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New Book Announcement

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 was a blast for everyone but that 2015 will prove to be better. I want to start 2015 with an exciting announcement – the third and final book of The Painted Maidens Trilogy titled ‘The Taking’ is nearing completion! We are working on the cover art now as the book is in the first stages of editing. I’m aiming for a release on or before Valentine’s Day.

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the release, it will be here soon – I promise! In the meantime, I plan to tease you with excerpts from the book (see the first one below).

For those who haven’t had a chance to read the first or second books, now is your chance to catch up as the first book ‘The Rising’ is still listed as free across all e-platforms!

THE RISING-final cover

The Rising

Get it now, FREE at:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords | Kobo

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean—and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

The Betrayed MOCK UP 2

The Betrayed

Purchase it now:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords | Kobo

Summary:

Two separate worlds; the Undine of The Deep and the Wolves of The Dry. A history muddled in war but thick with family bonds blur the lines of right and wrong. The youngest members of each race unite, trying to steer their people away from the brink of disaster. Serena and Liam must work together to resolve the problems of their people before the pressure tears these twin siblings apart. But the betrayed are angry, and are out for revenge.

Over the next month, there will be several fun events as we ramp up to the release of ‘The Taking’, including more excerpts, a playlist (I cannot wait for this one), announcements for my next projects, giveaways, and the cover reveal!

For now I leave you with an excerpt (unedited) from ‘The Taking’. Enjoy!

‘The Taking, Book Three of the Painted Maidens Trilogy’ Excerpt: 

male and female mermaidThe waves grow rough as the wind picks up.

“Come on,” says Kai. “I have an idea.” He takes Serena by the hand and swims them both into rougher surf.

“Kai, what are you—” Serena is cut off by the next wave that crashes over both of their heads.

Tossed and turned, colliding into each other and pulled apart just as quickly, they flounder like guppies in the water. Serena straightens herself out, finding the surface and popping above just to be pushed below again by the next wave. Kai rolls by in front of her sticking out his tongue while his tail is tangled in kelp.

Serena laughs as she breaks it apart for him. As soon as he is free, he pulls her up. Picking up speed, the pair glide along the surface, angling in to join another wave. This time, they slide in front of it just as the crest folds forward, wrapping them in a secluded tunnel of brackish blue. Kai continues to jut forward, but turns on his back and dips below the surface. He pulls Serena on top of him so her chest rests on his stomach. She rides the wave just as she has seen the Ungainly surfers do, laying down on their boards.

Kai pushes her hands up and out, then releases them. Spreading her arms like wings, Serena’s fingertips skim the watery tunnel on each side. Here in the ocean’s breakers, between The Deep and The Dry, Serena is finally afforded a little privacy from both worlds and her title as queen.

A wide grin spreads across her face as she looks down at Kai in gratitude. She pulls him up just as the tunnel condenses, then collapses in on itself. They endure the chaotic aftermath, tickling each other as they roll into calmer surf.

Catching their breath as their heads bob above water, pure delight dancing across their faces with the last light of the sun, and Serena looks at Kai. “I want to pair with you,” she says. The words are out of her mouth as the thought enters her head. Her eyes go wide—she can’t believe she said that out loud. She looks at Kai, who looks just as stunned.

“Are you sure?” he asks, giving her a chance to retract her statement.

Serena bites her lip, her eyes falling to the frothy water surrounding them. The time between waves lengthens, as if the ocean herself awaits Serena’s answer. Finally, she looks up to Kai. “No more waiting, Kai. I’m ready, and I wish to pair with you—if you’ll have me.”

His eyes light up and he squeezes her face in between his hands, drawing her lips into his. A breath she doesn’t know he was holding escapes as his lips relax open. He tastes of salt. Another wave finally breaks, taking them both by surprise. He wraps his tail around hers as their arms snake around each other.

The wave pushes them under in a tumultuous celebration, and they hold on tight as the world spins around them. Hitting the sandy sea floor, they break apart. Serena’s hair has escaped her braid and black tendrils reach out, brushing Kai’s cheek.

