Slave Elf 15: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Ancient Book by Connie Cockrell

Find Part 1 Here. Find Part 14 Here.

Part 15

Nethene sat three elves away from her at dinner. As family, he rated a seat at the head table but that didn’t make her happy about it. Her venison lay cold on the plate as she worried about what her distant cousin might do.

Mage Kaepli sat beside her father. Delia could hear enough of their conversation past her mother to know they were discussing the scrying Kaepli had finished. Confusion, she’d overheard him say. That didn’t sound good to her. She wished she had more experience. It was a handicap of immense proportions that she had been separated from her people and from magic for so long. Her hand began to tingle as fire began to form. Delia squashed the urge and shook out her hand under the table.

At the rear of the hall the musicians were warming up. Dinner was nearly over and she was anxious to talk to the Mage about how to mask her aura. She saw her chance as the Mage rose to take his leave of the King and Queen. She rose as well. “If you don’t mind, Father, Mother, I’d like to retire. I’m afraid I overdid it on the practice field today.”

Her mother nodded. “Of course, Sweetheart.”

Delia leaned down to kiss her mother on the cheek. “Thank you, Mother. Enjoy the music.” She walked around her mother’s chair to the King. She kissed him on the cheek as well. “Good evening, Father.”

He patted her hand. “Sleep well, Delia.”

She saw Nethene watching and a tingle of fear ran down her spine. “Thank you, Father.” She turned to the Mage. “May I walk with you, Kaepli?”

“Of course, Princess.” He bowed and let her go first.

Delia could feel Nethene watching her until they left the hall. “I have a question.”

Kaepli nodded. “I suspected. Go on.”

“How does Nethene mask his aura?”

The mage drew a deep breath. “The books say it has to do with the control of your core. Which begs the question, of course.” He shook his head. “The text talks about your essence, which is the core, of course, and focus.” Kaepli waved a hand. “All magic requires focus, so that is less than helpful.”

“May I read the texts?”

The old mage’s eyebrow rose. “An unusual request but I don’t see why not. Come by my workshop in the morning. I’ll have the books ready for you.”

She was disappointed. She wanted to read them now. “Not tonight?”

The mage shook his head. “My apologies, Princess, but the texts are scattered. Let me and my apprentices find them all and set aside a table for you. It will go much faster that way.”

Delia swallowed her impatience. “Of course. In the morning then.”

Kaepli stopped at the hall leading to the wing where his workshops were and bowed. “In the morning. Sleep well, Princess.”

She bowed in return and continued on to her rooms. After bolting the door, she prepared for bed but was too restless to lie down. As she paced she absent-mindedly formed fireballs, tossing them from one hand to another. Then she realized she was making them in multiples, not just one at a time. That piqued her interest and at the fireplace, focused on making as many at a time as she could.

By midnight she was drained, physically and mentally. She let the fireballs expire and washed her hands and face in the basin then lay down. Her last thoughts were of auras.

In the morning she hardly spared time to eat the bread, fruit and cheese brought to her room. She hurried to the mage’s workshop and stopped just inside the door. She saw a large room, herbs hanging from the ceiling, several heavy wooden tables with stools at them. Some had apprentices already working. Books and scrolls filled the shelves that lined the walls. She cleared her throat.

An apprentice looked up from a huge tome he was reading. “Princess!” He jumped from his stool and came to her. “Welcome. Mage Kaepli directed me to assist you. I’m Sisruo. Come right this way.”

He led her to a table under a window, a stool centered on the table where six leather-bound books were stacked to one side. “We found these for you. The pages with the information you wanted are book-marked. If you have any questions, please let me know.”

Delia nodded. Everything seemed well organized. “Thank you. I won’t keep you from your work. Where is Mage Kaepli?”

“He’s gone to a glade, Princess. To try the scrying again.”

She was disappointed. She’d hoped to talk to him about what she was about to read. “Oh. Very well.”

“May I get you some water?”

“That would be nice. Yes. Thank you, Sisuro. Have you been an apprentice long?”

“Long enough. I test for my mage status soon.”

“Congratulations.” She climbed up onto the stool. “Sorry for keeping you.”

