Category Archives: stories

A Visit from Auden Johnson.

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Welcome to my blog, Auden. This story sounds interesting. I’m looking forward to you finishing it so I can read it.

Auden is the author of The Merging Worlds Series, which comprises The Sciell and Chains of the Sciell, and The Jura Series which comprises Visible through Darkness, Shadows Under the Light and Darkness Ignites the Flame. The books can be bought from Amazon.

Auden does her own cover art, If you want to see how she came up with the cover for The Unburned Island, visit her blog http://audenstreasury.blogspot.com/

She usually writes Dark Fantasy, so this is a new venture for her.

 

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The-Unburned-Island-by Auden Johnson

The entire island burned. Everyone disappeared. Somehow, one building remained unscathed. This building, a schoolhouse, is haunted. It and the island remained abandoned for years.
One day, Kiran, En and a team of magical investigators travel to the island to banish whatever haunts the schoolhouse. It takes them no time to realize the building isn’t the problem. The island is.
Add to Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34629301-the-unburned-island

 

Writing The Unburned Island has been a ride. Not always a fun one. I got stuck so many times. It was beginning to get frustrating. The story started as an entry for a magazine. I was barely halfway through writing it when I realized it was going to be too long to submit.
Then an idea hit me. This could be the start of a new series. Magical characters investigating haunted locations. The series is set in a fantasy world so these aren’t known haunted locations. I prefer it that way. Writing fantasy gives me the freedom to make my own worlds and give my characters cool powers.
Unlike most of my stories, this one isn’t apocalyptic. I know, strange. Don’t know what’s gotten into me. I don’t foresee the world ending anytime soon. The series will focus on relationships and creepy places. Of course, both themes gave me problems.
Kiran and En are partner investigators with an interesting history. At first, I didn’t know if I wanted them to be in a relationship. When I realized I did, I couldn’t figure out what their relationship would be by the end of Book 1. They start the story as good friends. Kiran and En told me what they wanted near the end of the story.
As for creepy locations, I wanted this story to have atmosphere but I struggled with how to do this. I created a Pinterest board for Haunted Buildings/Islands and collected images of abandoned buildings and creepy lands. While writing this story, I was able to visit a catacomb. It was so cool and so scary. The images and the catacomb visit helped me give The Unburned Island a nice chilling atmosphere.
I’m looking forward to seeing where Kira, En and co. will take me. They’re already telling me how they want Book 2 to start.

Thank you for appearing on my blog. Auden. I’m sure my readers will appreciate you sharing your writing process with them. Good luck with the rest of the series.

 

New Historical Novel

I’ve just published Vengeance of a Slave, my Historical Novel set in Roman Britain, on Amazon. Since it’s a very different genre, I’ve written it under a pen name.

The book is available for pre-order and will be published on April 29th. You can pre-order it as you would an already published book, from Amazon.

If you want to have an idea of the book, then you can read an extract on http://emilynovels1.wordpress.com/ on Saturday of next week.bookcover2

Aspholessaria Part

 

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Asphodel held the ring tightly in her hand. Her mother had given it to her not long before she left Rindisillaron. It had been her grandmother’s ring and she felt an emotional attachment to it.
Although elves lived long lives in comparison with humans, they did not, contrary to popular belief, live forever, nor were they immune from diseases that ravaged the world of Vimar. Her grandmother had succumbed to one of these diseases the previous year. She wanted Asphodel to have her engagement ring as a keepsake.
Now, Asphodel clutched the ring as she wept for what she knew would never be. Vass had become addicted to the drugs and alcohol that his so-called friends had plied him with. He would never make the fortune he had promised her. All his money, and hers, had gone on his own addiction and not to selling the goods to others.
Asphodel did not approve of his work as a drug dealer, but now he was not a dealer, but an addict. She needed to get away.
She packed her few belongings and searched the apartment for anything she could sell, and for some food. She packed it all into the pack she had carried away from Quatissillaron when she and Vass had eloped. She paused to think for a moment before opening it again and taking out half of the food. She could not leave Vass with nothing.
The few objects she had stuffed in, she left there. After all, Vass had plenty money with her jewellery. How he chose to use it was up to him. She blew her nose, looked round the apartment that now looked presentable after all her efforts and walked out of the door.
She looked both ways along the street. A few people were going about their business, but they took no notice of a girl coming out of her apartment. Vass was nowhere in sight. Asphodel supposed he had gone to sell her jewellery. The jeweller’s shop was to the right, so she went left in the direction of her workplace.
It was dark on the street and Asphodel felt a little afraid as she walked. Where could she go? Perhaps her employer would allow her to spend the night there, then she could go and see if she could find a caravan going away from Frelli. If she could find her way to the caravanserai through the winding, spiral streets of the city.
She found herself outside her place of work. Lights gleamed from the upstairs windows. She knocked on the door.
A head appeared from the window upstairs.
‘Yes? What do you want? We’re closed now. Come back tomorrow.’

