Compilation

Let’s take a moment to look at all the stories that currently interest me. These are stories I am working on either diligently, sporadically, randomly, frequently, or I have just discovered them. I will start with the ones I am working on diligently:

Anastasia: I am on draft three! Lots of changes occurring in this draft. I have all the scenes worked out. I wrote an outline and made it to 11,521 words. Give me another month and it will be ready for heavy editing. Sorry, no excerpt at this time!

 

Love’s Captive: Part one of a trilogy about a girl who is being used and happens to be in an abusive relationship. It is a story of how she deals with what’s happening. Will she survive?

‘“Can’t you see he’s no good for you?” Bran asked. “Xara, he doesn’t love you.”

“What would you now about it?” Xara returned. Her tone was full of quiet fury. “How do you know love? Sure, you sing a few songs but you never experienced it! He loves me! He must! I love him. Why are you getting in the way of my happiness?”

“I don’t know what love is?” Bran looked hurt, his voice was calm. “five years ago, I lost my soon-to-be wife. I had waited my whole life for our wedding day. I kept waiting even after she died. I can’t recover from that. Not from having my whole world snatched away, from having loved and lost. I know what love is.”

“You know nothing!” She screamed, wiping her eyes.

“Xara, love does not hurt.” His voice was a balm.

“Love hurts. It’s just part of it!” She shrugged.

“I am no expert but love would never strike you.” He gently touched her bruised cheek. “Love wouldn’t try to burn you to ashes. Love….”

“Shut up! Quit using your stupid bardic gift! He loves me!”

“I am not using my gift; I would never use my gift on you or anyone; no matter how much I may want to…. I can’t fix your problems for you. You must make your own decisions.” Bran adjusted his guitar. “Listen. When I first met you, four years ago, I was lost in a churning sea. Twilla had you over for tea. When I tried to ignore all things, your face leapt out of the crowd. You were so happy and carefree. Your mind was open and full of knowledge. Your voice was music in my ear. A quiet, soothing wind. Back then, I was too deep in my sorrow, to locked in my pain to realize what was happening. You struck me, Xara. My heart was too full….

“But you are my lighthouse Xara. You led me back to shore.” Bran brushed tears off her jaw. “I know there is seven years between us. That does not matter. I love you, Xara.” His face softened. He spoke tenderly.

“No.” She sobbed. “Braedyn loves me. I love Braedyn.”

“Does he tell you?” Bran brushed more tears away.

“A-a-aall the time. He tells me a lot.”

“Only when you ask him? If he loves you, he will say it.” He spoke gently.

“Why are you here?” She finally asked.

“I am trying to be a hero, if only a hero in your eyes. Alas, I am but a simple singer of songs. I cannot be the hero. One thing, before I go. Remember this well: Love builds you up, makes you stronger. It never tears you down.” Before Xara could move, Bran grabbed her arms and kissed her forehead. He left, heading south. Xara felt something cold on her arm. A torc circled her bicep. It was covered in runes and had four stones clustered together: Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and Topaz{/Amber}.

She fell to her knees. She was dizzy, warm, and tingly. She felt as if she could run a thousand miles. She cried as the wind swept the moor. A thousand unchaste kisses with Braedyn had never felt like the one chaste kiss of Bran’s.

No! She still loved Braedyn. He was the man for her. Braedyn was her love. She exiled thoughts of Bran as she slipped her coat on. With heavy thoughts, she walked to the mountain behind her. Back to Braedyn, her betrothed.

The heavy oak door slammed behind Xara. The dark cave was rather depressing after the bright afternoon sun. Her eyes were adjusting to the candlelight when a door slammed further into the cave. Twenty-five seconds later, Braedyn came down the narrow corridor to the foyer where she stood.

“Where the hell have you been?” His eyes were dancing flame.

“Outside.” Xara grabbed her right arm.

“I looked all over for you.” He raised his voice.

“Sorry.” She said. Inhaling, she asked, “Can we do this later? I have a lot on my mind and….” Xara felt a sharp sting across her face. It was a familiar sting.

“I thought you loved me.” The words fell out of her mouth. She had not been intending to say them.

“Of course, stupid bint!” He raised his hand. “Would I pay attention to you otherwise? Now, what were you doing outside?”

“Taking some air.” She gulped, trying to stifle her sobs.