“Not a problem, Princess. I’ll let you get to your research.” He turned and left.

Delia looked at the stack of books. The largest was on the bottom with the books getting smaller as the stack grew. She pulled the smallest book to her and opened the cover. The writing was in a flowing script, the book title so elaborate it was difficult to read. Delia turned a few pages to find treatises on the essence of the core, how to force plant growth, and one on changing hair color. There didn’t seem to be any overall theme to the book, just whatever the author had decided to write about. She found the book mark and flipped to the page. This treatise was titled, Auras and Their Control. That sounded promising.

Sisruo returned and placed a tray with a pitcher of water and a glass on it. “Princess.”

She looked up from the page and smiled. “Thank you, Sisruo.”

He bowed. “Ask if you need anything.”

“I will. Thank you.”

He left and she went back to the page. With luck, she’d learn everything she needed to know from this one book.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 16.

1015 Words

 

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Author Interviews: Sherry Knowlton

Author Sherry Knowlton

I’m so happy, today, to present author Sherry Knowlton. Sherry is the author of the successful Alexa Williams series of suspense novels: Dead of Autumn, Dead of Summer and Dead of Spring.  When not writing the next Alexa Williams thriller, Knowlton works on her health care consulting business or travels around the world. She and her husband live in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania.

Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Sherry.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Reading, of course. I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. My other interests include travel, photography, yoga and Pilates.  My husband and I do a lot of traveling.  In the past six years or so, we’ve been trying to visit remote and exotic places, recognizing that we aren’t getting any younger.  We’ve been to a number of countries in Africa, India, Indonesia, most of the Southeast Asian countries, Chile and Peru – with a few more sedate visits to Europe thrown into the mix.  We both also enjoy travel photography and exhibit many of our photos locally in Southcentral Pennsylvania where we live.  When I’m home, I attend yoga and Pilates classes at local studios.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

I miss my mother so much that she’s the obvious answer.  But, if I’m choosing someone among the living, I’d like to spend an afternoon with Bill Gates. Obviously, his major accomplishments are co-founding Microsoft  and growing the company to a huge, profitable corporation. But, I would like to talk to him about his post-Microsoft efforts.  I really admire the way that he and his wife, Melinda, have spent so much of their fortune in philanthropy, especially in projects to eradicate malaria, bolster family planning, and address other health issues prevalent in African nations and elsewhere.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tea first thing in the morning.  Cherry Coke Zero during the day.  I’d really like to kick my Coke habit.  Everything I read says drinking soda is bad for me.  But, so far, haven’t been able to do it.

4. What are you working on right now?

My third novel, Dead of Spring, was just released on April 22. Now, I’m in the early stages of working on my next novel in the Alexa Williams, which will be titled Dead of Winter.  Although I’ve written a draft of the first few chapters, I’m about to begin my research which should take a month or so.  Also, as always, I’ll write a fairly detailed chapter by chapter outline of the book before I plunge into the serious writing.  My outlines are never hard and fast; they often evolve as I write.  But, I like to have a roadmap to follow during the first draft phase.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I write suspense with an element of mystery and a little romance.  Each of my novels also includes a historical subplot that intersects with the main, contemporary story.  My protagonist, Alexa Williams, is a strong character who has a propensity for stumbling into danger. All the books deal with hot-button social issues that you read about in the headlines and are important to me, personally.

I’m probably not my most insightful critic, so I’m not sure that I can describe my actual writing style.  I can say that I emphasize description, sense of place, and have been told that some of my romance scenes can be a little steamy,  The suspense is action-packed because my goal is to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Go for it.  I hope you enjoy writing as much as I do.  But, go into it with a willingness to learn.  I’ve done a huge amount of professional writing in my job – and before that high school and college journalism.  But, writing fiction required me to learn a whole different structure and style.  Don’t be afraid to take writing courses or seminars and benefit from expert advice.  A writing critique group and beta readers can also be helpful to obtain honest feedback on your work in process. And, above all, don’t become discouraged.  Writing requires inspiration, skill, and a huge amount of willpower.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

