Another Excerpt and a Bit of Preaching

Hello again my few but faithful followers. Followers, ha, it makes me sound like some cultish priestess in a B-rated fantasy. Bwahahaha hack hack cough wheeze.

Ahem.

Well, after my last rather snarky post, it’s time to get back to the writing. It seems it no longer costs money to create an author page on Amazon, so I have been actually engaged in pursuits beyond my rather slow typing. I only wish I could find a way to make me seem more exciting.

Which is why this blog is not about me. It is another scene from the sequel to Magic’s Guardian, The Hunt, though it features some familiar characters. It’s a sequel after all, with an overarching story arc that will involve all, so they had to make an appearance. Besides, I missed Puck.

Court life was slow, stuck in a season of late spring blooming with flowers and fruit and honey. Days consisted of gathering food, the few chores not accomplished by magic, and practicing to control her powers. After—how long had she been here now? She couldn’t remember, not that time was always a sensible thing here—even with Maclyn at her side, Terra was growing a little restless.
In a moment she was wishing for the quiet peace. She winced when the Circle crackled, flashes sparking across the shifting colors. A rumble too rhythmic for thunder made her stiffen. The bear stirred and a low growl whispered from between her lips.
Puck grabbed her arm and shook his head, his eyes on the Circle where a massive black horse and an equally massive rider materialized.
Terra wasn’t happy to see the helmeted, leather-clad figure who dismounted, but she was held back from her instinct to attack not by Puck’s hand or Maclyn’s murmured warning, but by the tattered bundle the big man cradled so tenderly in one tree-sized arm.
“Please,” he said as Oberon and Titania joined them. “Please, I request the services of your Healer. I will pay whatever price she sets.”
Rosebud turned to leave but Thistledown and Lomas were already hurrying towards them.
“Please, she’s badly hurt,” the huntsman said, sounding breathless.
Even confronted with the sight of the limp woman he held, the words prickled Terra’s anger to life. “Why would we help a bloodthirsty barbarian like you?” she hissed. She ignored Titania’s raised eyebrow and Maclyn’s hasty nudge. “After what you did to the gryphon and her family . . .”
“Family?” The hunter’s brow wrinkled. “We never saw her family. We trapped her after finding her alone.”
“But she showed us her memories. They were slaughtered.”
“Not by us, I swear it. Even at his worst the Huntmaster wouldn’t do such a thing.” He frowned. “The other Court assured us they had no intention of harming the beast.”
“That may have been true, by your definition of harm, but she fought with us. They killed her,” Maclyn told him, deathly cold.
“Things get worse,” the hunter muttered. “You have no reason to believe me, but I am truly sorry. She was a worthy opponent and a magnificent creature who did nothing to bring about her fate. But please,” he said, holding his bundle tighter. “She had no part of what happened. She fell and her leg was crushed by a boulder. She lay there alone for . . .” he shuddered and shook himself. “She’ll die without help.”
Oberon and Titania stayed silent. Terra’s eyes kept falling to the sad figure hanging limp in his arms. “Maybe, Your Majesties, just once . . .” She withdrew under their glare.
Hooves pounded the ground so hard they all felt the impacts. Flyght skidded to a halt beside Terra, Tempest and Puck’s usual partner Desert Willow flanking her. /She must not die!/ Flyght said, rearing and squealing.
Oberon crossed his arms. “The Hunt is not welcome here,” he said, growling almost as darkly as Terra.
“May I speak to your Healer?” the hunter asked, bowing to Thistledown.
Titania glanced in the Healer’s direction. Thistledown nodded.
“Speak,” Titania said.
“I offer an Obligation,” he said. “An unnamed Obligation.”
“That could be a high price. I could ask anything,” Thistledown whispered.
“I know. I will pay it, anything in my power.”
“It’s up to you. If you want to accept his payment, you may,” Titania told her.
We need to hurry,” Thistledown said decisively, looking relieved.

So my old friends haven’t been abandoned yet. I’m sure this, and every other scene, will have some heavy editing before it sees the public eye, but it gives you an idea about the depth of feeling Aidyn is only starting to see from the big guy. I know, I know, awww how romantic. I have been told in no uncertain terms that my stuff is “chick lit,” and I’m okay with that. I’m a chick after all, even if not a very girly one most of the time.

So keep writing, keep looking for that publishing deal, and never stop, and above all don’t let anyone tell you, especially another author, to stop writing. Yes, that still bothers me. Rude, unethical, and stupidly self limiting since practically every professional author will tell you one of the best ways to learn to write is to READ, READ, READ. Which has never been a problem for me, or any of the writers I personally know. I think it’s natural for a writer to start as a reader.

All right, enough of the soap box today. Have a good night my readers, writers, publishers, agents, whatever part you play in the world of books is important. Remember that.

As usual, I almost forgot my links.
Website: http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#
Book through Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313
Book through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0
Free Short Story: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

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The Hazards of Being an Indie Author

No excerpts today, I’m going to pause in my cheating and write on an actual subject. Yay! (Aw, c’m on guys, I can hear the boos.)

Well, it’s been over a year since I self-published. The people who’ve read the book have given me good responses, at least so far. One actually said she had trouble putting it down, another told me there was a point where the story exploded for him. No better feeling than getting responses like that. 

But the readers are so far very few. I simply cannot afford actual advertising so focus on social media, which might work better if I’d started with the hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends some have and tens of thousands of Twitter followers, but I simply don’t. I have found a number of free sources of promotion, but every one of them requires you to have a minimum rating of 4 stars on Amazon and a minimum of 10 total ratings. So, essentially, to find a format through which to sell books, I need to  . . . sell books. I suppose I could ask friends and family to read it and leave reviews, but there are two issues with that. One, it is frowned on in all of the forums I have encountered on the subject, seen as chintzy if not outright cheating. Two, I don’t think I actually know enough people to find ten that would be willing to do it. Narrowing the list of possibilities down to the readers, then narrowing it further to the fantasy fans, then even more to the female fantasy fans (yes, my male reader did admit that, exploding plot or no, it was a bit girly and best suited to being promoted as chick lit. Which I am fine with, as I am a chick and had asked him to read it to find out his opinion on just that subject.)

Funny, it never occurred to me that being shy and increasingly introverted would affect my writing career, unless I actually made it big enough to be invited to a con somewhere and froze during a speech, or threw up on stage out of nerves, or something even more humiliating.

Not that I thought it would be easy. Writing isn’t easy and despite what too many people think, it is work, and marketing is work on top of that. Without a big press behind you, it becomes even more work. You have to get people to pay attention to something completely unfamiliar. Sometimes I think it might be simpler to actually start a publishing company. It wouldn’t be the first I’d run into started for just that purpose. And I could help out some contacts that are also self published and also having problems getting the attention.

Part of the problem is that Indie authors still don’t have the respect that traditionally published authors do. We put just as much blood into our pages as the “real” writers do, sometimes more, but without the big names boosting us up, it is assumed that we are not worthy of that traditional contract. And sometimes that is true. I don’t have the distance to judge my own work as worthy or not so I’m not going to give an opinion one way or another. (It’s good read it if you like fantasy and faeries and elves and magic ahem sorry consider this a subliminal message. Did it work?) I have most certainly read Indie books that you could call dogs. Bad story elements, bad grammar, bad punctuation, I’ve seen every kind of woof on paper. Some would have been so easy to fix. If you’re not entirely familiar with the technical part of writing, either learn or get someone to edit it for you. The harder ones, the story elements, are for me just as hard to get past. I was reading the first book in an independently published series that was actually very good, until about halfway through the main character did something so completely stupid that, though I am curious about how the story turned out, I shall not read any further. The situation the character was thrown into was something so completely avoidable that it ruined it for me. And I have read real gems that did inspire me into buying that second book by the same author.

