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Friday FreebitsThis week’s Friday Freebits excerpt is a little different from my other posts. Following is from the “eternal novel,” a medieval fantasy I’ve been working on, off and on since the latter years of the past millennium. Sword of Names is a story of truth and lies, mistaken identities and disguises, unlikely alliances, good-guys versus bad-guys, and with a hint of magic.

In this short piece, we meet Tolmer, a boy of 15 from a race of people of little—if any—moral character who have, among their other skills, the ability to make themselves invisible. Nochlan is an aging wizard-type who must rediscover his craft on the fly, and who is also the grandfather of the heroine. He and Elthwen, the deposed king’s daughter, are on the run from unsavory characters at the beck and call of the Main Evil Dude. Prior to this bit, Tolmer has been caught trying to steal Nochlan‘s corrath, Glaer, a crystal with powerful capabilities and her own personality.

~*~

“I saw no one, sir!”

The corrath flared red. “If you are lying to me, rogue, your tongue will turn black and choke you with bitter bile!”

“I swear!” Fear flashed across the young villain’s face and his ragged voice broke on the strain.

Nochlan leaned on his staff, Glaer’s  intensity cooling. “I accept your word.”

“Thank you, sir.” Choking down a breath, the boy shuddered.

“But I am once again of a mind to change you into a toad…or perhaps a fish…yes, a fish!” He wrinkled his brow in pretended thought, his corrath flickering slowly. “Perhaps your mother would prefer something more useful. A dog is a fine companion that can hunt and fetch and protect her.”

“Please, sir. I beg you. Leave me as I am.”

Nochlan rubbed his chin. “Then again, I fancy you would make a handsome bird. A rooster or a goose…. Oh, unquestionably a goose!” He raised the staff, its stone emitting a blinding light.

“Oh please, sir….” Tolmer cringed, shielding his eyes with his hand from the intensity of the glare. Tears streamed down his face, his lanky form tremulous with cold and distress.

“Very well, then.” The stone’s light dimmed. “For your old, sick mother’s sake, I will spare you this once. But only under one condition.”

“Anything, sir. I will do anything.” He wiped his runny nose with the back of his hand.

Nochlan raised his eyebrows. “Anything?”

“Please, sir….”

Tolmer_face

Tolmer

He took in the lad from top of his coppery head to his coarse woolen leggings—patched in the knees—to his soft deerskin boots, already short in the toe. He shook his head, his lips pursed. “No, that would never work.” He pondered some more. “No, unacceptable…except perhaps….Yes, that is it!

“What is it, sir?”

He glanced around quickly and, having spied a small copse of blooming bracklethorne at the forest’s edge, he motioned to it with a tip of his staff. “I will let you go, Tolmer of the Navith Milithos, but only if you surrender your clothes.”

~*~

Fridays and FreeBits is a regular feature on Ginger Simpson’s blog, Dishin’ It Out. To read more excerpts from some great authors, click here.
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TGIF! That means it’s tiFriday Freebitsme for Friday FreeBits, six paragraphs from one of my published books.

Today’s excerpt is from the opening chapter of Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, book One of “The Serpent’s Tooth” historical trilogy, published by Books We Love. Set during the turbulent 18th century, the series follows Anne Darvey from her impoverished childhood in rural England to the American colonies and the War for Independence.

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“…This is a dark novel that deals with the resentment and anger of a girl who has been misled and cannot seem to get past her grief …. While not a typical romance, this is a fascinating, complex story that I completely enjoyed. It is well written and entertained me with mystery, suspense, scandal, sinister characters and first love.” — Romantic Historical Lovers

~*~

Blinded by tears, Anne Fairfield ran. She had lost her shoes somewhere in the squire’s field amid the newly plowed furrows, but she couldn’t stop to worry about them now. Nor would she stop to consider how her mother might take to the loss, although the thought stirred a fleeting pang of anxiety in the pit of her stomach. But it was nothing compared to the need that drove her to keep running. To run fast and hard and not look back. Far worse than a mother’s scolding would be her punishment if she allowed them to overtake her. Even as she ran, their hateful voices grew louder as they steadily closed the distance between her and them.

Cradling her basket against her heaving chest, she tried not to think of the precious eggs within. She’d already lost a goodly number…not counting the one she had hurled at Dickie Hodge.

She hadn’t realized how far she had run. All the way to St. Cillian’s Well! Nearly home. But they gained ground. The pounding of their ponies’ hooves and a new clarity in their cruel voices drew closer and more distinct. She’d never outrun them. They’d be on her before she could cross the meadow between the spring and home.

