Book Blitz & Excerpt: Captured in Paint + Giveaway

Captured in Paint

by Ann M. Miller

Word Count: 63,815
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 234

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Paintings can stir emotions, but for Julia, emotions bring paintings to life…literally.

Ice Princess.

That’s what the kids at St Peter’s High call seventeen-year-old Julia Parsons, the girl who doesn’t show emotion. But that all changes when Julia loses the protection of her late mother’s charmed necklace, and the emotions that have been locked deep inside her are unleashed. Now, after years of priding herself on being calm, cool and collected, Julia is forced to accept two life-altering revelations—she can feel just as deeply as any other teen and her emotions can make paintings come alive.

As Julia struggles to control her ability, she discovers that her boyfriend, Nick, is trapped inside a mural that she herself created. She enters the wintry world to save him before it’s painted over but quickly realises that a mysterious force is keeping Nick tethered to the work of art.

Unless Julia can learn how to harness the power of her new and unfamiliar emotions, they won’t make it out of the painting alive.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of underage characters drinking and using strong language, as well as a brief reference to smoking.


Luke Mercer’s eyes latched onto mine as he strode into history class. I looked down quickly, but I could still feel his gaze. It wasn’t like the sympathetic and curious looks my other classmates gave me. At least they had the decency to seem embarrassed when I caught them glancing my way. Luke had been watching me with cool disdain, his blue eyes never wavering.

He paused as he passed by my desk. I kept my eyes on my notebook, willing him to sit down.

“Please take your seat, Luke,” Ms. Davis said.

He uttered a low, sarcastic laugh and slid into a desk in the next row over.

Luke had transferred from Westdale Collegiate to St. Peter’s High for grade twelve, but it was mid-September and he’d only started attending classes two days earlier. People were saying it was because he’d just gotten out of juvie.

I hunched over my notebook, intent on ignoring him. As I doodled with my right hand, the fingers of my left automatically lifted to touch the silver chain that always hung around my neck. My fingertips only grazed bare skin.

Letting out a sharp gasp, I fumbled with my collar, but I still couldn’t feel the chain. I dropped my pen and frantically ran both hands over the front of my shirt, hoping my locket had just fallen off and got snagged in the material. It hadn’t.

I bent over and searched my backpack. It wasn’t there, either.

Somewhere between home and school, I’d lost the locket. How could I not have noticed? It was one of the few things I had left that tied me to my mother, and now it was gone—maybe forever, just like her. As the thought crossed my mind, my chest tightened in a way it never had before, squeezing until I felt like I was going to explode. A lump rose in my throat, and I was struck by the overwhelming urge to cry.

I never cried. I’d always been good at keeping my emotions in check. Even in the days and weeks following the fire, I hadn’t shed a tear. It was like this wall of numbness surrounded me, keeping me from really feeling.

Now, with the discovery of the missing locket, that wall had come crashing down.

With my heart thumping wildly against my ribcage, I barely noticed when Principal Tobin came on the PA. For a couple of minutes, his voice sounded far away as he read through a list of announcements. But then his tone changed, taking on a sombre note that made me sit up a little straighter. “And now I have a very important piece of news to cap off today’s announcements. As you all know, we lost one of our students this past summer. Nicholas Allen was a bright, motivated young man who was honoured with a Young Humanitarian Award for his fundraising campaign for victims of the Alberta floods. He also…”

No! I screamed in my head. Don’t talk about him.

But, of course, Mr. Tobin couldn’t hear my silent plea. He kept talking about my dead boyfriend, listing his achievements like a proud father.

Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. Something was lodged in my windpipe, cutting off all my air.

“And now,” the principal continued, “Nicholas’ parents are collaborating with the Red Cross to set up a scholarship fund in his memory. If you would like more information, you can contact…”

I’d known about the scholarship because Mrs. Allen had called to tell me about it before school had started. But I had not been expecting to hear about it over the PA today. Hadn’t been expecting Nick’s name to be boomed out across the school just as I was trying to keep it together in the wake of losing my locket. Talk about a double whammy.

