This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Trixie Silvertale will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other hosts on the tour.
A pattern of murder. A threadbare case. Can our psychic sleuth pick out the guilty before time spools out?
Mitzy Moon is finally tying the knot. And she’s loving the whole town’s excitement for their upcoming big day. But when their tailor is found buttons up behind a jazz lounge, the almost-newlyweds will have to hem in a murderer before their dreams rip apart at the seams.
Knowing they’ll get no help from the new sheriff in town, the couple embarks on a tightly woven undercover assignment. But Mitzy fails to heed ominous warnings from her mentor, Ghost-ma, and her entitled feline. When another body drops, she could be the next target erased by the mounting powers in the darkness…
Can Mitzy and Erick unravel the twisted clues, or will their wedding be eclipsed by a funeral?
Bells and Bombshells is the first book in a hilarious new paranormal cozy mystery series, Harper and Moon Investigations. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural intrigue, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s wedded whodunit.
Buy Bells and Bombshells to stitch up a killer today!
Read an Excerpt
At long last, Erick turns to me and exhales dramatically. “How about we take a little drive, and I bring you up to speed?”
What am I going to say? First and foremost, I’m a diehard snoop. I absolutely have to know what’s going on. “Sure, Sheriff Harper. I can’t wait to be ushered into the inner circle.” My snarky tone is not lost on my intelligent boyfriend.
“Don’t get a burr under your saddle, Moon. It’s all good, I promise.”
He grabs his thick uniform jacket, takes my hand, and leads me out to his cruiser.
As he opens the door for me, a cloud of sadness blows over me. Is this my last time riding in the cruiser with the sheriff? What is he going to do next? And more importantly, where is he going to do it?
He closes the door, jogs around the front of the vehicle — making his plain uniform look like an Armani European-cut suit — and hops into the driver’s seat.
He cruises down Main Street, past Rex’s Drugstore, the boarded up Montgomery Wards, and a few other abandoned buildings whose signs have long-faded. When the iron ore mines shut down, most of Birch County took a massive financial hit. Towns like Pin Cherry Harbor have been able to keep afloat by repositioning themselves as enviable tourist destinations.
The sheriff turns right and heads across Third Avenue, past my favorite patisserie, and right again, eventually making it back to First Avenue.
We’re only a few blocks past my bookshop, back on the corner of First and Main, when he turns into an old gas station. This particular abandoned petrol station played a key part in a previous case I solved, and I happen to know it used to belong to local criminal mastermind Leticia Whitecloud. Not to mention, it connects to a warren of underground tunnels used during the prohibition era.
Despite the little pout I’m having, my curiosity is piqued.
Erick jumps out, opens my door, and instructs me to close my eyes.
“Close my eyes? I don’t think I like any part of this, Sheriff. You do know I have quite a lot of other senses I can rely on, even when my eyes are closed.”
He circles his arm around me, leans tantalizingly close, and whispers in my ear. “I’d consider it a personal favor if you would turn off all of those other senses, and let me have this moment. I promise I’ll make it worth your while.”
And I’m dead
About the Author:
USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and obsesses about all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Harper and Moon Investigations series, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kirsten Weiss will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Midlife Magic and Murder… and a Dog Named Dog.
When Riga Hayworth finds her new client dead, she smells a setup of metaphysical proportions. Now, to find a killer, Riga must travel from San Francisco to the underworld of Greek mythology… and make it back alive.
Donovan, Vinnie, Pen and Brigitte – the story that started it all. The Metaphysical Detective is the prequel to the Riga Hayworth series. If you like Gen-X, no-nonsense heroines and supernatural with your mystery, you’ll love The Metaphysical Detective.
Buy this quirky paranormal women’s fiction and explore the magical world of Riga Hayworth today!
Read an Excerpt
He fingered a tendril of auburn hair that had escaped her ponytail and fallen across her cheek. “Your expressions are as changeable as the clouds. What were you just thinking?”
He was close enough now for her to feel the heat from his body, and the forest stilled. Her being filled with a fevered waiting.
A woman laughed, her voice a raucous cawing, and Riga blinked. A party of hikers tramped along the trail beneath them. Someone below made a joke about mountain lions.