Right here, right now, there are no worries in the world. There is nothing but Kai and all the fun, the security, and the affection he brings. Serena can’t pretend the moment will last forever, but she knows if Kai is by her side she can face anything.

* * *

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt! Let me know what you think in the comments below and please be sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to keep updated on my progress!

The Lost Locket of Lahari: Blog Tour and Scavenger Hunt

LLoL coverPatchwork Press is celebrating the release of  The Lost Locket of Lahari! The blog tour features several posts that are part of a scavenger hunt.  At each stop, we reveal one letter that, when put together with the other letters from each of the other stops, will spell out a secret message to announce the topic of our next anthology.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the main characters from each of the short stories in the anthology. Take a look, comment on who is your favorite, and don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour by clicking here to find all of the letters and solve the puzzle!

Meet Adara from The Seeker, by Kara Baird

Kara picIn my past life I would be a tropical bird—so I could see a world beyond the desert, a place where pools of water with flowers floating on top are almost everywhere.

My favorite quote comes from a Latin phrase: esse quam videri, or, to be rather than to seem.

My favorite food is anything bready. My father is a baker and has learned how to make the most delicious naan in the land.

My favorite music is from Aamir, Isa’s father. He had a small wooden flute when I was growing up. He would play it sometimes while telling Isa and I one of his fairy stories. I remember it added a sense of spookiness or cheeriness when the story called for it.

If I had one wish, it would be to cook for others like my father did. There is no greater charity then feeding a man who is hungry.

 

 

Meet Odessa from The Empath, by Erica Crouch

The Empath

My favorite quote is, “Fortune favors the bold.” — Virgil

If I could go anywhere, it would be somewhere new and very far from here. I’ve always had an interest to visit big cities and get lost in a crowd. Maybe New York, or London. I’m tired of roadside towns. I want to travel the world.

If I had one wish, it would be to fix the mistakes of my past and save the people I couldn’t.

My worst fear is losing myself and not being able to maintain control.

In a past life, I would be Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus).

 

 

 

Meet Olivia from The Dreamer, by Terra Harmony

Betty Compson -1929-The Great Gabbo

 

My favorite quote is, “Hope is a waking dream.” – Aristotle

I think a fun date would involve a fancy dress, a hopping speakeasy, and a handsome beau on my arm.

My worst fear is to end up back in an orphanage.

If I could go anywhere, it would be Paris!

My favorite color is glitzy gold, of course!

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Emma from The Confidant, by Janna Jennings

Janna character pic

My favorite book is For Whom the Bell Tolls. Robert Jordan sneaking behind enemy lines, risking his life to slow the fascist forces, Pablo’s betrayal… You won’t tell Mamma, will you? She would say it’s not appropriate reading for me. I’m not sure I’m really my favorite anymore. I think I’ve had enough adventures for awhile.

My favorite food is sugar. Anything made with sugar. Cakes, puddings, toffee bars, ice cream… pretty much anything we haven’t been able to make in the past four years.

If I could go anywhere, it would be home! I was old enough when we left America I have some memories of living there. With the war over I’m ready to go back.

My worst fear is losing Mamma. When Papa died it was like living in a nightmare. If Mamma were gone to, it would be worse. I’d be alone.

 

 Meet Madeline from The Adventurer, by Ruth Silver

Superhero

My favorite color is black. I prefer to blend into the background. It’s something I’ve always been good at.

If I could be any animal, I’d be a cheetah. I’m fast but I could always be faster. I also think they’re beautiful creatures.

If I had one wish, it would be complete freedom; never having to look over my shoulder.

My worst fear is being caught.

I have a lot of trouble with trusting others. I’ve been alone for so long, I’ve gotten used to it.

 

 

 

 Meet Ben and Serra from The Dancer, by Kellie Sheridan

 

kellie pic 1

 

I’m not really a big reader, but my favorite books are the Percy Jackson books.

 

A fun date would be something super romantic and cheesy – whatever will make her feel special.

 

In a past life I would have been Charles Darwin – looking for answers to life’s big questions.