“Why did it take you so long?” He still had his hand raised.

“I told you, I had a lot on my mind. Ohhhwwww.” She clutched her face. Braedyn pinched her cheek.

“Don’t lie to me. Who did you meet?” He pinched harder; twisting to be sure she felt it.

“Just a-a-a-ahh! It hurts! Hurts! Let go!” She struggled. Her wails made Braedyn’s grip firmer. Quickly she gasped, “He wasjustamusician.”

“He?” His voice was as chilly as a winter night.

“Just-just-juhh-just pass-passing through.” Braedyn let her go.

“Did you tell him anything?”

“No.” Xara buried her face in her hands.

“Finally, my stupid bint was smart.” He sneered. He took her arm to lift her back on her feet. He paused. He pushed her coat off her right shoulder. There was Bran’s farewell gift, glinting dully in the candlelight.

“What’s this? Where did you get this?” Braedyn hissed. He took it off her arm. It didn’t move. He tore at it, tried to push it down, and moved it up. It wouldn’t move. Frustrated, Braedyn shook Xara. “Where?” He asked.

“I found it on the moor.” She hesitated.

“Strange.” Bran stared at it, and then shrugged. “Worry about it later….” He muttered. “No more wandering off. Next time you won’t be able to walk.” His voice was as firm as iron.

“Braedyn…Why?” She whispered.

Braedyn spun to face her. “What?”

“Nothing, it wasn’t important.” She looked down. Braedyn brought her chin up. Like old times, he kissed her tears away. Then, his mouth swallowed hers. He pulled back quickly.

“Okay, come see.” His eyes were cold, hard, and flame all at once. He led her through the catacombs to the darkest pit. He grabbed an unlit torch and led the way. As they walked, the torch sprang to life. Skeletons lined the wall- some human, some not. Xara heard screams. Blood perfumed the air. The scent was so heavy, she vomited. Braedyn rolled his eyes. When she was done, they continued. The screams were louder now. Soon she heard wet tearing sounds and loud cracks. Growls and groans added to the cacophony. The closer they came to the noise, the worse the smell. Xara threw up again.

“Braedyn, take me back.” She groaned.

“Why? We haven’t reached the fun part yet.” He said jovially, like they were walking through a garden.

“I-I-I don’t like….” She threw up.

“Come on.” He led her around a corner. The screams were eerily child-like and louder than ever. A huge cavern yawned before them. A blue light lit up the center. Wendrissa was standing to the right of it, her hands stretched out like she was pushing a wall. She seemed manic. A shadow burst out of the blue light. A wolf-beast, black as a shadow and glowing blue turned toward Wendrissa, it crouched. Ronnie climbed the steps of the dais with a struggling, screaming child. The child had blonde curls and bright blue eyes. The wolf looked at Wendrissa. then at the child. It pounced on the child. Ronnie was going back down the dais. The ground trembled. The caverns shook. Everything became silent. The light on the dais dimmed and flared to full life. The ground shook again. A huge wolf-beast emerged. It had the body of a man but suddenly became a giant wolf that was as tall as a house and as wide as a wagon.

“Who dares disturb my slumber?” It spoke with a true canine growl.

“Wendrissa.” Wendrissa kept her hands up.

“Fool!” The wolf barked. “You have called what you cannot control.” It sniffed. “You do things you should not! How dare you corrupt my children?” The wolf snarled. “Seal us away before the world is torn apart!”

Wendrissa panted. Sweat poured off her. The light flickered. The wolf went to man-shape. He had shaggy black hair, piercing golden eyes, tan skin, sharp white teeth, and a blue electric charge constantly surrounded him. He looked in Braedyn’s direction. A single step and he was in front of Xara. Braedyn appeared to be shocked. The wolf-beast didn’t touch her.

“Be strong, little pure-heart.” His growl was reassuring. “Clouds never kill the sun. I must go. When you are ready, find me.” He disappeared. Noise erupted around them. Ronnie drug children to the dais but the light was gone. Wendrissa lay in a heap. The wolf-beasts prowled around the dais. Children were torn apart and devoured. Braedyn didn’t let her go. He did not lead her away. Xara sagged until she was on her knees. She could not look away. Such horror she had never seen.

