Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – The Snow Globe by D. Wallace Peach

The Christmas season has shifted into high gear, and I’m so pleased to reblog The Snow Globe, a short story from my archives that Sally Cronin was kind enough to share. I hope you enjoy it.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

A fabulous story by D.Wallace Peach to bring some romance and mystical magic to Christmas. I know you will love it.

The Snow Globe by D. Wallace Peach

Pixabay image composition.

The Snow Globe

Delores perches at the scuffed counter of Dee’s Diner on Christmas Eve, keeping one bespectacled eye on Angie as the waitress mops the linoleum floor. The sign on the front door has already flipped from “Open” to “Closed,” and the crimson Panhandle sky fades to a duller shade of rose, a single bright star glimmering on the eastern horizon.

“Thanks for closing early, Dee,” the teenager says.

“No problem, honey. I got plans too.”

Angie looks up and smiles, clearly skeptical, but too kind-hearted to ask. It’s no secret Delores lives alone, unmarried, and childless—except for Buster the cat, who’s not particularly festive when it comes to the holidays.

At closing time, sole proprietor, boss lady, and…

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Voodoo Child

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Carrot Ranch has selected the winner of the Rodeo Flashfiction challenge #6. This prompt was a doozy!

Challenge #6: First we had to sign up to receive a real US Rodeo bull’s name from the snickering, evil competition designers…. I received “Voodoo Child” (oh, great).

Then:

  1. Stories are to be 107 words long in 8 sentences.
  2. Stories are to include the two words drawn as your prompt (you may change the order of the words and they do not need to be adjacent).
  3. Write a fictional story that involves facing a challenge or fear.

Voodoo Child

Cici done hate hospitals, but Miss Clara drug her there on account of her drowned daughter, wee girl fixing to die.

“Can you help her?” Miss Clara say, crying and wringing her fingers like washday linens. “Do your… voodoo?”

Cici take no offense, for Miss Clara’s hurt so raw and deep it reach between them like they share a heart. Mothers do when they lose a child. Cici know it a grief to swallow the world.

Cradling the child’s doll, Cici chant some mumbo-jumbo over it like she made of magic. She coo, longing to believe, and pass it to Miss Clara like it a newborn soul.

***

To read Kerry E.B. Black’s winning submission and other judge favorites, click here: Carrot Ranch

The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach

This fantasy tale hasn’t received a lot of press lately, so when a review showed up on fantasy author K. D. Dowdall’s site, I was more than delighted. Many thanks to Karen for her thoughtful comments. If you head over to read, take a gander at her books, and I hope you enjoy her review!

❤  ❤  ❤

In the story of The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach, we see the overall story as fascinating and rich in details that excite our need for fantasy and storytelling.  At first glimpse, it is a story about dragons, courage, adventure, war, soul-thieves, and the good versus the bad in people.

The story is really two stories, that in the end, become one where fantasy and reality merge.  The main characters, Madlyn, Cody, Dustin, and Lillian, each have different world views that conflict with each other, but all are necessary for everyone to cope with the approaching sense of loss that is meaningful to each one, a natural human response to things out of our control…

via The Sorcerer’s Garden by D. Wallace Peach

Love Undenied

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The Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo has announced the results of Challenge #3. I loved this prompt and the opportunity to write a little fantasy.

Challenge #3: Create a piece of flash fiction (200 -300 words) including a Septolet or two as the spell or charm that helps your character out of a bind (or go where the prompt leads you). The Septolet is a poem consisting of seven lines containing fourteen words with a break in between the two parts. Both parts deal with the same thought and create a picture. 

Love Undenied

Smoke swirled, dappling the forest floor with blotted sunlight. Feathery wisps spun, wove, and coalesced into the skeletal body of a man, ribs and muscles sculpted beneath skin the pallor of death. His face was my lover’s but hawkish, black eyes smoldering, malevolence darkening the hollows of his skull, a beakish shadow for his nose. A cowl of smoke, a cloak, undulated as if windblown, yet the air lay still. In his hand, a staff of black fire blazed.