I needed the wall again, needed to build it back up and use it as a buffer against the flood of emotions. But the pieces of that wall lay at my feet, and I didn’t know how to put them back together.

I couldn’t ignore the images of Nick that popped into my head—tall, lean, handsome Nick with the crooked smile and caramel-brown eyes that could send butterflies skittering through my stomach, even after two years of dating. But I would never see that smile again. He was gone, just like my mother. Just like the locket.

Stop it, I commanded myself, desperate to put an end to the chain of despondent thoughts. You can beat this.

My mother had taught me some techniques to use if my emotions started to run rampant—simple things like taking slow, deep breaths, counting to ten or recalling a happy memory…affirmations. I’d never had to use any of them…until now.

I took a series of deep breaths and hoped that I would find my equilibrium.

But the deep sadness and regret only grew, pouring over me in waves as Nick’s face floated in my mind’s eye.

My face grew warm. The walls of the classroom were closing in on me. I desperately wished I was somewhere else, somewhere I could be alone, where I could breathe in lungfuls of fresh air.

An image of a field of poppies began to take shape in my mind. I didn’t have time to wonder where it had come from because a wave of dizziness struck me.

Black spots flitted across my vision, and the classroom began to spin.

I closed my eyes.

“Are you all right, Julia?”

The concerned voice of my history teacher reached me through the dizziness. When I opened my eyes, the spinning sensation stopped as suddenly as it had begun. My racing heart started to slow as I fixed my eyes on Ms. Davis. I took another deep breath, and this time I was able to push back the grief that had nearly consumed me.

“I’m fine, Ms. Davis,” I said. My voice was loud and clear, but my hands were shaking. I wasn’t sure what was worse—the fact that the layer of numbness had been peeled back, exposing my emotions…or feeling like I was going to faint. What was wrong with me today?

The eyes of my classmates burned into the back of my head. Whispers swirled around me. They were gossiping about the fire, of course, wanting to know more, wondering how I was.

They could wonder all they wanted, though. I wasn’t talking about it.

“Quiet, please,” Ms. Davis said.

She waited for the whispers to die down then cleared her throat. “Today we’re going to start by talking about the St. Peter’s Mining Disaster of 1938. Does anyone know what happened?”

“It was a methane gas explosion, right?” Tina Myers answered. “It killed most of the miners.”

“That’s right. And what was the significance of the disaster?”

“Uh, a lot of people died?” piped up Ron Freeman, the school’s track-and-field star. He was swift on the track but not so much in the classroom.

Laughter rang through the room. Ms. Davis sighed. “Other than that, Mr. Freeman. What was the significance of the event in terms of a historical context?”

Emily Saunders shot her hand up.

“Yes, Emily.”

“It meant the end of the iron ore industry in St. Peter’s.”

“Exactly. After that—”

“Actually,” Scott Reese cut in, “I think the real significance is that the survivors went nuts.”

There was a collective groan from the class.

“Come on, you guys. You all know the stories. They saw some pretty crazy things as they ran out of the mine.”

Emily tossed her red hair. “They were probably delusional.”

Ron scratched his head thoughtfully. “They were all delusional? I don’t know, Em. I kinda think the stories might be true.”

“Yeah,” Scott said with a smirk. “Stories about miners disappearing in a cloud of dust—and not because of the explosion.”

“Stories about someone using freaky magic down in the mines!” someone else chimed in.

Ms. Davis held up a hand. “All right, that’s enough. Let’s stick with the facts, please.”

I listened to the exchange without participating. It wasn’t like I didn’t have anything to say about the mining disaster. After all, my own grandfather—who’d died before I was born—had survived the explosion. And according to Mom, he’d always insisted the rumours about unexplained phenomena were just that—rumours. I could have contributed this information, but the last thing I wanted to do was prolong a debate about death and tragedy. I was dealing with enough of that in my own life.

Still feeling a bit unsteady, I shifted in my seat. As I did so, my elbow struck my pen and knocked it to the floor.

I twisted in my seat to retrieve it, but the girl who sat in the desk behind me had already scooped it up. She handed it to me with a sympathetic smile. I murmured my thanks and was about to turn around.

