#BookReview-The Ferryman and the Sea Witch @DWallacePeach #Fantasy #Reading

The first blog review of The Ferryman and the Sea Witch showed up yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more delighted. I don’t think an author really knows how a book will be received until that magic moment. I’m over at Jacquie Biggars’ today. But I’ll be swinging by Jacqui Murray’s as well since her review went live this morning. If you have a minute, stop by to say hello and take a browse through their sites. ❤

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Description via Amazon.com

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy – The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D.Wallace Peach

Sally Cronin kindly gave The Ferryman and the Sea Witch a bit of a boost today on her blog. And she shared a review of the Unraveling the Veil series by Geoff LePard, who can’t help but make me laugh. If you have a minute, head over and browse Sally’s wonderful blog. ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by D.Wallace Peach..a stand alone fantasy The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

About the book

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home…

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The Ferryman and the Sea Witch: Release Day!

It’s a big day, the completion of months of writing and all the tasks that go along with bringing a story to life. The muses are satisfied, the sun is shining with the promise of spring, and the mermaids are singing their enchantments.

To all my blogging and reading friends, thank you from the tips of my toes to the ends of my fingers. Your enthusiasm and spirit of friendship make all the months of toil worthwhile. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.

(On sale for the month of June)

Blurb

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

Trailer

Prolog

The hemp net hung from the boom above the waves. Within its lattice of pinched knots, the slender merrow baked in the heated air. She had ceased her struggle while the sun tilted up and shadows pooled on the deck. Her graceful tail with its angelfish fins dangled from the end of her confinement. Beyond the reach of her fingers, swells rose and fell. Taunting, seductive. Rhythmic as they sloshed against the hull.

Gulls shrilled in circles above the ship.

Like a storm-torn sail, the tip of the merrow’s tangled hair dipped into the sea with each crest, shed droplets with each trough. The creature wept for her kind, for the sea breathing beneath her, a thin and desolate sound. The mournful plea filled Callum’s young head, overwhelmed the clamor of merriment arising from the Brid Clarion officers who’d captured her in their mesh.

“We should free her.” Callum drew his fish-knife. “She’s dying. They’re killing her.”

 “I spoke my mind, boy.” The brig’s captain laid a firm hold on Callum’s scrawny shoulder. “Put away the blade. It’s not our place to chart the course of another man’s conscience.”

Callum bit off a retort certain to earn him a scolding. The captain had treated him kindly, hired him on as a cabin boy, and freed him from the oily bilges of Haf Killick. By the graybeard’s good grace, Callum earned a wage. At fourteen years, he scoffed down oranges dripping with sticky juice and learned a skill that would save him from ever returning to the bowels of the relic city.

He held tight to a hundred reasons not to endanger the ship or her crew, not to interfere with the amusement of those who served in the king’s war. Well-heeled officers bantered and drank gin at the bow. How could they plug their ears to the keening cries? Pretend her torment didn’t matter?

The merrow’s sorrow twisted Callum’s stomach. The unbearable lament dredged up memories of his mother’s death in a bleak hold and his helplessness to ease her suffering.

He ducked out of the grizzled man’s grip and hauled a bucket of water from the sea. Below him, the merrow’s copper scales baked and bristled into gray flakes. They fluttered to the surface like shed petals. He splashed the water along the length of her body and tossed the bucket into the waves for more. It wouldn’t be enough. Only the sea held the power to save her.

 He drew the bucket up by its line. Movement between the swells snapped him upright, and he shielded his eyes from the sun. “Captain, the merrow are coming.”

The old man fumbled for his spyglass and pressed it to his eye. “The sea witch.” He slapped the device into Callum’s hand. “Watch her.”

“Cut away the net,” Callum pleaded. “It’s not too late.”

“You may get your wish,” the captain said over his shoulder. He strode across the deck to the admiral’s celebration.

Callum focused the spyglass on the witch. Blood drained from his face, and his mouth turned dry as sand. She swam through the wind-scoured waves, the spines of her fins slicing the water. Her tail undulated like a serpent. White-lipped rage hollowed her cheeks and sharpened the angles of her face. Nictating membranes hooded her unnatural black eyes against the sunlight’s shimmer. Three merrow trailed in her wake, their voices weaving into a ghostly dirge.

And with them came the wind. A strange amassing and curving of clouds rose out of nowhere. The sky bloomed with a greenish glow, drenching the brig in the eerie twilight foretelling a storm.

Callum clung to the rigging as the Brid Clarion officers pulled pistols from their belts. With frantic intensity, they shared a powder horn, loaded their lead, and rammed it tight. The captain pleaded his case with wringing hands, but they brushed him aside. The men marched to the gunwale, sighted along their barrels, and fired.

Lightning flashed in reply. The approaching merrow plunged beneath the waves. Callum yelled his warning, “Captain, they’re diving.”

The captain swore. He climbed to the helm and bellowed orders as Callum searched the waves, the spyglass forgotten. The sea witch’s silver tail slashed through the swelling brine like the stroke of a knife. Fins rippled along her body in a feverish dance. She disappeared beneath the hull.