So, just like in traditional publishing there are good and bad authors. The worst dog I have ever read was traditionally published, and it was one that had the harder to fix kind of errors. I do notice a few more typos in self published works. (My favorite, which by the way was in one of the stories I loved, was during a scene where one of the characters is riding a horse in a hazardous area. Instead of worrying about his horse finding a pitfall, he is worried about his horse finding a pratfall. Of course the first picture in my head was of a giant war horse slipping on a banana peel in classic Vaudevillian over-the-top style. I laughed out loud. Then kept reading.) Since I’ve been taking writing seriously, I’ve noticed typos in every single book I’ve read, including ones written by the biggest names, published by the biggest houses, but the professional editors really do get rid of the majority, while an Indie author usually can’t afford the thousand or more dollars it takes to have it done without that magical contract. The best most of us can hope for is a friend or family member to borrow us a fresh pair of eyes. (I’ve actually got a volunteer for my next book, for which I am so incredibly grateful).

So, in my experience, you are slightly safer with a traditionally published work as far as readability, but only slightly. And the Indie books tend to be–I was going to say cheaper, but that’s only half true. Those published as ebooks are definitely cheaper, usually by a lot. The print books, not so much. I did find that I could have mine produced in print profitably for around a comparable price to a traditional novel. My plan was to sell that cheaper too, but to do that I would have had to pay people to buy my book. Yeah, not gonna work. I priced it at the smallest margin I could get to make a profit through any supplier, so I guarantee that my profit margin is tiny in comparison to one of those “real” writers. All the books I’ve sold have been in ebook format, but there really is something about pages between your fingers. Especially when those pages came from your own brain.

And I digress, as per usual. As I was saying, in my experience as a reader I haven’t noticed a huge amount of difference when it comes to quality. True I’m careful about what I purchase and skip over any with egregious errors in the descriptions, but I really haven’t been disappointed any more often than I have with books purchased at a bookstore.

So maybe if you run into one of us, you’ll be willing to give us a chance even if we can’t wave those comfortingly familiar logos at you. And maybe you’d be willing to go onto one of those merchant websites and leave one of the magical golden tickets known as a rating or a review. We are writers too! At least most of us are.

Thanks all, and pleasant reading, writing, editing, ect.

Links are below, including a free story.

Website:  http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnchantmentsEndgame?

Twitter: llynkc@gmail.com  Rassilon27

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4397796

Free Short Story: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

New Story

Well, I’m back and slowly getting closer to finishing the first draft of Enchantment’s Endgame: Book Two, The Hunt.  Yes, I know, such an imaginative title.  But it’s short and pointed. It’s a new story, but the characters did appear in Magic’s Guardian in a couple scenes, so there is a connection.  I think I might like this story better, partly because I love stories about the Wild Hunt and they’re pretty rare.  So far I like the way the story is going, and the outline of where it’s going.  Of course that can always change, and usually does, so even I will have to wait to see what happens.

Before then, here is a sample from the first chapter.  I still feel like I’m cheating when I use excerpts as blog entries, but here it is anyway.  Maybe seeing this in a new format will give me some ideas.  I’m afraid I’ve made the lead female come off as weaker than I intended, less independent and capable.

Chapter One      

For he comes, the human child                                                       
To the waters and the wild                                                        
With a faery, hand in hand                                                        
From a world more full of weeping than
he can understand
                                                                                        “The Stolen Child” W B Yeats                                                  

Aidyn Forrester’s heart wasn’t broken, it was shredded. White hot fire and burning cold streaked alternatively through her chest, leaving a numb void in their wake. She felt half-erased, like her limbs floated through a dark quagmire of pain that shrouded her perception. Reality was skewed on its axis, unbalancing her. She watched through a sickly green fog as the world spun slowly, leaving her behind. Exhaustion pulled at her yet she couldn’t sleep. Every time she tried to lie down and close her eyes, she envisioned Seth with her.

     A fresh, prickly sob burned in the back of her throat but Aidyn refused to let any more escape. She was lost and alone, yes, beaten and betrayed, but she still had herself. Setting her shoulders straight and square, she raised her chin high, facing her future with a façade of resolve. Maybe herself was all she needed, was all she’d ever need. Yes, that felt right and good. She didn’t need to open herself to hurt; alone was the best way to be, locked away and untouchable . . .

     The self-made stiffness in her spine wilted away before she reached the next street light. Why, oh why had she agreed to relocate with her fiancé? Dumb, dumb, dumb move! Perhaps she was as innocent—make that gormless—as her large, doe-brown eyes made her look. Seth had said more times than she could count that he loved her. Then along came that slut Jen. Beautiful slut . . . Aidyn shook the thought away. Just because the girl was model-lovely, possessed of perfect hair, perfect cheekbones, a perfect body, and huge blue-green eyes to go along with everything else, didn’t mean she was a better person. Nor did the fact that she’d open her legs at any opportunity to any man available, especially if he wasn’t available.

    Aidyn had wanted to wait for their wedding night, only two months away. Seth decided not to

wait with her. She tugged hard at her shoulder-length cherry wood-colored locks, trying to use physical pain to drive away the memory.

     And then there was that bosom . . .

     The street was deserted, all its resident businesses closed for the night. Aidyn welcomed the solitude. Her vision swam and her face felt flushed, and tight, and wet. She paused, scrubbing angrily at the damp streaks before stumbling on, too mired in depression to hear the bay of hounds ringing loud from every direction.

     Aidyn was surrounded before she even noticed them. A pack of gigantic, wolfish dogs swarmed the sidewalk, scruffy fur, lolling tongues, and gleaming teeth pressing close and hot to her legs. Aidyn stopped in mid-step, her heart lurching painfully when one of the animals whirled on her, snapping. Its teeth were long and shining white, its eyes reflecting the illumination of the streetlights like fire, giving them a reddish, flickering glow. Then she heard the hollow clatter of hooves on pavement and felt the impacts under her feet as they came closer, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the snarling, milling pack long enough to dare a peek at whatever else was coming.

     “The witching hour,” a deep voice intoned somewhere to her left. “Not a good time for little girls to be out alone.”

     “I thought the witching hour was midnight,” Aidyn whispered haltingly.

     The speaker’s laughter was a pleasant, almost musical sound. “Only to the, how shall I say, magically illiterate.”

     Slowly, terrified, the girl turned to face her tormentor, not sure she wanted to see what nightmare fantasy her fevered brain had created. When her gaze had travelled the considerable distance upwards, her worst suspicions were confirmed; the sight that confronted her wide eyes was insanity itself. A huge figure, dressed in furs and leather, sat atop a monstrous war-horse. His garments, which put her in mind of something out of the dark ages, or even earlier, were splashed here and there with what had to be blood. A helm that culminated in a pair of tall antlers curving into the night hid the rider’s face, all but his coarse, cruel, wide-lipped mouth. The mount underneath him, a bay with a coat so red it looked like it had blood in the highlights and a mane, tail, and legs the color of burnt gore, was as large for a horse as its master was for a man. Snorting, the titan stallion pranced nearer, exposing teeth that just didn’t look right in a horse’s mouth. He pawed savagely with hooves that seemed big enough to crack the sidewalk, making Aidyn wince with each booming strike.