Krommel, the scribe, was pulling his head back inside when Asphodel stepped into the light cast by his window.
‘Asphodel,’ he gasped. ‘What are you doing her at this time of night? Wait, I’ll be down in a sec.’
After no more than half a minute, the door opened and Krommel beckoned the girl inside. She entered into the room where they did the copying ever day, but Krommel led her upstairs to where the family lived.
As soon as she entered the room, Krommel’s wife, a plump woman of around forty years of age, noticed her bruises.
‘Oh, my dear, what happened?’ she exclaimed. ‘Let me tend to your injuries. Sit down over there.’
While she bustled around finding things that would ease the bruising on Asphodel’s face, Krommel handed her a bowl of stew and a spoon. The girl ate gratefully.
After she had finished and the curious children been sent to bed, Asphodel explained what had happened.
‘I need to get away,’ she said. ‘I’m sure Vass will try to find me. I need to go a long way away. I can’t go back to him.’
She put her head in her hands and wept.
Krommel’s wife put her arms around the young elf.
‘Of course you can’t,’ she said. ‘Men who hit women never change. Oh, they say they’re sorry and perhaps they are, but then the drink and drugs will take over again and it will keep on happening.’
‘I still love him,’ said Asphodel, raising her tear-streaked face. ‘I don’t know why, after what he’s done. Not only to me, but to others by selling them drugs. He started selling before he started taking them. I know if I saw him, and he asked me, I’d go back to him. That’s why I need to get right away.’
Krommel smiled.
‘I’ll be sorry to lose you, girl,’ he told her, ‘but I agree. You must go away. Do you have money?’
She nodded. ‘A little. I’ve also got a ring I can sell until I find some other employment.’
‘Well, you must have your pay for what you’ve done since your last pay packet,’ Krommel told her, walking over to a safe in the wall.
He returned with a pouch of money and handed it over.
‘There’s more here than you owe me,’ Asphodel said.
‘Take it. I can afford to give you a bonus.’
Asphodel thanked him and stashed the pouch away into her pack.
The next morning, Krommel told one of his sons to escort Asphodel to the caravanserai. Asphodel was glad of his company and guidance as she knew she would never have found it on her own. It lay just inside the walls to the west.
The lad said goodbye, and Asphodel rummaged in her pack and found a small coin to give him. He thanked her and quickly disappeared into the crowds now gathering in the caravanserai.
Which one to take? There were several that looked ready to leave. suddenly, Asphodel saw, through the crowds, a familiar figure. Vass. He looked angry as he pushed people aside. His head turned this way and that, looking.
How had he found out where she was? Had Krommel told him? No, her former employer wouldn’t have done, she was certain of that. Perhaps he just guessed. Then he spotted her. He reached into his pocket and gave something to a small figure. It was Krommel’s son. Vass had bribed the child into saying where he’d taken her. She could not blame the child. No one had told him not to tell Vass.
She looked around anxiously. A caravan was just about to leave. Asphodel rushed over and asked the leader if she could join.
‘We’re just leaving,’ he said as the wagons rolled forward. ‘Do you have coin?’
‘I have some. Just take me as far as this will allow.’
The man took the coin and Asphodel jumped into the last wagon and watched as Vass’s figure grew smaller and smaller.

Where will Asphodel’s coin take her? Can she escape from Vass?

Asphodel is one of the main characters in The Wolves of Vimar Series. You can purchase the first two books by clicking on the following links:

http://mybook.to/thewolfpack/

http://mybook.to/NeverDying/

If you enjoyed this part of Asphodel’s story, please leave a comment.