Callum froze with the crew and officers, silent, waiting, the seconds unspooling like a weaver’s thread. A harsh scraping sound cut into the bow. It raked across the keel to the stern, sparing neither the flowery anemones nor sea-greens that clung to the ship’s belly.

Chaos erupted. Jacks shouted in panic as water sprayed into the hold. The captain’s orders to plug the leaks competed with the admiral’s demand for more gunpowder.

The sea witch breached the waves. She grasped the net and sliced it with a coral blade. A hail of shot littered the sea. Iron rounds speared the water. They thudded into the merrow dying in the net.

A fierce scream of grief and fury shrilled from the witch. Callum caught his breath as she slashed at the net. The sky’s whirling cauldron mirrored the turbulence in his belly. Behind her, the waves bloated. A wall of water mounded in the distance and raced toward the ship like a winter gale. Lightning flashed with a sharp crack. The echoing rumble shook the deck.

“I’m cutting her free,” Callum yelled at the storm. Fish-knife in his grip, he climbed the bulwark. Wind battered his body. He hung onto the rigging and leaned over the water. His knife swiped at the net. Once, twice. The monstrous wave curled and crashed. Another slice. Lines frayed and snapped. The net splashed into the sea.

A mountain of white froth roared into him. He crashed to the deck, tumbled, and pounded into a mast. Pain burst in his ankle. His reserve of breath blew from his lungs. The watery world tipped and rolled. Sparks flared in his eyes as something smashed his face. From every direction, the groan and crack of the wreck assaulted his ears. He kicked against the hull, chasing his bubbles. A sail trapped him beneath the surface like an iron lid. Lungs on fire, he grasped a tangle of rigging and, hand over hand, hauled himself to the sail’s frayed hem.

Mouth open, he burst to the surface of the littered sea for a desperate breath. Something gripped his ankle. A male merrow with jet hair streaming behind him drew Callum down like an anchor. Callum pried at the pale fingers grinding his bones.

Shattered wood rained around him with gear and cargo. Air bubbles ascended in pearly strands. Above him, sails wallowed as desperate men grappled for flotsam, and bodies sank like ghosts torn from their white shrouds.

Callum gave up the fight, the merrow’s grip unforgiving. The sea grew muted and green. From the gloom, the sea witch bared her teeth, tail sweeping the water like a silk fan. Behind her, three merrow bore the sun-bleached body of their kin down to rest among the coral for the crabs to pick clean.

Vengeance burned in the witch’s inky eyes. Blood red hair, woven with seaweed, billowed around her head like a dusky cloud. “Drown them all,” she said, her unspoken command bursting in his head.

Merrow swam from the Deep, both male and female, beautiful and deadly. Jacks flailed and kicked, breathed water, and bucked. Coral blades flashed, clouding the water. Sharks ghosted in to feed. As Callum’s vision faded, a hazy shape materialized in the gloom, his ship descending into the fathomless Deep as if riding on a slanted sea.

Drowsiness coiled around him. Consciousness slipped away.

And he inhaled.

Air rushed into his lungs. Someone embraced him, a mouth on his. His eyes snapped open. He jerked away. The merrow clutched his head in her palms and yanked him back into the horrific kiss. He held her by the upper arms, at once pushing her away and craving her breath.

“Breathe,” she said inside his head, her melodious voice a softly curling tide. Without a sound passing between them, he heard her command as clear as a ship’s bell.

He gulped air, pulling it from her body as if his lungs would never draw enough. His thundering heart slowed.

“Why?” he asked, the word unspoken.

She responded with a sense of confusion.

“Why help me?”

She backed away, hair swirling with the blue luminescence of a jellyfish. High cheekbones cast shadows on her pale cheeks. She studied him with eyes like black shells, and her full lips thinned into a stern line as if to hide their softness.

Her ambivalence pulsed into his mind. Gossamer tentacles swirled from the end of her tail like a frilly gown, and her opalescent scales shifted colors in the thin light. Three pink gills on either side of her ribs rippled with the water’s movement. “You aided my sister.”

Her loss swept over him, along with his need for a breath. As though she sensed his desperation, her lips met his in a gentle, open-mouthed kiss. His first true kiss and bound to mark the strangest of his life, if not his last. Her tail pulsed against his legs as they rose. He surrendered to her control, no longer fighting the strange undulation of her body.

When they broke the surface, she pushed him away, flipped her tail, and dove. He threw his head back and inhaled the wind into his lungs. The storm had passed. Clouds peeled back to reveal an empty sea but for the brig’s debris bobbing in the tranquil waves. He swam to a raft of floating dunnage and hung on. “Ahoy!”

No reply.

He hadn’t drowned, but breath didn’t guarantee survival. The ship had anchored at the edge of the Deep, leagues and leagues from either Brid Clarion or Haf Killick, far enough that he’d perish long before he paddled the distance.

The sea stirred as a menacing shape slithered through the scattered flotsam. Callum drew up his legs, the presence of sharks fresh in his memory. The sea witch surfaced. Urchin’s spines fanned from her temples and forehead in a prickly crown. Muscle threaded her arms, her body slim but bold-boned, skin drawn tight across her cheeks and throat. Her hair glimmered with pearls and beads of abalone, bewitching if not for the malevolence in her hooded eyes.