“Why am I summoned?” His voice ribboned around me.

“To set you free.” I held the amulet in an outstretched arm as if its magic might shield me.

His predatory eyes tightened. “To send me to my death.”

“You are already dead, my love, as am I.” He winced at my words. At the truth or the endearment? “This is an enchantment that binds you to the mortal world.”

He stepped near, a hair’s breadth from the soulstone trembling in my hand. I held my ground. His eyes burned, yet in the flare of light, I beheld the reflection of my feathers, whole and downy to his charred pinions. He longed for my wings. “You may have them,” I whispered.

“No!” he roared.

I met his fire with love in equal measure, amulet extended and pulsing, light peeling away the smoky tendrils binding him. I spoke the grimoire’s spell.

Life and death
Cycles
Undenied
Fear imprisons
In flightless chains
*
Love unfurls
Eternal wings

I thrust the soulstone to his chest. Fear slashed its talons, meant to shred flesh from my face, rip feathers from my wings and claim them, but I was no more in this physical world than he. And when he saw that my love was unconquerable, he surrendered to the magic, and his white wings bloomed.

 

***

To read Deborah Lee’s winning submission, runners-up, and judges’ favorites click here: Carrot Ranch

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dark Fey Trilogy: Breaking Into the Light

Cynthia Morgan has a new book and offered to share an excerpt. Beautiful covers!

A Brief Excerpt from book three of the Dark Fey Trilogy….

“Ye’ shoul’ no enter th’ demesne of th’ Reviled unarmed, ‘ealer.”  Bryth and Mardan agreed emphatically, but Gairynzvl shook his head; gazing with comprehension and even greater respect at his friend.

“He cannot represent Peace armed.”  Smiling at his friends with candid esteem, Evondair raised his hand to cover his heart as he bowed to them with closed eyes and wings furled inward in a sign of profound respect; then he turned for the mountain. Stepping briskly through the snow as he spread his wings wide, he utilized several powerful wing beats to ascend into the increasingly furious snowfall as all gazes raised to watch him disappear into the tempest.

Rising into the roiling atmosphere, his friends and fellow Fey of the Light vanished almost instantly amid the turbulence of buffeting snow.  Although he realized it would obscure him from visible sight, Evondair straightaway questioned his decision to seek out the enemy while cloaked in the effects of the blinding storm where he could neither see nor hear anything other than the storm itself.  The only thing he could rely upon was his in-born precise sense of direction, which all Fey possessed, and the indistinct sense of Nunvaret’s presence he now Knew.  The Demonfey Captain was not yet on the Jyndari side of the portal, but the moment he crossed over the Healer would become aware of him.  Until he did, Evondair would wait, perched atop the mountain like a raptor poised to descend upon his prey.

Without forewarning, a gale of wind pummeled against him, ruffling his feathers erratically and sending the Healer tumbling downward steeply toward the rocky base of the mountain.  Reflexively, his wings beat furiously to correct his momentum, but his senses were muddled by the unexpected plummet and for several moments he had no idea how close he was to his destination. Laboring to keep his place, he searched the grayish-white tempest below hoping to reorient himself with some marker of landscape, but only obscurity met his viridian gaze.  The wind intensified, as if intent upon evicting him from the sky, and the effort required to remain aloft quickly became too great.

Descending cautiously, Evondair listened with dread as the sounds of tramping boots and creaking armaments became audible over the howl of the storm.  A strident horn call from the direction of Lyyshara indicated the Fey of the Light were aware of the Reviled crossing into their realm and an echo of discordant bugles returned.  Beating his wings powerfully in search of a landing place, Evondair’s gaze pierced the blustering whiteout until he suddenly saw granite only inches below him and mere seconds before he would have crashed into the rocky outcropping.  His boots slid upon the frozen, snow-covered ledge, sending a shower of rocks tumbling downward as he sought purchase; then he folded his wings and crouched down, grasping the rock beneath his feet with his hands to steady himself against the wind. Then he stared downward into the squall and waited.

