Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cover Reveal Dreams of a Wild Heat by Danube Adele

 


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Dreams of a Wild Heat
The Dreamwalkers
Book Three
Danube Adele

Book Description:

Dr. Cecilia—Ceci— Bradford at your service.

I dance, rock climb, and have mastered MMA, because just being a twenty-six-year-old doctor isn’t enough. It doesn’t keep me from remembering the terrifying night my life changed, the night my true love died. I was nearly seventeen. 

Life goes on, but the secret I keep is that I still talk to him in my dreams. That was getting me by until Tabron showed up—or, more specifically, until the six-foot-two brute of a Viking whisked me off to another planet because his leader is dying. And the joy didn’t end there. I’m being forced to choose a mate. The Brausa are facing extinction. 

Tabron has no need for a mate, himself, and he’s told me as much. Multiple times. What he does have are hands and wicked lips that stir feelings I thought lost forever. Choosing him (just to play along until I can find a way home) seems to irk him and I find this surprisingly fun. But surviving a hidden conspiracy and the dangers of this alien place might be more difficult than I could ever imagine…

Available at  Amazon  BN   Kobo  ebooks.com  



About the Author:

Danube Adele wrote her first romance at the age of seven when she penned the story of her dogs falling in love and having puppies. She’s been dreaming up romantic tales ever since. A lifetime resident of southern California, she spends time playing at the beach, camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and hiking Mammoth Mountain.

Always a lover of adventure, she and her husband took their sons on a cross country road trip to Florida and back in an old VW Westfalia, that had no A/C, in the month of July, and still, it continues to be the best trip they ever took.

Extensive travel and trying new things has kept the creative spark alive. Danube lives in Claremont with her biggest fans, her loving husband, amazing and wonderful identical twin sons, and a teddy bear of a Rottweiler.

Her debut novel, Quicksilver Dreams, Book 1 of the Dreamwalker series, was released January 6, 2014, and Dreams of a Dark Summer, Book 2 of the Dreamwalker series, is set for release June 9, 2014. The  next book in the Dreamwalker series is set to come out in December, 2014.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cover Reveal Tainted Blood by Karen Greco




Tainted Blood
Hell's Belle Series
Book 2
Karen Greco

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Date of Publication: Oct. 20, 2014

ISBN: ISBN-13:978-1500844448
ISBN-10:1500844446
ASIN: TBD

Number of pages: 582
Word Count: 95,704

Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Design Inc.

Book Description:

After surviving a vampire assassin (not to mention an awkward affair with a hot FBI agent that ended worse than she could have imagined), witch/vampire hybrid Nina Martinez is reunited with the full Blood Ops team in Providence, Rhode Island. Her Aunt Babe is tutoring her in all things witchcraft, and her vampire partner Frankie is enjoying the benefits of daywalking, courtesy of a demon spell.

When a segment of the Rhode Island vampire population is marked for death by a tainted blood supply, Nina and her team race to find Patient Zero before the local vampire population is wiped out. But when a demon infestation threatens to take control of the city, Nina must join forces with newly elected mayor—and closet demon— Ami Bertrand before the city falls into ruin.

Filled with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Nina and her group of supernatural misfits battle a surprising new enemy that threatens their very existence.

No wonder she still can’t get a date.

From Amazon.com best-selling author Karen Greco, Tainted Blood is the second book in the critically acclaimed Hell’s Belle urban fantasy series.


Download this Hell's Belle Prequel for Free at Smashwords and BN


River Vamp

A Hell’s Belle Prequel
Short Story
Karen Greco


Book Description:

Frankie and Nina head to New York City for an early Blood Ops mission.

Guess what they fish out of the Gowanus Canal?


Free at Smashwords and BN

About the Author:

Karen Greco has spent close to twenty years in New York City, working in publicity and marketing for the entertainment industry. Originally from Rhode Island (she loves hot wieners from New York System, but can't stand coffee milk), she studied playwriting in college (and won an award or two).

After not writing plays for a long time, a life-long obsession with exorcists and Dracula drew her to urban fantasy, where she can decapitate characters with impunity.

