Girl of Glass by Megan O’Russel

Girl of Glass 
Megan O’Russell
Fiery Seas Publishing
Young Adult
December 6, 2016
Book Description:
Two worlds…one glass wall…no turning back.
The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.
Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.
About the Author:
Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. 
Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received it’s world premiere in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

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Enlightenment by Liz Keel

 
“No!” I screamed. It had happened again. This was the fourth night in a row I had

woken up with a start, beads of sweat dampening my forehead and a sick feeling

swirling in my stomach. Rubbing my face whilst trying to sit up I thought back to the

same terrifying dream that had been haunting me for weeks now. Not that I expected

it to be any other way. I mean, watching your parents die in a car crash will have that

effect on you. The difference was that I was supposed to have died. I know it sounds

crazy but there was no way I should have survived that; yet I had, and I was sure

that the only reason I was still alive was because of the bright light that had

emanated from my body.

We were supposed to have been setting off on a three-month expedition around

India, but only got as far as our local town in Montana before it happened. One

minute I was sitting in the back of the car fiddling with my iPod and the next second

I’d heard Mom screaming. I’d looked up just in time to see a car skidding along on

the road before it hit us side-on, flipping us into a ditch. Even now the fear I’d felt at

the time – the fear of what was to come – still swallows me whole. Time had seemed

to slow down as I had watched my mom and dad being thrown around as the car

had turned upside down. Our screams had been overwhelming and I’d been

reaching my breaking point, when suddenly all went silent and

I had been engulfed in a bright, orange glow that had blinded me. Everything

after that was hazy. I remember smacking my head on the window, which had been

followed by an unbearable pain that had made my skull feel as though it would

explode. I put my hand to my forehead, feeling a warm and sticky liquid trickling

down the side of my face. Putting my hand out in front of me, I saw it was blood, but

my fuzzy brain couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. It was at that point black

spots started to creep into my vision, making everything seem blurry. Then, however

much I tried to stay awake, the darkness won and I slipped out of consciousness.

I awoke to an incessant bleeping and hushed whispers of ‘So young’ and ‘Such a

shame’ and it was at that point I knew both of my parents were dead. Upon opening

my eyes, a numb feeling began to take over as I realised I was in the local hospital

with doctors giving me sympathetic looks and calling me sweetie whilst a nurse

asked me who they should contact. That was an easy answer: no one. My parents

had both been only children and their parents, my grandparents, had died when they

were young. There was no one else.

A couple of hours later Eli turned up with his family. Who’s Eli? Explaining him

isn’t exactly one of the easiest things to do, as our relationship was complicated to

say the least. Foremost, he’s my best friend, even with his over-protective nature,

which I think stems from his need to look out for me, kind of like how I imagined a

brother would for a sister. This would make sense as I’ve always been really close to

his family, who seem to have been in my life for forever. Yes, it was helped by the

fact they lived in the same neighbourhood as us and that he went to the same high

school as me; but more than that Eli seems to have been there at all my major life

events. From losing my first tooth, to falling off my bike and then taking me for walks

in the forest when I needed the company, he’s always been there, someone I could

rely on.

And again on this eventful day, he turned up knowing exactly what I needed: for

someone not to say anything, but instead just to sit with me. He completely ignored

his mother’s sobs as he only had eyes for me, walking quickly over to my bed and

wrapping his arms around me. He pulled me onto his lap and once again I seemed

to fit perfectly as he cocooned me, wrapping his arms around my back, his warmth

spreading through me like a drug. We were both seniors but he looked older,

probably due to the growth spurt he had had over the summer. At six foot one he

was a whole seven inches taller than me and had these tanned muscular arms that

were freakishly strong, probably due to his part-time job as a labourer on the local

farm. His dark blond hair spent most of the time being brushed back from his

forehead, as it always fell into his eyes, but it always really suited him that way. One

of the things I loved most about him were his eyes, which sparkled different shades

of emerald green and I swear just looking at them let me know how he was feeling.

On that day they had been a dull green.

I know the way I’m describing him might make you wonder why I’m not talking

about him as something more than just a friend, but that’s the complicated part. You

see, my feelings for him are purely platonic, but I don’t think he feels the same. The

way Eli looks at me sometimes…the subtle hints…the way he grabs my hand and

won’t let go, I think he wants something more and I’m not sure what to do about it.

And however selfish this might sound, I need him in my life and can’t mess up our

friendship, even to see if there could possibly be something more to our relationship.

What if it all went wrong?