Riga relaxed onto her elbow. “I was thinking about an old movie called The Bishop’s Wife – the original version with David Niven and Cary Grant and Loretta Young.”
“Good movie,” he said. “It had a wine bottle that magically refilled itself. Port, I think. A bit sweet for my tastes, but this port was –” He stopped at Riga’s look. “What?”
Nonplussed, she stared. “You’ve just… taken my conversational thread in a completely different direction.”
“Sorry. You wanted to say something else about the movie?”
“No really, go on.”
“No.” Riga struggled not to laugh. “I don’t want to anymore.”
He sighed. “Okay. Let’s pretend I didn’t say anything about the wine bottle, even though it is the best part of the movie. You said you were thinking of The Bishop’s Wife. And I said, ‘really?’”
“Okay. What I was thinking was how sad it was that when the angel left, nobody remembered he’d ever been there and caused all those miracles to happen in their lives. They thought they’d just done it on their own.”
Donovan nodded. “I don’t think it mattered that the characters didn’t remember him. Their lives had been changed. Perhaps it was best they thought that they’d done it themselves.”
“I suppose,” Riga said, unconvinced. “But the movie was true in one sense – that’s the nature of the metaphysical experience. You can’t hold onto the experience. It comes and goes in a flash. You understand deep in your soul that something marvelous has happened, but you’ll never be able to prove or explain it.”
About the Author:
Kirsten Weiss conjures up action-packed witch mysteries based on contemporary and historical magical practices. Her witchy heroines aren’t perfect (and neither are their familiars), but they’re smart, they struggle, and they succeed.
Kirsten writes in a house high on a hill in the Colorado woods and occasionally ventures out for wine and chocolate. She is best known for her Doyle Witch and Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery books. Are you ready to be enchanted? Just turn the page and… voila!
I am thrilled to share this beautiful new cover of the upcoming audiobook edition of Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun!
Expected Publication Date: Fall 2022
Genre: Mature YA/ Paranormal/ Ghost Story
Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.
About the Author
Theresa Braun has a Master’s degree in English literature and lives in South Florida where she has been teaching literature and writing for over 20 years. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions (when she is not coming up with romantic subplots). She has presented at HWA conferences, as well as Utah Quills Conferences. Her published works include both novels and short stories that have appeared in various horror fiction publications. In 2018, she was included in a Best Speculative Fiction anthology.
I’m a lover of mythology, myths, legends, and tales from the ancient/medieval worlds. I enjoy exploring how these have transcended time/space to influence our world today. Myths and legends don’t fade away; they are just repackaged for a new audience.
As a high school English teacher, I continually challenged my students to find connections between today and times long gone by. Some took more digging than others, but the connections were always there. One of my favorites, Star Wars, borrows several concepts from the Legend of King Arthur. The Star Trek series goes even further back into the mythology of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt as well as others.
I write Arthurian Legend for young readers and teens (I never refuse to let mature readers enjoy my stories!). These stories exhibit what I consider to be cornerstones of that Legend: Courage, Honor, Loyalty, and Friendship.
My tales from Egypt and my new series Feathers of the Phoenix meld the ancient/medieval worlds with today. The Atlantean Horse (Book 1 of Feathers of the Phoenix) also brings the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse out of the Bible and into the modern world. They and my main characters are after the feathers of the Phoenix in order to bring Atlantis alive again.
Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning Vicki-Ann Bush
(Alex McKenna, #4)
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: September 20th 2022
Genres: LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult
In the fourth and final installment for the series, Alex faces his most difficult case yet—the school bully.
For two years Kyle tried to make Alex’s life even more complicated than it already is. Choosing to single him out for his psychic abilities and other life events, the angry teen took every chance he could to challenge Alex’s well-being.
Despite the constant insults, when the bully is murdered and comes to him for help, Alex sets aside the past to help a soul in need. Searching for the killer, Alex uncovers a truth that answers the question why he was the victim of Kyle negative attention, and the answers that will set them both free.
Alex glanced up to the hovering apparition and raised his chin slightly left toward the door. He hoped the spirit would follow, but instead, it quickly vanished, so he took the cue and let it go. Clasping Margaret’s hand, he ushered them from the store.