Her first novel, Hell's Belle, was released in 2013. Tainted Blood is the second book in the best-selling Hell's Belle urban fantasy series.






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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Colors of Us by Sandra Bunino



Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Absolutely, there are many messages I hope will stay with readers long after reading Colors of Us. First, accept bad things can happen to good people. Don’t waste time on the why or how it happened. It’s draining and unproductive. Also, don’t let the past dictate the future. Everyone has the power to shape their own future. Scars from tragedy and horrifying events should be worn proudly because they signify resilience and healing.  Learn from the past and move on…then keep on movin’ on.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are pieces of me in every one of my heroines. It’s what connects me to them. I find if I can’t connect with my characters, they end up reading one-dimensionally. Readers love to fall in love with multilayered characters filled with emotion, flaws, strengths and weaknesses. I layer in emotion based on true life experiences with every editing pass.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading friend and author Carlene Love Flores’s new release, Wicked Flower. It’s the fifth book of her Sin Pointe Novel series and oh so good! I recommend it.

What books are in your to read pile?

What isn’t in my TBR pile? LOL There are so many to even name here, but here are a few I’d like to read in the next couple of months…

Need You Tonight by Roni Loren
Hard to Hold on To by Laura Kaye
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Rogue with a Brouge by Susanne Enoch
Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

Books 2 & 3 of The McAvery Brothers series, Passion of Us and Rhythm of Us, are in the works. They tell the stories of the other two McAvery brothers, Alex and Liam. Passion of Us is a reunion love story with a love triangle thrown into the mix. Rhythm of Us will tackle addiction and the pressures of being in the public eye. Colbie Caillet’s song, Try, has inspired me to write that story. I also have a yet to be titled fun and sexy novella planned for the series.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure! Here’s an exclusive excerpt from Colors of Us. In this early scene, Hunter and Michelle share a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie (Michelle’s favorite) at a local coffee shop…

Hunter cocked his head. “Why is it you never answer a question?”

Michelle took another sip of her coffee. A dab of foam sat on her upper lip for a moment before she licked it away. Resting her elbows on the edge of the table, her summer blue eyes iced over. “Let’s just say I don’t do relationships well. Men don’t really understand my crazy artist nuances.”

“Nuances?”

“Yeah, it’s a nice way to say issues. I have a lot of them, and most people run the opposite way from me. Especially guys. But it’s fine. I’m probably better off alone. It helps me be a better artist.”

“I think that’s a cop-out.”
She shrugged. “Maybe, but it’s the same thing you’re doing. It’s easier to get involved with someone like Samantha because you know it’ll remain at a physical level. No chance of getting too close. See? Same thing.”

Hunter tried to swallow the bit of cookie in his mouth, but a lump in his throat replaced every last bit of moisture. He coughed and slurped the hot coffee, burning his tongue as he washed the cookie down.

“Did I hit a nerve?” she asked, stifling a laugh.

Hunter wiped his mouth with a napkin and coughed again. “You seem pretty confident in your analysis. Am I that transparent?”

“To me, yes. But don’t worry. I’m sure you have everyone else fooled.” Michelle tipped back the last of her latte and pointed to the door.

With a quick nod, he pushed the chair from the table before she could continue her analysis. Michelle didn’t just hit a nerve, she split it wide open and left it exposed. She’d figured him out even before he understood his self-destructive actions, and it threw him into a tailspin. His immediate instinct was to put distance between him and the artist who crept into his life and forced him to take a good look at the shell of a man he’d become. However, Michelle gave him
something he’d lost when his world came crashing down that warm October day. Hope. It slowly seeped back into his veins and pumped through his body, healing the broken pieces.

“Hey,” he said in almost a whisper as he followed her to the door.

She swung her head to the side, the ends of her dark hair skimming her shoulders. “Yeah?”

“I like your nuances.”

Blue eyes flashed and crinkled at the corners as a small grin played on her lips. “I kinda like yours too.”

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?

