a row while Malda inspected them.
The aged woman turned to Cerene. “Serve the porridge and break your own fast. You will escort the women to the garden to harvest root vegetables. Fall is upon us and the tubers must be stored for the winter. Send the girls into the woods to gather kindling.”
“Yes, Hag Mother.” Cerene bowed her head so Malda wouldn’t catch a hint of rebellious plans for the day.
“The wizards have a confab after breaking their fast. I will see to them.” The old woman wheeled and at the door turned. “Make sure the women and girls remain outside until the meeting ends.”
Cerene went to the cooking hearth and swung the huge kettle from the flames. She ladled cooked grains into bowls. The two breeders carried toe food to the long table. When Cerene scraped the kettle clean, she filled the vessel with water, added grain and swung the kettle over the lowest area of flames. Then she prepared food for Malda and herself.
Malda returned and scowled at the plates Cerene set on the table. She filled a cup with herbal tea. “There is no sweetener but honey. No fine ground flour for bread. We must eat this.” She grasped a piece of flatbread made from crudely ground meal. “The fruit remaining on the vines is for the wizards.” She scooped the eggs onto her plate leaving none for Cerene.
Cerene cut goat cheese to spread on her bread. When she finished eating, she escorted the women to the garden and instructed them to pull the tubers and load the wheelbarrows. Then she escorted the girls to the woods. Once they were occupied, she scurried away.
So the wizards meet. She would hear their plans.
With stealth she found the spot in the wooden fence where she had loosened boards. She slid them aside and slipped into the yard. When she reached the rear entrance, she stepped into the narrow hall. A smile curved her mouth. Once inside the passage, ten steps would take her to the place where she could see and hear the wizards.
Her fingers found the pattern on the stone. Silently the wall parted revealing a wide area that became a narrow passage. She entered and paused to allow her eyes to adjust to the dim light. Walking into the passage, she counted her steps and took care not to raise dust to make her sneeze. Her first visit to these passages had nearly revealed her presence. She’d removed the cobwebs and swept most of the accumulated dust.
At the tenth step, she halted and pressed her face to the wall where a pair of holes allowed her to view the happenings. She saw the conference table and the eight remaining wizards. Since their exile here on the isle where they had once lived had begun, most of the wizards from the captured Citadel had died. Of the nine, only two were first level.
Cemon, chief wizard and her father entered the room. He raised his ironwood tipped wand. The white stone on the tip remained unlit. He rapped the table. “We are gathered here to find a solution to our problems. Our supply of white fyrestones dwindles. Soon there will be none.”
Zondo, her father’s second snorted. “All such stones are found on the Island of Fyre. This small isle has no more to mine. Our trader cousins have reported finding no other sources.”
Her father nodded. “For the present we must learn ways to keep the ones we have."



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tuesday's Writer's Tip More on Saving the Plot #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing #Plot

Now some more hints about saving your plot. Since you've already looked at Who, When, Where, What, Why and How it's time to move on.

Each book has what are called significant events. First there is the meet. This very much belogs to romance but also to other genres as well. Think of a mystery. Perhaps the crime committer and the seeker don't meet in person but there is that moment when they become aware of each other. The same applies to other genres of fiction.

There are scenes of discovery - these are ones that advance the plot. Adding depth to the story. Crisis scenes bring the problems to a head and are needed to keep the story blowing. There is the black moment when the hero, hroine, villain find they have come to a point where all seems to be lost. This scene is one that must be played out to the full. This scene is followed by the Climas where the character ahs either given up or has found a different way to obtain their goal. The final scene is the resolution. Girl gets the boy and they are happy. Detective finds the criminal and solves the case. The space ship is saved. There are many kinds of resolutions.