Umbrae Blog Tour

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I am quite excited about this release because I started reading the series recently and am looking forward to reading the rest of it.

Debbie has kindly interviewed Miri for my blog. Here is the interview.

What do you miss most from when you were young?
Oh lots of things: my cats – Kitty and Susie; my best friend – Jenny; New York City and in particular the Lower East Side where I grew up; and most of all my omama. I think about her every day – the things she taught me, the stories she told. And I also wonder about the stories she didn’t tell. About her early life in Vienna and how she escaped from the Nazis. Maybe one day I’ll be able to piece all that together.

What scares you the most?
That I could lose my new friends here at P.A.W.S. I’d like to be able to just enjoy my classes and hang out like a normal teen (or at least as normal as a shapeshifter cat girl can be), but bad stuff seems to follow me around, so I guess I should be prepared.

How did you change as you grew older?
I think I’ve become more confident and a little less likely to trip over my own two feet – I think having four paws helps with that and of course having good teachers – Josh and Danny – also does wonders.

What has been the hardest struggle for you?
Believing that I actually have magic. I know Jessamyn says that my whole family had magic, but it does seem hard to believe.

Who do you hope stays in your life?
Well Danny of course (blushes), but I don’t really see how he likes me. And then I hope I’ll always stay close to my friends at P.A.W.S. – Josh, Sandy, Sean and Joey. Joey’s said that in a few years I should visit him in Australia. That would be a lot of fun.

What do you need to be happy in the future?
Good friends, my books and my writing. I hope someday to write my story and delve into my family’s past so that I can write a history of that too.

What is the most important lesson you have learned?
To trust my friends when they say I’m much stronger and more capable than I think I am.

Miri’s story continues in Umbrae (P.A.W.S. 3)

Pick up your copy today!
And connect with Debbie on her blog – Paws 4 Thought
Facebook or Twitter.

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Aspholessaria

 

 

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The days passed. Asphodel worked and Vass went out with the people he called his friends. One day he brought them home with him. Asphodel did not like them and after they had gone, she told him so. Vass laughed at her and said that it did not matter. They would get them money and riches.
‘When, Vass?’ Asphodel asked him. ‘I see little coming in yet.’
Then one say, about a week later, he placed a bag of coins on the table.
‘I told you I’d get money, Asphodel, didn’t I?’ he said.
‘Where has this come from?’ she asked. ‘There’s as much here as I earn in two days.’
‘Ah, from selling stuff,’ he replied.
‘Selling what?’