It’s important to know about the location of your story. How best to know it than to live it? Most of my books are based in New York City where I spend much of my free time. I’ve also traveled around the country to places like Las Vegas, South Beach, LA, New Orleans and even Paris and London which all provided inspiration for story ideas.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

Sour Cherry Designs did an outstanding job on my cover. I love their work! This cover is special to me because I’ve had the opportunity to meet both the photographer, Taria Reed, and the female model on the cover, Angelina Cavanaugh. Also, I shot the photo used in the background on location in the SoHo section of New York City.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

As simple as it sounds my advice is: Finish your book! I receive notes all the time from aspiring authors wanting to know how to get a book published, yet most of the time manuscripts are far from done. My advice is always: finish it, even if you don’t think it’s good. It’s easy to start a book. The hard part is taking it to completion.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

Oh, yes! Music played an important part of the creation of the McAvery Brothers series, especially Colors of Us. Here’s my playlist:
“Colours” Margo Rey / “Headphones” Matt Nathanson, LoLo / “Peace” O.A.R. / “I Lived” OneRepublic / “Make You Feel My Love” Adele / “Odds Are” Barenaked Ladies / “Rebel Beat” The Goo Goo Dolls

Click here to listen to the playlist free on Spotify:

Thank you for having me over for a visit to share Colors of Us with your readers, Roxanne! It’s been an extreme pleasure.  xoxo

Colors of Us
McAvery Brothers
Book One
Sandra Bunino

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 62,000

ISBN: 9781771309783


ASIN: B00MwFP98E

Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs

Book Description:

Everything she knew to be true fell apart. Then fell apart again…

Michelle Willis is running from her past. What better place to hide than in the anonymity of New York City. Finding refuge in a tiny SoHo art gallery, she rebuilds her life one painting at a time.

A wrong turn sends Hunter McAvery on a crash course with disaster. He fights his own demons by following his big brother’s lead - drinking and bed-hopping his way through Manhattan.

A glance at Michelle’s self-portrait triggers emotions Hunter can’t tamp down. Driven to meet the artist, he discovers a fiery chemistry as their lives collide. But when their past threatens to tear them apart, can their love survive?

About the Author:

Sandra Bunino is a romance author of several novellas including The Satin Rose Experience series. Her first full-length novel, Colors of Us from the McAvery Brothers series, released in August. She makes her parents proud by putting her MBA degree to good use dreaming up heroes who resemble David Gandy whenever possible. When not staying up past her bedtime torturing her oh-so-sexy heroes, she can be found shopping for shoes or saving turtles.

As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her new addiction, Pinterest. Sandra loves to read and chat with other readers, so she formed the Bunino’s Bookalicious Babes group on Facebook where they currently share their love of Jamie Fraser from Outlanders…and David Gandy, of course.







Bookalicious Babes Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/597429020306289/


Bookalicious Babes mailing list: http://eepurl.com/LuwPL

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Guest Blog and Giveaway with Melinda Van Lone



Inspiration can come from anywhere and anything, if you’re eyes and heart are open. I’m often inspired by things I see around me. For the House of Xannon series, the city of Philadelphia infiltrated my story senses. I lived there for a couple of years, and explored quite a few neighborhoods on photo hunts. A lot of the next story (book 4, working title Finding Earth) takes place in a not-so-nice neighborhood of Philly, and its dilapidated park. The park is known as a “pocket park”, and was inspired by a cute one in the Italian district of Philly. It’s a small park rescued from what would have been a concrete triangle formed by the odd intersection of several diagonal streets. In a city as dense as Philly, it’s a pleasure to stumble across a little piece of nature in the middle of urban jungle. 
The House of Xannon is embedded into the rock of an island off the coast of Maui, and was inspired by the Island of Kaho’olawe. When I was visiting Hawaii on vacation, I took a tour which gave a bit of history about the island. It was once used as a military post and testing ground during World War II and after, until protests returned the control of the island to the state of Hawaii. They say that both the island and the surrounding water contains unexploded ordinances, so it’s off limits to visitors. One family and a handful of workers live there. There’s no other contact with it.
 Of course, even as they told me this, I made up my own version of the story. I say it’s not land-mines at all, but magic. Tarian and her family live there, with most of the house hiding underneath the rock. The rumor of dangerous land mines is to keep us non magical types away from her home. She’s over there, on the beach. I was sure I could just make her out across the waves!
The inspiration for the Ancients, and in particular the Water Ancients, came from another vacation. It was a dolphin adventure, one where we got to swim with the dolphins and learn all about them. I was mesmerized, entranced, enchanted and completely hooked on these amazing creatures. I’m quite sure they are vastly more intelligent than us, and full of magic. You can see it in their eyes. The fascination I felt that day in the water with such a beautiful creature inspired the entire system of Ancient elementals, and in particular Tarian’s love of water and dolphins.
Promise of Magic takes place in mostly magical realms, but the inspiration for the final scene was also a very real place I visited in Hawaii. Standing near an active volcano is definitely something I’ll never forget. I doubt Tarian will either.