A little of both.  I’m in my sixties, so I’ve had quite a bit of life experience that I draw upon in my books. For example, I’ve used my travels, my work in government, and my participation in the Woodstock Festival of 1969 as fodder for my novels to date.  But, I also expand my knowledge with research, talking to experts and more.  My most recent book, Dead of Spring, deals with fracking, so I talked to a number of experts and did a tour of actual fracking sites in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

A lot of my ideas for imagery and plot points come from my everyday life. Things that I observe or experience can easily become the inspiration for something you’ll find in one of my novels.  An experience my husband and I had with Somali refugees in Kenya provided me with the springboard to an important scene in my second novel, Dead of Summer.  My frequent visits to the Pennsylvania State Capitol inspired me to set key events in my latest, Dead of Spring, in that historic building.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

www.sherryknowlton.com

www.facebook.com/sherry.knowltonbooks/

www.twitter.com/KnowltonSBooks

And you can buy my books at:

https://www.amazon.com/Spring-Alexa-Williams-Sherry-Knowlton/dp/1620068435

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dead-of-spring-sherry-knowlton/1125457948

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Dead-of-Spring-9781620068434.htm

Sherry I really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk with us today. Looking forward to the next book!

Gentle readers, don’t be afraid to check out Sherry’s sites. You’ll be glad you did.

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Birthday, Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Today’s my birthday. I’m far past the point where I do much celebrating of the day though hubby may take me out to dinner. We like two local restaurants for special occasions. The closest to me, right in town, is Fargo’s Steakhouse.  https://www.fargossteakhouse.com/ They have the best osso buco ever. And if you’re more into burgers and fries, the fries are hand cut on the premises and gluten free. There are other gluten free menu items as well. The second place is Diamond Point Shadows Steakhouse.  http://www.diamondpointshadows.com/ This restaurant is a little way out of town but not that far. This is the place where I get lamb chops and for dessert, crème brulee. I don’t know why crème brulee went out of style but Diamond Point still serves it. Yay! What’s your favorite special occasion place?

On the garden front, my garden survived a hail storm Saturday. The yellow squash leaves are ragged but everything is still alive. And in case you were wondering, yes, what was supposed to be a zucchini is, in fact, a yellow squash. I don’t mind, I guess. More yellow squash for me. The peaches are ripening. Another week I think and I’ll be swimming in peaches. I followed a tip to thin the peaches in the spring to get bigger peaches but that didn’t happen. They’re lovely but still small. I’m disappointed.

I’m still waiting for the editor to get Tested back to me. I found a picture of a college building that I liked and have begun creating the cover. I’m stalled though, as the font I used on the previous covers is not on my computer. I replaced the last computer due to power surge. I had the font name listed in my book notes but can’t find the notes for either First Encounter or The Downtrodden. I’ve looked all over the house and can’t find them so now I’m stumped. I’ll keep looking. The files have to be somewhere.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway is the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Author Sherry Knowlton

My next author interview is with Sherry Knowlton. She writes the Alexa Williams series of suspense novels. If you can’t wait until Wednesday’s post, you can find her at www.sherryknowlton.com

Also, Timothy Bateson, an author from back in my hometown area of upstate NY is featuring me today on his blog. Check out the interview at https://timothybatesonauthor.wordpress.com/?p=2326&preview=true

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with over 80 authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Slave Elf 14: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Purple by Dinky03 http://www.deviantart.com/art/PURPLE-14567744

Find Part 1 Here. Find Part 13 Here.

 

Part 14

Delia sat behind her father at the council meeting, three days after they decided to keep Nethene in place. Nethene sat two chairs down from the king on the left. Mage Kaepli was on the king’s right, Lord Enaur on his left. The Guard Captain, Neoi, sat next to Nethene and next to the Mage, the Chief of Scouts, Mysteso. Mysteso was telling the council about the movements of Iyuno’s forces. It wasn’t good.

“They’re massing, Sire, two day’s ride from here in the Diamond Point valley. I dare say there will be a challenge issued soon.”

King Ucheni nodded. “Captain Neoi, how are your forces prepared?”