That’s when I noticed Luke watching me from the next row, three desks down. His ice-blue eyes locked onto mine again. Hi, Julia, he mouthed.

I frowned at him. He smiled, but his eyes remained cool. I faced forward, anger bubbling in my chest as I focused on my notebook again. Soon the page in front of me was covered with the same line, written over and over in small, neat letters.

Stay in control.

The bell rang, signalling the end of class. I stood, stuffed my notebook in my backpack and hurried from the classroom. In the hallway, I pushed through a throng of students, anxious to get to my locker.

“Jules!” My best friend, Roxy Butler, hurried up and threw her arms around me.

“Hey, Rox.” As she gave me a squeeze, some of my tension fell away.

“A bunch of us are going to Tony’s for lunch. Please say you’ll come with.”

I shook my head, slinging my backpack over my shoulder. “I can’t. I’ve got some stuff to do.”

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About the Author

Ann M. Miller

Ann Miller writes young adult novels about first loves, family secrets, and magic. She grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where the local bookmobile fed her diet of Nancy Drew mysteries, Sweet Valley High books, and Stephen King horror. After graduating from the University of King’s College, she moved to Newfoundland, an island that makes up for its unforgiving climate with beautiful coastlines and majestic icebergs.

When she’s not reading or writing, Ann can be found spending time with her husband and son, or binge watching Netflix while curled up with the two four-legged members of her family.

Captured in Paint is her first novel, and she has several more in the works. Take a look at Ann’s website.


Enter to win a fabulous Goody Bag and a $5.00 First For Romance Gift Code!

Ann M. Miller’s Captured in Paint

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Fly Free + Giveaway


Fly Free
by Allison Rose
Light of Faerie (#1)
Out September 20, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: 252 (Print Length)

In the land of Faerie, lies are easily disguised as truths.

They were raised like sisters, the heir to the Court of the Day and her guardian.

And as rebellion darkens the land of the Day—and the faeries of Court fall under a dark magic that disconnects them from the land, dooming them to a slow, agonizing death—they will question all they know to be true.

Sevelle, the Light of the Day, is destined to rule one day. She possesses a rare form of magic, the ability to heal the powerful connection between faeries and the magic in the land, the connection that gives them life—if only she could figure out how to use this magic, or even find it within herself.

Jae lives in the shadows, watching over Sevelle as her guardian and listening to the whispers of Court brought to her by the winds. She longs for a life outside of Court, but knows her duty to Sevelle is more important than her own desires.

But when an unexpected proposition comes from none other than Lex, son of the rebel leader, Sevelle and Jae realize their lives will never be the same—and that evil may be within their own court more so than in the rebels that oppose them.

Walking paths far different than they imagined separates the sisters, but then a secret is revealed that may break them apart forever.

Fly Free is the first installment of the Light of Faerie series. Enter a land of magic in the midst of a power struggle, where all is not as it seems and love may be found in the most unlikely places.