Braedyn drug Xara back to their room. She was shaking and crying; a right slobbering mess. The hallways were tight and the stairs were steep which lead to the other parts of the catacombs running through Lightning Mountain, the locals called it Catacomb Mountain. No one went there. It was haunted.

At four levels up, Braedyn took a right, heading north until he reached a door of light colored wood.

“Wendi!” He banged on the door. “Meet me in the old shrine.” A muffled response from the door satisfied him. He went further down the corridor. Five doors and a narrow, intersecting hall later, He opened a door made of iron-studded wood set with orange stones in the pattern of a tree. He propelled Xara into the room and shut the door. There was the sound of gears turning and a hollow metallic click. This was not the first time she had heard the lock click.

Not the first time.

Xara lay on the bear hide that served as a rug. Well, she didn’t “lie.” She was a crumpled paper thrown on the ground and not in the waste basket. As if being crumpled wasn’t enough, no one had the decency to toss her away. Left crumpled on the floor to be trod on, squashed and crumpled.

 

 

 

Love’s Curse: Part two of a trilogy. Twilla, Bran’s sister and Xara’s best friend, investigates the mysterious disappearances of all the full-fledged nobles leaving underage heirs behind. What she finds is disturbing. Can she expose the truth before she becomes a target herself? Xara is not back yet. Bran feels empty without her. He puts down his guitar and picks up his sword, determined to become a knight once more if only so he can free his love from the clutches of one who uses her. Xara waits for Braedyn to kill her but he never does. He punishes and ignores her. He beats and yells, locking her in a room for days. Xara doesn’t want to live. When she dreams, a huge wolf with blue lightning flashing through his fur runs beside her. He guides and advises her, but he never orders her. She doesn’t want to wake, she doesn’t want to dream, and she doesn’t want to sleep. Why can’t she die?

 

Love’s Broken: Part three of a trilogy. Haven’t started on this yet. J

 

 

Mirra:

“My name is Mirra. My time will probably be long past when you read this, I hope at least. I do hope that you will laugh and think this is a fairy story if you happen to find the gold lined chest I stowed this book away in. If you laugh as you read this and think it absurd or impossible, it means that your world is peaceful. The very idea that zombies existed will seem laughable. They were not zombies that hungered for brains, fell apart but still moved and moaned. They were humans who had lost all will and answered to one person. He took over the world. He stopped at nothing until he gained control of everything. But I get ahead of myself, as most autobiographers do.

The meat of my story begins as I was sitting at an outside bar with three detectives after a successful day of solving crimes. ….”

 

Arabella:

‘I woke up in the dark. Not a deep dark like inside a cave that travels miles beneath the earth. Nor was it a dark like a cloudy night. It was a tame dark. A dark that would recede as soon as a switch was flicked. What woke me was the low murmur of voices and the last vestiges of a nightmare. And maybe a hint of wrongness. I sat up, but found that I couldn’t. My arms were lashed to a sturdy army cot. I tried to move my legs. Even they were tied. This couldn’t get any worse.

I was wrong. Thousands of tendrils of pain raced through my body. Gasping and groaning curses when I found breath, I lay in agony. Then, I saw the nightmare again.

The man picked me up over his head as if I was a kitten. He threw me against the wall. I flew through the thin plaster and kept going until I hit the next wall. I landed halfway up a nine foot rock wall. Then, gravity hit like a ton of bricks. The next thing I knew, the man was standing over me. Lecturing me like it was my fault the wall was broken.

Maybe it wasn’t a dream.

Light blinded me. I could hear the hum of electricity warming the fluorescent bulbs. Footsteps approached me. One. Two. Three sets of feet. Two similar sets of strained breathing. One unrushed breath. One ragged breath that whimpered every other inhale. Three sets of feet. Four sets of breath. Was the fourth here the whole time? Then, I realized: I was the fourth whimpering breath.

“{Curse word}.” I groaned.

“Not today.” A pleasant baritone said.

My head flopped in the direction of the voice. A black-haired man stood by the cot, thumbs hooked in his belt loops. A sienna brown belt threaded behind them. His jeans weren’t worn. He had a red button up shirt tucked into them. The shirt had a polo guy on it. Three buttons were undone from the collar down, hinting at a fit chest. His eyes were blue and piercing. A thousand thoughts surged behind those eyes. He was not a man to underestimate. To do so would cost you. I had.