“I’ve been recalling squads for the last week, Sire. Most are back. I’ve only kept a few watchers on key passes and routes. We can march in an hour, if you feel the need.”

“It seems prudent, Sire,” Nethene steepled his fingers, “to send your forces to Iyuno’s battleground immediately.”

Delia watched her uncle closely. Something about his tone of voice made the hairs on her arms stand straight up.

“Not wait for the challenge?” Mysteso asked.

Nethene shook his head. “If you arrive before the challenge, Iyuno will know that you’ve been watching him. That you’re not surprised.”

Nethene’s aura was black as night, Delia saw when she shifted her gaze to her magical sight. She clasped her hands in her lap to keep them from twisting. She didn’t trust Nethene and thought his plan to send all of her father’s soldiers to Diamond Point valley dangerous. It could be a trap, or a diversion. She nodded when Neoi said just that.

Nethene glanced at her over the king’s shoulder. She shuddered at his gaze and felt as though he knew exactly what she was thinking. Delia felt for the knife she’d taken to wearing at her waist. It slid a fraction of an inch from the sheathe easily. That made her feel a little better. If the evil elf decided to do anything, she was ready.

Mage Kaepli tapped the table in front of him. “I agree Neoi. We don’t know if these are his entire force or a diversion. Attack could come from any direction.”

“Have you done a scrying, Kaepli?” the king asked.

“Not yet, Sire.” The old mage bowed his head to the king. “But now seems the right time. I’ll prepare as soon as the council is finished.”

Ucheni nodded. “Good. I’ll await your word. That will be all for today.”

There was much scraping of chairs away from the table and bowing to the king. Delia caught Nethene glancing at her as he bowed. A look that to her meant he knew what she was thinking. A shiver ran down her spine and her left hand began forming a fireball of its own accord. She saw him restrain a smile as he turned to leave the council hall. She stood behind her father, ready to burn the elf down if needed.

Kaepli raised an eyebrow as he saw her behind the king. “Delia?”

Ucheni turned in his seat to stare at her. “What’s wrong, daughter.”

Nethene left the room. Delia breathed easier. “It was the way he looked at me, Father. My hand began to form a fireball without my conscious thought.”

Ucheni raised an eyebrow, then looked at the mage. “Is that possible?”

“Apparently. I just saw her do it. You were that afraid?”

Delia nodded. Her hands were trembling. “I don’t trust a thing he said, Father. It’s either a trap or a decoy.”

“You don’t think Iyuno will send a challenge to meet in Diamond Point valley?”

“I do think he will but I don’t think he’ll be there. He’ll be attacking the castle or ambush you on your way.”

The mage stroked his chin. “That could be true, Sire.” He took a deep breath. “Let me see what the scrying bowl says. That should guide your decision.”

The king nodded and the mage hurried off. Ucheni turned to his daughter. “Are you well?”

She took a deep breath. “A little terrified. I’ll recover.” Delia wiped her hand on her skirt.

He took her by the shoulders. “I worry that all of this is too overwhelming for you.”

“I’ll be fine, Father.” She raised her chin and looked him in the eyes. “I just found you, I don’t want to lose you just yet.”

He gave her a hug. “I’ve never had a more enthusiastic defender.”

“I’ll do my best.”

Back in her room she changed into practice clothes and went to the practice ground. She found a spot away from the others and began to throw fireballs. The other elves gathered around to watch. She practiced throwing far, then for accuracy. She answered questions about how she was forming the balls as best she could. Several of the elves began to try it. A few managed small fires in their hands but not the fire she could manage.

She was able to spar with one or two of the elves with staves, a weak weapon for her but one she felt she should at least have a basic grasp of. No one could tell what would or could go wrong in a battle. Delia was worried about that. Being the book keeper on a caravan hardly prepared her for going into a war. She wasn’t sure how she’d react. She thanked the elves for teaching her the staves and went back to her room.

As she washed in the cold water in her basin, Delia spent more time worrying about Nethene. Could he see her aura color with fear? Probably. She wondered if she could mask her aura. How to mask it was the first question. She looked in the polished silver of her mirror. Her aura was green with sparkles. Delia thought hard, pulling energy from her core, to change the color of her aura. It didn’t change at all as far as she could tell. She gave it up as a waste of time. Perhaps Kaepli would know how. She resolved to ask him at dinner. It would be handy to be able to hide what she was feeling from Nethene.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 15.