<<<<>>>> 
Promise of Magic
House of Xannon
Book 3
Melinda VanLone

Genre: urban fantasy

ISBN: 978-0-9887455-4-4
ASIN: TBD

Word Count: 65k

Cover Artist: bookcovercorner.com

Book Description:

On instinct, Tarian bowed her head in return, shocked. “Dulra. Welcome.” She breathed the words, awed by the presence of creatures she’d only known through legends. What is the Balance Court doing here?

“Tarian A’marie Maitea Xannon, of the House of Xannon, Keeper of the Water Artifact, you are summoned to the Balance Court.”

 She’d been summoned, and every particle of her being cried out to answer it.
Despite the advanced stage of her pregnancy, Tarian has some explaining to do. Fulfilling her Agreement with the Carraig was an issue of honor—but it led to complications. The Keeper of the House of Xannon is called to account, and Tarian must embark on a dangerous mission which could cost her the life of her unborn daughter, end in disaster for all planes of existence—or save the world.

Some promises are deadly to keep. Will the promise of magic be one of them?


About the Author:

Melinda VanLone writes fantasy and science fiction, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and furbabies. When she's not playing with her imaginary friends you can find her playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or nursing coffee in Starbucks.


twitter: @melindavan



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September 22 Spotlight
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September 23 Character Interview
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October 2 Top Ten List
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Interview with Marlene Wynn Author of Chandrea



·       What inspired you to become an author?
o   Its strange…Initially, I wasn’t inspired to write the story so much as I felt challenged to simply write.  Not to brag, but I’ve always known that I am fairly decent with the written and spoken word.  But, when I attempted to draft documents for work, my bosses always red-lined 90% of what I wrote before I was allowed to send things out.  It was extremely frustrating to me, as I knew that there was nothing wrong with what I’d written…it was just too long and had too much extraneous detail for them.  One day I found myself at my computer just wishing I could write something for pleasure instead of business.  Something where length and extraneous detail were not only accepted but encouraged!  And, from that, Chandrea was born.

·       Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
o   I think the overall, unspoken message is to just keep trying.  No matter what life throws at you, no matter how hard it is right now…you’ll get through it.  The “other side” may not be what you expect, but it will be right for you if you don’t give up. 

·       Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
o   There really wasn’t a source of inspiration for my protagonist, Chandrea.  However, my antagonist, Leilah, was based off of a woman I knew whose mercurial mood swings could leave your head spinning.  One minute she was your best friend, chatting you up, smiling and laughing.  The next minute, she could turn on you and verbally cut you to shreds without hesitation.  And, while she was always right (why wouldn’t she be…after all the universe did revolve around her, didn’t it?), she was never at fault.  Needless to say, I was very happy to leave her company

·       What books/authors have influenced your life?
o   Terry Goodkind.  Though fantasy adventure, his books are full of life lessons and wise advice.  Every time I read them, I come out with something new.

·       If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
o   Either Terry Goodkind or Jim Butcher.  Both are amazing authors and storytellers, and yet have such completely different “voices”.

·       What book are you reading now?
o   Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series.  I am on the latest book, “Deeply Odd”.