     The picture they presented was so attention-focusing that it took Aidyn a moment to register the other riders gathered behind the horned figure. They were a big, rough-looking lot, wearing bows across their backs and helmets on their heads. Swords hung from their leather belts and assorted dagger hilts jutted from the tops of their heavy boots. The barbarian faces they turned towards her were feral and fierce, their eyes gleaming with the same light as the hounds’ frightening orbs.

     When Aidyn’s attention drifted back to the first, most imposing figure, her heart began to slam erratically. He was close, and staring down directly at her. His helm was tilted back to expos his brute face and where his eyes would be, red lights burned like mirrors reflecting hellfire. Her legs went weak and folded under her despite her stubborn attempts to lock her knees. I am not fainting. I will not! I refuse! But she couldn’t convince her body. The hallucinations caused by stress and sleep deprivation and no food were too much. The scene wavered in front of her, mercifully disappearing as she crumpled.

 

So . . . I hope you didn’t find Aidyn wimpy or annoying.  I’ve already been told her name is pretentious, or at least the spelling is, but the meaning seems appropriate and the spelling more feminine than Aiden or Aidan.  Of all characters, her name has been the most difficult and has changed the most times, so unless I find something truly awesome that is just too perfect to pass up, it isn’t changing again.  But now she needs to live up to the name.

And dear readers, since the temperature is dropping, the floor of my computer room is cement, and I can no longer feel my toes, I will leave it here.  I wish you all the best for the new year, in your writing and everything else.  Take care and enjoy playing with words, whatever form that play takes. 

 

I really should know better than to copy and paste from Word by now. Oh well, it’s sort of fixed now.

Here are some links, including to the free short story Kingston. I have gotten some good personal feedback for it.

Magic’s Guardian Amazon (print and ebook)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0
Nook (so far ebook only, should include print copy soon)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313

Kingston Smashwords (links to multiple formats, ebook only)
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

Author website
http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#

I Got ‘Er Done . . . Almost!

So, it exits. It really exits. It’s, like, got pages and everything. See?

Magicpic1

I can’t help wondering if I’m the only author that has problems seeing it as MINE once it is in a form outside of my head or an electronic file. It’s not quite there yet, just a proof copy that needs to be read and corrected, but when I dare put a mark on those pristine pages, it feels like the book, and every librarian I ever encountered, is staring at me.

But I’m forcing back that inner ruler-bearing librarian and getting it done. It will be a couple weeks at least before it will actually be available in beautiful, actual print. Most of the pages so far look something like this:

Magicpic2

Not all of them, of course, but a lot of them. And there are some corrections to the cover that need to be made too. The front came out oddly off-set, though I may leave it that way because the more I look at it the more I kind of like it. The back needs a couple tweaks I can’t avoid. And I might adjust the spine just a bit. Inside is going to be the most work for sure. (I just hope the spacing issues are in the actual manuscript and not a result of the publishing site’s computers hating mine. My manuscript I can fix.) I suppose some would find me silly for spending money on a proof copy for the actual proofreading, but it seems easier to see any issues when it’s on paper instead of a screen. Still, it feels . . . naughty. This pretty thing that I can actually touch can’t have anything to do with me, can it?

But it does. Somehow it feels more real, like I’m actually a writer now, or will be once it’s actually available. I like my Nook fine, but I’m a pages-between-my-fingers kind of girl. The ebooks have been available for months already (I’ve even sold two! Woot!), but this just makes everything true. I may not sell any more than the two ebooks already purchased, but pages make everything perfect.

So, back to work. Then comes the sequel, then the sequel to the sequel, then . . . well, the writing never stops, does it? It’s in you down to the bone, and deeper.

So. Here are the links to the soon-to-be first edition ebooks.

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0
B and N Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313
Author Website: http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#
Twitter: @LlynKC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnchantmentsEndgame?

and links to my free short story Kingston.

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingston-kacie-llyn/1115373226?ean=2940044633025
Sony Reader: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/kacie-llyn/kingston/_/R-400000000000001085499
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/pt-us/books/Kingston/uqly087luUyfUTznXLT17w
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

info on cover art for Magic’s Guardian:
Design by ME!
Tree image from: http://www.stockfreeimages.com/© Magicinfoto | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Eyes image from: http://www.stockfreeimages.com/© Joseasreyes Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

‘Night all! Sweet dreams and may they inspire your words!

To Print or . . . I Won’t Finish That

Good evening, fellow bloggers, writers, publishers, ect. I am starting to feel like a real writer. I read that to be real, you have to be willing to do all nighters, and I did an all nighter last night. Well, almost, the tank finally failed at about 5 am. But it was close. And I feel awful. Somehow I don’t think it helped the creativity flow. So, don’t think I’ll do it again, unless I start another big project that I think will take an hour and it ends up taking more than ten.

Publishing in print is a lot of work. But at least it only costs the print price of the books, plus shipping. Unless it’s sold through Amazon, then I actually get a royalty. Yay me!

It would be nice to sell a few. Somehow the two I’ve sold so far just doesn’t seem what I would call any kind of personal victory.

But I digress. Well, I really don’t since I haven’t actually gotten to the subject yet. No sleep brain will do that to you.

So yeah, Magic’s Guardian may be available in print form at some point in the future. I hope so, since as a book-in-my-hands girl, I’ll feel much more legitimate with pages and a cover. A real cover!

In looking for a scene to tap into today, I was looking for something a little more exciting, yet something that won’t give the whole story away. So here is Terra’s return through the Faerie Circle. It gives a preview of what they’ll be facing, has a little more of the Puck-Titania dislike, and a hint at the trouble heading Maclyn’s way. It’s not really long, but it has a bit more action than the last excerpts. And this time I’m going to be smart enough to format it instead of blindly pasting. Yes, I know there should either be a break or an indent, but I’m not ambitious enough to change every single line. So you’ll just have to deal with both. Nya, nya, nya. If you want it correct, buy the book. I think. It was correct last time I downloaded anyway. I do not trust computers, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it had logged in without me and changed everything. Computers do that, you know. Kind of like that way typos breed.

Of course they way the blog changed what was pasted from the manuscript, it might none of it be an issue. If not, sorry. Ignore above.

All right, now I really do digress. Story below.

“Take the next turn, we’re almost there,” Puck instructed.

She followed his direction, taking them onto a less-travelled road mercifully free of traffic.

“This is going to . . .” Puck was cut off by a heavy impact from behind. They both grunted and Terra clutched the wheel, pulling the truck out of a wild fishtail.

“I didn’t see anything,” she said through white lips, slowing the truck. “Did a deer . . .”

Something large and black loomed in the windshield, crawling up the side of the truck onto the hood. It reached out a—paw? hand?—and shattered the thick glass with a single tap of its three-inch claws.

Terra screamed and slammed on the brakes, fighting to stay up on four wheels. The thing leapt off her truck, landing lightly in the road in front of them. Terra’s pickup struck the huge creature, or the creature hit the truck, Terra wasn’t quite sure which, and the front wheels left the pavement.