Another thing you need to address when revising is the Vital Idea. Thi is a theme and a general one such as Love conquers all. The love of money is evil. I'm sure you can think of many others. Allof the major characters in the story must touch on this element. I wrote a book about Obsessions ruling people's lives. Each of the characters ahd some kindof obsession. The heroine was obsessed with never wanting to be in a relationship with a controlling man likeher dead husband had been. One of the characters is obsessed with revenge for something he believes happened. One is obsessed with drugs. Anotherwith a particular man. The book was fun to write.
Reactions is another place to look at your story and correct. Every action brings on a reaction. You must make these reactions true to the character and strong enough to make the reader believe.

Remember the goal set at the opening of the story can change. Sometimes sticking to the initial goal makes the story fall flat.

You also need to check if there are subplots in your story. These must be resolved before the major plot comes to a conclusion. Don't leave something hanging in the air.

The finl thing is the conflict. Are they strong? Does the internal conflict march with the external one or are they in opposition? The latter makes for a strong story. The internal conflict is often based on a secret the character fears will be revealed.

So keep these things in mind when you're revising and remember a Plot Is Just A Plan.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishingLTD #Poem #Writing

Meander 1 _Poem - The Steeple Chase --

A horse of wood sits
Upon a rod of steel
Ane he perches on top
Leaning forward with his feet
Dangling against his wooden mount.
They're off
The race begins
His horse is number four.
He kicks his feet  against the sides
And urges the horse to hurry.
The crowd is screaming, shouting, yelling
Hurry Number Four.
It's Number One in front.
Then Three
And here comes Number Four.
He takes the lead by pressing hard
But slowly the ride runs down.
He ends ahead on a circular track
And pays for another ride.

Meander 2 -House Care - The house where I live was built in 1917. Just realized it's a hundred eyars old. Learned something interesting the other day. Not really something I wanted to know but the line to the sewer was blocked. I have a in house drain which means the house was built before 1920. Interesting but not so much when every thing that should go to the sewer ends up in the basement. Now I learned that there is a ceramic pipe that is disintegrating. Guess it's old, too. Must be replaced. What fun --Not. But the old must be taken care of. At least I'm younger than the house. Not by much.

Meander 3 - Writing - I have finished the Children of Fyre and am not putting all the changes into the script. That will take days but I still have days before the month ends so I can get the finished thing off to the publisher. At this point if I can get about one chapter done a day i have plenty of time with a few days to spare. I am typing as fast as I can. Once this is off, I will slowly begin the next project and take some time to do some things around the house and with promotion,

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday's Book The Dragons of Fyre #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishing #fantasy #romance #dragons

Dragons of Fyre (Island of Fyre Book 2)

After escaping from the temple of Fyre, Drakon returns to his home to find only two people and a yellow dragon. He and the Old One learn as much as they can about the land at present. The lord of Sea Cliff Tower has gathered the remaining dragons at his keep. On learning the High Peaks Tower’s red dragon is with egg they arrange her escape and rescue her eggs. Now they must find a way to defeat their enemy and return the dragons to the other towers.

Arana, sold by the temple priestesses to the slavers is bought by the lord of High Tower and made a part of the family. Before they are able to adopt her the lord of Sea Cliff Tower invades and destroys the family, taking her and her friend prisoner. Drakon is sold. Arana because she can speak to the dragons is made a slave care-giver. She saves a green egg and raises the green dragon. After helping the High Peaks Tower’s red dragon escape she is in danger and must find a way to escape. Her attempt to ride the green dragon succeeds and she arrives injured and ill. Once she recovers she and Drakon attempt to find a way to rescue the other dragons of Fyre.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Saturday's Blurbs Featuring Books by Barbara Bradley aka Bethany Drake #MFRWAuthor #Romance

Desire's Destiny (The Vespian Way Book 1)

Desire's Destiny - Betany Drake

Heather can’t believe she is the only person on Earth who can protect Storm, the ambassador from Vespia. It has something to do with some pheromone the Vespian males exude. Although everyone says she’s immune, she doesn’t agree. There is something about the man that makes her desire skyrocket whenever she is around him.

Storm finds Heather fascinating; her bright violet eyes hold a world of emotions in them. He’s drawn to her and wants her with a depth he’s never experienced before.