‘Stuff.’
‘Where did you get it from? You didn’t steal it did you?’
‘Steal?’ Vass’s eyes widened. ‘Why would you think I stole it?’
Asphodel walked to the table and picked up the bag.
‘Because I can’t think of what you had to sell that would bring this much money,’ she told him.
She put the bag down again.
‘I need to know where you got the ‘stuff’ you sold, Vass.’
Vass turned away from her and stomped to a chair.
‘You sound like my mother, Asphodel. My friends gave it to me to sell. They took some of the money and I had the rest. Now give it a rest. We’ve money for the rent with some left over. I’m going out again.’
And with that he strode from the room, slamming the door behind him.
Asphodel worried. She worried about where the money came from and what Vass had been given to sell, and she worried about Vass himself. He seemed to be changing. He was out much of the time and when he was in he was not as loving as he had been.
Asphodel waited, and waited, and waited. She went to bed. In the early hours of the morning she heard the door open and Vass came in. He was full of energy and sat on the bed.
‘That was the most amazing evening, Asphodel,’ he told her. ‘We went all over the city and my friends took me to some places I’d never have been able to find without them there were lots of taverns hidden in back streets and I couldn’t have got back on my own.’
Vass paused to take a breath. Asphodel rubbed her eyes and sat up.
‘One tavern had a bear in a cage at the back and you’d never believe what it could do and they had a talking bird–I don’t know what kind, but it was colourful–it was swearing like a…a…oh, I don’t know. Someone who swears a lot.’
‘Vass,’ said Asphodel, ‘slow down. I can hardly make sense of what you’re saying.’
Vass laughed. It was almost a giggle. He stood up and began to jump around the room like a child.
‘Oh, I feel so great, Assy. I could do anything. I can’t sleep. Come out with me.’
‘Vass, I need to sleep. I’ve got to go to work tomorrow.’
‘Oh pish to your work. I can earn enough for us both. Look, I’ve got a bag of money here.’
He pulled a rather thin bag out of his pocket and put it on the table. He looked crestfallen for a moment, then he laughed.
‘Oh, look. I seem to have spent it all. I wonder how that happened?’
Asphodel got back into bed and turned over.
‘Asphodel, come out with me, please.’
The girl took no notice of him and so he eventually left once more, picking up the meagre money pouch as he went.
This went on for several weeks. Vass had initially been selling grimlo, a powerful drug. Then one night his friends has persuaded him to try some himself.
‘After all, you need to know what you’re selling to the punters,’ one of them said.
Soon Vass was spending more money on buying the drug for his own use than he was getting from the sales. His ‘friends’ demanded their share of the sales, but Vass did not have enough to pay them for the drugs he bought from them. He was also drinking heavily.
One day, he came to Asphodel and demanded she give him money.
‘Vass, you’ve been spending money we can’t afford on your drinking and, I suspect, drugs too. That was the ‘stuff’ you were selling, wasn’t it?’
Vass looked her in the eye.
‘What if it was? It got us money, didn’t it? We needed money too.’
Asphodel sighed.
‘Vass,’ she said, ‘you’ve not brought any money in for an age and you’ve spent all my earnings. I don’t have any money. We are in debt and are likely to be thrown out of this hovel because we have no money to pay the rent.’
Vass narrowed his eyes.
‘Then give me some of your precious jewellery to sell. I can get some more grimlo from my friends and sell it for more than a necklace is worth. That’ll get the rent and more.’
Asphodel reluctantly handed over one of her gold necklaces and Vass left. She left soon afterwards for her own work.
Later that day, when she arrived home, she found Vass sitting on a chair in the apartment. He looked at her as she came through the door.
‘I need some more jewellery,’ he said abruptly. No greeting nor kiss.
‘Where’s the money you promised when I gave you the last piece?’ demanded Asphodel.
Vass made no reply, but stood up and walked over to her.
‘I need some more,’ he said. ‘That wasn’t enough. I needed to pay my friends for what I’ve already had. Now I need money to get more.’
Asphodel looked him in the eye.
‘Well, you’re not getting it from me. You’ve spent all my cash and my wages and are now spending my jewellery. You aren’t going to sell any grimlo, are you? You’ll buy some more from your so-called friends and use it yourself. You’re addicted, Vass. Those people saw you coming. They trapped you nicely. Get you to start off selling the stuff and promise great riches, then they get you to try it yourself, and bam! you’re addicted and spending all your, no my, money making them rich.’
Vass’s eyes blazed.
‘Give me your jewellery.’
He reached towards the cupboard where the jewellery was kept.
Asphodel stood in front of it.
‘No!’
Vass raised his hand and swiped Asphodel across the face, then he punched her in the stomach and left her doubled over in agony as he reached into the cupboard and took the pouch of jewellery. As he stormed out of the room, a ring fell from the pouch and Asphodel crawled over to pick it up.

The Revenge of Excalibur by Sahara Foley. My Review.

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Today I’m reviewing a book I recently read, It’s the second book in the Excalibur series and it fuly lives up to the first one.

Blurb

After Pamela’s father vanished twenty-seven years ago, her life has been content. That is, until she is visited by disturbing dreams, telling that her father is in danger.

She also receives a mysterious message, telling her that Arthur has been imprisoned on a distant planet, and only she can rescue him. To do so, she must release the evil entity trapped within the famous sword, Excalibur. If she trusts this strange messenger and releases the terrifying Shalit from its confinement, Pamela could be endangering Earth and all the other planets in the universe.

Will she be strong enough to control the Shalit, save her father, and protect everyone she loves? And can she risk destroying all life if she’s not?

 

My Review
This book is the second in the Excalibur series and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first one. This time, instead of following Arthur and Daisy on their adventures out in the Universe, we concentrate on Arthur’s daughter, Pamela. Arthur does not know of the birth of his daughter, nor that she has inherited his gifts.