Gasping for breath, only partly conscious of the raucous chatter of birds that greeted her entry and the cheerful gurgle of water bubbling up from the earth, she darted into the thicket surrounding the pool. She pressed her back against the spiny bark of a slender hawthorn, and willed the tears from her burning eyes. Hands balled into fists, Anne swiped their trails from her cheeks. She sucked in a deep breath and peered through the grove at the road and the fields behind her.

There was still no sign of them, but their taunting voices filled the air, ringing in the glade with hurtful words that stung her to the heart. The strident sound drew closer—young voices chanting and laughing in fiendish delight.

 

An-nie Fair-field, where did your father go?

Across the sea to Galilee, but Mother’ll never know.

An-nie Fair-field, what is your father’s aim?

To kiss the maids and make them cry!

Oh, for shame, for shame!

~*~

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~*~

Fridays and FreeBits is a regular feature on Ginger Simpson’s blog, Dishin’ It Out. To read more excerpts from some great authors, click here.

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Welcome once again to Friday Freebits Freebits Friday! This week’s six paragraph excerpt is from my historical romance, Winter Fire. In the following six paragraph excerpt, I’ve drawn on the Seneca creation myth for Zara’s dream after Ethan has rescued her from drowning in a half-frozen creek.

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In her dream, she was running. Fast and hard while water drums sounded a fearful pulsing, and turtle shell rattles hissed like snakes. Jeering voices filled the air. The Gagonsa, the False Faces, with their grotesque masks painted black and red, chased her from the village. But when she looked back over her shoulder, blue-coated soldiers pursued her. The Gagonsa and all The People were gone. The village was on fire.

She ran until she could run no farther. Then Nichus, her-husband-no-longer-her-husband, came to her. Nichus led her by the hand to a hole in the earth.

“The witch Jiiwi is no more,” he said gently, and he pushed her over the brink.

Like Iagen’tci, the Sky Woman of legend, she fell. She fell through a dark abyss. And a great white bird came to her.

“Are you afraid?” the bird asked. “Are you afraid of being cast out like this?”

“Yes,” she replied, “I am afraid.”

“You need not be frightened any longer,” the bird said, and it transformed itself into a man who supported her in his arms, and descended with her into the light.

~*~

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To find out more about Winter Fire, please click on the cover.

Friday FreeBits is a regular feature on Ginger Simpson’s blog, Dishin’ It Out. To read more excerpts from some great authors, click here.

 

 

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Friday FreebitsIt’s Freebits Friday! This week’s  six paragraph excerpt is again from my historical romance, Winter Fire. Early in the book, Zara Grey has had a first encounter with Ethan Caine in the settlement after living for fifteen years among the Iroquois.

~*~

From the moment I picked up WINTER FIRE and read the prologue, I knew it was going to be one of those books that I could not put down. It has been a long time since I have read a book that I enjoyed as thoroughly as I did this fantastic novel created by Kathy Fischer-Brown.– Kristie Leigh Maguire, author of Emails from the Edge

~*~

Zara drew the woolen shawl tight against a sudden blast of winter wind, and pressed herself close to the slats in the corner of the wagon bed. The bumping, jolting pace of the ride home seemed far more uncomfortable than the ride into the village. The soft earth had grown hard, heaving up rocks and swells. Ice had formed a brittle crust over the standing water in the hollows and wagon ruts studding the road. Despite her uncle’s good cheer, a tension hung on the air, as frigid as the gust that took her breath away.

Hoping to catch another glimpse of the man on the road, Zara glanced up again in the direction of the settlement. He was long gone from view, but the effect of his dark eyes upon her had not faded. He had called to her with his silent voice and with his eyes and his heart. Unlike the rude and gawking stares of those who regarded her with secret scorn and barely suppressed fear–as if she had walked naked among them–the man’s eyes had been filled with sadness and a longing as deep and as real as her own.

She pulled the rainbow ribbon from her hair and pressed its cool smoothness to her cheek.

Beside her in the straw-strewn wagon bed, his thin legs drawn up to his chest, head bobbing to the rhythm of the ride, Jabez stared at the darkening sky, a blade of straw between his teeth. Earlier in the day he had indicated points of interest along the route. It had been nothing but idle talk to fill up the time and ease the discomfort inspired by their forced closeness. Even though he had made no attempt to hide his uneasiness, his natural sincerity had touched her.

But now his silence echoed her own anxiety. She sensed his disquiet in his faraway eyes and his reticence.

Zara turned her eyes skyward. Tahahiawakon! He-Who-Holds-up-the-sky! It is I, whom you once knew as Jiiwi, daughter of the Great Hill People, keepers of the western door of the Ongweh-oh-weh-ney. Send me a sign so that I may know your wishes.