When she becomes the focal point of several kidnapping attempts, he realizes she’s going to need his protection: the perfect excuse to get to know her better.

Publisher’s Note: This is a steamy science-fiction romance tale.

Tears of the Queen - Bethany Drake
Alicia loves working with gems; it’s the clients she wants to avoid. When Maximilian Santos requests her help to search for the Tears of the Queen she wants to say no. The gems known as the Tears are nothing more than a legend and she doesn’t want to go on a wild goose chase.

Max needs Alicia’s help. His problem is that he has to convince her that the legend of the tears and how they were created is real and time is of the essence. He isn’t the only one looking for the Tears and if they fall into the wrong hands humanity could be enslaved.

Their first meeting is like mixing oil with water. They are strong, opinionated, driven and they both think they are right. The chemistry is instantaneous, a surprise to them both, and they discover that work might not be the only thing they have in common. The only problem is Max has a very big secret that he doesn’t want to share.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains fantasy themes appropriate for mature readers only. Nothing in this book should be interpreted as Eclipse Press’ or the author’s advocating any non-consensual sexual activity.

A Portrait in Time - Barbara Donlon Bradley

Trey Dalton is having a very bad day. Someone is trying to destroy his plantation, his meddlesome aunt has decided to extend her visit and some strange woman has appeared on his doorstep , spouting some crazy nonsense about being from the future.

 Alexandra Thibodaux’s day isn’t any better. An urgent message had her race to her grandmother’s side, only to find Grams was up to something and it dealt with the old Dalton plantation. It has a painting of a women who is her twin. When her grandmother urges her to touch it she is sent on an adventure that bring her face to face with a man who is a Neanderthal and takes her breath away.

A Portrait in Time

A Portrait in Time
Newly edited edition released September 2018!Trey Dalton is having a very bad day. Someone is trying to destroy ...  

Friday, February 8, 2019

Barbara Bradley is Friday's Visitor She's Talking about Writing #MFRWauthor #Panster #Plotter

1. Are you a panster or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both? More a pantser than a plotter because my characters help write the book. I know the basic plot of the book as I write and try to keep the book flowing with that loose version of the plot in my head. Thank goodness my characters have never taken me off on a weird tangent. They stick to the plot like I do.

2. Which comes first - characters or plot for you? Normally characters. I've been working on sequels the last few years and I am using characters from the previous books so I didn't have to develop them as much and jump right into getting that plot going.

3. What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new? I think I kinda answered that in the last question, didn't I? Right now I'm working on a sequel to Tears of the Queen and will start on a sequel for A Quest for Love once I have the rough draft done on the Tears Sequel and I will continue on my Vespian Way series.

4. Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I don't think so. I've written time-travels, futuristics, historical and urban fantasy and there aren't anything that seems to show up in all of them, except maybe humor?

5. Do you write everyday or just when the spirit hits? I write every day unless my sister is around. She's my best friend but we don't live close so when she's either visiting me or I'm visiting her I spend all my time with her.

6. Where can we find you?, ,  I am working on creating more sites for Bethany Drake which is my pen name.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday's Fourth Scene The Temple of Fyre #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishingLTD, # Fantasy, #Romance