Pamela feels something of a misfit on Earth as she has to hide her powers from others. If they know what she is capable of, they would fear her. One day she is whisked off to space by mysterious forces that turn out to be intelligences contained in a living spaceship. These two women, granddaughter and grandmother, tell her that her father is in danger and that he and his wife, the alien Daisy, whom he met in The Secret of Excalibur, are imprisoned.

The rescue of Arthur and Daisy involves the releasing of the Shalit from Excalibur, one of the entities known as Planet Eaters.

Pamela has to use her powers and faces great danger. She finds her true love in a most unusal person, and the twist at the end caught me by surprise.

Ms Foley has built complex worlds with strange alien creatures and a politics we can all recognise. Pamela’s change from a timid, self-conscious girl to a confident woman is believable, after what she goes through.

The writing is excellent and I have no hesitation in giving this book 4 stars.

The book is available as both an ebook and in paperback from Amazon.

If you have any comments on this post, or any others, please add them to the comments box. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Aspholessaria.

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Once in the village, the pair found an inn where they booked a room for three nights. Vass said if there were work in this village they would see about finding a more permanent place to stay, if not, they would need to move on. After all, their money and Asphodel’s jewellery would not last for ever.
Asphodel left Vass in the inn bar talking to some of the villagers about work. She made her way to a herbalist.
‘Do you have any herbs to prevent pregnancy?’ she asked the old woman who seemed to be in charge of the shop.
‘Is it for you?’ the old woman said, peering over her glasses.
When Asphodel answered in the affirmative, the old woman looked at her sharply.
‘Are you married?’ she asked.
Asphodel blushed and looked down at her feet.
‘Why do you ask?’ she said.
‘Because I don’t encourage promiscuity. I don’t sell to unmarried women and girls.’
‘Y-yes,’ lied the girl. ‘We were married in Quantissillaron just before we came here.’
‘Hmm.’ The old woman peered again at Asphodel, then said, ‘I’ll have to believe you. I don’t know anything about elves so I can’t tell if you’re lying or not.’ She turned round and reached up to a box on a shelf behind her. She weighed out some of the herbs then reached for another box. From this one she added a different herb. She put them into a pestle and began mixing them together.
When she had finished, she took a small pot and poured the herbs into it, then fastened a lid over the top.
‘Take a tea made with one spoonful of the mixture each evening and you will have no trouble with pregnancy,’ she said. ‘You have enough there to last you for three or four weeks, but don’t forget you need to take it every evening.’
Asphodel handed over the money the old woman demanded than almost ran back to the inn.
Vass laughed when she told him she had got the herbs, and almost rushed her up the stairs to their room.
They did not find any work in the village, and so they left after their second night at the inn. Vass thought they should go to Frelli, the capital of Erian. There would be more work there, he reasoned, and so they set off once again.
It took them a sixday to reach Frelli. The capitol city was in a wide valley in the Mountains of Doom, not too far from the border with Grosmer. in days gone by, there had been many wars and skirmishes fought between the two neighbouring countries and Frelli had developed into more of a fortification than a city.
From the Erian side, it appeared as a normal city, with surrounding walls it, but on the Grosmer side, the valley narrowed and the walls had been built across the valley, completely barring access.
Asphodel and Vass approached form the Erian side, of course, and so did not see the forbidding approach from Grosmer. They passed through the gate into a city of streets that seemed to wind around in a spiral towards a castle with a high tower.
‘So this is Frelli,’ Asphodel said, as they searched for an inn. ‘I’m not sure I like it very much. Not much in the way of trees is there.’
Vass shrugged.
‘We can stay here for a while and make some money, then we can go somewhere you’d like better, if that’s what you want.’
Asphodel smiled.
‘Yes, I’d like that. Somewhere where the wildlife can flourish, Perhaps a little farm somewhere.’
Vas put his arm round her.
‘I know nothing of farming,’ he told her, ‘but if that’s what you want, I’ll learn.’
The pair found an inn, and the next morning set off to try to find work. Asphodel quickly found a scribe who was looking for someone who could read and write. His last clerk had left the previous week. Vass, on the other hand, found work more difficult to come by. He had no skills required by the businesses in Frelli.
‘Couldn’t you get something as a labourer?’ Asphodel asked him one evening.
‘What? Get myself filthy? Darling, I don’t want to come home to you dirty.’ He lifted up a lock of her black hair and kissed it. ‘I have more respect for you than to expect you to live with someone who’s dirty.’
‘But you could get washed, Vass. I would barely see you dirty.’
Vass looked at her.
‘Asphodel, the labourers end up with the dirt ingrained in their skin and hard hands. I don’t want you to have to put up with callused hands on your beautiful skin.’
Asphodel sighed. She argued no further but thought she would not mind as long as the hands belonged to Vass.
Vass left again the following morning to look for work and for somewhere for them to live. After all they could not live at the inn. It would be far too expensive. Asphodel left soon afterwards to begin her new job at the scribe’s office. At the end of the day, she rushed back to the inn to tell Vass about her day. He told her he had not looked for a job that day, but had found them somewhere to live. He had put down a deposit and they could move in immediately.
Asphodel was delighted they had somewhere to live, but said, ‘ Why didn’t you wait until I came home before you took it. I’d have liked to have a say in where we’re going to live.’
Vas put his arms round her and said, ‘Asphodel, my darling, I daren’t wait. The place might have gone by the time you got home. There aren’t many places to rent in this city, you know. I had to make a decision straight away.’
They gathered their meagre goods and, after eating a last meal at the inn, went to the apartment Vass had found.
Asphodel was appalled. It was in the poorest quarter of the city with rats running around in the filthy street. The apartment itself was one room. It had a filthy rug in the centre of the room and a sofa that looked as if it had been dragged in from the rubbish tip. It, too. was filthy. There was a greasy sink in one corner of the room, and a fireplace with an oven at the side. In the fireplace were ashes left from several fires.
As she stood there, not believing that Vass could have agreed to rent this place, a cockroach ran across her feet.
‘Vass, this is awful,’ she told him. ‘We can’t live here.’
‘It’ll only be until I find work and we can then get something better. Darling, we can’t afford anything better at the moment.’
‘I suppose it won’t be too bad if I can get it clean. I’ll start now. It’s a good job we ate before we left the inn. I wouldn’t like to eat anything that had been cooked in here.’
Vass told her he would only be in her way if he stayed. He was not very good at cleaning, he said, so he would go out.
Asphodel spent the evening cleaning. She did not get everything to her liking, but it was better than before. She killed at least two dozen cockroaches, and went out to buy mousetraps as she felt sure there must be mice there.
A large cupboard stood next to the sink, and this she filled with cleaning products and then she cleaned out a small cupboard with a mesh front for food. The bed she could do little about, but she determined to wash the sheets the next day. They had access to a small garden at the back of the house and she thought she could wash the sheets before she went to work the next day and with any luck they would be dry when she got home. The mattress she could do little about that night, but decided that one of the first things she would do would be to go out and sell some of her jewellery and buy a new one.
Vass turned up just before the eighteenth hour of the day. (On Vimar, the day began at sunrise on the equinoxes, 6am, and so it was the middle of the hours of darkness when Vass arrived home.)
Asphodel brushed a strand of hair from over her eyes and stopped cleaning the fireplace.
‘You’re late,’ she said.
‘S-sorry,’ stammered Vass. ‘I meeted, no, met, shome blokes in the tavern.’ He staggered. ‘They shtold me all shorts of shtuff. Oh, I feel shick.’