It felt like being on a wild roller coaster. Terra’s gut lurched. Puck shouted something but she couldn’t hear over the rushing wind and the cries of her frightened dog. Then the truck hit the road on its side, sliding for what seemed half a moment less than forever, sparks raining as metal howled out its misery. Fiery pain lanced Terra’s abdomen when the entire dashboard broke away and the steering wheel slammed into her stomach, knocking her breath out in a single gagging grunt.

The pickup finally came to rest in the ditch, rocking gently and letting out mechanical moans of pain. Terra’s world was grey for a few seconds while her diaphragm unfroze. When she could draw a large enough breath she coughed, smelling and tasting smoke, oil, and the cooking grease she still used in place of gasoline. “Puck? Flyght?” she called in a hoarse voice.

A bark and a groan were her answers. Reaching down, she managed to unbuckle her seatbelt with hands that shook so hard she looked palsied. Twisting an arm under what was left of her seat, she found her tire iron, gripping it with white knuckles. She turned to her passenger, who had a trickle of blood snaking down his face and a blackening bruise on one cheek. “Puck? Can you get out?”
“I think so,” was his groaning reply.

Grimacing, Terra hauled herself out through the windshield. Broken safety glass scratched her legs, but that pain was nothing compared to her stomach. It hurt to move, even to breathe, and she could barely stand; ignoring it as best she could, she gained her feet and took a defensive stance, the tire iron raised. “What was that?” she asked Puck, who was pushing an unscathed Flyght out through the window and pulling himself free in her wake.

Flyght growled low in her chest, her fur on end. Terra turned to follow her enraged eyes, the tire iron held over her head.

The creature was sniffing at them cautiously, crouched low in the dry grass. It was pure black, a black that was more a total absence of light than a color. There were no highlights in its fur or glints where its eyes would be, only a patch of shadow like a hole through the bright sunshine. Terra’s eyes watered, wanting to skip over it, but she forced them to focus, though it gave her a headache.

Something like a cross between a man and a bear, the beast exhibited the worse aspects of each. “A gargoyle,” Puck hissed. “Damn. What is it doing here?”

The gargoyle bared teeth that were as black as the rest of it and moved towards them slowly. It took Terra a moment to recognize that it was stalking them like a lion after choice prey. Terror charged through her, making her tremble. Then, suddenly, fury took over, fury at the situation, at the creature, at Faerie-kind in general, and her own teeth were bared. Hot rage well over the edge of sanity, an emotion so intense it was almost a living thing itself, began to build the way it had so long ago. Her pain was nothing more than a distant distraction. She noticed Puck and his drawn sword only distantly as familiar red veiled her eyes. “You bastard,” she snarled at the creature, brandishing the tire iron like a medieval war club. “I just finished paying for that truck!”

The pickup whooshed into flames. Terra shrieked a wordless challenge, goading the creature to charge. Terra lurched in front of Puck and swung the iron as she had swung the sword those years before, using the weight of her body to add power. Heavy talons scored the flesh of her upper arm, leaving deep gouges, and the sharp end of the iron smashed into the beast’s eye.

The monster screeched and clawed at its own face, black blood that smelled of infection spraying Terra and Puck. Flyght jumped at the gargoyle, her claws finding purchase on the thing’s bowed back, her teeth tearing into its neck. Terra swung the iron again, this time an overhead swing that brought the curved end down on the creature’s head, splintering the thick skull and driving into its brain. Flinging its head back, the gargoyle howled, a high, splintered sound like claws on crystal. Terra swung again, tearing into the front of its throat.

Convulsing, the gargoyle fell to its knees. Flyght leapt from her perch, shaking her head and pawing at her muzzle. Watching the thing twitch and die, Terra only felt satisfaction. Blood, both red and black, dripped off various parts of her body in thick rivulets. The black fluid steamed wherever it touched her bare flesh, leaving red, tender blotches like sunburn. Puck stared at her, his unused sword hanging loose at his side. “Remind me never to get you angry,” he whispered.

Terra faced him, all their shared laughter hiding behind an icy visage. “Cold Iron,” she whispered back, her voice hoarse with pain and anger. “I wondered why I was so fascinated by mythology, especially anything Faerie. I guess now I know. I also know that the Faerie Circle is a trap, the Fey can be incredibly nasty, and your greatest enemy is Cold Iron.”

“You’ve been studying. The wrong things, perhaps,” the elf murmured thoughtfully.

“Don’t threaten me.”

Puck took a startled step back. “I didn’t mean it that way. Terra, you . . .”

The girl cut him off with a wave of her hand. “How far is the Circle?”

Puck shrugged. “Not far, especially since we don’t have to stay on the roads.”

“Let’s go.”

“But your car . . . I’m good, one of the best, but I can’t hold Glamour from that far away. The authorities . . .”

Terra stared him down and he trailed off. “Let’s go,” she said.

Flyght whined, still wiping ineffectually at her muzzle, but followed her mistress, her leash dragging behind her. Puck frowned at the girl, but Terra was in too much pain to notice. She just wanted to get somewhere she could sit down. Or better, lie down.

Fortunately it was only a few minutes to the Circle. Even for such a short walk, Terra had to stop twice and close her eyes against dizziness, shaking off Puck’s hands before continuing on. Just as the familiar shifting lights came into view, a loud explosion sounded from near the highway. Puck flinched, but Terra just kept walking, her face turning whiter with every step, cold sweat beading on her brow and upper lip.

Inside Faerie Underhill, the appearance of Puck accompanied by a human girl and a mortal dog, all liberally splattered with gore, caused more than a stir. Even Oberon blinked silently for a long moment, his regal jaw hanging loose.

“Terraceleste!’ Titania cried, too shocked to show either pleasure or unhappiness.

Terra’s eyes automatically sought a dark-haired figure, terrified to see but ravenous for a single look.

Maclyn sat with a young red-haired elf. He looked up at his mother’s cry and his mouth fell open, a mirror image of his father’s expression. The goblet he had been holding to the pretty faerie’s lips crashed to the ground and shattered in a spray of silvery clay shards and deep crimson droplets. The younger faerie covered her mouth with one hand, clutching Maclyn’s arm with the other.

Did you really think he’d wait for the impossible? Wait for you? Terra tried to ask herself, but logic didn’t help. Emotions that should have been seven years old were too new and too confusing after stewing and bubbling in her subconscious. Her face stretched in a grimace that wasn’t all physical pain.

Maclyn stood as if jerked by marionette strings. “Terra . . . “

At the sound of his voice whispering her name, she flushed then went pale, then turned an ugly combination of the two. She stared at her former lover sitting with the shapely female, still gaping and clutching his hand, and felt her heart try to break.

She was too weak to stand the pain that flared across her chest. Everything around her shimmered and changed color. She thought for a moment that she was leaving the Circle, being forced out again. She hoped so. She didn’t want to remember any more. Then she wasn’t thinking anything at all.

*

Maclyn leapt the instant Terra’s eyes began to roll; she crumpled into his arms utterly limp and cool to the touch. Her body convulsed once in a retch and blood bubbled up to coat her lips. Puck landed on his knees next to them and reached out to touch the girl’s grayish-yellow face, grimacing at her blue lips. He leaned down, putting an ear to her mouth, looking up at Maclyn in a panic.

Maclyn could feel her breathing raggedly, but each breath was shorter and there was a longer pause between each one. “Where is Thistledown?” he rasped at his mother, his voice shaking as hard as the rest of him.