1034 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Cons, Holiday, Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I came back from the Westercon70 on the 4th of July. The con was in the heart of Tempe, Arizona and I did not want to get stuck in the middle of town with no way out so I left a little early. I was afraid all of the valley highways and especially highway 87 which leads to Payson would be jammed. Nope. Clear sailing all the way home. I was glad. I had a great time at the con and when it comes back near I’ll certainly go again. I met some great authors, fascinating scientists, and wonderful readers. If you’ve never been to a small conference before, you should try it.

On the garden front, my garden survived the heat wave while I was gone and I have my first yellow squash. It’s not the straight neck yellow squash the plant tag said at the store but it will do. I suspect the zucchini I bought is actually another yellow squash. We’ll see.

I’m still waiting for the editor to get Tested back to me. I haven’t made any decisions on the cover yet. I really need to get that done.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway is the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Did you see the author interview with Devorah Fox? We had fun chatting and she has some great books. Check out the post at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/author-interview-devorah-fox/

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with over 80 authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Slave Elf Part 13: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Purple by Dinky03 http://www.deviantart.com/art/PURPLE-14567744

Part 13

She was called to the King’s office, a room off of his private bedroom, at midmorning. There she found Ucheni, Ralae, Lord Enaur and an elf stranger. He was dressed in dark purple robes, his white hair cut just to his shoulders and waving wildly around his head. They all turned as she entered.

“Mage Kaepli, this is my daughter, Delia.”

Delia stepped forward to shake his hand. “Sir. I’m so sorry we didn’t meet last night.”

“Happy to meet you at last, Princess. I was caring for your friends, Sachi and Kiri. They’re doing well. They’ll be up and around in no time.”

“That’s good to hear.” She looked to her father. “You asked him about masking auras?”

“Please, sit, everyone.” He sat down at his desk. “Kaepli, please proceed.”

Kaepli steepled his fingers. “I had to look long and hard this morning, Sire. But at the end, it is possible.” He turned to Delia, seated next to him. “You say you see his aura as black?”

She nodded. “As a moonless, cloudy night. But father says he sees Nethene’s aura as purple. Is that what you see as well?”

The old elf nodded. “Indeed.” He sighed. “It takes great power to mask your own aura and it has to be held day and night. At least to people you don’t want to know. I didn’t know Nethene had such power.”

“I felt a great evil from him.” She looked at Ucheni. “You say he’s a relative. Any indication of evil from him before? Is he a supporter of yours?”

Lord Enaur spoke first. “I’ve never heard him speak of anything but support for your father. I’ve never heard him say anything about Iyuno at all.”

“Daughter,” Queen Ralae spoke. “He’s a distant cousin whom I only saw a few times growing up. He joined us here when Iyuno declared war.” She looked at Mage Kaepli. “There was no rumor at all of him being powerful enough to mask an aura.”

“He’s always given good advice at council.” King Ucheni tapped his fingertips on the carved wooden arm of his chair. “This is very disturbing. I am thinking back over the years. Is it possible he’s informing for Iyuno?”

“That’s quite a leap, Sire.” Enaur’s eyebrows rose. “Do you have something in mind?”

The king shrugged. “I don’t know. We’d have to review every decision we’ve made while Nethene was in council and any correlating failures afterward.”

“There are records, Sire.” Kaepli stroked the skirt of his robe. “I could have two or three of my students search them.”

Ucheni drew a deep breath. “Yes. Do that. I need to be sure we don’t have a spy among us.” He stood up, then the others did as well. “Thank you for coming. Kaepli could you stay a moment?”

“Certainly.” He bowed as the others left for the door.

Out in the hall, Ralae threaded her arm through her daughters as Enaur went the other way down the hall. “Why were you looking at auras, daughter?”

Delia shrugged. “They’re new to me. They’re so pretty and so many different colors. Nethene’s was so… so violent. Evil.” She shuddered at the memory.