·       What books are in your to read pile?
o   Honestly, I am someone who just goes to the bookstore and finds what looks good at the moment.  I’m too busy to browse for future reading and create a “to read” pile. LOL

·       What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
o   I have finished my 2nd novel in the Averill Series, “Chandrea – Sacrifice” and have submitted it to my editor.  While I’m waiting for the first set of edits to be done, I am creating the outline for the 3rd novel in the series and hope to start writing it soon!

·       Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
o   The timeline and placement of characters.  I’ve always loved big, thick novels with numerous characters scattered all over but converging together at the end.  I’ve modeled my books after this theme, but never really knew how difficult it was to orchestrate such character movement until I got into the middle of it.  You have to keep some kind of “record” of time (hours, days, weeks, etc) passing and who is where – and why – at any given time.  I use an Excel spreadsheet to plot my timeline and characters.

·       Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
o   No…all my travel is done through Google.  LOL

·       Who designed the cover of your latest book?
o   I dearly love graphic design, and have self taught myself through YouTube video tutorials and trial and error how to work in graphic art programs.  I would call myself an advanced beginner. LOL.  I really, really wanted to design my own cover art for my book, but no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, it still looked amateurish.  After the millionth rendition of my cover art, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to be able to do what the professionals do, and started researching cover artists.  I was very lucky to find Fiona Jayde (http://fionajaydemedia.com/).  She worked with me to come up with a much better rendition of the “child of two worlds” theme that I was trying for.  Through lots of back and forth between the two of us, we finally reached a wonderful cover for my novel.  Fiona was always very helpful and professional, even going so far as to let me know when my ideas might not work very well (gently and politely, of course!).  That is a valuable asset to have in a cover artist.  Someone who wants your book to look as good as it can

·       Do you have any advice for other writers?
o   Have you ever watched the American Idol tryouts, where the person sings and then the judges tell her that she should never, EVER be a singer?  I don’t believe in that.  If you write something, put your heart and soul into it, and someone tells you that it stinks…don’t stopFind out what was wrong and fix it.  If you think that you are meant to be a writer, hone your craft.  Very few people in this world can’t actually sing.  If you are taught how to sing properly, you will sing well.  The same thing applies to your writing.  Maybe you are the next J. R. R. Tolkien or J. K. Rowling…maybe you have this amazing story inside your head, but your vocabulary or grammar skills are not very good.  So…fix it!  It may take some time, but if you are meant to be an author, don’t let anything stop you from letting that story come forth!


Chandrea:
The Return of the Avatar Queen
Marlene Wynn

Book Description:

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman.  But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.  Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue,

Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known.  But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. 

Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?