~*~

Please click on the cover for more information.

To find out more about Winter Fire, please click on the cover.

~*~
Friday FreeBits is a regular feature on Ginger Simpson’s blog, Dishin’ It Out. To read more excerpts from some great authors, click here.

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Friday FreebitsThis week’s Friday Freebit is again from The Partisan’s Wife, the final book in “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy. In this excerpt, Peter Marlowe, who has been spying for the American army, is about to receive what may prove to be his final assignment. (Apologies for including a bit more than six paragraphs.)

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4 Stars “The story itself was wonderful. It was beautifully told with lots of detail and exciting pace. I found myself staying up late at night just to see what was going to happen next, and in the moments that I couldn’t read I was always thinking about it. The Serpent’s Tooth Trilogy is an excellent read that you shouldn’t let pass you by!” — Unabridged Chick

~*~

General Washington’s gaze settled on Peter with an aspect of judicious satisfaction. “You suffered greatly on account of this ‘mistake,’ did you not? You lost your home, your land, and your good name. You needn’t explain, Captain. I am by now familiar with all the particulars. My one concern is that your purpose in the execution of your duties as an officer is not so much predicated on vindictiveness as it is on honor.”

Peter looked up. “Whatever my reason, I am prepared to give my life to the success of our cause. This matter…” He placed the broadside face down on the desk. “…is now finished. There is no longer a basis for personal vengeance on my part. I am here because my conscience commands me.” His hands, clasped tight together in his lap, were white with cold and tension.

Leafing through the papers on his desk, Washington appeared pleased by Peter’s reply. “Loyalty is an indispensable quality in a soldier…and in a man, Captain,” he said quietly. “On the other hand, absolute loyalty, to the detriment and denial of one’s personal needs, is a thing most rare. I tend to be skeptical of it.” He unfolded a sheet of pale blue foolscap and scanned the writing. Silence filled the tent, save for the hum of muted voices arising from the knot of generals reviewing the charts and maps. “I understand that you have a wife, Captain.”

Peter swallowed hard. “I am hardly alone in that. If I may be so bold, your Excellency has a wife, as well.”

The general smiled. “A most uncommon woman. Wives of soldiers are, for the most part, uncommon women.”

Peter shifted in his chair. “They carry an uncommon burden.”

“I understand also that your wife is in Philadelphia.” Washington turned over the sheet of foolscap and read the remainder of the writing. “I imagine you must be distressed over the deplorable conditions in that city.”

Peter looked up in surprise as Washington handed him the note without ceremony. To his astonishment, the writing was in Anne’s hand, the salutation addressed to him. “My Beloved Husband….” It was all he could decipher. Everything else was a blur, moving and changing on the page. All at once, his awareness centered solely on the aching in his heart.

~*~

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Please click on the cover for more information.

Friday FreeBits is a regular feature on Ginger Simpson’s blog, Dishin’ It Out. To read more excerpts from some great authors, click here.

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fdde2-55327_girl-writing_lgMagic of the Chimes by Pat Dale

What is it with this guy and my chest?
 
His focus remained at that point when she set the food before him, random thoughts flitting through her mind.
“Here’s your breakfast, Mr. Williams. Howie. I hope everything is done to your satisfaction.” She knew instantly her choice of words was wrong again when he leered up at her.
 Magc-of-the-Chimes
“Oh, yes. Very much so.” Returning his focus to her chest, he added, “Full and firm, and very nicely formed.” He grinned and winked.

That did it. She’d begun to pour more coffee into his cup when her arm slipped. The hot brown liquid scored a bulls-eye in his lap.

Please stop back next week for a few lines from Shirley Martin.

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The Color of Seven and The Color of Dusk
A Books We Love Special Edition
Two Complete Novels

Dark Series_“Whut I knows, son, is dat dis world, it be ringed with worlds on worlds….” Deep in the woods that slide off into Stone Creek Swamp, teenage drug dealers retrieve their stash and receive an unexpected dividend-the unwitting resurrection of Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic. Atop Coleman Hill, two young attorneys renovate a decrepit relic for their home and office. A house with a past it wants to share, showing Ria Knight tantalizing scenes of its original owner, Dr. Paul Devlin. Dr. Devlin’s not exactly alive and well, but he’s not dead either. Because what crosses over when the worlds overlap can change the course of a man’s life. And death. And future. Explore the Dark. The past, like evil, never dies. It just-waits.

Drop in on February 16 for a preview from Vijaya Schartz!

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