Thistledown appeared before Titania had time to answer, motioning for Maclyn to lay the unconscious girl out on the ground. “It’s close,” she murmured. Laying her hands on Terra’s chest, she closed her eyes. A white-blue aura appeared around her, rising from her in misty swirls and slowly seeping over Terra. “She’s bleeding inside, from more than one place. She’s ready to tip over the edge . . .”

The onlookers were silent as Thistledown concentrated. Puck and Maclyn stared into each other’s eyes, the same thought echoing between them; they had found their old friend only to get her killed. Maclyn’s lungs constricted until he couldn’t breathe.

The not-exactly-glow around Thistledown faded and her eyes blinked open. “She will live,” she said wearily. “If she had come here a minute later . . . but she is here. Puck, why did you let her walk when she was . . .”

“I didn’t know,” Puck snapped. “How could I? We were attacked by a gargoyle. It sent the car flying, and Terra killed it after she climbed out of the mess. How was I supposed to know how bad she was hurt? She killed the thing! A gargoyle! By herself!” Each sentence was more hysterical than the last until he stopped, sucking in deep draughts of air.

Maclyn scooped Terra gently into his arms. “I can believe it.”

Oberon’s mouth was tight. He gave Puck one look that insinuated a coming interrogation, but he focused on a different subject. “A gargoyle. So we were right.”

“Apparently,” said Puck. “But we still don’t know why. I apologize for not staying longer, but I didn’t know what to do. She . . . she saw me and remembered.”

“Impossible,” Titania gasped. “No mortal can resist the Circle’s magic without help. You must have done it.”

Puck shrugged, calm patience aging him considerably. “Believe what you will, but she saw through my Glamour. Has there ever been another human do that?”

“You did right,” Oberon interceded, signaling for Titania’s silence.

Maclyn ignored the conversation as he carried Terraceleste to his bed, the girl he had been sitting with following worriedly. “Thank goodness she’s going to be all right,” she said.

“Yes.” Tucking her firmly into the pile of pillows and blankets, Maclyn made sure Terra was well covered. “Stay with her,” he instructed. “Don’t let her get too excited if she wakes up. I’ll be back soon, but I’m sure Father will want to talk with me.”

And of course Maclyn is right. So there we go, a little more dirt and blood. There’s also something a bit darker I have offered for free, a story abou8t a pet of a different color. Links are below. Sorry, this one won’t be in print. Not even sure the outfit I’m using could do something so short.

Kingston Nook
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingston-kacie-llyn/1115373226?ean=2940044633025
Kingston Sony Reader Store
https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/kacie-llyn/kingston/_/R-400000000000001085499
Kingston Diesel ebook store
http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000333840/Llyn-Kacie-Kingston/1.html

Kingston Kobo
http://store.kobobooks.com/pt-us/books/Kingston/uqly087luUyfUTznXLT17w
Kingston Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

It will also, somewhere, somehow, but on Amazon eventually. But Smashwords does have a Kindle download file so it’s available.

So, good night, good writing, good publishing, and stay thirsty, my friends.

Oh, wait, that’s not me.

I am going to bed.

Signing off,

Kacie

Something New and Different

Hi there, adventurers into the Blogsphere. I haven’t done anything on the blog in a while. I couldn’t think of a topic that I either hadn’t already done or didn’t sound like something that would put the entire world, including me, to sleep.

I think a big part of the issue is that I’m not a fan of reality. It’s just somewhere I don’t like to be. I’m so much more comfortable in the worlds inside my head. People like me there, or at least who I am in those worlds, be it a pirate, an alien, a werewolf, vampire, faerie, or something I haven’t even gotten to writing about yet.

So . . . I’m going to try writing about those worlds, or at least some of them. I’m still thinking about asking a character or two to guest blog, but that’s an issue too because none of them would give a rat’s tail wag about a blog. Except maybe Galahad and Orchid, but that’s because they are rats.

For now, what I’m going to do is excerpts, sometimes including comments if I can think of something interesting, like the moment I came up with an idea or how a character came to be.

Tonight, though, I’ll stick with a scene from my self-published book Enchantment’s Endgame: Magic’s Guardian. This particular moment spans the end of Chapter One and the start of Chapter Two. Terraceleste has found her way through the Faerie Circle to Faerie Underhill, and been welcomed by the royal family, Titania, Oberon, and their son Maclyn. Well, a bit more than welcomed by Maclyn as you’ll notice. Maclyn’s best friend Puck–yep, him–has convinced Terra and Maclyn to join him in a bit of mischief that, as Puck has been known for, goes quite badly awry. It was a later scene I added because I thought Terra wouldn’t be comfortable falling into Maclyn’s arms quite so quickly, magic or no, and I’m glad I did, it ended up being one of my favorites.

Maclyn was quiet for a time, a smile growing slowly on his lips as he reached over to tug at a curl of Terra’s soft hair. He leaned towards her, close enough that his breath brushed against her face, rich with the scent of spices. “Maybe,” he murmured, “you’re thinking the same thing I am.”
Terra should have expected it, but she was suffering from a deplorable overabundance of inexperience. She jumped when his lips touched hers, pulling away in surprise and at the fleeting, horrified idea that he had read her thoughts.
Studying her face, Maclyn read amazement but no alarm. He grinned, wrapping one arm around her waist and pulling her against him, solidly yet with a grip she could easily escape. Of course no such desire existed; no, her racing heart was not from fear.
He brushed her mouth with his and this time she stayed still. Maclyn’s lips were as soft as the rainbow of silks they lay on, and his warm scent wrapped around her, more intoxicating than any wine he cared to feed her. It was heady, musky, like wildflowers and rain forests and smoke and . . . and freedom. She breathed it deep, trembling with a chill that wasn’t in the least unpleasant, giddy from the mixed effects of the alcohol and his nearness.
Terra was hesitant, unsure how to respond, until he prodded her with lips and tongue. She finally began to return the kiss, her hand rising unconsciously to tangle in his dark hair and he pulled her even closer, so that every inch of their bodies that could possibly touch, did.
His hair was even softer than his lips, like sliding shadows through her fingers. Warmth seemed to seep from his body and curl into hers, pulling her tight all over and forcing a small primal sound from her throat. She wondered what was wrong with her; she was most definitely not “that” kind of girl. What was she doing letting him wrap himself around her like . . . like . . . like something that wrapped very closely around something else? Was the wine even more addling than she thought? No, the tiny part of her that was still thinking was thinking clearly enough . . . another strong waft of his masculine scent breathed over her and the already distant thoughts became more muffled as she inhaled.
Maclyn rolled Terra onto her back with a nudge, keeping his mouth sealed over hers.
“Maclyn!” Puck’s enthusiastic voice called from outside. The curtain over the door rustled and the excited faerie bounded inside. Maclyn’s head jerked up, breaking the embrace with an annoyed sound between a grunt and a growl. Terra felt a rush of mixed disappointment and relief, partially waking from the handsome elf’s influence. Then she felt an even bigger rush of embarrassment; the prince, his face flushed, frustrated, and confounded, still held her trapped with his body, his thighs straddling hers.
Completely oblivious to their compromising position, even when Terra started kicking Maclyn to get him off, Puck threw himself beside them on the bed, bouncing on all fours.
“Maclyn, you have to see what I found! I’ve got the best idea! They’ll go crazy!”
Maclyn rolled away from Terra, glaring at his friend. “Puck, sometimes I’d like to . . .
Mother is going to lose her temper some day, you know.”
Terra sat up, slightly breathless and trying, quite unsuccessfully, put out the bonfire on her face. “What are you talking about?” she asked in a voice just slightly too high pitched.
“The perfect joke,” Puck answered triumphantly.
“I thought you’d learned,” Maclyn snorted, keeping a covetous arm around Terra’s waist. She was doubly glad of Puck’s effervescent presence when she found herself leaning unconsciously into the embrace.
“Never,” Puck said with a wink at Terra. “But I need help this time.”
“Of the professional sort, as the humans would say,” Maclyn grunted sourly, looking suspicious at Terra’s growing interest. “Because I’m not sure even Thistledown can help you.” His arm tightened around her, his thumb stroking just her hip with a caress that made her shiver.
“A joke? On Oberon and Titania?” she asked to mask it. “Is that . . . a good idea?”
Both men looked at her. “You have read the play?” Maclyn asked, his dark eyebrows raised.
“Oh. Right. Ultimate mischief maker. But as I recall, it doesn’t always turn out well.”
Puck snorted. “You and Maclyn. Old William at least had a sense of fun. Come on, it’ll be funny. Hilarious. It won’t hurt anything, I promise. It’ll just make them growl a little.”
Maclyn frowned at Terra, who realized a grin was spreading over her face. By now her interest was real and she turned large, sparkling eyes on the prince. How could anyone turn down the chance to be puckish with the original Puck?
Sighing, Maclyn stared skyward, silently imploring the heavens to grant him patience. “Well? What is it?”
Puck’s grin stretched impossibly wide and he bounced on the bed, leaning in close to relate his plan. Terra started to laugh before he was half finished, and soon even Maclyn’s mouth began to crook up at the corners.