“Naris tells me you are worth saving,” she said, her voice low and full of sea whispers. She swam in a languid circle around him. “What do they call you?”

“Callum, my lady.”

The sea witch twitched a smile, revealing a row of sharp teeth. “You may call me Panmar.” She rolled onto her back with the slipperiness of an eel. Her fins and tail carved the waves, sparkling in the sun’s glare. “You cut my daughter free, but you delayed. You lacked courage. She died for your cowardice.”

The witch’s daughter? Callum’s fingers dug into the makeshift raft. He nodded but held his tongue. No words of remorse could justify or erase the truth, and his face burned with shame.

The sea witch sank beneath the waves and surfaced beside him, so close he tasted life and death on her breath. “I offer you a bargain, mortal. Accept or drown.”

***

Phew! That was a long post. Thanks so much for reading and the kindness of your visit!

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Meet the Muse by D. Wallace Peach

Sally Cronin shared a blast from my past – a conversation with my mercenary muse, which kicked off my current WIP. If you’d like to see what I have to put up with when it comes to muses, head on over. And while you’re there, check out Sally’s books. You won’t be sorry you did. Have fun.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from November 2020 by fantasy author Diana Wallace Peach. This post…

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Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Fantasy – Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1) by D.Wallace Peach

A review from Sally Cronin, blogger and author extraordinaire, is always a delight. The review of Soul Swallowers got me off the couch for a happy dance. Thank you, Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

This week my review is for D.Wallace Peach and Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1)

About the book

When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness.

Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul.

When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But…

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Tea Toast & Trivia Podcast

I had the wonderful experience recently of participating in a podcast interview conducted by Rebecca Budd. She made the entire process effortless and enjoyable, and she learned that I have no problem talking about writing and publishing!

If you have a bit of time, stop by at Tea Toast & Trivia to listen in on our conversation. And take a moment to browse her beautiful site. Here we go:

***

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you. 

I am delighted and thrilled that my blogger friend and writer, D Wallace Peach, has joined me on Tea Toast & Trivia for a discussion about writing, connecting, and engaging within the world of writing and publishing.  Diana is on my side of the world, just south of the Canadian Border.  She lives in a log cabin, situated on a mountain, with her husband, two owls and a horde of bats.  She has found a place of belonging, surrounded by evergreens in the lush, green wilderness of the Oregon rainforest.

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for joining Diana and me on Tea Toast & Trivia.

(To listen to the podcast, please continue on to Tea Toast & Trivia...)

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Blogging Kindness by D. Wallace Peach

I’m so pleased to be over at Sally’s today with a post from the past. Comments are closed over here, but I’ll be visiting with anyone who stops by at her wonderful blog. Happy Monday!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post from July 2020 by fantasy author Diana Wallace Peach,and she…

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Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

I’m so pleased to share this, and you bet I’m saddling up!

For those of you who don’t know Sue Vincent, she’s one of those special bloggers in our community who inspires people all over the world with her beautiful posts and #writephoto prompts. Sue has tirelessly supported other bloggers and it shows. She now has 19,000 followers and counting.

Recently, Sue encountered a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. To make matters worse, the Covid-19 pandemic not only poses a serious threat to someone with a severe respiratory illness but has resulted in the loss of human connection when it’s needed most.

Now it’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s supported for a decade. Let’s come together with hearts full of joy.

Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch!

One way to participate in the Classic is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden”, at the Carrot Ranch. The image and entry form is live today – Monday, February 1st, 2021.

Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family. There’s also a link on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.

Please note that Carrot Ranch will not accept entries previously published (even if published on your own blog). So use the form and keep your entry a secret until after the rodeo.

If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s also a “Parade.” Reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. You can follow her blogs. Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can.

Help us celebrate a blogging hero and very deserving person. Plus, it’s a ton of fun.

Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo like none before. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins today, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words. 

See you at the Ranch, buckaroos!

Treasuring Poetry – Meet fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach and read my review of Sunwielder: An Epic Time Travel Adventure

I’m delighted to be the guest of wonderful author and blogger Robbie Cheadle on her first Treasuring Poetry post of 2021! I share a poem, its inspiration, and a few thoughts on how poetry influences our prose. If you have a minute or two, stop by. And thank you to Kaye Lynne Booth for hosting us. Enjoy! ❤

I’m closing comments here, so please pop over if you want to say, “Hi.”

Writing to be Read

Welcome to the first Treasury Poetry post of 2021.

Today, I am delighted to welcome fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach, who is sharing one of her own poems and discussing poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

Thanks so much for the invitation to participate in your Treasuring Poetry series, Robbie. I’m honored. I think of myself as a writer of prose and a dabbler otherwise, but I love poetry and believe no creative effort is ever wasted.

This is a super hard question! I have poems that I think are well-crafted, poems that evoke personal feelings or memories, and poems that reflect a particular time in my life. Since “I don’t know” isn’t an acceptable answer, I’ll go with this one:

Flight of faith

When I was a child, I could fly

you and I hopped in dirt-road afternoons

faithful

and the dust-wind flung us over…

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