Outside, the fragrance of freshly cut grass and blossoming tulips tickled his nostrils. A perfect Spring day. The young couple had strolled the fifteen-minute walk into the small village at the center of Floral Park, taking advantage of the warmer climate.
“It’s super nice out.” Alex smiled.
“It is. I love Spring. Hey, what happened in there?” Margaret asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I thought you spotted something.”
“I did. But they didn’t want my help.”
“Huh. Did you get a good look at what it was?”
“I didn’t know them, but it was definitely an older man. I’d say somewhere around my gram’s age.” Alex glanced over his shoulder back at the store.
“How come?” Alex raised a brow.
“He’s in a drug store for eternity? Why? What keeps him there? Why doesn’t he cross over?”
“You sound like me.” Alex chuckled.
“Well, it was bound to rub off some time.” She lay her head on his shoulder.
“I’m just glad that’s over with.”
“I know.” Margaret gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
Rounding the corner at the end of the block stood a structure Alex struggled with for most of his seventeen years. Coming from a lineage of witches whose roots were planted in Italy, the paradoxical blend of spells and Catholicism baffled him. He chose to believe in spirituality, embracing his ancestors and calling on them in times of need.
Alex let Margaret’s hand slip through his fingers. Across the street, directly in front of the church, was a small park with a handful of benches. His gaze focused on the ornate stained glass adorning the round window above the sturdy oak doors. What the hell? Without care, he stepped into the road and in front of an oncoming car. Luckily, Margaret’s scream freed him from his trance in time for him to jump out of the way. A loud screech from the tires of the irate driver didn’t completely mask the language he yelled from the window.
Margaret rushed to his side and pulled Alex to a bench facing the building that had captivated his attention a few moments ago.
“What the hell?” Margaret slapped his arm.
“Sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” Alex glared at the church. “That’s not true.”
“Okay, spill.” Margaret scooted back and crossed her legs.
“Wait, where’s my bag?” Alex nervously looked around.
“Crap. It’s over there.” Margaret pointed to the asphalt.
“I’ll get it.” Alex motioned to stand.
“Oh, no you don’t. One near-death today is enough. I’ll get it. Stay here.”
Normally he’d argue the issue, but he didn’t trust himself either. The range of emotions creeping along his veins and occupying dread in his gut burned a volcano of doubt in his psyche.
Margaret halted at the sidewalk’s edge and turned her head from side to side before venturing into the middle of the road. She snatched up the bag and scurried back to the bench.
She stretched out her arm to hand the bag to Alex, “Thanks.”
“I’m just that kind of girlfriend. Risking life and limb for the guy I love.”
Alex rolled his eyes.
“Now, where were we? Oh, I remember, you were gonna tell me why you froze in the middle of the goddamn street.” Margaret knitted her brows.
“Once again—sorry. When I saw the church, I had a vision. The building was destroyed like a bomb or something had incinerated it. The darkness crept along the walls. It was like…a living thing.” Alex shuddered.
“Yup, just another day in the world of you.”
Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting her sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.
Life as an Army Brat is always challenging. Especially when you’re being haunted.
In the summer of 1956, in the midst of the Cold War, Vivien Brewer, army brat, moves with her family to Camp Breckinridge. She and her sister join friends exploring a nearby abandoned hospital. She’s been told not to go there, but the rumors of treasure prove too great a temptation. What she finds is the spectral revenant of a World War II nurse who wants something and expects Vivien to deliver. Soon she’s in mortal danger, and so are her family and friends. If she can’t deliver what the ghost demands, no one is safe.
Vivien tries to get help, but her father and doctor think her hallucinations must be hormonal. Only her mother knows better—because Vivien inherited a gift from her. Refusing to run or hide, Vivien embarks on the greatest adventure of her young life—and quite possibly, the last one.
Close the doors. Shut the blinds. Turn out the lights. This is a book best read after dark. Just make sure no one is peering over your shoulder…
CARY HERWIG is a retired archivist living in Oklahoma. She grew up as an army brat moving every year or two. She writes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery under different names and has published both novels and short fiction for several decades. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, but gets restless every few years, wondering if it’s time to move again.