“Kaepli and your father will sort it all out. In the meantime, would you like a tour of the palace and the grounds?”

“That would be wonderful.” Delia broke into a grin.

#

It was two days before she was called back to her father’s office. Her mother, the king, the mage and Enaur were already there. “You found something?”

King Ucheni motioned the mage to go ahead.

“In a significant number of cases, there is a correlation between action taken by the council only to have it fail when executed. For every failure, Nethene was at the Council meeting.”

Enaur pounded the arm of his chair. “No wonder we’re not winning.”

“Calm, Lord Enaur.” The king raised his hand. “Let’s think this through. How might we use this to our advantage?”

Delia blinked. “Father. You mean to keep him here? A traitor?”

Ucheni folded his hands in front of him on the desk. “A real possibility. We could feed him false information. It would have to be handled delicately. An elf with power enough to mask his aura may very well have other powers we know nothing about.” He looked at Ralae. “Have you heard anything about his magical strength?”

“I sent word to various cousins, aunts and uncles. My mother, as well. But it will be days before the messengers can get to their homes then return.” She sighed.

“In the mean time I suggest,” the king continued, “that we not let him know we suspect him.”

“Won’t our aura’s give us away?” Delia thought this was a terrible idea.

“They will indicate we’re hiding something,” the mage said. “But except for newly fledged elves, no one really goes around studying everyone else’s auras.”

Everyone else nodded but Delia wasn’t convinced. There was nothing she could do about it though. There was a short discussion on how to work the council meetings when Nethene was present, then the meeting disbanded. Delia went to the armory.

She asked for a bow and arrows and went to the practice ground. There, other elves were target shooting. They nodded their acknowledgment of her then left her to her own practice. She stayed there two hours, her arm trembling at the end. She returned the bow and arrows to the armory then went to her room, throwing the bolt when she closed the door.

Delia paced until the sun began to set with no new ideas. She was going to have to go along with her father’s plan. But she intended to be there armed. Just in case.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 14.

956 Words

 

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Author Interview: Devorah Fox

 

Author Devorah Fox and her pet dragon, Inky.

Today I’d like to welcome Devorah Fox. “What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of award-winning books including The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Sleeping. Seriously, between running a business, writing new stories and promoting existing titles, and managing a house, there’s not much time for anything else. I do belong to two local book clubs and two writers groups. Occasionally, I paint. Our local art center has Wine, Whine, and Design nights. An artist guides us in creating an acrylic painting while we sip wine, eat snacks, and socialize. It’s very relaxing and three hours later, I have a finished painting, some of which have been even been suitable to display.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Alice Marks, a dear friend, terrific writer and author, who moved to a distant state. Before she moved, we did enjoy spending afternoons eating cupcakes (so NOT on our diets) and talking about books, ours and everyone else’s. We’re still in touch of course, by email and snail mail, but it’s not the same. We miss the cupcakes!

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Coffee. I do try to develop an appreciation for green tea, since it has health benefits. But coffee. I even like coffee-flavored beer.

4. What are you working on right now?

I have three works in progress. One is Blood Guilt, a police procedural with a paranormal twist. Another is Dying to Get Hung, a cozy mystery featuring Candy Wadsen, the heroine of Murder by the Book. The third is a new adventure for Mercedes, otherwise known as the superhero, Lady Blackwing.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My stories feature memorable characters in whom readers really get invested. A common thread is that these characters are for the most part ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and rise to the challenge, learning something new about themselves.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Write a lot. It’s a worthwhile habit to write every day. Plus it’s a lot like training a muscle. The more you write, the easier it gets and the more skilled you become.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Ideas come to me, totally unbidden. Plot bunnies breed, well, like rabbits.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

email: devorahfox@aol.com

Website: http://devorahfox.com

Twitter: @devorah_fox   http://twitter.com/devorah_fox

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/DevorahFoxAuthor

amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006L9BJAO

smashwords profile page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mbapub
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+DevorahFox

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/devorahfox

authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/devorah_fox

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2751371.Devorah_Fox

Subscribe to my email newsletter: http://eepurl.com/LrZGX

Thank you, Devorah for stopping by today. We enjoyed chatting with you.
Gentle readers, I think you’ll enjoy going to Devorah’s website and social media pages. Stop by and say hello to her!