Available at  BN  Smashwords  Amazon  Kobo  iTunes

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~ CHAPTER ONE ~


Learning magic sucked.
Tears of frustration streamed down Chandrea’s face as she ran into her bedroom at the inn and slammed the door, shutting out the world. 
Since re-arriving in Ri Miora five days previously, she’d been working closely with Adelaide and her three sorceress friends, trying to learn how to control her newly-acquired powers. Though she’d been born on Itova, on the day of her birth, her home and kingdom had been attacked by Svaran forces, and her parents assassinated.  To save her life, Adelaide had magically sent Chandrea to live secretly on Earth. There, Chandrea had lived as a normal person, utterly unaware that she was of royal blood and the crown princess of a wasted kingdom.  Her growing powers had been masked during her years on Earth by Adelaide’s spells, so she’d been unaware that she was also likely the most powerful sorceress alive.  On her twenty third birthday, Adelaide’s spell had reversed itself, and Chandrea suddenly found herself back on her birth world.  Luckily, when she’d sent Chandrea away, Adelaide had had the foresight to place spells upon her that allowed her to communicate with those she encountered once back on Itova. 
Well, everyone except Leilah, that is.
She leaned against the cool, smooth wood and pictured the past few days of sheer misery. First thing in the morning she would travel with Adelaide and her new teachers outside the city.  For her protection, Ayden had hired a number of men to travel with them and protect them from attack.  The men worked in shifts, so she always had at least fifteen surrounding her at all times. 
Thinking of Ayden made Chandrea smile.  Though he was only distantly related to her, she didn’t care.  For the first time in her life, she had real, blood family.  For her, it was a gift beyond measure.
For most of his life, the world had known Ayden as the crown prince of Svara.  He had been raised to believe that Chandrea was his mortal enemy, and had made it his life’s work to find the missing Averill queen and kill her.
Then in a moment of stunning truth, he had discovered that Leilah was not his true birth mother, and worse, that in an act of revenge, she had stolen him from his real mother, Reyna, on the day he was born, and raised him as her own.  His entire life had been one enormous lie.  Upon discovering this heinous act of treachery, Ayden had rescued Reyna, and abandoned all claim to the throne and Leilah’s affections. 
Unfortunately, neither he nor Chandrea could fully deny a blood relation to the Svaran queen.  Though Ayden was only distantly related to Leilah, Chandrea was not so lucky.  The woman who was bent on killing her was her aunt.
In fact, Leilah was the entire reason she was here in Ri Miora, which brought her right back to her original problem.  From sun up to sun down they’d drilled with her, trying one spell after another. To no avail.  Everything they’d asked her to do had gone horribly wrong.
When asked to create a breeze, she’d conjured a howling tornado.  As everyone ran screaming for cover, it ripped apart the wagon they’d traveled in.  The horses, which had been unhitched and left to graze, had spooked and ran away in terrified fright.  The group had been forced to walk the eight miles back to the inn.
When they’d tried to teach her how to turn a bucket of water into ice, she’d caused it to hail.  Softball-sized balls of ice had rained down from the heavens.  Everyone squeezed under the wagon… and listened to the poor horses being bludgeoned to death by the massive, lethal orbs.  And, once again, they’d been forced to walk back to the inn.
They took her out to a far away, deserted beach to work on fire.  She’d created a fireball so massive that it melted the surrounding sand into a shining sheet of glass for a mile out. 
They’d tried to get her to replicate the spell she’d used to create her viewing mirror.  Instead, she’d managed to open some sort of wormhole that began to suck everything into it.  It took some quick thinking and powerful counter spells by her sorceress teachers to close it back up again. 
Chandrea banged her head gently on the door and groaned out her irritation.  No matter how hard she tried, she just managed to create havoc and destruction.  And death, if one counted the poor horses.  How was she ever going to learn to control her magic?  The only time it seemed to work was when she was in danger and it came out instinctively.   But even then it was just as unpredictable.  She’d ended up transporting herself hundreds of miles away from her companions once while trying to escape from a spell that had been cast upon them. 
Unable to see much in the gloom of the evening, she shuffled through the chamber until she reached the double doors and, opening them, she stepped outside onto the large balcony.  Able to see a bit better in the near twilight, she made her way over to the railing and gratefully leaned against it. 
She closed her eyes and let the sounds of Ri Miora surround and soothe her.  Voices of people talking, laughing.  Horses clip-clopping by.  A baby crying.  A dog barking.  All such normal sounds.  Made by normal people.  Normal people who didn’t have the weight of the world resting on their shoulders.
She raised her face and let the cool breezes caress her flushed skin.  Breathing deeply, she could smell the hint of fall in the air.  She wondered for a moment what autumn would look like in this world.  Would the leaves flare into vibrant colors and drop to the ground as they did back home on Earth?  Or would they remain green and stay on the trees all year?  For all she knew, they might just turn a different color, like pink or turquoise.  She snorted softly, amused by the image that conjured.  What would winter be like?  Would they have snow, or would it stay too warm?  Having grown up in Virginia, she’d only experienced snow a handful of times as it was too warm there for the white stuff to come very often.