Look at where I was: free to eat, sleep, play and learn. I had chosen rebellion and imprisonment because I did not wish to accept his freedom. His freedom drained me of happiness, individuality, of freedom itself. What he offered was the polar opposite of freedom. It was enslavement.

“Are you listening?” He asked. What was his name? This face of darkness had to have a name….

“Arabella.” His tone was serious, threatening, tempting.

I smirked. Chadwell Bartholomew Prescott. I giggled. Then I laughed. Pain exploded through me. My amusement made a swift transition to agonized screams. Chadwell had broken my pinky. Thankfully, it wasn’t on my left…. I pushed the pain down until it was just a throbbing sensation. My left pinky was broken. {Curse word}. I needed that hand.

I looked at Chadwell. His eyes stabbed into mine, forcing me to keep looking at him. The {Curse word}. ….’

Jareth and the Prize: Part one of a trilogy in the Memoirs of Acadia realm!

‘“My Lords and Ladies!” He began. “This banquet is to honor a loyal servant. This loyal servant risked Life and Limb on a Perilous Journey to secure The Prize for me, his King.” He paused glancing over the offended faces. He could tell what they were thinking, ‘How dare he invite us to a banquet for a commoner!’ “Jareth Fallingwater, the Royal Hunter, has brought back an enchanting treasure for my Collection! Hail, Jareth!”

“Hail, Jareth.” The nobles were not as enthusiastic in their praise. Zaroth enjoyed the scene as more and more derisive stares turned on the “boy” at the lowest end of the table.

Clearing his throat to politely regain their attention, “I now present The Prize!” He threw his hand toward the main doors of the Great Hall. They opened. In between two guards was a girl. She was wearing a purple dress tight across the abdomen and low cut across the chest. Her skirt was full, sweeping to the floor. Her slippers matched perfectly. Her orange hair hung straight down her back where it reached slightly past her bottom. Her eyes looked green from this distance.

“I now present, Princess Lyra, only daughter of our late king, Asfaloth.” He watched their stoic and somewhat eager expressions turn to shock. Even Jareth let out a gasp as the portents of Zaroth’s news reached them all. “She was trapped in an enchanted forest by Elvin Magic. Jareth bravely suffered great danger to free her from her prison.” He paused. “I have one more announcement. I have also found a wife.” The guards had brought Princess Lyra to King Zaroth. Zaroth grabbed her hand, pulling her up beside him. “Princess Lyra and I will wed in seven months, the traditional engagement period.”

“I think not!” A clear soprano interrupted him. All eyes turned to Princess Lyra. “I choose who I want to marry or even IF I marry at all.” Her glare, which would have incinerated a town in seconds, was turned on Zaroth. “I am only a prisoner, you cannot marry a prisoner no matter how high class. Why did you bring me here? I was fine where I was! But now you have made me angry. I will leave right now, I will not marry you, and I would not even glance your way if you were the last man on this planet!” Her eyes were full of sparks. “How dare you decide my life for me?” She was facing him head-on, looking him directly in the eyes. The nobles at the table were surprised. Jareth was not.

“Well, my little Fireball, I see you have a temper we must work on….” Zaroth let the tension build. “You have now returned to your ancestral kingdom. Your duty is to continue the King’s line. I am the King now, you must listen to my orders. And I am sure your Royal Father would want you to continue his lin—“

Lyra punched him in the nose. Zaroth felt the blood coursing down his face as he heard the eerie quiet pervading the room. He also felt his own shock and the blood drained from his face. He looked more like a living pile of grave dust than a human now. And the girl had the audacity to be nowhere in sight. He called for servants. They scrambled to his side, one wiped the blood from his gown while the other held a cloth to the King’s injured nose. Spluttering for someone to bring the quick-tempered and witted Princess back to him NOW; Zaroth left to change his robes. The two servants still tended him as he made his way out of the hall.’

The Secret Keeper: A new, new, new! Novel! Marthesia must find the courage within herself; just being book-smart won’t cut it, and she MUST endure an adventure. All she’s ever wanted was to belong. When she became a Secret Keeper, the world was perfect. Okay, she was still a bit of an outcast but as long as she had her key, life mattered. She mattered. A smooth talking stranger with a strange friend, sweep through town, steal her key, and Marthesia is thrown in jail. A weapons master in training breaks her out and they set off to recover her key. He just won’t take no for an answer! Marthesia sets out to regain her key, the symbol of the trust of her people. She may have bit off more than she’s willing to chew.