 

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Slave Elf Part 12: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Glass_of_light_by_justysiak http://www.deviantart.com/art/Glass-of-light-153578187

 

Part 12

Delia stood outside her parent’s private rooms, staring at the door. Her escort, Lord Enaur, had just knocked on it. As the door opened ahe ran her sweaty palms down the skirt of the dress she’d been given.

There stood a female elf, her golden hair braided and put up around her head like a crown. She was simply dressed in a sky-blue gown, embroidered with silver in leaves and vines. She was stunning. A wide smile spread across her face. “Delia!” She opened her arms and wrapped them around Delia in a warm embrace. “I’m so glad you’re finally home.”

Delia had never felt more welcome anywhere before. It seemed to flow from her mother like a warm blanket. “Mother.”

Ralae let Delia go and stepped back to look at her. “You look wonderful. So lovely. Come, meet your father.” She threaded her arm in her daughters and went into the room. “You as well, Enaur.”

They proceeded into the room where intricately woven carpets covered the stone floors. There was a huge fireplace on the opposite wall and a desk under a window, the elf seated there turned around and stood up. His hair was so blond it was nearly white and hung down loose over his shoulders. Dressed in a green tunic with gold embroidery, and black trousers tucked into boots to his knees, he met them half way across the floor, next to a dining table and chairs. He took Delia by the shoulders, his face solemn. “We’ve missed you terribly, Delia. Can you ever forgive us?” He embraced her.

Delia chose to look at his aura, it was silver, sparkling. She could feel his power and sadness and grief and hugged him back. “I understand it was something you felt needed to be done.”

He released her and stepped back. Looking at her, then Lord Enaur. “You arrived in a rush.”

Enaur nodded. “They ambushed us at the stream. Kiri and Satchi?”

Ucheni sighed. “They were both injured, they’re with the mage now, healing. I’m sorry about the attack. They hid well as I had ordered the approaches to be swept just this morning.”

“We’re all safe, that’s what matters,” Enaur said.

Ralae walked to the upholstered chairs in front of the fireplace. “Come, sit down. Tell us about you, Delia. We want to know everything.”

They talked for two hours, telling each other about their lives, the war, and her training.

“Delia has a gift, Sire, for languages and writing but she has the strength to throw fireballs and is very accurate with them.”

The king and his queen smiled. “That’s good to hear. We have so few with the power to do that. It will be a great help in the war.”

Ralae stood up. “It’s time for dinner. We can go down together. Everyone is eager to meet you. There will be a feast and music all night to welcome you.” She took Delia by the hand. “I never want to let you go again.”

The banquet was set up in a hall on the main floor of the palace. She’d never seen anything like it. Sconces on the wall and chandeliers hung from the ceiling were lit with glowing orbs casting a soft clear light over everything. Massive wall hangings in brilliant colors hung on the walls. Long tables filled the room and elves were standing, wine cups in hand, waiting.

They cheered when Ucheni on one side and Ralae on the other, escorted Delia between them to the head table. Delia blushed at the overwhelming wash of love and welcome that flowed in her direction. Ucheni raised his hands and the crowd quieted. “Thank you for your warm welcome to our daughter, Princess Delia. Please, let us enjoy this feast.”

Another cheer went up as everyone claimed a seat. A group of musicians played, people sang, she hardly remembered what she ate as one person after another came to the table to greet her. After the banquet, there was dancing and one young male elf after another took turns teaching her to dance. Her parents joined her on the dance floor and the hours passed so quickly she hardly realized dawn was breaking.

She stood with her parents as each elf took their leave. Delia was enjoying looking at everyone’s aura. They were in every color she’d ever heard of and all who said their good nights were full of good wishes. She was shocked, then, by one of the last elves. An elf with age etched on his face, he was dressed all in black. The only one in that color.

“Lord Nethene, my daughter, Delia.”