“Hey Thea,” Eli had whispered into my ear. “Mom says that when you’re

discharged you’re coming home with us, period. No arguing.” I’d squeezed him back,

gratefully burying my face in the crook of his neck, unable to communicate how

much he and his family meant to me. At least they would be able to keep the

loneliness at bay.

We sat like that for ages, me just breathing in his woody, musky smell, wondering

how I was meant to function again. He twisted strands of my dark brown hair around

his fingers and occasionally stroked his thumb along the side of my chin in a

soothing manner. I could hear his mother and father in deep discussions with the

police officers, and heard them say it was a miracle I was alive. Tell me about it. The

only other person who had been around was Eli’s four-year- old sister Leela, who

kept coming up with big, round, sad eyes, patting me on the leg whilst trying to get

me to take Buggles, her much loved toy rabbit. She had known something was

wrong and had tried her hardest to fix it in the only way she knew how.

That was four months ago, and although I’ve spent most of my time since then

feeling numb and totally lost, I have begun to smile again and do normal things like

getting up in the morning and going to school. If only these dreams would go away.

There was nothing I could do about what had happened, but still my brain was

making me re-play it over and over again. However, this latest dream was different.

Whenever I had dreamt about the crash, before the part where the orange glow

appeared, I could see the faces of the bystanders with their horrified looks as we

began to tip over. But this last time there was another face of a man who looked at

me – and I mean really looked at me – as though he knew me. For some reason his

eyes glowed with an intense ferocity and the sneer on his face only added to the

anger that seemed to radiate off him. I couldn’t work out what I had ever done to him,

or why I hadn’t seen him in my dreams before.

 

 

 


Enlightenment
The Driel Trilogy
Liz Keel
 
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
 
Release Date: 21st April 2016
 
ISBN:  9780996974875 
ISBN:  9780994664198 
 
Book Description:
 
After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. 
 
Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice. With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. 
 
Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…
 
 
 
About the Author:
 
I live in Surrey, England, a short walk from the beautiful Windsor Park, with my husband Richard and our two gorgeous children Noah and Olivia. For me, writing is nothing short of an addiction and I often find myself sneaking out to my writing shed for just a few minutes, which can often turn into hours of pure, unadulterated bliss catching up with my characters and continuing their story. 
 
In-between writing, I teach in a primary school where there’s never a dull moment! I will also often be found Kindle in hand, reading a wide variety of genres but with YA fantasy and paranormal romance at the forefront of my reading list. Although I’m currently writing the second book in the Driel trilogy, other characters involving all things fantasy, paranormal and YA romance are jockeying for position, wanting me to write their story next, so watch this space! It is such a privilege to share my stories with you the reader. Thank you enough for taking the time to find out more about me. 
 
To find out more about Liz, visit her website: www.lizkeelauthor.com
 
 
 
 

 

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Blood Ice and Oak Moon by Marsha A Moore

fangs-for-the-holidays-banner-blood-ice-and-oak-moon
Excerpt from Chapter One: Winter Began

Dear Miss Rebecca Esmeralda Underhill,

Please accept our deepest sympathies concerning the loss of your grandmother, Flora Esmeralda

Freestone. She was much loved and well-respected in our community.

As per her documented wishes, the ownership of her property on 10510 East Lost Branch Run

passes to you. This transfer has been filed in our office. At the request of High Priest Logan

Dennehy, all council members have voted to reinstate you as a member of Coon Hollow Coven

after your absence of twenty years.

However, despite Coon Hollow Coven being your birthplace, a majority indicated the lapsed

time was sufficient cause to withhold transfer of Ms. Freestone’s ceremonial standing to you,

which customarily would accompany a property transference to blood kin of adult age. For

explanation of how you may attain ceremonial approval in your name, please visit the council

office at 50013 Owls Tail Creek Road.

Enclosed, please find pamphlets describing the expected dress and personal property code of our

coven, which adheres to the time period in which the coven was founded in 1935. This is to best

protect our witchcraft traditions.

Sincerely,

Nathan Wells

Coon Hollow Coven Council, secretary

Esme’s gaze fixed on the words that acknowledged her as the property owner. She’d

never lived alone. First her mom, then a roommate and finally Doug. Esme’s shoulders

straightened and chest lifted with strength and independence at the thought of owning her own

place. But, why wasn’t she approved for ceremonial status? Her hands gripped the edge of the

table, knuckles whitening, and her heart raced. It’s not fair. I won’t be accepted as a healer. Only

children not yet graduated from the coven’s secondary school were kept from participating fully

in ceremonies. Esme loved learning the ways of a hedge witch and helped Gram every summer

from grade school through college. Fascinated with tending Gram’s plants, Esme even studied

botany in college.