Theodosia “Teddy” Ballard knows nothing about community theater, but when the stage manager for “Little Shop of Horrors” takes a tragic header down the costume-loft stairs, she agrees to fill in for the sake of her actor friend, Will. Teddy takes the superstitions and swelled heads of The Stage in stride—till she meets George Clancy Everhart, the theater ghost, who informs her that the previous stage manager was murdered and demands that she find the killer. Both investigation and rehearsals are complicated when she makes a surprising discovery about her relationship with Will—and learns that George has his own dramatic agenda.
There was no way I had left a door open, but I got up and checked again. Must be a draft from somewhere in this old building. I retrieved the scattered pages and made sure they were in the right order.
I heard a thud as if something had fallen over backstage. Looking in the wings, I found a hammer on the floor. I put it back where it belonged and returned to my papers.
An overhead light flickered, red, then green, then white.
“All right, that’s enough.” I got to my feet for the third time. “Good joke, Will. Ha, ha. Now show yourself.”
“I beg your pardon, dear lady,” said a deep voice.
I stared in disbelief as a man appeared before me. He was tall and elegantly dressed in a three piece suit and cravat. His features were blurry, but he had an aristocratic air, a distinctive nose, and a satisfied smile.
He removed his bowler hat and bowed. “George Clancy Everhart, at your service.”
I didn’t know how Will had managed to create this image. This must have been some bizarre rite of passage for people new to the theater. Well, it wasn’t going to rattle me.
“Theodosia Ballard,” I said. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Theodosia! What a splendid name!”
“I prefer Teddy.”
“Teddy? That’s a boy’s name! You are a woman, and a very fine woman, at that. Such a magnificent presence! You should be on stage.”
“I am on stage right now, and I have a lot of work to do, so you can turn yourself off, disappear, whatever, just go away.”
He looked startled. “You don’t believe in me.”
“I believe you’re a really good special effect. Go on now, get lost.”
The image drew himself up. “My good woman, you are speaking to one of the premiere actors of the Twentieth Century. Why, I appeared in hundreds of plays during my lifetime. Thousands of performances! All to great acclaim!”
“I’m sure you did.”
“Excellent reviews! Encores by the score!”
“Then why are you haunting a little theater in Rossboro, North Carolina? Shouldn’t you be in New York? London?”
He paused and put a hand to his heart. “You wound me to the core, Theodosia. In my later years, my career took a sad tumble. Like your lover William, I was unable to continue my passion for Broadway. I ended up here, disillusioned but undefeated.”
“Whoa, hold on, buster. Will is not my lover. And how do you know about his New York experience?” I’d had enough. “Will, stop this right now. It isn’t funny.”
“I agree, Theodosia. It is tragic. The boy has such talent, such a love for theater.”
“Stop it.” I moved to push the man away, but my hands went right through him, and I almost fell into the orchestra pit. A strong force shoved me away from the edge.
“Dear me,” he said. “You must be more careful.”
I caught my breath. “I don’t believe in ghosts. Why are you here?”
“Because you need my help,” he said.
“What do I need your help for?”
“Why, to solve the murder, of course! I liked Paula. She was efficient. I admired her work ethic. I do hope you have a strong work ethic, Theodosia.”
“Wait, wait. Go back to the first thing. Solve the murder? No one’s calling Paula’s death a murder!”
“But it was,” George Clancy Everhart said. “I saw it.”
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s home town, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Mysteries, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her reformed con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, and the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, and an array of tenants who move in and out of Cam’s boarding house at 302 Grace Street. Ghost Light is her first standalone mystery and the first to feature an asexual heroine.
True Ghost Stories & Other Spine-chilling Paranormal Adventures
Mind-Body-Spirit, Religion and Spirituality, Occult and Paranormal
Publisher: Outskirts Press
A Knock in the Attic—my second award-winning book—is, as Uri
Geller stated, “a fascinating true story of incredible psychic
In these entertaining and adventure filled stories I’ll tell you what it
was like to grow up with a powerful and accurate psychic gift that sometimes
spooked the adults around me, leaving them bug-eyed and slack-jawed; and
I’ll relate some of the emotions I experienced while encountering
hair-raising visitations from ghosts on a regular basis.
I’ll share with you the times when my own Guardian Angels not only
protected me from physical harm but when they also literally saved my life
with a belated Christmas Miracle, to the astonishment of others who said I
had lived through the impossible.
Travel with me to Roswell where I have my very own “‘UFO’
encounter” at the Roswell UFO Museum, an encounter that validated the
fact that the Roswell UFO crash was a real event and also explained why many
witnesses to UFOs are reluctant to come forward.
Plus: I’ll tell you what it was like to meet Uri Geller; give you a
behind-the-scenes look at filming the TV pilot for The History Channel; take
you along with me to a haunted horse barn; and then…what was that knocking
in the attic…?
You’ll enjoy more than a few spine-tingling moments as you join me to
experience these astonishing true stories of the unknown…incredible
paranormal events that you will not soon forget.
Praise for A Knock in the Attic
“John Russell’s A Knock in the Attic is a fascinating true story of
incredible psychic experiences. If you are a skeptic or a believer
this is a book for you.” — Uri Geller
“This is a book that is filled with adventure and mind-blowing
experiences…[told in] prose that is crisp and in a voice that is
irresistible.” — 5 Star Review by Grace Masso for Readers’
“John’s second book, A Knock in the Attic, is an experiential tour de
force of the Other Side. John immerses us in his life’s fascinating
journey through planes both seen and unseen, giving us powerful insights
into how the two worlds intersect. With his distinctive Texas-style
storytelling, John has laid out a must-read for anybody wanting to gain more
clarity about all things paranormal.” — Jim Mullen,
multi-award-winning television producer/editor/writer
“Takeaway: Readers who enjoy a good heart-racing, spooky ghost
story will enjoy this collection claiming real-life encounters with the
paranormal world. Great for fans of: Alvin Schwartz’s Scary
Stories to Tell in the Dark; Sylvia Browne’s The Other Side and Back.”
— BookLife (by Publishers Weekly)
“I’m giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. In response to John’s
message to his readers on the last page: yes, this book has challenged
me, made me laugh, given me food for thought, and inspired me. I
highly recommend this book to ALL readers who love reading real paranormal
stories.” — Shey Saints’s Reviews
About the Author
John Russell has been a professional psychic for 50 years.
He is a Psychic/Psychic Reader, a Medium, a Certified T.A.R.O.T. Master, a
Paranormal Investigator, and now a published Author. Internationally known,
he has provided psychic readings for clients in over 40 countries.
For over 15 years he has been a popular featured guest, heard worldwide, on
many radio shows and podcasts, including: Coast to Coast AM with George
Noory; The Unexplained with Howard Hughes (UK); Beyond Reality with JV
Johnson; The Leak Project with Rex Bear; FATE Magazine Radio with Kat
Hobson; Beyond the Darkness with David Schrader of TV’s The Holzer Files;
The Singularity Lab with Michael Mataluni; and many more.
John also filmed a TV pilot for The History Channel in which he psychically
explored the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
The Tribe of the White Dragon has lived in the frozen wastes of the north for thousands of years, but they are slowly dying without their dragon to protect them from the inhospitable cold.
In desperation, they kidnap Kam, hoping to use him to breed witch power back into the Tribe. But Kam is not a witch, and there is nothing he can do to save them—until he sees the white dragon encased in ice and all alone and a chain reaction is set off that may save them after all.
“In the before times, when the cold ice and biting wind were welcoming to our kind, dragons flew,” the old storyteller warbled. The man was bent and gray, and his crabbed hands shook on his gnarled staff, but his voice still held the power that had made him the storyteller of the Tribe in his youth.
“The golden dragon rained fire and melted the ice, and the white dragon taught the Tribe the spells to survive the difficult, yet beautiful, climate. Together, the gold and white kept these plains of ice tamed, and the Tribe survived in plenty.”
The old man’s voice reached Kam even from the other side of the fire. Warmth in the ice wastes was hard to come by, especially for one not of the Tribe, so Kam appreciated his place near the flickering flames. His brown hair was city short, which meant his ears and neck were exposed to the cold wind. The barbarians all had hair that reached well down their backs, tied in intricate braids with feathers and stones woven throughout. None had hair more elaborate than Lor, the man with the snow-white hair and ice blue eyes who had the seat of honor next to the storyteller.
“But—” The storyteller’s voice darkened, and Kam felt his chest clench at the ominous tone. “—such times were not meant to last. The golden one gathered his followers around him and declared that for the happiness of dragon-kind they must separate themselves from the wars of humans. No more deaths of dragons, was the golden one’s goal, but the white dragon disagreed with his methods.