 

 

 

 

kellie pic 2

 

My favorite quote is, “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”  ― Voltaire

 

If I could go anywhere, it would everywhere! Paris, Rome, London. I’d love to backpack around Europe after college.

 

My favorite author is anyone who writes contemporary. Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman are my favorites.

I hope you enjoyed meeting all the characters!

And now to reveal my piece of the puzzle:

N

 

 

 Download your copy of the Lost Locket of Lahari from:

 AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.

Release Day and Scavenger Hunt Kick Off

LLoL cover

Synopsis:

In a dusty, dilapidated stall tucked away in an alcove of a bustling Bazaar in India, a man with a rickety spine and a spindly beard bends over his work bench, forging a locket with accidental magic. There’s power in a wish, and there’s nothing he wants more than for his children to return home. The locket was intricately crafted, adorned with one dragonfly for each of his children—and the power to find them.

 

With the guidance of fate, the locket skips through time and journeys across oceans, traveling from person to person in a constant search for the souls whispered into its vessel. Centuries after the magical old man in the Bazaar became near-forgotten myth and whispered legend, the locket has fallen into the hands of those with echoes of the six dragonflies: the seeker, the empath, the dreamer, the confidant, the adventurer, and the dancer.

 

YOU CAN BUY IT NOW!

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

 

JOIN THE SCAVENGER HUNT!

 

Welcome to the first ever Patchwork Press Scavenger Hunt. Everyday for the next two weeks we will be revealing a letter. These reveals will be on fun blog posts about the anthology, pinterest, instagram, and twitter. The letters will spell out the theme of our next anthology. Find all of the letters and unscramble the word and you have exclusive information before we even reveal it officially!

 

There will be 14 posts. Two weeks of hunting!! Go to each post and collect the letters and read all of the fun posts. We will tweet each post on the official @patchwork_press twitter, and the master key of all the posts in case you miss any will be at Patchwork Press.

 

Grab your copy of The Lost Locket of Lahari and join the scavenger hunt fun!

 

My Short Story Cover Reveal

Amidst finishing up The Painted Maidens Trilogy, I’ve been busy – and so have the other ladies of Patchwork Press. We have teamed up to create something we really think you’re going to enjoy… our first anthology! Five of our authors, including your truly, plus one of our fantastic interns, have each contributed a story to The Lost Locket of Lahariwhich is being released into the world on September 9th! We can’t wait to share it with all of you! But for now, here is the amazing cover given to you by talented author/artist Erica Crouch:

LLoL cover

 

Add it to your Goodreads TBR list now!

Synopsis:

In a dusty, dilapidated stall tucked away in an alcove of a bustling Bazaar in India, a man with a rickety spine and a spindly beard bends over his work bench, forging a locket with accidental magic. There’s power in a wish, and there’s nothing he wants more than for his children to return home. The locket was intricately crafted, adorned with one dragonfly for each of his children—and the power to find them.

With the guidance of fate, the locket skips through time and journeys across oceans, traveling from person to person in a constant search for the souls whispered into its vessel. Centuries after the magical old man in the Bazaar became near-forgotten myth and whispered legend, the locket has fallen into the hands of those with echoes of the six dragonflies: the seeker, the empath, the dreamer, the confidant, the adventurer, and the dancer.

In the hands of its new owners, the power of the locket adapts, bending and remaking itself to answer need. While the locket never found the children of Lahari, it found the next best thing… Their spirits.

The six novellas of the Lost Locket of Lahari anthology pause a moment in time when the locket finds the ripples of its ancestry. From the Victorian-era to the Roaring Twenties, the 1940s to modern day and beyond, this anthology is a collection of stories as dynamic as the authors themselves.

 

‘Earth’, Free First Chapter and NaNoWriMo

Yesterday morning I embarked on a journey. A 50,000 word journey. That’s right folks, it is NaNoWriMo time (National Write a Novel in a Month). Why, oh, why do they insist on starting it the day after Halloween? Each year, I stay up too late, drink too much wine,  and worse – eat way too much chocolate. The morning after a chocolate binge is never pretty.