Echoes of voices whipped round him like autumn leaves spiraling upon the wind, though they were disjointed and unintelligible. A terrifying growl of united Dlalth voices bolstering for battle ascended from the swirling vagueness below and, from the distance, the scattered sounds of a lyrical intonation broken by the ferocity of the storm drifted on the air. Evondair recognized the Celebrae petition recited by all Fey of the Light before entering into dangerous situations and, without hesitation, he repeated it inwardly.

Vrynnoth chae Luxonyth guildynn, braechanyth Luxonythchaera vornae tywylucht.

May the Light that guides vary not and cast its brightness over this darkness. 

Out of the swirling shadows of snow and nighttide, a voice unexpectedly filled his mind so piercing it caused him to flinch backward and shake his head.

May it guide indeed, Healer.”

*******

Breaking into the Light relates the inspiration of Hope and the power of forgiveness through a tale that is brutally beautiful.

The Reviled are the enemy; merciless, untrustworthy.  They embody brutality and devastation.  The Fey of the Light have lived with these truths for millennia.  Daring to think otherwise invites tragedy.

Gairynzvl was a Reviled Fey and lived the riotous life of all Dark Ones; yet now he is rescuing younglings from the darkness.  The actions taken by him and his band of Liberators are fulfilling Ancient Prophecies and proving long-accepted beliefs to be inaccurate. Those who have lived in the Light all their lives, who enjoyed the luxuries of abundance, are suddenly faced with unavoidable questions.

How is Peace achieved?  Can Light unite with Darkness?

Will the Fey of the Light sacrifice everything to achieve that which seems impossible or will they turn their heads and ignore the shadows weeping all around them?

You can find the Dark Fey Trilogy on Amazon/Kindle here:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075SDP8VL

Discover more about Dark Fey at its official website: https://allthingsdarkfey.wixsite.com/feyandmusings

*******

Meet the Author: Cynthia Morgan

Cynthia A. Morgan is an award-winning author; columnist for the national magazine Fresh LifeStyle, and a member of the Poetry Society of America and Artists for Peace. Creator of the mythical realm of Jyndari and author of the epic fantasy Dark Fey Trilogy, Morgan’s powerful story relates how the power of Hope, Acceptance and Forgiveness can change the world, when Positive Action is taken to create change. The only way to achieve Peace is to become Peace.

Morgan is also the author of the popular blog Booknvolume where her over 17K followers are regularly treated to Morgan’s own brand of poetry, English Sonnets, musings about life, personal recipes, photography, book reviews and more.

Some of her other interests includes a deep love for animals and the environment. She is passionate about music and theatre; is frequently heard laughing; and finds the mysteries of ancient times, spirituality, and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos intriguing. Morgan Believes in the power of Love, Hope and Forgiveness, all of which is reflected in her lyrically elegant writing style.

You can find Morgan through social media in the following places:

Readers Favorite 5-Star Review (1) 

Readers Favorite 5-Star Review (2)  

Blog / website: booknvolume.com
All Things Dark Fey Website 
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
GoodReads
Creativia Author Page 

5-Star Reads: No More Mulberries and Atonement, Tennessee

My writing break has freed up some precious time for reading, and I have two more reviews to share. These books are quite different. I hope you give one or both a try. 😀

Click on Cover for Global  Amazon Link

No More Mulberries

by Mary Smith

My Review: Where do I even start with all the things I loved about this book? The story is about Miriam, a Scottish midwife who first fell deeply in love with an Afghan and then with his country. It’s a story about love and loss, fear and courage, and the strength of family and the human spirit.

In many ways, this story could be told anywhere in the world as individuals, couples, and families aren’t that different from each other no matter where we find them. Miriam’s story and her emotional struggles are deeply relatable. Her search for self, her struggle to balance her various roles, to fill expectations and have her expectations filled, and her commitment to her family and community could be anyone’s story.