The research company she worked for had already accepted her request to work offsite

and study mystic plants…at the stipulation she be reduced to part-time. She needed work here as

a healer to supplement her income. She’d assumed incorrectly that her experience with Gram and

college studies would’ve qualified her as an accepted healer. Her standing in the coven would be

important to patrons, all except Gram’s closest friends who knew Esme well. An attempt at

independence seemed bound to fail before she started.

Her gaze drifted to the name used in the letter’s greeting. She hadn’t seen her full name in

print for decades. It didn’t even appear on her birth certificate, which labeled her as Rebecca E.

Underhill, one of the many things her mother insisted upon. Mother wanted nothing to do with

the coven or witchcraft and said, “Esmeralda sounds too much like a witch. No need to

encourage the darkness out.” Grudgingly, she accepted her own mother’s middle name for her

child to uphold custom. Esme never understood Mother’s view since Gram was well-respected

for her kind and gentle strength by all who knew her.

To Esme’s Indianapolis friends, she was Becky. Only her mother addressed her as

Rebecca. But inside, she was Esme. Gram had always called her that, or Esmeray in carefree

moments. Her middle name suited the mystic inside Esme, something Gram must have known. If

only Esme could use Gram’s last name Freestone. Underhill felt like a lead weight.

Esme set the letter aside and paced the length of the rag runner through the small kitchen.

Frustration wound her along a circular track through the sitting room, to her closet-sized guest

room, and back. The space was too small to work answers out of her tangled mind. On the

second pass, she sank onto the goose down comforter of Gram’s iron bed. Billowing fluff

sheltered her from the problems. Gram’s linens, scented with homegrown lavender and rose

sleep liniment, comforted Esme and tugged on her eyelids.

She forced her eyes open and pushed herself up and off the bed. Hiding wasn’t the way to

begin this fresh start in life. She’d done enough kowtowing to stronger wills, letting Doug and

her mother run over her. At the back door, she paused long enough to grab a rain parka and

pulled it on as she strode outside.

Gram’s cat, Dove, zipped alongside with a sharp meow, slipping out before the door

closed. Esme smiled, grateful the tomcat kept Gram company during her illness. She’ doted on

the smoky blue stray that happened into her garden one early fall afternoon and never left. Gram

swore he was an omen and chose his name ‘cause of his white-winged breast patch. She used to

say, “One day soon my spirit will fly on those outspread wings, and together Dove and me we’ll

roam the wooded hills.” Gram loved those hills. Thinking about the hills drew Esme to gather

Dove and head outside.

Ice still peppered down, adding more layers to the spiky crystalline grass blades. A

breeze blew at Esme’s back. She allowed the wind to guide her toward the woods behind the

cabin. At the trailhead, ice coating the bittersweet vine berries glistened the same shade of blue

she’d rubbed from Dove’s coat. Alert to the strange color, she followed a line of branches

dangling sky blue icicles, each one more fanciful and richer in hue than the last. A beautiful play

of light, ranging from cerulean to ultramarine. Even worth the chill at her ankles, which were

bare in her cropped jeans.

Whenever Esme paused to marvel at the colored icicles, Dove pawed them and then

dodged when they dropped.

Minutes later and deeper in the forest, the ice pelted heavier, and Esme reached for the

hood of her raincoat. Strands of hair fell forward, woven with frozen ultramarine threads. The

same purplish tint coated twigs along the path. Light from the sky reached this far into the woods

since all but the oak trees had lost their leaves. The unusual color couldn’t be caused by light

refraction. She’d never seen any rain, sleet, or snow like this, not even in the Hollow. Grammy

had taught her a little about omens. Was this a sign?

Esme scurried along the trail, sliding at times and spotting richer and deeper shades of

purple and red-violets. At the far side of the woodlot, iris-hued spider webs clung to berry

brambles. She gasped at the beauty. Tempted to touch, she extended a hand but at the last instant

resisted.

A deep groan echoed from the adjoining property ahead.

She snatched her hand back and scanned for some god of nature angry at her ruinous

attempt. Grappling for Dove, Esme crouched behind a thicket.

The cat gave a single hiss, then clung to her leg.