{No working title, no fond nickname.} Have not begun this yet. All I did was write down enough of the initial idea to keep me going. I will change to third person when I decide to start this in earnest. Here is a piece of what I have:

‘My Dear, Silly, Little Girl,

          Your time with me is undetermined. Alas, I can’t spend much time entertaining you as I am busy helping our leaders decide your fate. This book should keep you company until a decision has been reached. You might find it enlightening.

Best Regards,

Your Host,

Elias

P.S. – You slept past breakfast. House will deliver your meals regularly.

E.

P.P.S. – House does not like wasted food. This makes him very temperamental. Try to eat everything.

E.

Find it enlightening? How dare he! My hand writing was okay. Who cares that it’s a bit like chicken tracks? I was the only one who read it. I crumpled his note and threw it toward where the door should be. It bounced into a corner near the dresser. I turned to the window. Something smacked the back of my head! I turned quickly. My piece of paper was at my feet. No one was there so I threw the paper as hard as I could at the wall. A hand made of wood stretched out and caught it. It flung it back. I barely dodged, but another hand caught the paper wad and kept throwing it at me. I spun around the room until I was out of breath, then I managed to catch it.

“Okay. Fine. Sorry.” I huffed. The floor melted under me, I slipped through the floorboards with a scream. The floor closed around my chest. I stopped falling. I was held inside the floor, not crushed, just held. My legs and feet were trapped but from shoulders up I was free.

I made an angry sound and beat the floor with my fists. The house creaked angrily and my left fist melted into the floor. I snatched my hand away. Molten wood flowed out of the floor. It chased my hand until it caught it near my ear. As soon as was captured it hardened. I was so preoccupied I did not realize my right hand was already captured. I fumed. Part of me wanted to scream profanities while another part was plotting escape and a very loud part was screaming for sustenance. I could see the legs of the desk. I looked out the window. The sun moved slowly down.

The sun was nearing the bottom of the window when I heard footsteps behind me. I was through fuming. I was hungry and had to pee. I kept my eyes on the floor as the footsteps crossed the tiny room. I felt a robe brush against my head. From the corner of my eye I saw bare feet. Elias knelt in front of me and the wood flowed away from my right hand. He pried my stiff fingers apart and extracted the note he left. The crumpled paper did not seem to faze him.

“House, let her go. All this over one piece of trash, huh?” My host shook his head. He watched as the house slowly released me. I could barely stand, I was trembling noticeably. I staggered to the bathroom. Fumbling the door closed, I barely made it to the toilet before my bladder exploded. I washed my hands before going back to the other room. My room was bigger now and the bed had sprouted two more pillows. My host, Elias, I guess that was his name, stood still as a rock in the exact spot I’d left him in.

“Stand before me, Little Girl.” His voice was quiet, but I found it scary. I edged around him until I was in front of him. His eyes were black lanterns in the depths of his hood, his face was shadow. My hair floated around me and I did not like the weight of his eyes.

“I am trying to save your life. You and your silly squabble with House caused multiple problems. Several of the Council are upset while the rest are amused. I had planned to show you quietly pegging away at your handwriting but instead you and House had a childish squabble. I showed them you and house throwing things at each other. You were not working quietly.” The wind picked up but the window was shut. The room went dark. My eyes widen as I felt ropes snaking around me. I could not see them. I felt constricted, I could not move. The ropes were taut. I would be cut in two– And then everything froze.

“You wadded up my note. I spent thirty minutes planning this note, then ten to write it and three waiting for it to dry. You wound me….” He blathered on. I blinked. I could see ropes of writhing light pouring out of him. His anger was a red sea that tried to flicker into a searing orange. I flexed but the ropes did not loosen. Suddenly, everything came crashing back. I fell to my knees gasping. The world had color. I was not bound by invisible ropes.

“What did you do to me?” I asked.

“I only bound you. You’re overreacting.” He turned his nose up.

“Everything was dark.” I growled.

Elias looked at me. “Impossible,” He sniffed. “the stars aren’t out.”’

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