But Miriam’s tale doesn’t take place anywhere in the world. It unfolds in 1995 Afghanistan. The book portrays a multi-dimensional country with remote villages that haven’t changed in hundreds of years to more modern communities with a forward-leaning vision of the future. And though it’s clear in the story that love is love, family is family, and people are people, the narrative reveals the stark differences in the lives of those people marked by isolation and all it entails, and those who have high hopes for education, healthcare, and their country. Miriam’s story is deftly intertwined with the story of a country and its people, and I loved it all.

Smith’s years in Afghanistan give the read it’s undeniable authenticity, and her skill as a storyteller shines. She doles out the backstory details in small doses. They’re little gems that slowly illuminate the present story and build understanding while increasing tension and a desire for resolution. Settings are well described, the pace is steady, and characterization is flawless. I stayed up late and lost some sleep over this one.

One beautiful book that I highly recommend.

Click on Cover for Global Amazon Link

Atonement, Tennessee

by Teagan Geneviene

My Review: Esmeralda is a new arrival in the town of Atonement. She’s purchased an old estate that comes with its own cemetery and some interesting trespassers – a marvelous gang of gal-pals, an irresistible florist/handyman, and a mysterious, handsome neighbor. The magic starts off almost immediately while “Ralda” waits for the moving van and starts settling into her new life.

The tale is full of whimsy as ancient magic threads through the home and cemetery. Ralda is curious but not particularly fearful, and I enjoyed her level-headed, low key approach to the strange noises and events happening around her. The story is told mainly from her point of view. The exception is Lilith, her cat, who witnesses some of the magic but isn’t able to fill her owner in on the details.

For me, the best part of the book was the characters. If you enjoy strong female characters and genuine friendships, you won’t be disappointed. Ralda has a wry sense of humor and authentic voice. Geneviene does a great job with her internal dialog and with character interactions as a whole. The gal-pals are a delight, well-rounded individuals with a nice balance of wit and sensitivity.

Alongside the unfolding mysteries that inhabit the property, a second plotline centers on a darker “real”-life theme, which wraps up cleanly in the end. The main plot around the home’s magic and Ralda’s role in the mystery leaves a few loose ends and questions that might lend themselves toward a sequel. The minor danglers did not impact my delight in the overall story.

A light and magical read for all ages.

I’ll be taking a short break (offline) to head north and visit family.
Have a great week. ❤

Mask – #Writephoto

The dreamer’s room faded. Stars pricked holes in the velvet darkness as a crescent moon sailed over the restless sea, a bat with silver wings. Tucked between the shore’s boulders, twigs of cedar snapped in the nightfire, scenting the salted air with smoke. The plaintive calls of dragons whispered across the waves.

The crone peered at her latest visitor through slit eyes. Unafraid, the dreamer stood before her circle of flames, silent and sound as the distant mountains of home.

At the fire’s edge, the old woman sat atop her weathered stone, swaying, rocking, singing to herself, chanting words from ancient mouths, words lost, though their power she retained. The fire cracked and cackled, shaking fingers, sending sparks curling, singing, reeling into unsteady darkness. Soon the sea-rains would gray them, rise over cowled peaks and fall with the wind, heavy cloaks of snow coating her magic in ice. Her runes called, choose, choose, the time has come to choose.

The World spun faster, drawing the sky down, the earth up, bidding the waters to eddy and ripple in overlapping circles of light, bringing the forest to sing low and hum, smelling of leaf and loam. Expectation swelled with the tide and clawed at the sand, beckoned her to choose. From the embers’ bright edge, she drew a rune and studied the markings. The sea stilled, and she read the stone:

A call from the sliver moon and realm of imaginings. A strange Way gapes open, make ready for new beginnings. Resolve old myths to seed the soil for deliverance. Ah, the World transforms; emerge from the chrysalis, casting off false faces and old forms of knowing. Prepare for release from time-worn forces. Surrender and soar to the revealing of the World.

***

Thanks to Sue Vincent for another inspiring Thursday #Writephoto prompt.