He rushed to the sink and was sick.
‘That’sh better,’ he said, collapsing on the bed.
‘Vass, you’re drunk!’ Asphodel said, but he was already snoring.
The next weeks followed a similar pattern. Asphodel cleaned before and after work and Vass went out to meet his new friends. Each evening he came home drunk. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
One evening Vass did not arrive home at all. Asphodel was at last satisfied with what she had done to the apartment and had been out and bought some flowers and put them on the table. she cooked a meal with what they could afford and waited for Vass to arrive.
The meal got cold, then congealed. Asphodel threw it away. The night crept on and Asphodel fell asleep on a chair. She worried that Vass had gone somewhere else in Frelli and had got lost in the maze of streets. The layout of the city was confusing. It appeared to be straightforward, with the roads spiralling towards the castle, but in reality it was a maze.
Just as she woke, the door opened to admit Vass. She had dark circles beneath her eyes from worry and lack of sleep.
‘Asphodel,’ Vass said, taking her in his arms. ‘You look awful. So tired.’ He ran a finger over her eyes. ‘You mustn’t go to work today, but sleep to get your beauty back.’
Asphodel yawned and pushed him away.
‘I must,’ she told him. ‘You’ve no job and we need money. You’re spending what I earn drinking with your friends.’
Vass laughed. ‘I’m investing it,’ he replied. ‘My friends can get me work. I need to keep on their good sides though, so I must drink with them.’
‘What sort of work? Your ‘friends’ don’t seem to do very much.’
Vass tapped the side of his nose.
‘I can say nothing, yet,’ he told her. ‘I need to sort a few things out first, but be assured, I’ll soon have more money than you’ve ever dreamed of.’
Asphodel turned to the door. Then she turned as she left and said, ‘I’ve never dreamed of money, Vass. Just you.’