But I was determined to start my journey out on the right foot. I used that foot to stumble to the kitchen, and on my way to the coffee machine, managed to bypass this:

That’s right – I didn’t pause to clean the dang kitchen. Coffee in hand, I moaned my way to my laptop, bypassing this:

Yep. Didn’t take out the trash…or the recycling. Yay, me! I sat down and finished up my daily goal; 2,000 words before the kids got up. By the end of the month, I’ll have finished up ‘Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series’ and get started on a brand new series. Speaking of, I recently posted the first chapters of ‘Water‘, ‘Air‘, and ‘Fire‘. Wanna read the first chapter of ‘Earth’?

Please keep in mind it is a rough draft; hasn’t been through any editors. The rest of the book will follow…next Spring!

Earth, Chapter One: Inside Voices

The Greenbrier is a Cold War era underground bunker buried 720 feet into the hillside of White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. Each of the four entrances are protected by large steel and concrete doors designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Alex and I were standing outside the gated fence, trying to figure out how to break in.

“The west and east entrances are vehicular tunnels,” said Alex, handing me his binoculars. “This one here is the west entrance.”

I focused the binoculars in on a large ‘high voltage’ warning sign at the door.

“Do you think Akasha can burn through that baby?” Alex asked.

“Maybe,” I sighed, handing the binoculars back. “But do we really want to risk a high-profile entrance?”

Footsteps in the woods to our backs caused us both to duck down. I peered under a thick, prickly bush. Susan’s footsteps came into view. I stood, unsuccessfully avoiding sharp thorns.

“Ow!”

Susan started at my outburst. Bee squealed with delight, “Mommy!”

She ran straight for me, and the thorns. “Oh, honey – watch out!” I scooped her up before she suffered the same fate. She squealed again.

“More!” She demanded as soon as I set her down.

“Um, excuse me everyone – we are in surveillance mode here. We need to use our inside voices.”

“Tell that to the two-year old,” I said. Alex was right, but leaving Bee behind wasn’t exactly an option.

Bee took the hint and ran to Alex, “More Unka Alek, more!”

He smiled down at her, “I can’t refuse my best lady. But can you be quiet when I lift you up?”

She nodded her head as fast as she could, practically hopping in anticipation. Alex lifted her up so fast her feet flew in the air above her head. To her credit, not one sound escaped her lips. She could be quiet if she wanted; she just had to be properly motivated.

“What did you find out?” I asked Susan.

“Hotel is operational. Well, as far as hotels can be, these days. But the tours have been cancelled since Daybreak. Electricity is too unreliable to lead tourists underground.”

“Either that, or the facilities are actually in use.” Alex said.

Bee automatically demanded more lifts at his sudden shift in focus. I dug around in my backpack for the stash of honeysuckle I found the day before. “Here,” I handed her the entire bag. “Let the grownups plan their break in.”

“Bake in, bake in,” chanted Bee, plopping down on the ground, already diving in to her new treat.

I smiled, then turned back to the west entrance and frowned. “Let’s camp out for a night – see if there is any activity in or out.”

“What about the other entrances?” Alex asked.

“We could split up,” I suggested.

Susan groaned. “I hate spending the night alone, outside.”

You won’t be outside. You can go back to the hotel; find out more.” Alex said.

“And you won’t be alone, you’ll have Bee.” I said. The three of us looked down at her, still sitting at our feet. Several white flowers already sat crumpled by her side, having been deprived of all their sweet nectar.

In a world with only intermittent power, traditional packaged goods – including candy – along with a long list of other necessities, were scarce. Honeysuckle soon became a treat of choice. Last fall, we also discovered its medicinal properties when Alex came up with a concoction infused with honeysuckle and applied it to the poison ivy rash that covered my legs. After that, I had traded all of my shorts for a few pairs of Susan’s pants. They were long, but a few rolls around my ankles added protection from poisonous plants and bugs.

“Let’s meet back here an hour after dawn tomorrow,” Alex said.

Susan stuck out her lip.

Alex rolled his eyes, “Ok, two hours after dawn. Put that lip back in before I bite it.”

Susan smiled, raising one eyebrow, “Bite me and I’ll bite you back.” She moved a step closer to him.