Chapter Two

Either I mistake your shape and making quite
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Call’d Robin Goodfellow: are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery; . . .
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
Are you not he?
-A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare

TERRA PEERED AROUND a thickly foliaged bush, narrowing her eyes at the huge wood and canvas shelter that Puck and Maclyn pointed out. It seemed a dangerously long way from their hiding place, but the clearing was surprisingly bare; she must have been locked in that blood-heating wrestling match with the prince for longer than she had thought. Still, there was an occasional straggler staggering his or her way through the pink light of the rising sun, and more than one who had found their rest out in the open. “Are you sure this will work?” she whispered out of the corner of her mouth. “There are still people awake. And what if they come out before . . .”
“No one will pay us any mind,” Puck reassured her cheerfully. “The few in any shape to notice either won’t care, or will cheer us on. And our King and Queen won’t come out.”
“But . . .”
Puck and Maclyn exchanged grins. “Trust him,” the prince said, then paused thoughtfully. “Perhaps not trust him . . .” He jumped back before Puck’s punch could land.
“All right, boys, we’d better get started,” Terra prompted. “We’ve got work to do.”
“Yes ma’am!” Puck barked.
“Quiet!” Maclyn hissed. “Not everyone is quite as distracted as their majesties. Come on. Have you got them?”
“Of course. I know my business.” Puck reached under the bush and pulled out three large seed pods that looked a little like giant milkweeds.
“This?” Terra yelped. “We’re supposed to use this to . . .”
“Don’t forget where you are,” Maclyn interrupted. “We’ll have to be careful not to use too much. And it’s a little unstable, so keep it away from any direct flames.”
That sent off a small twinge of alarm. “Unstable? Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”
“Once it melts, it’s as harmless as air,” Maclyn reassured her. “No one would be foolish enough to hold a torch to it.”
She still hesitated. “You’re not going to chicken out, are you?” Puck demanded.
The elf smiled, taking some of the sting out of his tone, but Terra scowled and grabbed one of the pods. “What do I do?” she snapped.
Puck showed her how to crack the pod along a natural seam, exposing a space filled with glittering white grains. A cool breeze wafted up from it, bringing a clean, fresh scent. “Snow!” she whispered, delighted. “It’s really snow!”
“These plants germinate in intense cold,” Maclyn explained. “So they create their own. There’s enough inside to last several months, long enough for the seeds to sprout and the plant to flower.”
Terra cocked her head, brow creasing. “Wait a minute. Flammable snow? Are you trying to . . .”
“Snowseed snow isn’t frozen water,” Puck interjected.
“Oh.” Terra held the pod a little further away from herself. Maclyn laughed. The sound vibrated up her spine, making it impossible to glare.
“Ready?” Puck prodded.
“This,” Terra observed, “is mean.” Choking back a giggle, she peered around the bush to make sure no one was watching. The only faerie in sight was fast asleep, curled up on the ground at the edge of the clearing. Without waiting for her partners, she darted into the open, running low towards their target.
The three of them crouched together in the shadows. “Stand back a little,” Maclyn advised. Terra obeyed, and all three opened their pods wide, aiming them at the base of the shelter. The snow piled up quickly, swirling out in triplicate blizzards, the cold wind whistling shrilly.
“They’ll hear us,” Terra murmured nervously.
“No they won’t,” Maclyn and Puck chorused with identical lecherous grins. Terra blushed the hottest yet, ignoring Puck’s snicker. Really, if any more blood rushed to her face tonight, she was going to faint from loss of blood pressure.
The snow drifted until it reached halfway to the roof, in a heap that completely surrounded the shelter. The supply seemed endless; Terra stared into her pod, finding it still three-quarters full. Just peeking out of the ice was a large round object, shiny black against the white. “Don’t let it plant itself, or winter will come early this year,” Maclyn warned. “I still remember the last time there was an infestation.” He shivered and plucked the dark seed out of his pod.
Forcing her hand past the cold wind, Terra dug into the pod. The seed was round and perfectly smooth, like a large ball bearing, and cold enough to steam in the warmer air outside its small home. She tucked it into her pocket, blowing on her aching hand as she stood back to view their handiwork. “Puck, you’re a master,” she chortled.
“What doing?” a bright little voice asked, interrupting Puck’s bow. Rosebud skipped to his side, her wide eyes gleaming up at the brown elf.
“Where’s Thistledown?” Maclyn asked, looking around nervously. “She won’t tell them, but if they ask . . .”
“It’s not like they won’t know anyway,” Terra snorted. “It’s a little late to worry now.”
“You speak true, oh wise one,” Puck agreed blithely.
“Mother sleep.” Rosebud peered into Terra’s pod. “Cold!” she squeaked, jumping back and landing in the snow. Surprised, she stood very still for a second before her cupid mouth spread into a smile and she began to wade knee-deep through the tiny frozen grains. After a minute she began to shiver; clambering out, she snatched Puck’s Snowseed pod and scampered away, giggling like the most adorable of mad things.
Maclyn started to go after her, but Puck stopped him. “Let her play. She’s out in the open; she can’t hurt anything.”
Maclyn hesitated, watching the young elf dump a pile of snow on the ground in front of her and toss the pod away while she patted the stuff into different shapes. “I guess she’s all right,” he said reluctantly. “But we don’t need that stuff all over.”
“Don’t worry so much,” Puck advised. “You’re as big a curmudgeon as your father. Just wait and watch the show. They’ll notice something soon. That cold is going to seep in pretty fast.”
“Curmudgeon?” Maclyn muttered. Terra smirked, patting his shoulder in mock sympathy and leading them on the retreat back towards their hiding place. They hunkered down and watched from the thick branches, waiting for the royal couple to emerge.
Sitting in the grass, Maclyn pulled Terra into his lap, wrapping an arm around her in an undeniably possessive gesture. Terra leaned back against him comfortably, wondering why a display that she would have found provoking from anyone else just made her insides tingle with a pleasant prickly feeling.
The prickle magnified when his hands began to drift. The caress was casual and didn’t touch anything indiscreet, but it made her stiffen and arch her back against him. What was it about him that made her hand wind in the soft, mossy grass under them, her fingers tearing out blades and digging into the earth underneath? What made her allow it without decking him a good one?
The chuckle that rumbled from him was masterful, conquering, completely sure, and the sidelong smirk Puck threw him was both knowing and amused. Annoyance at them both cooled some of Terra’s out-of-character ardor. Jaw jutting with a touch of defiance, she shifted her weight back, directly over a certain sensitive part of his anatomy, with a jostle that was anything but gentle.
Maclyn grunted in painful surprise. Puck clamped a hand over his own mouth to muffle the laughter that rocked his shoulders. “You’re playing with the big girls now,” Terra purred, settling back in place more gently, in a way that brought a gasp to the prince’s lips.
“Careful, Mac,” Puck said with a half-grin of admiration aimed at her. “I like this one. She’s not going to let you get away with anything.”
Terra smiled to herself, shocked at her own daring and sudden playfulness. Maclyn hugged her from behind, holding her tight and immobile while he kissed her earlobe, tickling it unmercifully. She squirmed, and then went still, her gaze caught by a bright glow that she glimpsed between the branches sheltering them from discovery. Whatever it was floated through the air, heading for Rosebud and trailing what looked like blue and white flames. She elbowed Maclyn in the chest. “What’s that?”
Puck froze, his face turning slightly green, his legs tangling when he tried to jump to his feet. Maclyn looked up and groaned out loud, pushing her off his lap. “It’s a ghost fly. Damn, I haven’t seen one around here in ages.”
“Is that real fire?” she asked, very carefully.
“No, but . . .”
The “but” catapulted her off the ground and sent her sprinting towards the little girl who still played elbow-deep in the sparkling snow. Untangling himself, Puck followed with a strangled creak from his dry throat. Maclyn joined the race as soon as he got his legs under him and he drew even with Puck, but they couldn’t catch the horrified girl.
Terra had never even dreamed of running so fast, or of strength flooding her limbs with sudden energy like rocket fuel, but the ghost fly landed on the snow pile before she could reach Rosebud. She heard a crackle and an ominous hiss like a shorting electrical wire. Blue and white fingers spread out from the fly, steaming as they went. Putting on an extra burst, her lungs burning, Terra scooped up the child and the discarded Snowseed pod, and kept running.