Shadow Stalker Part 3 release.

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I’ve been anxiously waiting for Renee Scattergood to release Part 3 of her Shadow Stalker books. I read Parts 1 and 2 and am anxious to find out what happens to Auren and to find out how she will defeat the evil Drevin.

 

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Renee Scattergood is an excellent writer with a vivid imagination. Her world is well imagined and feels real. The books are original in their concept and well written.

As soon as this is posted I’m off to Amazon to get it! When I’ve read it I’ll do a review here.

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Aspholessaria.

At first they passed through the forest Asphodel knew. she had not been far away from Quantissarillishon, but had played in the forest around as she grew up. She knew the little streams and the tall trees. She could tell Vass which ones were the best to climb and which were almost impossible. She laughed as she pointed out one where Liss had got stuck when he climbed up too high. He was there for several hours until his father came and helped him down.
They held hands as they walked, and did not stop even to eat. Asphodel took out some food she had pilfered from her mother’s pantry and they ate as they walked. Vass said they needed to get as far away as possible. Although Asphodel’s parents were away for a few days, Vass was unsure how long Liss’s parents would wait before becoming anxious. Certaily they would not worry until after nightfall, but would they be anxious then when he did not return for the night. He suspected they would. After all, he was their responsibility while staying with them.
The darkness began to creep in and Asphodel shivered.
‘Are you cold?’ asked Vass.
Asphodel shook her head. ‘No, not really,’ she told him. ‘It’s just that the forest seems different at night.’
‘Haven’t you been out in the forest at night before?’
‘My parents are very protective. I’m a girl, after all, and not expected to go adventuring in the forest.’
Vass stopped in a clearing through which a little stream ran.
‘We can stay here for the night,’ he said. ‘We’ll need a fire, though. You get water from the stream while I gather wood.’
When Asphodel got back from the stream, she found Vass cutting the turf in the little clearing to make a circle.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked him.
‘Preparing a hearth for our fire. We can’t risk setting fire to the forest.’
Asphodel sat down and watched with interest. After cutting the turf and setting it aside to replace after they had finished with the fire, Vass picked up a stone from a pile he had collected. They were fairly large and he built a ring around the hearth.
He picked up some dry leaves and placed them in the centre of the hearth before laying some small twigs over the top or them. Once he had everything prepared, he took a small metal box from his pack. When he opened it, he removed, a piece of steel. and a small sharpened piece of flint which he struck against the steel. Inside the box was some tinder and when the sparks from the steel fell onto it, it began to smoulder. Vass then blew gently and, taking a wooden splint, he lit it and applied it to the dry leaves.
‘Asphodel, can you blow gently on the leaves to get them burning while I put out the tinder in the tinderbox and pack it away?’
Asphodel was only too pleased to comply, and as the small twigs caught fire, she fed some slightly larger ones onto the fire. Vass took over then, gradually adding larger pieces of wood until he had a hearty blaze going.
‘There, that should keep us safe tonight,’ he said, sitting back on his heels. ‘Wild animals won’t come near fire.’
Asphodel looked around the clearing, fear showing in her eyes. She had not thought of wild animals, but of course, there would be bears, wolves and wild boar at the least. She realised how unprepared she was for this adventure.
Vass smiled at her. ‘They won’t come near the fire, I promise you,’ he repeated.
‘What if the fire goes out while we’re sleeping?’
‘We must take it in turns to watch it. It’s not like having a full night’s sleep, and we’ll be more tired tomorrow, but it’s necessary. I’d let you sleep, but I need some too.’
He reached over and pulled her to him, kissing her passionately. Asphodel pulled away.
‘What’s wrong? Don’t you want me?’
Asphodel looked at him.
‘I’m here, aren’t I? Would I be here if I didn’t want you?’