She gave a forlorn sigh, then reached into her pocket and pulled out her viewing mirror.  She unwrapped it and peered at it in the dim light.  This was one of the few things her magic had done that was right.  She had intentionally tried a spell and not only had it worked, but it had worked well.  This little oval piece of glass would let her see anyone or anything she wanted.  Even if they weren’t from this world.  
So, if she could do magic successfully before, why couldn’t she do it again?
She closed her eyes and pictured her friend, Ashlyn, from Earth.  Ashlyn was her dearest and closest friend, and Chandrea missed her desperately.  Ashlyn was the sister of her heart, and it hurt Chandrea terribly to know that Ashlyn thought something fatal had happened to her.  When Adelaide’s magic had taken Chandrea from Earth, no one had been there to witness it.  And, as the magic had left no traces or clues, no one knew where she’d gone. The first time Chandrea had viewed Ashlyn through the mirror, Ashlyn had been at the Norfolk Police Department trying to convince them to continue looking for Chandrea.  But without any clues, Chandrea was sure the police had stopped looking for her long ago and moved on to other cases.
The need to see her friend again burned painfully through Chandrea.  She pictured Ashlyn in her mind, all the varied nuances of her.  Her voice quiet and intent, she murmured, “Show her to me.”
The little oval shimmered and sparkled to life with a soft blue light, and there within its depths, was Ashlyn.  She sat at a table near a young man Chandrea had never seen before.  Dressed in a pretty little mint green sundress, her friend laughed as she ate.  Seated by a window, the late afternoon sun caused her honey blonde hair to glimmer with gold highlights.  The young man reached out and took her hand in his, rubbing her skin gently with his thumb.  Clearly on a date, Ashlyn looked happy and content. 
It was a bittersweet moment for Chandrea.  Though she truly wanted her friend to be happy, a tiny, selfish part of her was unsettled. Had her friend forgotten about her so easily?
Torn between joy at seeing her friend, and fear that Ashlyn had moved on already, Chandrea stopped the flow of power to the mirror.  Disturbed not only by what she had seen, but also by what she had felt, she changed her mind and searched again.
Closing her eyes, she pictured her new boyfriend and traveling companion, Shawn, in her mind.  Gathering her power inside her, she released it toward the mirror and whispered, “Show him to me.”
The blue light illuminated her face and hands as she peered intently into the glass.  Soon, she was rewarded with the sight of a Hafaba dragon swooping and cavorting in the evening sky.  Smiling, she shook her head at Shawn’s antics.  Born a shapeshifter, Shawn could transform into any living thing, and dearly loved becoming a Hafaba.  Covered mostly with scarlet and deep indigo feathers, its body narrowed down into a snake-like torso.  Flash and drama combined with speed and power to make, in his eyes, the perfect dragon. 
Plus, he needed to be far, far away from any negative emotions, and frolicking as a dragon was a great way to do this.  The Shadow Leaf he’d placed on his chest still exerted powerful, dark cravings in him, and he avoided anything at all that could allow the Leaf to take control of him again – including her practice sessions.  Though Chandrea had urged him to try to find the Light Fae in an attempt to remove it, he resolutely refused.  His place, he said, was by her side until this mess was over.  If she ran across some Light Fae in the process, great.  He’d take advantage of the situation.  Until then, he was on his own, and he’d manage things as best he could.
She released her power on the mirror with a deep sigh. The image of Shawn and the blue light slowly faded away until she was left looking at a simple piece of glass once more.  Pursing her lips in frustrated resignation, she wrapped the mirror back up and placed it back into her pocket. 
She turned away from the railing and moved to sit on one of the chairs on the balcony, intent on spending some quiet time alone with her thoughts.  Exhausted, she flopped into the chair and put her feet on the small, nearby table.  Leaning her head back, she closed her eyes and let her mind wander.
Some small instinct warned her that she wasn’t alone anymore.  The hair on her arms and neck rose up.  Fear washed over her, and she felt her magic begin to swell inside of her in response.  Unsure as to how someone could have come out onto the balcony without her hearing it, she nonetheless knew someone – or something – was now there.  She dearly hoped that, whoever it was, it was human.  As a third degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do, she was confident in her ability to protect herself physically.  It was the magical aspect she was afraid of. 
Swiftly opening her eyes, preparing to spring off the chair and defend herself, she instead stopped short with a gasp.  Amazement and fear battled for dominance within her at the sight that greeted her. 


About the Author: 

Marlene Wynn is a Utah native - fondly referred to as "Utonian" by a friend.  She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since.  Though she has worked in the benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.