The explosion picked her up and threw her; she curled around the tiny faerie to protect her from a hard landing, trying to get her feet under her. She hit after what seemed like a long, lazy flight, her left leg folding under her, fire tearing its way through her knee. She managed to slow their momentum and roll, landing on her back instead of on top of the little elf, losing her wind and bruising her rips. Covering the little girl’s rusty head to protect her from the clods of dirt falling around them, she stayed still, feeling crushed and useless as she lay gasping, until a whimper prompted her to release her tiny burden. She pulled herself into a sitting position, trying to look unruffled, but she couldn’t stop a grimace of pain when the movement shifted her leg.
Maclyn and Puck lay sprawled together on the other side of the crater, Puck’s head pushed under the prince’s chest, Maclyn’s arms covering them both with what poor protection they could offer. Pushing himself up dazedly, Maclyn untangled himself and rose to wobbly feet, pulling the smaller elf with him.
Terra tried to rise too, but her knee gave out and she fell back with a pained cry that she cut off, clamping her teeth over it.
Neither man was fooled. Puck and Maclyn stumbled to her side, brushing off the dirt and grass that littered them all. “Terra! Terra, are you all right? You’re hurt!” Maclyn cried, dropping to the ground beside her to look for any obvious injuries.
“Just my leg,” Terra grunted, trying unsuccessfully to straighten it. “I don’t think it’s . . .”
“What’s going on?” a deep male voice roared, causing Rosebud to leap into Puck’s cradling arms and hide her face against his chest, her whimpers renewed.
The conspirators turned to see Oberon and Titania excavating their way out of the shelter, digging and wading through the snow heap. They were both decidedly rumpled, and the king’s face was red with rage. It was Titania’s face that inspired the real terror, however, especially when she spied Puck.
“This is your doing, Sprite, I know it is,” the queen snarled, very unqueenly in her anger as she reached them, hard-faced and damp, her clothes clearly thrown on with haphazard speed, her hair mussed and tangled about her shoulders.
“Mother . . .” Maclyn started.
Titania ignored him, whirling the full force of her fury on the brown faerie. “What did you think you were doing bringing these here?!”
Puck couldn’t answer, just kept his eyes lowered, cowering before the queen with all his mischief washed away. Maclyn tried to get her attention and she finally noticed Terra on the ground, her face white with pain and fear. The snarl on Titania’s face deepened and she knelt beside the human girl. Terra winced away from the queen’s violent cyclone of an expression.
“I’m not angry at you,” the queen answered her, each word followed by a low growl. “You’re hurt, thanks to the fool’s antics. Let me see.”
“I’m all right,” Terra insisted. “How’s Rosebud?”
“She’s fine,” Puck said, bouncing the little girl cuddled in his arms. Her head rested on his shoulder and her arms wound around his neck, holding tight to him with her wide eyes locked on the furious queen.
Titania threw Puck a single glare that made the tiny girl flinch and squirm. Puck withdrew, turning to take the full brunt of the expression, cutting off Rosebud’s line of sight.
“Get Thistledown,” the queen ordered. “Do something useful that takes you out of my sight. She’s been injured.”
Puck disappeared quickly and silently, ducking out from under the scrutiny of Oberon who for a moment looked more sad than angry. Terra didn’t notice the gathering crowd attracted by the commotion until they parted, letting Puck through and flowing shut behind him, cutting him off in a way that made Terra flinch. The king’s eyes followed as long as they could but he remained silent, conceding the situation to his wife. Terra opened her mouth to protest, but before she could make a sound she was shushed by both Maclyn and his mother.
“Don’t argue. It just encourages Mother,” Maclyn said with an attempt at lightness. Folding the skirt of her dress up, he hissed at the swollen, already purple mangle of her knee.
Terra jerked away, bristling at him, shaking and feeling increasingly ill. “I’ll be fine!” she insisted, ashamed that her voice squeaked. “Rosebud could have been hurt, and it would have been my fault!”
Murmuring low, Maclyn cradled her much as Puck held Rosebud, careful not to jostle her leg. “This wasn’t your fault, don’t be silly. No one was hurt. The little one wasn’t hurt. Because of you. I’ve never seen anyone move so fast. And it was smart of you to grab the pod. If that had been caught in the ghost fly’s fire . . .” he shuddered, letting her imagination finish his sentence.
“This whole place would have been blown to pieces,” Titania stared gruffly. “We eradicate the Snowseed plants when we find them growing anywhere near. Where that little . . . I’d like to know where he found them.”
Terra squirmed. “Please, your Majesty, I was just as much at fault. Puck didn’t . . .”
“I know well who came up with this idiotic excuse for a joke, and I know what that charming hobgoblin can be like. You had no way to know the danger.”
Terra’s eyes flicked from Titania to the silently hovering, flush-faced king. “But I . . .”
Maclyn’s sharp nudge cut her off. “It was a plant that was ready to go to seed,” he supplied quietly. “Puck uprooted it after he harvested the pods. We all removed the seeds from these, so there was no danger of another growing.”
Titania’s face stiffened at the thought that some good might have come out of Puck’s mischief. She tossed her head, refusing to acknowledge the statement. Oberon sighed quietly above their heads. Terra looked uncertainly at Maclyn, who could only shrug.
Returning at a fast trot with Thistledown in tow and Rosebud riding his shoulders, Puck avoided Oberon and Titania’s glares, hunkering to the ground beside Maclyn. Thistledown’s face paled when she saw the scene of devastation, brushing Rosebud’s red hair on her way past, but she didn’t pause before kneeling beside the injured girl, gently moving Titania out of the way. She shook her head at the damage, prodding around Terra’s knee with sure, calloused fingers. “You really managed to mutilate it, didn’t you, my girl.” It wasn’t a question, not even a rhetorical one, it was a statement of hard fact, delivered in the slightly cold tone of one intensely focused on anything but conversation. Her tone softened and her eyes met Terra’s for a swift moment as she paused in her examination. “Puck told me . . . I won’t forget it was you who protected my daughter.”
Guilt twisted itself ever deeper. “But I . . .”
“Now hush and let me work.”
Terra didn’t understand until Thistledown took hold of her knee in both hands, gently working the joint with a surprisingly strong grip. The manipulation made Terra arch back against Maclyn’s chest, not in pleasure this time, but at the same time an odd feeling of hot and cold weaseled its way under the pain. She watched with some interest, the realization slowly dawning that the faerie woman was actually glowing, a nimbus of pale light forming around her, brightening until the aura overflowed from her hands onto Terra’s injured flesh, sinking in like a balm.
“Wha . . .” Terra tried to yank her leg out of Thistledown’s hands.
“She’s a Healer,” Maclyn explained, holding her still. “Just wait.”
The pain flared until it seemed white-hot blades were cutting the knee apart, making tears burn in her eyes. Maclyn rocked her gently until it began to fade, slowly erased by soothing warmth until at last Thistledown pulled away, leaving Terra’s leg whole and nimble.
Terra flexed her knee cautiously; it moved smoothly with no hint of discomfort. Maclyn got to his feet, pulling her with him. She stood gingerly at first, gradually putting more weight on it until she was standing on one leg. She gave a little hop, staring down at what, a minute ago, was a misshapen blue mess. “Amazing,” she whispered. “Thank . . . I’m sorry. I mean, you did a wonderful job.”
“Good. That’s taken care of,” Titania said briskly. She crossed her arms, turning an imperial face on the conspirators. Oberon stood just behind and to the right of his slender wife, still looking the lesser threat despite his greater bulk. Titania’s gaze swept over the three, landing squarely on Puck.
Squealing, Rosebud slid off his shoulders and hid behind him. Puck stood contrite, staring at the ground as his queen advanced. “Do you have anything to say in your defense?” she grated.
Puck’s shoulders slumped and he didn’t answer, not even a negative shake of his head. The queen’s fists clenched; at the moment she was unrecognizable as the sweet, gentle-faced woman who danced in a circle of friends only a few hours ago. This was a different creature, filled with icy rage and what seemed to be a hot hatred for the elf, buried deep and festering.
“Please . . .” it was hard for Terra to speak, fear of being made to leave, or worse, tying her throat in painful knots. But she couldn’t let the full force of that wrath fall on her friend. Shaking off Maclyn’s restraining hand and ignoring his emphatically shaking head, she barged forward to stand between Puck and Titania. “Please. It wasn’t his fault. It was mine. My idea . . .” she trailed off, seeing that the woman wasn’t even going to try believing her.