“Is that a promise?” he asked, closing the distance between them.

I turned my back just in time to hear kissing sounds. The open romance between Alex and Susan was a long time coming, and I was happy for both of them, but with every passing day it made me long for Micah more and more. He’d been missing since a few weeks before Daybreak.

The kissing noises were still coming. I sighed and squat down by Bee, “It’s rude to stare, honey.” The few honeysuckle that remained were forgotten.

She shifted her gaze to me, stuck out her lips and said, “Kiss, kiss!”

I laughed an obliged, then gathered her in my arms, “You’re going to stay with Aunt Susan tonight. Be good, okay?”

“Otay!”

I kissed her again.

“Enough with the smooching you two,” Susan interrupted. I passed Bee over. “We’re going to be late for girl’s night out.”

“Make sure she gets a bath – and check her for ticks.” I dug in my backpack for the only bar of soap the four of us shared.

“We’ll do the usual pampering session,” Susan promised.

“And you get double duty tomorrow night.” I said.

“Done.” A night out of the woods was totally worth it for Susan.

“Bye, Bee.”

She waved, and I watched them walk away as Bee fiddled with the soap.

“She’ll be fine, mama.” Alex said, slinging his arm over my shoulder.

“I know. I just wish…” I trailed off. Alex didn’t need to hear all about how Micah was missing out on Bee, again.

“You wish what?” he asked.

I leaned into him, nose first, and sniffed. “I wish we had another bar of soap.”

___________

Hope you liked it!  I would love to get feedback on this chapter.  Please comment or feel free to email me at: terra.harmony11@gmail.com. Don’t forget to get ‘Water, Book One’ now free pretty much everywhere as an ebook.  ‘Air, Book Two‘ is at a special price of $2.99.

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

They’re dead. Well, not all of them – but give it ten years. Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to turn my blog into a consistent rant about environmental issues. I will only do that occasionally. This is one of those occasions.

In researching for the third book of the Akasha Series, ‘Fire’, I came across the plight of bees and will of course, highlight this in the book. So of course, I turned to Claudia Christian, author of the Alex the Fey Series, organizer of Twitter bookmarket chats, resident of my home state of Colorado, and beekeeper. Soooo many reasons to love this lady!

Anyway, on to the bees:

Question 1 – What is the cause of the disappearance of bees?

Claudia: It’s the pesticide. Period. The pesticide weakens the bees’ immune system so they are susceptible to all kinds of disease. People can’t say it’s the pesticide because the creator (Bayer) is protected by their employees (Congress). It’s a very frustrating situation especially when they banned the pesticide in France and the “mysterious” disease disappeared.

Question 2 – Is the problem growing or decreasing?

Claudia: The problem is growing. It’s hard to conceptualize but it’s not just bees. It’s all pollinators – wasps, hummingbirds, and bats are also ‘mysteriously disappearing.’ For example, there used to be many thousands of varieties of wasps in the US. These wasps have died out. Now there’s only a handful of the most aggressive forms of wasps live in the US. Another example is that the Bumblebee is expected to be extinct in the next 10 years. Further, the bat populations have declined at alarming rates. We hear about bees because they have ‘keepers’, but every pollinator on the continent is at risk.

Question 3 – Have you experienced these issues with your bees?

Claudia: Yes, we’ve been beekeepers for more than 10 years. The first 3-4 years were easy years. We had hives at 3 or 4 locations including my in-laws house in Durango, CO. Then it started, slowly at first, we saw some aggressive changes in our bees. We brought them back to our house and hive after hive died. We did everything we could think of, talked to everyone we knew, but fumbled over and over again. For the last 3-4 years, we’ve replaced hives almost every year. We lost all of our hives last year. Our healthiest hive was attacked by an aggressive feral hive (think about the wasp situation) and decimated. This is new behavior for honeybees, but not unheard of. I found beekeepers all over the country talking about this new aggressive robbing behavior.

Question 4 – Why are bees so important to the Earth’s ecosystem?

Claudia: Ok, think of it this way. Once upon a very, very long time ago, there were coniferous trees. They were fertilized by the wind. In somehow, some way, the ancestral bee was created. This bee and those who came, long before the alligator or the roach, created every single flowering plant in the world. Every. Single. Flowering. Plant. was created by the bee. Bats, hummingbirds, and the rest of the pollinators came after the humble bee created flowering plants to sustain them.

So, are honey bees important? Only if flowers are important, only if vegetables and seeds are important.

Question 5 – What would be your suggestions to helping Earth’s ecosystem by way of ‘bee’?

Claudia: Fix campaign finance. Seriously. I don’t mean to get all political, but Bayer owns Congress to the extent that at the Congressional hearings on CCD, researchers are not ALLOWED to mention the possibility that the pesticide is responsible for the death of pollinators in the US. And the first hear was AFTER the pesticide was banned in France and other European countries – and the bees had returned!

So… what do you do with that? The FDA and USDA are owned by Bayer. Congress is owned by Bayer.

And we continue to talk about it as if it’s a ‘bee’ problem.

So there you have it! The bee, *ahem*, pesticide problem. As with many other environmental issues, politicians and large corporations block the solutions. So what can we do about it? Make it an important topic with your local government representatives and in this year’s elections. Write congress, spread the word, buy organic. Get out there and save the bees! I need them for my stories…

A few extra websites that offer solutions are:

http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/act-today-2/act-today/
http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/
http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/save-the-bees.html
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Save-Bees/104550740016?sk=wall

About Claudia:

Claudia Hall Christian is the author of the romantic serial fiction Denver Cereal, Ft. Worth’s hottest mystery, The Queen of Cool, and the fast paced Alex the Fey thriller series. She is the founder of the Open Grove and the Twitter chat #bookmarket.

She writes books and keeps bees in Denver, Colorado.

Connect with Claudia at her website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Flash Fiction and Giveaway

Hi there everyone!  If you haven’t yet, hop on over to Can’t Put it Down Reviews where I am giving away six sets of the first two books, ‘Water’ and ‘Air’ in the Akasha Series, plus one grand prize winner gets to pick a t-shirt from my store.

I am also giving away the complete set of the Kindred Curse Anthology, not yet released anywhere, in the Follower Love Giveaway Hop. Oh – and did I forget to mention the $25 Amazon Gift Card?

Now on to my newest flash fiction.  This was recently featured on Can’t Put it Down Reviews.  It is some of the  back story on Kaitlyn’s (main character in the Akasha Series) parents.  Enjoy!

Good Luck Charm

Mary leaned forward, looking through the windshield of their small, blue Honda and up into the sky. “Do they know we’re coming?”

The sky was growing darker by the minute, and the wind was picking up.

Cato answered from the back seat, “No one knows.  Well, except Shawn. Boy probably doesn’t even remember, as involved in video games as he was.” Cato stared at the scenery rushing past. Corn fields. Acre after acre of the tall stalks; all leaning to the left with the growing wind.

“Oh, please.  Your son is gifted and you know it.  I’ve seen the spark on more than one occasion.” John smiled at Cato through the rearview mirror. He put his hand over Mary’s, attempting to calm her fears.

She smiled, but her eyes still wrinkled with worry. It began to hail. Small chunks of ice pelted the windshield and road ahead. Mary began rubbing at the charm around her neck.

It was a necklace given to her by their only child. John thought of their daughter Kaitlyn, at home probably working on college applications. She was all they really had, and he would give anything to make it a better world for her.  Which is why they were all here.  With far more confidence than either of his two passengers, he resolutely nodded his head. “Yes.  Everything is going to be –“

“John! Stop!” Mary cut him off with her screams. He slammed on the brakes. About a mile ahead of them, a funnel shot down from the cloud cover. It was already bending the sturdy highway signs with its force. John put the Honda into reverse.

“Don’t want to do that either, John.” Cato pointed out the back window. A thick formation of clouds were already spinning in preparation for another tornado vortex to emerge.

John and Mary locked eyes.  Their communication was almost telepathic.  This was not natural weather.

The corn stalks no longer leaned in one direction. They waved wildly, as if flagging away the trio. But it was too late; they were trapped with twisters blocking each direction of road.

“So now we know – there has to be a traitor with The Seven.” John and Mary each turned to look at Cato.

“Let’s just get through this. Then we can turn to who is responsible. If I don’t make it…” Cato trailed off.

“We’re all going to make it.” John didn’t give Cato a chance to finish. “And we will all go home to our children.”

Cato nodded at his lifelong friend, thankful he was here to help face their enemy. The three exited the car.

Mary’s long, red skirt whipped around her legs. The red was a stark contrast to the dark grey skies. She faced the first of the tornados, opening herself up to the warm, moist air being drawn in from the south.  She used her powers as a water elemental to diffuse the air of moisture. John stood by her side, commanding the cool, dry winds blowing in from Canada. Together they worked, forcing away the conflicting weather and trying to stabilize the atmosphere.

Though Cato could manipulate all of the elements, he concentrated on the wind speed.  He worked to slow it down, preventing any more updrafts. He was significantly stronger than the pair that worked behind him, but he was hindered, having to deal with chunks of road and now farm equipment being tossed at them by the tornado. He moved forward, certain he was the target of the attack. The least he could do was decrease the risk to his friends by angling away, further down the road.

Mary looked back to see their small car in a slow spin, gradually being lifted up. It was as unpredictable as the winds.  “We need to move!”

Without hesitation, she turned to the fields. The sharp, unharvested corn cut that might offer some protection from the wind, bit into her bare legs as she ran. John stayed close on her heels. “Where is Cato!” He called to her. But there was no time to answer.  He lunged forward, tackling Mary to the ground as the roof of a barn whipped by overhead.

Cato remained  on the highway, struggling with the wind patterns.  They were unpredictable.  He detected several threads of power being woven into the storm from two different directions.  There would be more than four elementals attacking – and no time to target them.  Cato had to settle for playing defense. He looked behind me, startled to find John, Mary and the car gone.

He ran back to where he had left them.  Dumbfounded, he looked to the right, at the slightly wavering speed limit sign, still planted in the ground. He peered closer into the fields, thinking he saw a flash of Mary’s skirt.  He took a step towards it, when a spinning, blue mass shot by, missing Cato by mere feet.  He could barely track it with his eyes.  It was their car, now bouncing end over end down the highway, taking the speed limit sign with it. Cato blinked, then turned back to the wind patterns in the sky and could only hope the same fate had not befallen his friends.

Gradually, his energy waned, and he was left only able to maintain a protective circle around himself.  The weather had grown too strong; almost like more elementals had joined in. The corn fields and his friends were on their own. Cato’s whole body shook with exertion until he dropped to his knees. His sphere was allowing the strong gusts to pass through, but it would hold against the more solid objects thrown at him by the storm, and it would keep him firmly planted on the ground.

The two funnels moved closer, then angled in – towards the path his friends took.  Shards of debris littered the air like feathers in a pillow fight.  Cato was still able to discern the funnels, large as they were, merging together. As they did, lightening lit the sky and thunder cracked in the air, barely heard over the freight train noise of the super twister.  It was a triumphant announcement; both sides knew who had won this battle.

Wind gusts did not let up. They grew stronger and stronger, pulling even more debris into the air, until Cato could not see past his protective circle at all. He was sure the large mass was coming for him next.

With a final burst of energy, Cato pushed himself to his feet. He wasn’t going to face death curled up like a coward. It would be full on, shoulders squared and eyes opened. And without his shield.

When the noise was unbearable – and Cato was sure the climax had arrived, he lifted his hands to dissipate his shield. Before he could, the world went silent. Stalks, corn, dirt, and fractured wood from nearby structures all fell to the ground at once. There was no wind. What cornstalks were left in the ground were still. In the skies, clouds moved away revealing a disturbingly peaceful blue sky in their wake.

The last of Cato’s energy fizzled out, and his protective circle vanished. Two loud, sickening thumps came from behind him. Cato swallowed the rising lump in his throat, then turned. Mary and John lay dead on the highway. All of their limbs twisted in unnatural, odd angles, except for one. Mary’s hand still clutched the charm at her neck.