In the distance, a big middle-aged man, both tall and wide, staggered behind a shed,

dragging a long, clumsy load wrapped and tied into a blanket. His balding head snapped in her

direction, eyes wide and face blanched gray-white. “Who’s there?” His booming voice sliced the

delicate webs from their branches. Crimson freezing rain assaulted both trail and yard.

Esme froze, afraid to move and attract his attention. Her heart, drumming against her ribs,

threatened to give her away. She wanted to run home. But if the colored ice omen was meant for

her, she needed to stay and learn its meaning. Could the man see the omen?

Thankfully, her cover must’ve fooled Baldy. He resumed lugging the limp bundle, and

didn’t seem affected by the magical ice.

From between the tangle of branches, Esme studied him.

His wet, black shirt clung to his round belly. Blood-red ice coated his load, tracing the

outline of a human body. Smaller than his, probably a female. Was she dead? Of natural causes?

Or had he murdered her? The thought wrapped around Esme’s breath and trapped it deep in her

lungs. Her legs twitched. Gaze riveted on Baldy, she positioned to bolt from potential danger.

He rolled the body into a depression Esme couldn’t see.

She leaned to one side, bracing herself with a hand on the ground.

Over what looked like a freshly dug grave, Baldy grunted as he shoveled and kicked dirt

and large rocks. Clumps of red clung to long strands of his comb-over, now hanging along one

ear. Was it ice or real blood?

Dove huddled closer, and Gram’s voice from years ago spoke in Esme’s mind. “Blood

ice is stained with revenge.”

Crimson liquid dripped from the man’s eyes and fell from grimacing jowls. The face of a

demon

© Copyright 2016 Marsha A. Moore. All rights reserved.

 holiday-flash

Tea Leaf Tales: Which Yule Tree Will Pick Me?

Fantasy Flash Fiction by Marsha A. Moore

trees

I suck in a gulp of thick, pine-scented air, faced with the difficult question—which one. I tick through the usual criteria—fullness, tightly attached needles, correct height. Beyond that the trouble begins for me when I consider needle length, color, tightness of branches.

 

Needles crunch under the soles of my shoes as I slowly pass down the row, hoping one tree chooses me. Those I don’t give a full inspection slyly begin to stretch their postures more erect before I turn completely away. If I pause to admire one, branches brush past the backs of my legs until I turn around and give that tree a careful look.

 

Ahead in the center of the display, I hear voices in foreign languages—hurried bits of anxious dialog that quiet as I grow near.

 

One small blue spruce tries his best to stretch taller but cannot reach up to his neighbors, so I lean in and whisper, “If you talk to me, I’ll take you home.”

 

I wait, determined, and the nearby treetops bend over the tiny spruce until finally a gentle tinkling begins deep inside at its trunk, radiating to the tips of the boughs at my side. I caress the singing branch, then wave an arm to the shop owner.

Tea Leaf Tales is a series of original ten-sentence short stories by Marsha A. Moore, relating to photos/scenes that resonate with her. Read more Tea Leaf Tales archived in Marsha’s Mercantile of Tea Leaf Tales.




Blood Ice and Oak Moon
Coon Hollow Coven Tales 
Book Three
Marsha A Moore
Print Length: 211 pages
Publication Date: October 3, 2016
ASIN: B01LWS4V2G
Genre: PNR
Book Description:
Esme Underhill is about to discover a darkness hidden inside her that could destroy her chance for independence and possibly kill her.
Esme’s mother took her young daughter away from Southern Indiana’s Coon Hollow Coven to prevent her from learning about the unusual witchcraft she had inherited. When Esme is twenty-seven, her beloved Grammy Flora passes away and leaves her property in the Hollow to her granddaughter. With this opportunity to remake her life and gain independence, Esme attempts to emulate Grammy Flora as a wildwood mystic who relies on the hedge world of faeries to locate healing herbs. But fae are shrewd traders. When they open their world to her, she must meet the unknown malevolence of her birthright.
Thayne, the handsome king of the fae Winter Court, faces his own struggle to establish autonomy as a new regent. He is swept into the tempest of Esme’s unfolding powers, a dangerous threat to his court. His sworn duty is to protect his people, despite Esme’s beauty and allure, which tear at his resolve.
Both Esme’s and Thayne’s dreams of personal freedom are lost…unless they can trust each other and overcome surmounting dangers.
About the Author:
Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales. 
The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing, as well as other pursuits of watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. Her practice helps weave the mystical into her writing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors where she’s always on the lookout for portals to other worlds. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical! 
Goodreads author page  http://www.goodreads.com/marshaamoore

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