The blackness of his aura caused Delia to shudder as he bent over her hand. “I’m so glad you’ve finally returned home.”

Delia took her hand back as fast as she could. “Lord Nethene.”

He studied her, a smirk on his face. Was he reading her aura as well? “We all look forward to your help in this unfortunate war.”

“I’ll do what I can.” She could feel her skin crawling. Didn’t her parents feel it?

Nethene left and Delia trembled with relief. She barely heard the last of the guests speaking to her.

Alone, her mother took her arm. “I’ll lead you to your room, Sweetness. Did you have a good time?”

Ucheni walked with them.

“I did, until just now.”

Ucheni’s eyebrows rose. “Just now?”

“Yes. Couldn’t you feel Lord Nethene’s aura? It was black as a well bottom. He is evil.”

Her parents looked at each other. “His aura is purple, Delia. He’s a distant cousin on your mother’s side of the family. Are you sure?”

Her nod was emphatic. “I could hardly stand for him to touch my hand.” She shuddered. “Can an aura be masked? Hidden?”

Ralae shook her head. “I’ve never heard of that. But perhaps the mages will know.”

They reached her room. “I’ll ask in the morning,” Ucheni said.

Delia nodded. “Thank you.”

Her parents nodded. “Sleep well,” Ralae told her.

“You as well.” Delia experimented. “Mother. Father.” The words didn’t feel natural. She closed the door and leaned against it. She had a horrible feeling about Lord Nethene that just wouldn’t go away.

She splashed her face and dressed for bed, throwing the bolt on the door before she lay down. Everyone in the palace would know where she was and she didn’t want Nethene sneaking in.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 13.

1070 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Tested – Book and Weather: Monday Blog Post

Hiking where it’s cooler. Willow Lake outflow.

Newest News:

The heat wave I mentioned last week is still holding on. Hot! Hot! Hot! I went for a walk with some friends last Friday and between the heat and my poor hiking fitness, was just about wiped out. The heat is supposed to let up on Tuesday. I hope so.

On the garden front, I picked peas Sunday morning. I love fresh peas, straight from the pod. Delish! The yellow squash plant has three tiny squashes. The zucchini has blossoms. I’ll have squash in about 4 days for the rest of the summer. Tomatoes are all in blossom. One of the Early Girls has small tomatoes on it but it will be a while before they ripen. The beans are blooming and the remaining serrano chili plant has tiny little peppers. So cute.

I’m still waiting for the editor to get Tested back to me. I haven’t made any decisions on the cover yet. I really need to get that done.

Giveaways:

Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is done and I’ve emailed my winners with their prizes. Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

Shout Out:

Did you see the interview with Colleen Mooney? What a wonderful guest. I hope you went to see her site. I have some good interviews coming up so keep reading!

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

I’m panelist at the Westercon conference held this year in Tempe, Arizona. I’m scheduled to sit on three panels and I have a reading and some signings scheduled. I don’t know yet if I’m going to get a Dealer’s table to sell books but I’ll definitely sell books at my signings. I’ve never been to this con and it’s been going on for seven decades! I hope you can make it. Check out all the fun at www.Westercon70.org.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with over 80 authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Arroz con Pollo: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

No pasta this month, it’s rice instead. I saw this recipe on Food Network’s, Farmhouse Rules with Nancy Fuller. An upstate girl myself, I enjoy Nancy’s show and this one was shown around Cinco de Mayo, of course! Anyway, I haven’t made a chicken and rice casserole in I can’t remember when. So while I missed doing it on May 5th, it was shortly thereafter and on a rainy, cold day. I was grateful to have that lovely smell of rice, chicken and saffron filling the house and the heat of the oven making things all warm and cozy.

Serves 4 – 6.

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

1/4 c olive oil

12 bone-in, skin on, chicken pieces (I used 6 pieces, thighs and legs)

1 large onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

3 bay leaves

1/2 cup diced tomato

4 cups chicken stock

One 12-ounce bottle lager beer

2 cups arborio rice

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 pimento, chopped (jarred pimento is fine, about 1/4 cup)

Salt and pepper

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brown the chicken

 

Read the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite rice or chicken supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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