Let me know what you think!  Comments always welcome.

Blog Party Wrap-Up

It’s been a busy few weeks; more so for the four great book review bloggers that helped to promote my series.  In case you missed any of the events, here is the wrap up:

Giveaway!!! Ten copies of ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’. Don’t miss out, click here to enter.

A short story posted on each of the bloggers sites.  These are flash fiction posts based on the main characters from the Akasha Series.  Start with Ritesh’s post here and click on the links at the end to read the next short story.

Guest Post by yours truly featuring my favorite book covers, and my own experience with finding the right cover.  Click here to read.

My Interview with Ritesh including how the series came to be, my thoughts on environmental conversation, and what I would do with Johnny Depp’s back hair. Click here to read.

Character Interview with MC Kaitlyn.  As Alexia would say, “She rocks my face off!” Read it on Alexia or Natasha’s blog.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews. Everyone posted their review.  Go to Jennifer’s blog, Alexia’s blog, Natasha’s blog, or see the most recent review on Ritesh’s blog.

Air, Book Two of the Akasha Series teasers! For separate excerpts of ‘Air’, see Natasha’s blog or Alexia’s blog.

The Akasha Series Introduction. From the mouth’s of bloggers. Read it on Ritesh’s blog.

My Detailed Bio on Ritesh’s blog. Find out the story behind my name, what I do when I’m not writing, and choose what elemental power best suits you; water, air, fire or earth! Visit my store to declare your power of choice to the world.

A big THANK YOU to:

Ritesh from Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews

Alexia from Alexia’s Chronicles

Natasha from Dreamland: A Teenage Fantasy

Jennifer from Can’t Put it Down Reviews

If you haven’t yet, follow each of their blogs!  They have so much to offer readers with book reviews that are honest, funny, and compelling.  They also have giveaways and can introduce you to books and authors you would have never found otherwise.  Thank you for sticking with us this week – it’s been fun!  Now, back to writing.  I have a a ‘Fire’ novel to put together.   : )

From the Mouths of Bloggers

The best way to introduce my series is through the words of book review bloggers!  Because each reader interprets a story differently, I conveyed the story using bits and pieces of reviews by readers themselves.  See the Akasha Series introduction on Ritesh’s blog.

And if you haven’t read my post and voted for your elemental power of choice yet, now is the time!  Read this article and comment!

So…that’s all I really have to say.  Since I feel like this blog post is too short, and because I just figured out how to embed YouTube videos, and because I can’t stop thinking about the Hunger Games – I leave you with the awesome movie trailer. Can’t wait ’till March 23rd!!!

Pool Party (Minus the Pool)

Want to find out what happens when myself and four book bloggers get together for an entire week?   I’ll tell you what happens.  Best. Party. Ever.   And you’re invited!  Throw in a pool and it just might be EPIC.  There will be giveaways, character interviews, book reviews, a detailed intro to the Akasha Series and some discussion points you will definitely want to get in on.  Here is the skinny:

23rd January – Day One: A Biographical write-up – join in the discussion to pick your elemental power of choice; water, air, fire or earth!
24th January – Day Two: An Introduction to the Akasha series
25th January – Day Three: Each blogger’s review of ‘Water’, and teasers to the second book, ‘Air’
26th January – Day Four: An interview with Terra Harmony and character interviews
27th January – Day Five: Eye Candy – a guest post by yours truly.  Join in the discussion to let everyone know your favorite book covers!
28th January – Four totally free short stories based on characters from the Akasha Series.

Join in the party at one of four sites:

Ritesh at Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews (The Host)
Alexia at Alexia Chronicles (The Hottie)
Natasha at Dreamland: A Teenage Fantasy (Life of the Party)
Jenifer at Can’t Put it Down (The Bookworm)

Better yet – you can enter the giveaway now!  Click here and sign up.  You’ll get extra entries for commenting on posts all week.  So, grab your drink of choice, put on your favorite music, and connect!

***And if you DO have a pool – I recommend playing ‘Pool Party’ by the Aquabats.***

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