Goodread / Amazon / Bookbub


Chapter One
Sevelle faced her mother, willing herself to stand tall. She focused on the black sun symbol on her mother’s temple to avoid looking directly into the wrath of her gaze.
They stood in the private meeting room—containing only one large wooden table, a set of chairs, and stacks of their most important writings—tucked away behind the thrones of the Day Court, but Sevelle felt more exposed than ever.
The Glorious Shayna, leader of the Day Court, looked back at Sevelle with her hands on her hips. Her blue hair was tied up, her wings open to reveal the brown markings in the shape of eyes in the upper section of each dark blue wing.
Sevelle’s father stood off to the side, dark wings to the wall of shelves housing their writings. A worried expression creased his normally smooth features, his light brown hair was half tied haphazardly, and his arms were crossed over the green skin of his bare chest, just above the cloth of beige wrapped over his lower half. He said nothing, for it was Sevelle’s mother who made decisions concerning the faeries, while he ruled in matters of the land and the life force, the ara, within it.
The symbols on the Telk stones her mother wore on cords around her arms, hands, neck, legs, and over the dark cloth criss-crossing her silver skin flashed as her magic flared.
Sevelle braced herself for the feel of her mother’s spirit power, like icy fingers in her mind sensing for the truth, her intentions, any sign of deceit.
A few moments passed before the violation left Sevelle’s mind.
“A true heir would know her own power,” her mother said.
The words hit Sevelle as if she had been struck by a physical blow.
Why those words? Would she strip me of my right to rule? she thought in panic.
Before she could form words, her mother continued. “So you have let us believe all along that the power of the sun would save us should there be a time of need. Yet the truth is that you cannot wield it and do not even feel it within you.”
I never said I could wield it, only kept quiet that I couldn’t. Maybe I should’ve kept quiet a little longer.
Sevelle didn’t dare say the words aloud, though.
“I—I have tried,” she protested, almost wincing at how weak her voice sounded. “I thought I would be able to wield it before it was needed.”
Her mother’s expression remained cold as ice.
“Well, the time is now, Light of the Day,” her mother went on without mercy. “Those of the court are weakening, cut off from the ara that keeps them alive by this rebel magic. More and more every day fall victim to the blight, doomed to die a very slow death. This leaves the court too weak to fight the rebels behind it.”
And I could save my court if only I could wield my power, Sevelle finished silently, guilt flooding her. I could reconnect them to the ara in the land that sustains faerie life.
“And if you cannot find it within yourself to save them—” Her mother leaned forward, bracing one hand on the wooden table beside them. “Is the position of heir too much for you, Sevelle?”
“No,” Sevelle answered in a rush as her heart pounded. “I wish to remain heir.”
“Faeries without power are as useless as humans, Sevelle.”
Sevelle gave a sharp intake of breath. This can’t possibly be so bad she would banish me to the human world—
“Why is it you think you cannot feel your power, Sevelle?” Her father eased off the wall and stepped forward.
Sevelle turned to him, but glanced nervously back at her mother as she answered, digging one toe into a divet between the stone slabs that made up the floor. “I was so young when I revived that runa. They are such small creatures. And I didn’t even know how I did it then. One moment its life was leaving its body, and the next I had picked it up and the life rushed back in. I—”
“No one knows your power but you, Sevelle,” her mother interrupted. She folded her wings and turned her gaze to the table, as if looking at Sevelle pained her. “You are the only one to show the power of the sun since Analare.”
Frustration rose within Sevelle. “Analare died before I was born,” she shot back before thinking. “And even she might not have been able to save so many from death. She could not survive the Silver Dusk.”
The Glorious’s head snapped back up as a sinking feeling started in Sevelle’s stomach. The Silver Dusk was not something to speak of lightly. It had destroyed the land to the south, killing the faeries that lived there and most of the courts, including her parents’ parents and the previous rulers of the Night—all because a faerie of the Night and one of the Day sought to create a faerie child that was a combination of both energies. When the opposing forces came together, they resulted in a burst of power that was only stopped by the combined magics of The Glorious, Drake, and Kye and Baron of the Night, all relatively young at the time. They then ascended to rule the courts. Society had been rebuilt since then, but the loss was still felt by those that remembered.
Her mother’s gaze grew dark. “You will not speak of my mother—”
“Shayna, we have no right to compare her to Analare.” Her father and mother exchanged a look Sevelle couldn’t quite decipher. Then her father turned to her with a frown. “Though Sevelle should not have spoken so rashly about her beloved ancestor.”
“The rebels may not be so kind as you, Drake,” Sevelle’s mother reminded him curtly.
The sound of the wooden door creaking open broke into the conversation.
“The dawn awaits,” Jae said as she stepped inside, bowing her head respectfully. Sevelle let out a breath in relief at the sight of her guardian, though fear was still alive within her mind.
Jae’s tightly wrapped clothing marked her as one of the guard, the cloth looping over both shoulders and around her middle, down to wrap around her abdomen and thighs in a fashion that allowed her arms, legs, and wings to be free, so that she was ready to defend Sevelle at any moment. The black symbol of the sun, the mark of the Day, stood out against her silver skin and brown hair, tight in a bun. Jae’s spear slung over her shoulder, and she clutched her shimmery dark brown wings firmly to her back.
Sevelle’s mother looked like she wanted to berate Jae, but only gave a dramatic wave of her hand. “We will speak no more of this in the presence of the dawn.” She snapped her wings shut and swept toward the door.
“I will do better,” Sevelle hurried to say. Her mother gave no indication she heard before exiting the room, spreading her wings, and taking off toward one of the many openings carved into the stone walls of the Throne Room.
Sevelle turned pleading eyes to her father.
“Look inward. Find your purpose,” he told her with a gentle yet stern look.
Too frustrated to reply, Sevelle watched him leave, worrying the fabric of her slitted skirt with her hands.
“Don’t speak,” she said as Jae opened her mouth. Then she softened her tone. “And please make sure no one else learns of this.”
Jae inclined her head. “The dawn waits for no one,” she said in an even voice. “Eyes forward.”
The words did nothing to calm Sevelle, but she nodded in gratitude anyway. She gave her wings a slight shake and headed out the door on foot, taking to the air as she entered the Throne Room. Jae followed directly behind her.
Soaring over the twin thrones adorning the dais—the only furniture in the room—Sevelle landed gracefully just inside the opening to the hall that would lead her above. She hurried forward on foot, joining other courtiers as they made their way to the top deck of the Day Court.
Faeries of all colors adorned in Telk stones on cords and wrapped fabrics sought coveted places near the edge, where they would be the first to see the rays of the sun, the great life-giver, peeking over the horizon. As the crowd grew thicker, Sevelle tried to make her way through without jostling anyone. Several with paler skin and a slight sickeningly sweet odor denoting them as being affected by the blight shrank away from her, causing guilt to jolt through her, though she didn’t cause their hardship.
There is still time, she reminded herself, looking forward with determination borne of guilt, fear, and hope.
Jae’s silver arm came into view as she helped part the crowd, and Sevelle moved forward to take her place at her mother’s side. Both her parents faced the horizon, with Morlan, leader of the guard, to their right. Other guards stood on the stone ledge surrounding the deck, spears at the ready, as the courtiers were open and vulnerable to the sky. But they left the space in front of the ruling family clear so they would receive the first rays of the sun.
The lush greenery of Faerie stretched out before them. Despite the mixed emotions coursing through her, Sevelle’s heart swelled with pride as it always did at the sight. Though she frowned as she noticed more shriveled areas among the masses of trees and plants. A reminder that their Nym—the caretakers of ara in the land, air, water, light, and beasts—that were not affected by the blight were stretched thin, unable to prevent the imbalance as they should. Sevelle’s eyes were drawn to a particular rough patch that revealed a normally hidden view of the Great Divide, the river that separated the territories of the two courts of Faerie: the Day and the Night.
The breeze picked up, whipping through Sevelle’s flowing lavender-colored hair. As she brushed it out of her face and attempted to secure it behind her ears, she heard the courtiers murmur in distress.
The Winds will be upon us soon, Sevelle thought in dismay. Why so many problems at once?
Soon they would be forced to take shelter in the lower levels of the court, the sky no longer safe for travel for a few weeks’ time, as a phenomenon they called the Winds whipped through Faerie, originating from the barren lands of the south.
But she inhaled, forcing her negative thoughts away, and looked to the horizon with hope. Sevelle focused as the sun began to reveal itself, bathing the court in an orange glow. The courtiers gasped or sighed in relief, some murmuring wishes and intentions for the day. Sevelle’s skin began to warm even before the full force of the light hit her.
I can feel it. Why can’t I wield it?
As she wrestled with her thoughts and the courtiers quieted down, her mother’s voice rang out, “May the light guide us through the day.”
Sevelle placed her hands on the stone ledge and leaned forward, squinting against the brightness and willing the ara within her to connect with that of the great power source.
“May the light heal us from this blight,” her mother continued.
Give me your secrets.
Sevelle closed her eyes this time and tried to feel the radiance.
“And carry us into tomorrow,” her mother finished.
The warmth remained on Sevelle’s skin, never sinking further into her being. She opened her eyes as the courtiers around her murmured their own thanks to the sun.
Her mother turned suddenly then, giving Sevelle a critical look out of the corner of her eye.
Sevelle plastered a serene look onto her face to hide the coldness she felt inside, the absence of any sort of awakening power.

Chapter Two
Jae tied the ends of a cord together, fastening a Telk stone marked with a wavy pattern—the symbol of water—to Sevelle’s upper arm. Midmorning light streamed in through the window, highlighting the fine cloths adorning the smooth wooden bedframe and chests, the stone walls, and the water basin in one corner.
“Many thanks,” Sevelle said dully as she stared down at herself.
At The Glorious’s request, Jae had helped Sevelle adorn herself almost from head to toe in the stones. The cords criss-crossed over her yellow-gold skin and her torso, intricately wrapped in cloth of the same light pink as her wings. They had switched out her flowing skirted garment for a tighter fitting wrap that left her calves bare. A stone with the swirl symbol of spirit was tied to rest on her forehead.
Spirit for clarity, water for refreshment, light for power.
Like the power of others will help her be more in touch with herself, Jae scoffed internally. But the tired lines around Sevelle’s eyes reminded Jae that life had been hard in the days since she had admitted her failure.
Sevelle lifted her head. “Tell me I don’t look desperate.”
“You don’t look desperate,” Jae intoned.
Sevelle gave her a small glare despite being the one to suggest the words and heaved a sigh. Then her gaze drifted toward the window. She winced.
“I’m late,” she said, rushing past Jae.
With the ease of practice, Jae turned to follow. She quickly checked that her spear was over her shoulder before entering the hall and shutting Sevelle’s wooden door. She kept one step behind Sevelle as she took off down the hall on foot. A few courtiers flew or strode past, but nothing like the bustle of the court before the blight.
Tapping into the ara at her core, Jae magically reached out to the winds. Restless, it took some coaxing to do her bidding, but they eventually whipped through the hall and back to Jae, bringing her snippets of conversation. The low howl of wind rushing through the many doorways and openings of the court created an irritating undertone, but Jae strained to hear past it.
“You cannot seriously mean that.”
“Why won’t this blasted wind stop?”
“…just let me die.”
Jae nearly rolled her eyes at the melodrama of the last one from the direction of those in the lower level room set aside for those affected so they would be out of the way. They were all harmless words, though. No threat to Sevelle. And no mention of her admitted failure.
At the end of the hall, Jae opened her wings and dropped gracefully through the Throne Room after Sevelle.
Sevelle touched down lightly before the dias and rushed up the steps and past the large smooth thrones carved of dark stone to disappear into the small room beyond. When Jae made to take her position outside the door, The Glorious suddenly appeared in the doorway.
Jae bowed her head. “Glorious.”
The Glorious waved her away with one hand. “You are needed in the garden today,” she said. “Report to Morlan.”
Jae stared at the door for a moment after The Glorious shut it. Then she shook her head and took off toward the opening near the vaulted ceiling that would take her to the garden, the large rectangular section of forest enclosed within the Court of the Day—the source of their food and water, and where they could be closer to the ara within the soil.
Jae coaxed the winds ahead of her, filtering through the ones that came back to find the deep voice of her trainer.
She found his muscular form leaning against the wall underneath the canopy of the upper balcony. His dark blue skin, black wings, and equally dark guardian clothing stood out against the greenery adorning the gray stone wall. His hair was tied up out of his face, and he kept the winds effortlessly streaming steadily around him, much like Jae’s own power. A spear was slung over his shoulder.
Jae pointedly ignored the brightness at his core that reminded her he was a potential partner for her. She focused instead on figuring out why they were here.
The piles of stones at his feet gaver her the answer: one pile adorned with symbols, the other smooth and unmarked.
“Since when do you handle the production of Telk?” Jae asked as she approached.
“Since Canar has fallen to the blight,” he grumbled.
“And what am I to do?”
“Grace the stones with your power, like the rest of them.” He gestured to the garden and the other faeries that must be working within.
Jae stared at him. “You know as well as I do the power of air is not entirely useful.”
“It may protect some from the Winds,” he pointed out.
“Those of the court do not need protection from the Winds. You know this Telk will never actually leave the court and do the commoners who need it any good.”
Morlan’s shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly.
Jae clamped her mouth shut. That was not wise, she berated herself.
He turned his attention to her, narrowing his dark eyes. “What did you say?”
What can I tell him that he will believe?
She looked away, folding her legs as she gracefully lowered herself to the ground near the pile of unmarked stones.
“Only to keep the court honest,” she said, trying to keep her voice light.
He gave her a disbelieving grunt, but then a water-user approached from among the large circular leaves of the ferns surrounding them. With a nervous glance at Morlan, he knelt to carefully place his Telk stones onto the pile.
Perfect timing, Jae thought as Morlan spoke with the courtier.
Picking up an unmarked stone, she smoothed her thumb over the surface, willing the power of the air into it, so that it would do the bidding of whoever held it for a short time. And to be gentle to the commoners that might use it and not know how to wield it.
“You know better than to say such things,” Morlan admonished her when the courtier was out of earshot.
I should’ve known he wouldn’t let it drop. Two years older, and thinks he is so wise.
“You know I am right,” she muttered, still looking down.
“The court provides for the commoners, as it does us all.”
Right. Like being trapped here is a blessing.
Wind swirled into a sudden gust in her lap, forcing her head up. “What?” she bit out.
His scrutiny made her want to squirm. “You are agitated today.”
Jae sighed. “I would rather be training.”
“In that, we agree.”
His winds released her chin, and she put her head down once more. Jae leaned forward and tossed her finished Telk stone, now marked with three circles within each other, onto the other pile.
The uncomfortable silence between them continued as she selected another smooth stone and sat back. It was odd seeing him in this capacity—so mundane. She didn’t know what to say to him when they weren’t focused on combat.
She had added her fifth stone to the pile when she felt Sevelle’s presence. She always registered to Jae’s senses as the equivalent of a warm breeze, just barely disturbing the air around her but enough that Jae sensed the change. Sevelle’s normal warmth was replaced with a chill Jae felt before her charge’s form appeared, gliding into the trees from the balcony.
Jae rushed to stand, relieved to soon be rid of her awkward task. She glanced at Morlan.
The intensity on his face led her to believe he wanted to say something, but then he nodded. An odd feeling passed through Jae, and she quickly turned away.
Spreading her wings, Jae went after Sevelle.


Prize: Fly Free by Allison Rose – One (1) of three (3) paperbacks – US Only
Starts: January 10th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: January 17th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST

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allison-roseAbout the Author:

Driven by a lifelong passion for words and reading fantasy novels, award-winning author Allison Rose writes YA fantasy stories featuring faeries, magic, and strong heroines. She has a BA in psychology and is fascinated by how other people think, but her love for reading and writing is greater. When Allison isn’t writing, she is editing and proofreading the works of others. Allison lives with her husband, collie mix, bunny, and chinchilla in the place of wild weather also known as Buffalo, New York.

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Hosted by Storytellers On Tour. Follow the rest of the tour here.



Book Blitz & Guest Post: Hamelin Stoop Series + Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We’re celebrating the release of the third book in the Hamelin Stoop series, The Ring of Truth! Today, the author talks about the inspiration for the series. Next, on Wednesday, January 13th, he’ll be talking about the storybook world of Hamelin Stoop HERE. Come back HERE on Friday, January 15th, to read an excerpt from book three. Plus, there’s a giveaway to enter below. Enjoy!

The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge
(Hamelin Stoop #1)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 332 Pages
November 15, 2016 by 12 Gates Publishing

Afraid of being caught by trackers from another world, a young mother abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of a children’s home. The staff at the orphanage name him Hamelin Stoop, but he grows up longing to learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity.

Life is not easy for Hamelin. He belongs to everyone, though in some ways to no one fully. And the people he is closest to leave him one by one. A letter from an older friend advises Hamelin to “keep waiting and keep hoping.” Bitter experiences force Hamelin to wait, but he has to learn how to hope.

When the children’s home forgets his eighth birthday, he sneaks away at night. He soon discovers that he isn’t just running away — he is being summoned by the Ancient One. Guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, Hamelin must pass a dangerous test of courage before he can find his parents.

Hamelin’s failures, fears, and hopes become part of a larger story, a story of a great struggle between worlds and kingdoms where the old myths of magic, evil contracts, and enslaved children turn out to be real.

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The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna
(Hamelin Stoop #2)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
February 7, 2017 by 12 Gates Publishing

Hamelin finally makes it across the footbridge only to learn that his quest to find his parents and learn his true identity will not be quickly done or easy to fulfill. The Great Eagle leads him through the dangerous Waters of Death and Life and into the Land of Gloaming, where Hamelin is thrown into the midst of a war already being waged between the evil Chimera and the mysterious Ancient One. He must help two new friends find a kidnapped princess and recover a stolen jewel, tasks for which they have special gifts that must not be misused: a scarf of sight, shoes of speed, and a sword of death. But these quests are only part of the larger story, a story including Chimera’s plan to use Hamelin—a child of two realms—to seize the kingdoms on both sides of the Atrium of the Worlds.

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The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge
(Hamelin Stoop #3)
By Robert B. Sloan
Young Adult Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 580 Pages
December 29, 2020 by 12 Gates Publishing

Will Hamelin be summoned again?

Hamelin suspects that his friend Layla is the lost princess from the Land of Gloaming. As he describes his daring adventures to trusted friends at the children’s home, an intricate tapestry of stories emerges. Layla admits that she has had dreams – or are they memories? – of another world with faded light. The orphan boy is not alone in his struggle to learn the truth, search for family, and question the Ancient One’s purposes.

Meanwhile, dangerous forces continue to pursue the boy of both worlds, but the evil Chimera gives his agents an additional task: find the fourth princess, the missing daughter of Carr, and stop her. She must never return home.

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Guest Post: The Bible, the Pied Piper, and Hamelin Stoop 

Do you remember the legend of The Pied Piper? When I was young, I was attracted to many stories of myth and magic, but it was this story that I longed to see finished. It is the story of the lost children of Hameln town. The children were seduced into following the alluring music of a cunning piper (their parents failed to live up to the contract made with the Pied Piper, and he stole the children to exact their unpaid debt and avenge his wounded dignity), who led them into a magic mountain, never to be seen again. Only a few witnesses were left to go back so that the parents would know what they had done, that it was their fault the children were taken.

My childhood mind was troubled. What happened to the children who were taken away? Could they ever be rescued and come home? What about their parents and the pain they felt? Would it ever be relieved? Even today the town of Hameln has an old stained glass window commemorating the loss of the children, as well as historical documents and inscriptions that place the great loss on June 26, 1284, the day of Saints John and Paul. Will Hameln always endure the shame of its treachery? The answers are – nothing will ever be the same until the children are restored to their town and families. But how?

I lived with that painful non-ending until one day the story of the Bible and the legend of The Pied Piper connected in my imagination. The story of the Bible is also unfinished in the Old Testament, and though the beginning of the hoped for ending is picked up again in the New Testament and carried forward substantially through the story of Jesus, it remains still unfinished on the stage of history. I think the stories connected in my mind because both are unfinished, with exiles who have yet to be brought home.

Once I filled out a larger narrative for the world and backstory of The Pied Piper, the Hamelin Stoop series was born.

About the Author

Robert is married to his college sweetheart, Sue. With seven married children and over twenty grandchildren, they enjoy large family gatherings with good food and lively conversation around the table. Favorite family activities include role-playing games, writing and reading stories, and, of course, storytelling. Robert is also a University president and scholar.

Photo Credit: Joannah Buffington

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Blitz Giveaway

One winner will receive print copies of The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge and The Lost Princess and the Jewel of Periluna plus bookmarks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card (US only)

Ends January 18, 2021


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