Ari paused at the edge of the grove and peered at the sky. The sun stood just beyond midday. Stay or go? If he pushed the burros, he could reach Rosti just as the sun set. Should he take the chance? The rocky plain between the grove and the hamlet was home to the lopestas that emerged to hunt after the sun set. One stumble on the rocks could turn a profitable season into a disaster. Tomorrow would be soon enough to head for Rosti. He would have a ten-day to sell the fyrestones and depart before the solstice began.
He staked the burros and lifted the near empty panniers from their backs. He piled digging tools and the tent beside the wicker baskets. Beads of sweat collected on his forehead.
The scarlet fyrestone he’d worn on the day the pair of stone seekers had found him pulsed. He pressed his hand against the lump beneath his tunic. What did it mean? He stared toward the distant walls of the hamlet. His eyes widened. A plume of fire rose toward the sun. What were the priestesses attempting? Had one of their fires escaped from their control?
Not his business. The only traffic he had with the temple was for the sale of the opaline crystals he carried in his haversack. With the fyrestones he’d found, he would have enough coins for supplies and to buy some answers to the questions that had bothered him for years. Who was he and why had he been abandoned in the grove? Which hamlet had been his birthplace?
He started a fire and ate the remainder of the lopear he’d snared that morning. After setting several snares, he dozed until sunset. He checked his snares and cooked two grass hens, ate one and slept.
When pre-dawn lightened the sky, he loaded the burros. He set off across the rocky plain, taking care to avoid large piles of rocks where the lopestas burrowed during the day.
At the gate into Rosti, he paused to pay the entrance fee. “You’re in early,” the guard said. “Any luck?”
Ari nodded. At least the guard asked out of curiosity, and not the prying questions asked when a man left the hamlet. Ari often wondered if there were bonds between the guards and the thieves who preyed on solitary stone seekers.
“A bit,” he said. “Found whites and a pair of yellows before the site played out.” That had been the first of his finds, but he wouldn’t mention the others. “Sale will bring me enough for supplies and a few nights at an inn.”
The man stepped closer. “You’re the first stone seeker to arrive. With crystals in your pack, the priestesses will welcome you. Did you see the flame yesterday at midday, the one that rose above the temple? Heard one of the priestesses tried to kill Malera. Someone said all but the white fyrestones turned black and have no power.
Ari laughed. “Then mine should bring a good price.”
The guard nodded. “Might reward you with more than coins. Could offer a night with one of the priestesses. Or you could be chosen to join them for the solstice celebration. Hear they like the things a man does.”
Ari forced a grin. That was one reward he had no intention of collecting. If he gave a priestess too much pleasure, he could become a prisoner in the harras.
He led the burros past the guard and turned into the first lane where stables abounded. He stopped at the one Jorg had always used. His thoughts turned to his dead partner, and once more, he regretted being unable to save the old man’s life. Jorg had clutched his chest and fallen to the ground. Ari hadn’t known what to do.
The stableman accepted enough coins for a ten-day. Once again, Ari thanked Jorg for teaching him to keep a secret stash of coins. Ari led the burros into a stall. He draped the blanket roll over the gate and hung the tent beside it. He hung the panniers on hooks and set the digging tools on a ledge. The stableman lifted a stone block and the trough filled with water. While the man brought hay and grain, Ari curried the burros. Once he finished, he hoisted his haversack and lifted a sack of dirty clothes.
After leaving the stable, he sought an inn. In the choosing, he heeded Jorg’s advice. Never stay at the same one you used the last time. Always seek one with a ground floor chamber and a private bathing room.
The second one he visited met his requirements. “You’re in luck,” the skinny innkeeper said. “In a few days, the place will be crowded with folks arriving for the summer solstice. Five coppers a day for the room. Meals are extra. For one silver, the laundress will see to your clothes.”
Ari nodded. He counted out the coins for the room and laundry. Though he had no intention of remaining for the solstice, he paid for a ten-day, two beyond the festival. Once he sold the fyrestones and bought supplies, he would seek Jorg’s old partner. Besides the twenty coppers Ari gave the old man on each visit to Rosti, this time Ari was determined to purchase information. Once he knew all the particulars of the rescue, he would leave the hamlet. Being near the temple during the twice-yearly rites made him uncomfortable. The scarlet crystal, his heritage, always reacted. He feared one day, the stone would raise a flame and consume him.
He followed the innkeeper down a narrow hall and noticed two exits he could use to come and go without crossing the common room. The thin man opened a door at the end of the hall. Ari noted the heavy bar he could use to keep people out. He nodded. “This will do.” He dropped the sack of dirty clothes in the hall. “Have these washed. I’ll add others after I’ve been to the temple.”
“She’ll have most ready by morning. Will you take your meals in the common room or have them brought here?”
“I’ll have the evening meal brought, but I’ll decide when later.”
“Will you need a companion? I’ve a connection to one of the pleasure houses.”
“Perhaps. First, I have business to conduct.”
Once the innkeeper left, Ari barred the door. He dropped the haversack on the bench beneath the window and secured the shutters. He opened the pack, and one by one, extracted the fyrestones from the pack’s false bottom. As he touched each stone, the core color flickered. He placed each of the colors in a separate pouch and placed them in the large leather one he hung from his belt.
When he left the inn, he strode down the cobbled lane to the market square. He noticed his mentor’s aged and crippled partner beside one of the food stalls. Though Ari wanted to question the man, he knew he couldn’t until after the crystals had been sold.
What would Bil tell him? The man had been Jorg’s partner when they’d stumbled across the small boy near the edge of the grove. The scarlet fyrestone and the copper necklace had been the only clue to Ari’s identity, a clue he didn’t think the men had pursued.
Ari’s hands clenched. Who had left him there? Who had given him the stone? He’d never heard of a man being able to use any of the fyrestones except the white. Though several times, he’d dreamed Jorg had used one, Ari couldn’t remember finding one when the old man died.
The savory aroma of meat pies made his stomach growl. He purchased one and a mug of ale. The nutty flavor of the beverage soothed the fiery spices of the pies. Around him, conversations flowed. He ate quickly. Once the stones were sold, he would order a feast and a woman from one of the pleasure houses to share the food and attend to his needs. He’d been without a woman’s company since the week before the winter solstice. As he sauntered toward the temple, snippets of words reached him.
“Flame near touched the sun.”
“Saw that. Could have ended the world.”
“Heard the priestesses took sick. They’re not hearing petitions.”
“After the solstice when the rites are changed.”
Ari reached the edge of the square and followed the fyrethorn hedge to the arched entrance to the temple lane. The hedge lined both sides of the wide cobble-paved path. The brilliant scarlet blooms on the bushes hid deadly red thorns. Ari frowned. The odd thing was nowhere but here near the temple had he ever seen fyrethorn growing. He often wondered why.