Me again. Nope, Titania is still not fond of our knavish Puck. The story gets a bit more exciting later on, with danger and the Unseelie Court and even a car chase. As the first original novel I ever completed (how long ago? None of your bee’s wax), it is also the one that has gone through the most changes. The first draft was actually done on a typewriter. Cutting and pasting ended up being quite, quite literal for the first major rewrite, but fortunately after that I had the luxury of a hard drive, floppy disks, and . . . I am aging myself, aren’t I? Shutting up now.

Still, it was fun. Hope someone out there enjoys it.

Here’s a little more information on the series. http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#

Good night, and sweet writing!

Almost forgot. Pic credits for book cover are as follows:
Eyes from: http://www.stockfreeimages.com/© Joseasreyes Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
Trees: http://www.stockfreeimages.com/© Magicinfoto | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Back to Blogging

Hello, all. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the energy or inclination to post in my blog. Well, that’s not quite true, I suffered no lack of inclination. My issue came from having so many things I wanted to do, I’d get frozen in my free time. Do I edit this series, write the next book in this one, keep retyping the other, edit my friend’s book, organize my writing space, watch the dozens of movies I’m behind on, work on the Halloween project I’ve been preparing for since last Halloween, etc. It takes so long to commit to what I’m doing, much of the doing time is gone before I get there.

(Regarding the book I’m helping edit/proofread, it is The Midnight series, starting with The Midnight Within, out this July on Nook, Kindle, and I’m sure other formats I’m not yet aware of. If you like your vampires with blood, this is for you. No angsty I-want-human-blood-but-I-refuse, just old-fashioned horror, slaughter, and some clever commentary while they do it. Well, not so clever from a couple of the characters, but the twins are my favorites. Read it, you’ll see what I mean. Yes this is a shameless plug but it is a plug of somebody else’s work and I mean every word.)

I did unfreeze enough to complete a couple more of my Scarydolls. They’re nothing like as fun as Spirit of Halloween’s Zombie Babies, but I can’t rely just on those for my project because I don’t own enough of them. I also got quite a bit of organizing done in my writing space, though it’s not close to done. Got a little further on the editing, and a some done on each of my series. But blogging, self-promoting, updating my author website and Facebook fan page, basically anything having to do with selling anything was put in a box in the back of my mind and shelved away in a cobwebbed corner.

It doesn’t help that I suck at self-promotion. But I’m working on it. I post a blog and Make It Public. The number of readers doesn’t matter, it’s that I do it, because it goes against my very nature. Someone could click on my blog and read the very words I’m typing now, and THINK about them, even form an opinion. Scary.

But I’m working on it, blogging, Tweeting, and next will be posting on a few forums. Maybe, just maybe, I can sell more than two books. If not, on to the next one, and the next, and the next. Hey, I have plenty floating around on paper and in my head. Maybe I can find a more exciting blog inspiration too. Still thinking about having a character or two as a guest blogger. It would be a good writing challenge, taking someone like, oh, Puck, and throwing him into a situation he would . . . well, Puck being Puck he would probably love it, and most likely would find a way to attach some kind of mischievous virus to my blog so perhaps he wouldn’t be the best to invite. If anyone could figure out how to sour milk through a computer, it would be him.

So we’ll see. My fiction is usually much more entertaining than my fact. But for now, back to the editing, writing, typing, and watching movies. Cheers, all, and good luck with your writing and marketing. One successful author encourages us all!

Just in case anyone cares, here’s all the links to my books, web site, and Facebook page. Or at least the URL addresses. For some reason links don’t like me, so if they don’t work, I grovel at your feet begging forgiveness.

Web: http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#

Magic’s Guardian Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EnchantmentsEndgame?