Ishness-ish + Snippets + Dragons

Li’l dragon sketch. Accurate representation of me waiting for bookmail.

Oh, hi, everyone! I’m back but also not back. XD

So, technically I ought to have been back from my blogging hiatus two weeks ago . . . but I’m not sure how often I’ll manage to blog since I suddenly find myself without home internet. And until that changes, it’s just a lot harder to keep up with blogging and all the social media on my very limited phone. *winces*

MAY-ISH STUFF

I feel a bit too scattered to do a proper Ishness post, so this is a less structured/complete-feeling post . . .

But I did have a lovely hiatus in May! Some things I did:

Having fun with a book about drawing dragons. Hadn’t sketched in years and really enjoyed this.

  • read a fair bit
  • drew some dragons
  • played Settlers of Catan

  • started a weekly-ish Star Wars re-watch
  • had a refreshing break from some online stuff (not realizing until later in May that this would go on rather longer than I’d planned)
  • had the chance to copyedit for some amazing authors ❤
  • generally kept busy

Book Shoutouts

Speaking of books I copyedited . . . shoutout to two books releasing later this month: Jenelle Leanne Schmidt’s upcoming novel An Echo of the Fae (June 21), and Midnight for a Curse by E.J. Kitchens (June 25)! I adored both books and y’all should totally check them out! 🙂

WRITING

I did keep up with a bit of writing early in May, following my successful April Camp NaNo. Though not in the way I’d hoped . . .

See, I had plans of continuing to write Operation Foxtail, but got derailed by Tare’s series wanting some attention/snippets/editing, and also by brainstorming possible new Glassman ideas.

And, mostly, working on a fantasy short story, The Secret Piano. I’m greatly enjoying that and should probably share it someday . . . if I ever finish it. *collapses*

Cover (for fun) of my fantasy short story WIP, The Secret Piano. ^_^

Current plan is to finish that as well as some some tweakings for KW2 (because Tare is still interested in me working on that).

And then to see what I can do about wrangling all the plot threads and notes and things that need to happen for the last third (hopefully??) of Operation Foxtail.

If I can get that together somehow, I’m hoping I can make some progress on that again for July Camp. (Never mind how busy I’m going to be. Leave me to my delusions. *cough*)

Snippets (because I haven’t shared any in ages)

I stared, transfixed by the music which twined around me and planted me where I stood. The boy played on for a few more moments until his gaze drifted up and snagged on me standing there to the side. The notes jarred and jangled to a startled halt, and silence crashed around us like a brick falling on the keys or on my heart.

***

I imagined Thomas reading the letter. I imagined it sitting on his nightstand, him looking over at it sometimes. I imagined him burning it.

Perhaps it had never reached him at all. Did Thomas even get letters? I imagined a servant throwing it away. I imagined it lost, languishing indefinitely in a stack of letters to his father.

(The Secret Piano, WIP)

***

“I’m just doing what you’d do.”

Tare’s voice was flinty. “You don’t know anything about me.”

“Maybe not now, but I did once.”

Tare narrowed his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

(The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood, KW3, future WIP)


Anyway . . .

The Bookstagram addiction is real

Anyway, despite my planned good intentions of returning to regular blogging in June, I will probably be as sporadic on blogging as I have been (sorry!), but maybe I’ll get a few posts in here and there . . . And if I am behind on social media or emails or something, I sincerely apologize! Blame it on my vanishing internet. *shifty eyes*

Although, I am back to daily Instagram posts and having a blast with it!

Hope someone enjoys this mini post of semi-back-ness! Thanks for reading. ^_^

Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole (Part 2)

I’m back with a continuation of that urban fantasy flash fiction I posted back in October! I had a blast writing it for a prompt, and now that I’ve survived NaNo, Christmas, and a bit of a writing/blogging hiatus (yes, hello, I’m back!), I wanted to write the next part of the story — and there was a perfect new prompt which pushed me into doing it!

It’s Snow Queen month over at the Fairy Tale Central, and this prompt is part of that on the fabulous Arielle Bailey’s writing blog, Intuitive Writing Guide.

So today’s short story/serial chapter/whatever it is, is inspired by the Snow Queen, but also continues the story I wrote for the Twelve Dancing Princesses prompt. (This will make the most sense if you read that first, but it’s not 100% necessary. XD)

I had so much fun writing this (it’s about a thousand words, like the first one) and I hope y’all enjoy it!

  • Part 1: featuring The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Read it HERE.
  • Part 2: featuring The Snow Queen. Today’s post! Read on…

Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole

Part 2

by Deborah O’Carroll


I nearly turned around when I saw the river. Lights from a palace of some kind on the opposite bank gleamed gold on its surface in the darkness. One by one, the twelve girls stepped into twelve small elegant boats which began crossing the river—soundlessly, fae, not propelled by anything I could see.

I could leave. I should leave. Going near the water wasn’t worth it—not for the half-million reward or to solve the mystery of where these girls went at night. I knew already. I could go back. I glanced back up the path lined with trees that looked like they were made of jewels, silver, and gold—fake. Fae illusions.

The foot of the winding staircase was just visible through the trees, waiting for me to dash back up it and get out of there.

But the symbol I’d seen etched at the top was burned in my brain. It meant he needed help and that he was expecting me. Finding him was the real mission anyway, and now I knew he was here—or had been.

And much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just leave him.

Not even to save my hide from those important selkie shifters.

“Kelpies take you, Riel,” I muttered, and jogged to the end of the dock, where I managed to slip into the back of the last tiny boat, just as the final girl sat down in it.

It rocked slightly and she glanced over her shoulder—straight through me.

At least the invisibility cloak, slung over my battered leather jacket, was doing its job. She had no idea there was a guy crouching behind her in the boat—the last place I wanted to be.

I wiped my palms on my torn jeans, resisting the urge to check that my gun was still tucked behind me, and avoided looking at the water as we crossed. Maybe they wouldn’t sense that I was near the water if I didn’t touch it.

When we reached the shore, if I’d had my motorbike with me, I’d have roared up the winding path to the palace, away from that river faster than a faerie flying from iron, but I had to content myself with stalking quietly behind the twelve dancers to the double doors flung wide.

They were ice. The doors, not the girls. Well, as far as I knew; I hadn’t had time to assess their personalities. The whole palace was ice—or looked it. I slipped inside after the young women, past the fae guards who didn’t see me—although one was busy muttering into a cell phone pressed to his ear (yes, faeries have technology too; they just magic it), so it wasn’t like he was paying much attention anyway.

Once inside, I took in the scene from the shadows. A habit of mine, hard to break even while wearing a cloak that made shadows redundant.

A vast, cold, vaulted hall. A ballroom of ice, filled with dancers—faeries and at least a few other species I didn’t have time to study, and the girls I’d followed, who immediately swept into the dance. Elegant icy pillars ringed the room, carved with wolves and roses, moons and ravens, snowflakes and reindeer and mountains and vines of ice. Music filled the air, as cold and beautiful as the palace. The lighting overhead resembled the northern lights and I wasn’t sure how it was done. Faeries. Typical.

The floor was like a frozen lake—I hoped it wasn’t actually a lake—and in the center was a throne, like frozen blocks of ice with the back tipped with icicles pointing the wrong way.

It didn’t look terribly comfortable, but the woman sitting on it didn’t appear to care. And neither did the young man next to her on a smaller seat of ice, sprawling comfortably with his legs crossed and his arm thrown across the back of his chair.

Gabriel Kenworth. Right in the middle of everything, like he always had to be.

I shoved down the rush of relief at seeing him alive. On the one hand, at least I didn’t have to go looking for a dungeon somewhere to find him. On the other hand, it was almost annoying how easy it looked. And I didn’t trust that one bit.

Pulling the invisibility cloak tighter, I reluctantly left the shadows. I crossed to the center dais with the throne, quickly, avoiding the dancers sweeping this way and that. Hopefully my reflection, which stared furtively up at me in the mirror-like floor, was only visible to myself.

I stopped on the steps to one side of the dais, planning my next move.

Close up, the queen on the throne was as perfect and stunning as you’d expect a fae queen to be, and almost carved of ice, she seemed. She wore a gown that looked like it was made of a million snowflakes, with a white fur wrap around her shoulders. She was young but ageless, despite the white hair twisted elegantly on her head. A silver-white crown coiled around that. Her eyes were silver starlight, but sheer cold, directed at Riel sitting next to her.

She laughed. “Go on, Kay.”

Kay.

At least he had the brains to use a false name.

Not that being here in the first place showed that he had any brains at all.

Then again, I was here too.

“Oh, I was finished,” he said pleasantly. “That was the end.”

“Mm. A fine story,” the queen said. She fell silent and watched him.

He watched her back, raising his eyebrows ever so slightly under the wave of blond hair over his forehead, as if in question.

“Well, are you going to kiss me or not?” she said finally.

Riel flashed a smile which didn’t reach his eyes, but it was all charm. “We’ve been over this, Your Majesty. Kissing you would kill me, and I happen to value my life right now.”

I snorted.

The queen looked up and glanced around. She shouldn’t have heard that over the music. Riel didn’t react much but a very slight smirk grew in the corner of his mouth. Come on. He couldn’t have heard either.

But the queen didn’t see me, and looked back at him after a moment. She stood quite suddenly. “I’m going for a drink. Care to join me?”

Riel straightened the cuffs of his nice charcoal suit-coat. “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll wait here.”

She awarded him a dazzling smile, gorgeous and deadly, and swept off down the steps and through the dancers, who parted before her.

Riel sat like an ice statue. I climbed the steps and stopped by his chair, still invisible.

“Ah, Sean. How are you?” he said, not looking toward me.

“Better than you, Gabe,” I said, “by the looks of things.”

He frowned almost imperceptibly at my barb and the nickname he disliked. “It’s good to see you too, old boy.”

“You can’t see me,” I growled. “And you’re older than I am.”

“Figure of speech. Both of them,” he said, unfazed. “I knew you’d come.”

I snorted. “Oh, did you?”

“I figured I’d be missed.”

“Nobody missed you,” I lied.

“And yet here you are.”

I folded my arms, even though he couldn’t see me. “You think you deserve to have everyone running to the end of the world to find you?”

He smirked. “Not everyone. Just you.”

“When we get out of here, I swear I’m going to punch you.”

“Yes. Well. There might be some difficulty with that,” Riel said, his expression strained for the first time.

“I don’t see why. You have a face. I have a fist.”

“I meant the getting out of here part.”

I huffed a breath, frosty on the frigid air. “I knew it. Well, out with it. Tell me what you’ve gotten yourself into this time, so I can get you out of it, as usual.”

Riel gave a tense smile. “I think it’s out of your league.”

“It can’t be worse than the selkies,” I muttered.

His shifty look told me more than I wanted to know. It was worse.

“Oh, come on,” I said.

To be continued . . .

Scars of War by Hazel B. West: Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

It’s here! Today kicks off the blog tour for Scars of War, Hazel B. West’s latest Modern Tales of Na Fianna novel! 🙂 There’s all sorts of fun going on, as well as a giveaway, so be sure to visit the Tour Home post on Hazel’s website, where you can see the schedule, giveaway, and other links!

I’m sharing a review for this awesome book — and there’s giveaway information at the end so don’t miss out. 😀

First Two Books: Free and Discount

You can get Blood Ties (book one) for FREE, for the duration of the tour, on Smashword! Simply go to the book’s page on Smashwords HERE and at checkout enter the following code to download it for free in your preferred format. 🙂 Code: EJ57R

And book two, An Earthly King, will be marked down to 99 cents on Amazon Kindle during the tour as well. 🙂

bloodtiescoverfront copy earthlykingcoverpic2-copy

(Click the covers for my reviews)

Ask Eamon and Killian

Also! There’s a fun thing the author is running on her blog: there’s going to be an Askbox live during the whole tour where you can ask Eamon (High King in the book) and Killian (his Captain of the Guard) questions, so check it out! 😀 (They’re such fun characters. XD)

Book Info And Review

About Scars of War

After the events on Samhain Eve things have calmed down for High King Eamon and his Fianna. The Unseelie Court is under new rule, and Eamon is happily married—and with an heir on the way! But just when it seems like things couldn’t be better, reports of changelings keep coming into BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk). With the risk of children being changed out in their cribs, especially when a royal heir is weeks from being born, Eamon enlists the help of Aeden Mac Cool, Commander of Na Fianna, and Cassandra Whalen, Director of BPAFF, to deal with the threat before it escalates. Riots, Faerie rebels, and road trips with the King of the Unseelie—it’s just a typical day, right?

Purchase Links

Smashwords • Amazon KindlePaperback

About the Author

Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she’s not writing, she’s reading other people’s books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix—drinking coffee is also a given.

Find the Author Online

Blog • Twitter: @artfulscribblerPinterest • Goodreads

Other Links

Add Scars of War on Goodreads • Blood Ties Book Trailer • Book 1: Blood Ties on AmazonBook 2: An Earthly King on Amazon


Title: Scars of War (Modern Tales of Na Fianna, Book Three)

Author: Hazel B. West

  • Date read: September 7, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mythology/Folklore
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 350 (ebook)
  • Series: Modern Tales of Na Fianna, #3
  • Fave character: Aeden and Oberon
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (thank you!). These opinions are entirely my own.

What a rollick of a book! We’ve got a nefarious changeling plot, cute Faerie children, awesome warriors, snark and humor, and of course an epic and amusing road trip. 😀 MY FAVORITE. I had a splendid amount of fun reading this book. 😀 As with any third-book-in-a-series, some things are hard to discuss without spoilers, but I shall do my best to be careful…

I love how each of these books has been so different so far. I mean, they’re all in the same world and have similar stuff going on in a way, with the snarky characters and the fun and the danger and all, but they’re all unique and surprise me! Blood Ties features lots of questing in the Fae Lands, while An Earthly King is primarily centered around Tara Hall. In Scars of War, we get to explore the southern parts of Ireland, which was neat, mixing the modern and old feels and Faeries into the mix. I love it!

There are two main parts to the story: stuff going on at Tara Hall with High King Eamon, and Ciran and his company—not as much with them; I might have liked more, but I suppose this is Cass’s story—and various troubles there on top of getting ready for Eamon’s heir to be born. Which factors into the changeling plot… leading to the second, and main, part of the story: Cass, Director of BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk) is setting out to stop the outbreak of changeling incidents in order to keep the future heir safe. Joining her is Aeden, Commander of the Na Fianna (yay!) and, inviting himself along, Oberon, King of the Unseelie—and these three head out on a road trip of all road trips. Let the fun ensue!

I was so excited when I found out this would be about Cass and Aeden! The first book is all in Ciran’s POV, while the second is a delightful mix of several POVs, so for some reason I guess I wasn’t expecting nearly the whole book to be in Cass’s head? I wasn’t as much of a fan of that since I didn’t need to spend an ENTIRE book with her and might have wanted more Aeden; BUT I do like Cass and once I got used to it, it was fine. What we did get of Aeden was fantastic, even if that didn’t get going as soon as I might have liked. XD He’s awesome and precious. ❤ Both he and Cass are great, and I loved getting more of them and their stories. ^_^ (We got some of Eamon’s POV to see what was going on over there as well.)

AND THEN THERE’S OBERON. I may like Aeden more, but Oberon is absolutely hilarious and one of my favorites. He’s the fabulous King of the Unseelie and he makes sure you know it, and is vain and purposefully rather petty at times, and loves to annoy them and gripe about things, but he has many unexpected hidden talents too, and a heart of gold underneath, even if he doesn’t let on. His dialog is my favorite. XD He’s the annoying third-wheel and it’s glorious. 😀

The changeling plot was fascinating. There’s also mystery-type elements, and danger and peril, and it’s very exciting. The character arcs as they deal with various things were well done too. I guess I’m trying to say that while the fun elements are what stand out to me when I review, there’s plenty of epicness, action, and depth to go with that. 🙂

The roadtrip was one of my favorite things! I mean, you have the no-nonsense Director of BPAFF (essentially like a cool FBI for dealing with magical-creatures or Faerie problems), the Commander of the elite super warriors Na Fianna, and the King of the Unseelie Fae, who is… erm… high-maintenance and snarky. Put them together in a Land Rover and have them driving around Ireland chasing a mystery, running into Faeries, having fights or car chases or peril, bantering, stopping for coffee at gas stations, and all the while Oberon is snarking away, complaining about being hungry, or that his suit is getting ruined, or they have the wrong music on, or not wanting to eat the Meat Stix (a running joke which was awesome), annoying Cass and Aeden so much… XD I JUST LOVE IT. Those three + roadtrip = best. ever. ❤

There also mayyy or may not be a bit of a romance on the side WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVED AND THE CUTENESS KNOWS NO BOUNDS. Ahem. I love it and approve and ship them very much. 😀 Most of the other characters are kind of shipping them too, which makes more hilarity. XD *zips lips* I WILL SAY NO MORE.

There may have been a couple things I wasn’t sure if I liked, and I did see through what the bad characters were planning near the end and thought that the heroes should have SEEN THROUGH IT ALL TOO, buuut then I suppose there might not be a story… *cough* So other than a few minor issues like that and some typos/errors, I overall enjoyed it a ton! 😀

The characters, humorous snarky dialog, and details, totally made this book. The little details though! I LOVED the presence of a Claddagh ring! ❤ The food references were hilarious. XD (I now want to eat Meat Stix and find some Elf Eaties—whatever they are—and go eat a sundae at Dippity Aye. XD The Dippity Aye subplot was HILARIOUS and I will not spoil it. Just read the book. Also, I now want there to be Oberon’s King of the Unseelie Foodie Blog, please. XD) And I just love this WORLD, with all the mix of old/new/Ireland/folklore/Fae things/modern technology. It makes me happy and I want to live there. ❤

Also, please note that the image of Cass, Aedan, and a Faerie king all sitting on the floor in a circle with little Faerie kids IS ADORABLE.

Point of interest: there’s an awesome mini-short-story included at the end which tells the saga of what a few of the characters were doing at one point off screen that I’d wondered at, and it’s fabulous. XD

Overall, it was a fun and exciting adventure, and my only question is WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK? Because I could read these things forever! ^_^ If you haven’t, I highly suggest checking out Blood Ties (and then An Earthly King… and then Scars of War…) because you need these modern Irish warrior books in your life. ❤

Some Favorite Quotes

(I say some; all of them and we’d be here all day. I know most of these are Oberon—sorry, he’s just hilarious, is all. XD)

***

“You have got to be joking,” Oberon complained. “Meat Stix—with an X? How do I know this is even real meat? Never trust products where they purposefully misspell a word.”

***

“Hope you don’t mind more pub grub, your majesty.”

Oberon sighed like a martyr. “At least I will be able to rate and review every pub and inn in the south of Ireland by the time we’re done with this little road trip. I should start my own foodie blog.”

***

“Just do what you Fianna do best,” I added unbuckling as I turned around in the seat to face Oberon and grab my crossbow. “Drive fast.”

“Yes, Director,” Aeden said with a grin.

***

“Oberon, your things are in the barn.”

He looked at me indignantly. “I do have to question the benefits of a peace treaty with your people if all you do is shove me in the back of your car and then house me with the cows.”

***

Imagine the surprise when we came in and I saw Oberon in the kitchen, standing at the stove and making sausage and eggs and pancakes, flipping them happily and whistling to himself as he wore a “Kiss Me I’m Fae” apron that might have been glamoured, or might just be something he carried in his copious bags. It was hard to tell.

***

“Fae magic does cell service no favors.”

Giveaway

Don’t forget that there’s a giveaway! Hazel is giving away a paperback of Scars of War and a BPAFF shamrock necklace! 😀 Rafflecopter hates WordPress, so I shall direct you to Hazel’s post where you can enter! ^_^

What do you think, my Roadlings? Have you read any of these? Does the series intrigue you? Thanks so much for reading! 🙂