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wednesday The Wizards of Fyre #MFRWHooks #BWLPublishingLTD #Fantasy #Romance

Wizards of Fyre (Island of Fyre Book 3) Kindle Edition

Join the writers at #MFRWHooks here   and find some great excerpts. 


Lorana, sold by her father to the slavers, resides in the harem in the citadel of the wizards. Her desire is to escape before she is given as a reward to one of the two wizard trainees who are competing for a spot on the council. She knows how to brew a cordial from firethorn berries and a poison from the thorns. When Arton, one of the young men is poisoned by the thorns she must care for him. She feels an attraction to him but she must escape. One night she hears the voice of a dragon. She thought the wizards had destroyed all the dragons on this side of the mountains. When the wizards leave to collect men to sell to the slavers, she takes the opportunity to escape with few supplies and a determination to reach the dragon.

Arton is a fledgling wizard and is about to be tested for the council. His mentor has died. His mentor wasn’t his father. The wizard purchased Arton from the slavers years ago. The present chief wizard would like to thwart Arton’s quest because he wants his son and trainee to join the council. Arton and his rival are evenly matched. The escape of Lorana becomes a quest. Which of the young wizards returns her to the citadel will win the competition and gain her as a reward. Cregan the rival decides to search on the desert. Arton chooses the hills. Because of Lorana’s care of him when he was poisoned he is attracted to her and he still craves a seat on the council.

Can Arton find Lorana first and will he make her a prisoner or allow her to remain free?