“They fought with their words, their arguments echoing through the icy canyons, but neither would back down. The white dragon knew that to abandon the humans was to allow the Tribe, his hoard, to die in the ice wastes. But the golden one wished to keep his kin alive and to do so he needed to rule the humans, not be ruled by human whim.
“The best of friends, and possibly lovers, the golden dragon and the white dragon never spoke again. All but the white dragon flew south, where the plains are formed of grass rather than ice. There they settled in the mountains. They built a city for the humans in the foothills. And the white dragon withdrew to the ice caves, alone.”
The storyteller bowed his head in sadness, but Lor’s piercing eyes scanned the assembled members of the Tribe.
“So we survive.” Lor continued the story. His voice was strong, but as the leader of the Tribe, he had to be. Lor was the tallest and most muscular of all the barbarians, and he was the only witch the clan still had. “Bereft of the dragons who allowed us life in the barren waste of ice and snow, the Tribe learned new ways to survive. We adapted, so after tens of thousands of years, we still live.” Kam looked around at the assembled Tribe and frowned. There were barely sixty people of all ages and genders still remaining in the circle around the fire. He had learned that there was another clan to the northwest with equal numbers. But most alarmingly, there were only two witches left: Lor and the man named Bay who led the other clan. There were no female witches to pass the traits on, nor had any of Lor’s children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren shown any aptitude during Lor’s hundreds of years of life.
The Tribe was dying.
That was why Kam had been brought north. The only way to invigorate the clans was to breed more witch blood into the lines. The hope was if Kam were to have a child with one of the descendants of Lor, maybe a child with powers could be born. But Kam wasn’t a witch, and he hadn’t exactly been asked before he was kidnapped and taken to the ice wastes.
“We live and we are strong,” Lor continued. “The Tribe of the White Dragon does not fade away!”
The barbarians cheered loudly around Kam, but Kam didn’t join them. As the assemblage broke up, Kam returned to his small tent. Once the barbarians had been sure he wouldn’t run away—as if there were some way to survive in the endless ice wastes for a city-bred boy—they had given Kam his own space. The tent was small, with barely enough room for bedding and a small wooden chest filled with the meager belongings he had accumulated in the last few weeks, but it was heavy with furs and thick woolen blankets that kept the cold and the wind out. Kam curled up in his bed, glad when his blankets began to warm with his body heat, and closed his eyes.
The barbarians were nice enough despite the fact that he couldn’t give them what they wanted. And it was better than being back in the city. Kam went to sleep with that thought firmly in mind. As much as he had disliked being kidnapped and taken to the barren north, it was still better than what he endured in the city. His thoughts focused on those times as he drifted to sleep.
“Kam, Kam, the witchery man,” the kids sang as Kam walked past them. He ducked his head, but otherwise kept himself from acknowledging their taunts. His mother hadn’t exactly been discreet with her passions, and lying with the resident witch had supposedly produced Kam. Since the man in question was a charlatan and his mother had never actually said he was Kam’s father before they both died…well, all that didn’t matter to everyone else. To them, Kam had witch blood, and in his part of the city, he was someone to be ridiculed.
Kam pushed his way into the small shop where he worked. The bell jingled overhead.
“Kameron, you’re late!” the harpy who was his boss screeched from behind the front counter. As usual, the place was dirty and the goods covered the shelves with haphazard organization. The sour smell that had appeared early last week had only grown worse overnight.
“Sorry, ma’am,” Kam murmured, ducking his head further as he wended his way through the mishmash stacks of random goods and into the back room. The pawnshop bought and sold everything. Sailors on leave after making the journey down the Great River came to the shop to sell what they could so they would have the funds to drink and carouse in the bars and whorehouses that also populated that part of the docks.
It was Kam’s job to clean and fix those often grimy and broken items so the owner could in turn sell them for profit to a higher quality pawnshop in the northern part of the city. It paid well for the woman, but Kam only saw a few coins a week for his work. As the witchery man he was lucky to have a job, so as much as Kam wished, there was no way he could find better prospects.