‘Well, why are you pulling away?’
‘Firstly, I’m a bit afraid. I’ve never…you know. Then, what if I become pregnant?’
Vass frowned. ‘Surely you knew what would happen if you came away with me? I want us to be married, but there’s no need to wait. We’re not in Quantisarillishon now.’
‘Oh, Vass, I’m worried about the pregnancy thing. I know elves expect youngsters to experiment, and it’s not really frowned on, but illegitimacy is. We’re expected to make sure we don’t get pregnant.’
Vass lay down on his blankets and turned over.
‘Take the first watch,’ he snapped. ‘I’ll relieve you in a bit, and don’t let the fire go out.’
Asphodel’s eyes filled with tears that she quickly brushed away. She was not going to let Vass’s anger upset her. This was their first quarrel, and undoubtedly they would have many more over their long lifetimes. She would get used to it, she determined, and not let it get to her.
After a while, she felt her eyes closing. She stood up and walked around the clearing, gathering some more wood to put on the fire as it seemed to her to be getting low. The walking cleared her head a little, and as she sat down again, Ullin, the silver moon, broke through the clouds above the clearing turning everything silvery. Asphodel smiled. Ullin was full, and seemed to be smiling.
He seems to approve of my running away with Vass, she thought.
Just then, Vass woke and told her to get some sleep. He would tend the fire now.
The next morning, when Asphodel woke, Vass was putting the fire out. He removed the stones by kicking them out of the way. They were still hot. Then Asphodel watched as he replaced the turf he had cut away. Soon it would be difficult to see anyone had lit a fire here.
Vass said little as they ate some stale bread and cheese, not as they walked hand in hand towards what they hoped was the Erian border.
‘Vass, what’s wrong?’ Asphodel asked him after an hour of silent walking.
‘I told you last night. I’m going mad being this near you all night and not being able to make love to you.’
Asphodel sighed. So he was still angry at that. She stopped walking and looked at him.
‘You can wait, Vass, surely. We’ll have all our lives to make love as much as we want once I can get herbs to stop pregnancy.’
Vass looked at her through narrowed eyes. ‘Are you regretting coming away with me?’
Was she? She could turn back now. Perhaps her parents had not come home from Daisy’s yet. and would not know of her escapade If they did know they would be angry, yes. Very angry. She would undoubtedly be punished severely, but they would forgive her. Frishillondor was not too bad. He was quite good looking for a man her father’s age, and he seemed kind. She might get to love him, eventually.
‘Well?’ Vass spoke sharply.
Asphodel looked at him and her stomach did a somersault. This was the man she loved. She had every right to be with him.
‘I left my home and family because I love you, Vass. I would go anywhere to be with you. I regret nothing.’
‘Then why wait for us to make love? You know elves have few babies. We’re not a very fertile species, unlike humans. It would be very unlikely you would become pregnant before we could get married.’
Her grey eyes took on a steely glint. ‘Unlikely isn’t impossible, Vass. My mother had two babies whereas most elves only have one. We are of House Royal, and you know there are twins in the Royal line. We are more fertile than most elves. I’m not risking it.’
Vass relapsed into silence and they continued walking. Then he suddenly turned to her and said, ‘You are a most stubborn girl, Aspholessaria.’ He softened his words with a smile and bent to kiss her gently.
Three days passed as they walked through the forest. There had been no sign of pursuit, nor any dangers from the denizens of the forest, either. Vass had been right about the fire keeping wild beasts away. After these three days, the trees thinned and then they met a track leading westwards. They followed it and soon saw smoke rising from chimneys in a small human village.
‘We must be in Erian,’ exclaimed Vass. ‘At last. Now you can go and seek out those herbs you were talking about.’
‘One track mind,’ laughed Asphodel and she ran ahead into the village.

How will Asphodel and Vass’s relationship progress now they are in human lands? Will their parents find them or will they get married and live happily ever after?

Come back on the first Tuesday of January to find out.

All comments about this story are welcomed. I’ll try to get back to you.