     High gray stone walls surrounded the citadel. The ones around the hareem courtyard where the women spent most of their days were lower. As a chill rippled along her spine, Lorana raised her head to appraise the danger. She glanced at the grilled gate separating the women’s area from the outer courtyard. A burly man leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. Lust radiated from his stare. Moments later the austere figure of the chief wizard joined the first man. Mecador’s sly smile added to her discomfort.
      Lorana clenched her hands. She vowed to find an escape before the day arrived when she was destined to be given as a reward to one of the two young men competing for the vacant spot on the wizard’s council.
     Since the day her father had sold her to the wizards of the Island of Fyre, she had made the same promise. For four years she had hoped for a way to escape these evil men. She couldn’t wait much longer. Last evening Hag Mother had told her the two senior fledglings would soon fight for the vacant seat.
     A third man entered the outer court and stood at a distance from the staring pair. For some reason the tall, lean trainee failed to cause her as much alarm as the burly one. From the gossip among the women, the husky one had the favor of Mecador. No matter. She had no desire to remain a prisoner to be owned by a wizard and used as the man willed.
Resentment churned her gut. She hated her position in life. Not forever, she vowed and walked to the work area.
     She poured several cups of dried fyrethorn berries into a mortar. She slid the pestle over the surface crushing the berries to a powder to be added to the cauldron bubbling over the first fire. The result would be a cordial.
     The acrid aroma of brewing fyrethorn poison rose from a second kettle in a spiraling pattern. Lorana despised working with the death-bringing liquid. The wizards sold the poison and the cordial to the slavers in exchange for supplies. They also sold captured desert clansmen and women. Her hands tightened on the pestle and ground more berries to dust.
She added the powder to a simmering pot and stirred. A hand with long slender fingers grasped her shoulder. She stiffened. The chief wizard turned her to face him. The stirring stick clattered on the stones. Her eyes met the cruel cold gaze of Mecador, also called Supreme.
     “I’m pleased to see you hard at work. You always seem to be busy, not like these other creatures.” He indicated the women seated in clusters around the courtyard.
     She kept her gaze steady. “Keeping busy makes the days pass.”
     He chuckled. “See that you remember your place.”
     His oily voice made her want to look away. She dare not. To do so would court punishment, something she had avoided since her first year here. “I do what I’m told.”
     His smile raised her to near panic. He stroked her face with a finger. Fear galloped like a runaway burden beast. She fought to control her racing emotions. This man savored fear. She hoped to hide the revulsion she felt.
     “So my dear, I hope you’ve made enough poison. The traders find it useful during their travels. If the jugs fetch prime goods, I’ll bring you a special gift.” His hand brushed her chest.
     Lorana willed herself not to flinch. “There are four jugs of poison. The fifth is cooking. There will be three of the cordial.”
     “Not enough. We need six jars of poison and four cordial. If you can’t fulfill our needs you will be punished.” He pointed to a woman tied to a cross. “Like her.”
     She swallowed hard, trying not to allow the woman’s suffering to show on her face. “There are sufficient berries for the cordial but more thorns are needed. They should be picked before they fall so they have more potency and fewer are needed.” She stared into his eyes. “I could leave the hareem and gather them.”
     His eyes hardened. “The tangle is no place for any woman, especially one soon to be claimed.” His gaze caressed her body. “You’ll be a tasty morsel. The young wizards who compete for a place on the council will be glad to become your master. Which one do you prefer?”
     She wanted to say she had no desire for either man. “The choice isn’t mine to make.” His laughter reminded her of the cry of a carrion crow, the huge black birds she’d seen at home hovering over dead animals.
     “How true. Mine is the choice.” He cupped her breasts. “You are so unlike the women of the hareem. Hair like the dark of night and eyes like the skies of day.” He leaned closer. “I will be the first to taste your sweetness.”
     “You?” She hadn’t meant to speak.
     “Hasn’t Hag Mother told you about the duties of a woman who is a reward?”
     She shook her head. “Just that I would belong to one of two young men.”
     “That’s true. As Supreme, I will school you in your duties to the man who will own you.”

     Lust dissolved the frost in his gray eyes. He licked lips surprisingly thick for his gaunt face. Lorana wanted to run, but she couldn’t show her fear. Her hands shook. She clasped them behind her back.