Kam worked hard for his pay, and at the end of the day his hands ached, but his quota was met. He left the shop at dusk and hurried home. He couldn’t tarry, because the docks became very dangerous after dark, and since his rent was due, he couldn’t afford to stop for dinner anyway.
He walked up the three flights of rickety stairs to his tiny apartment. It was one room, barely large enough to hold his threadbare bedding and one change of clothes, but it was a place to sleep. He had left one window cracked while he was away so the three cats that had crept in during the previous night could leave if they wished. The family of mice that lived under his floorboards were running about, so Kam was careful where he placed his feet as he walked over to collapse on his blanket.
One of the mice climbed up onto his pillow and gently nuzzled him on the nose. The mouse was hungry, too, and was probably looking for crumbs, but Kam appreciated the meager comfort his small friend could provide. Kam smiled, despite his rumbling stomach, as he slowly fell asleep.
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.
Standalone, set in the Paper Flower Consortium world
Date Published:June 21, 2021
Publisher: ZB Publications
Issaquah, Washington, USA
My name is Norma Mae Rollins. I’m fourteen and an illegal vampire. I miss my mom, but new ghoulish appetites force me to remain with my creator.
Bill didn’t mean to transform me. At least, that’s what he claims. His frightening temper, relentless lies, and morbid scientific experiments makes it hard to know what to believe. However, someone snitched about Bill’s experiments to a nearby coven. Now both of our corpses will burn.
Bill won’t run. He is curious what happens to a vampire after final death. I don’t want to die again. It hurt so much the first time. Bill thinks his vampire boyfriend might shelter me. I must brave an eternal existence with elder vampires and other monsters who don’t think I ought to exist. Oh and figure out who I am allowed to eat.
A vampire’s reality is nothing like the movies.
Diary, there are movies like Dracula’s Daughter, which show the reluctant vampire. I feared losing control and missed my mom, dog, friends, and old life. Still, I liked being a vampire.
The sun sank under the foothills of the Cascades; we raced into the coming darkness. Though Bill slowed himself to not leave me behind, I was faster than I was as a human. We sprinted into Tiger Mountain’s thick stands of ferns and Douglas firs. The girl I was, the life I had, became meaningless as the night wind tousled my hair. My heart pounded with strength as we, Bill and I, jumped over rocks, twisted around trees, and climbed clay-covered slopes. I was Artemis: a goddess of the hunt and moon, dashing through the forest to find prey.
He signaled with his hand.
I saw our prey in Bill’s mind before I saw him in reality: a young, slenderly built man in overalls and thick flannel. Perhaps working, perhaps in college. It didn’t matter. His blood mattered. His flesh mattered.
Distract him. I’ll kill him, and we’ll feast. Bill disappeared into the darkness.
“Sir? Excuse me, sir?” I called to the man.
My victim’s mind exposed worrisome thoughts about what should happen to girls alone in the wood. The world was better off without such people.
Bill attacked from behind. The man shouted as Bill’s fangs sunk into his neck. It was not a killing blow. He maimed the skin.
I comprehended Bill’s plan. I jumped on the victim and ripped into the wound. His viscous blood poured into my mouth. Ravenousness compelled me to kill. I relished the taste, the scent, the smooth feeling in my throat as I swallowed his life force.
Our victim’s heartbeat fluttered. Gasping spittle dripped from the man’s lips. Heartbeat slowed. Stopped. The man was dead but not yet cold. I felt powerful, formidable, as if I was a conquering goddess of the night.
Still, this time I stopped when Bill instructed.
Bill smiled, his fangs stained with scarlet.
“I can’t wait for my fangs to grow in!”
The man’s boots were too big. They were discarded. His clothes were a little long, but once modified, they fit well enough.
Bill took measurements of the body and drained it of blood before he allowed me to gnaw on the flesh.
I was insatiable. With each bite, scarlet danced into my vision. Yet consuming gave me no release from the hunger. Though it was impossible for me to eat a grown man in a single night, I wanted more. All that mattered was sinking my teeth into the flesh.
About the Author
Elizabeth Guizzetti is an author, podcaster, illustrator, and a collector of dragons — the ceramic kind. Elizabeth lives in Seattle with her husband and poodle. When not crafting stories, she can be found hiking, birdwatching or hanging out at the dog park.