Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Short Story—A Haunted House in the Suburbs—Happy Halloween!

I wrote this story 7 years ago in hopes it would be included in a book on Haunted Houses in Texas. The publisher didn't receive enough enough submissions, and the project was dropped.

I thought I'd posted this story online before, but it didn't show up after an Internet search. So, I'm posting it for my readers this Halloween. I hope you enjoy!

If you've had a ghostly experience, please share it with us in the comment section.

A Haunted House in the Suburbs

            When I think about haunted houses, my mind conjures up old, dark, abandoned dwellings in poor condition or ancient castles and mansions with ugly gargoyles keeping out intruders. Not single story ranch style homes with cement foundations that sit on paved streets not more than fifteen feet from the house next door. Now, it’s my understanding that when a realtor sells a property, they must inform the prospective buyers if a death has occurred in the residence, and if it was natural or violent. When we bought the house in Fort Worth in 1972, we received no such news, so, of course our modest abode, in a clean, neat neighborhood wasn’t a candidate for ghost activity.
            I must admit that one night I heard what sounded like someone fighting for their life. My husband liked to watch TV while lying on the sofa, and invariably he’d fall asleep. Our bedroom was right off the den, the TV sat just outside our doorway. Usually, the noise didn’t bother me, or even wake me. But on this particular night, the horrible, loud sounds of choking, gurgling, and screams had me springing from the bed in fright.
My first thought was a heart attack, but the yells of terror nixed that. The only thing that registered in my brain was an intruder was attacking my husband.
My soul mate slept peacefully, but the woman on the TV screen being sucked dry by a vampire wasn’t. I hit the knob on the tube to turn it off. In that day and time, we didn’t have remote controls. Switching channels required getting up to turn the dial, a major pain. Being a portable set sitting on a flimsy stand, it rocked from the blow.
            Furious, I left him snoring serenely and went back to bed. Beating my pillow into submission, I mumbled a few unkind words to let off steam. My heart rate hadn’t slowed yet, so I took several deep breaths. I might not have been so frightened if we’d not had several break-ins in the neighborhood in the past few months. TV’s, jewelry, and other easy to carry items had disappeared, but the burglaries occurred during the day when everyone was at work. No one had been hurt, but there was always a first time.
Before I get to my story about my haunting experience, first let me say, if there is a foreign sound in the house I will hear it and wake up. I don’t know if it’s a mother thing, ESP, or what. One night I awoke and heard a faint noise I couldn’t identify. I rose and walked all over the house trying to find the source. At first I thought it was water running in one of the toilets, but neither were the problem. It was the water heater. A hole had formed in the bottom allowing water to leak onto the raised platform on which it sat. The slow drip, drip, drip is what woke me.
For once my husband didn’t complain about being woken in the night about some noise. In fact, he was grateful. “If you hadn’t heard that slow drip, we’d have a mess to clean up in the morning.” He turned off the gas flame, and with a hose, drained the tank.
On another occasion, around two a.m., something woke me. I don’t have a clue what it was, if I’d heard some sound or what. I lay there awhile, still and afraid, listening for the noise to be repeated so I could hone it on what had nudged me from slumber. My heart thundered in my chest as I waited. When I didn’t hear anything, I opened my eyes. You’re probably wondering why I hadn’t opened my eyes sooner. If someone was in the house, I didn’t want them to know I was awake. Hearing nothing, I opened my eyes. A man stood in front of the TV just outside our bedroom door staring inside. His body was positioned partially toward us, but his head was turned, looking in our bedroom. I could see fairly well as he stood in the glow of the nightlight we leave on for the kids. He wasn’t moving, so I figured I was dreaming. Fear churning in my belly, I continued to gape, taking in his clothes and posture. Of less than medium height for a man, stocky, or maybe the loose clothes he wore made him appear so. About five feet, five inches tall, he wore olive green or khaki pants and a matching jacket that hit him about mid thigh. I know it was a jacket because the hem didn’t curve and I could see that it hung open. His hat was the same color as his clothes, one of those cloth types with a brim turned slightly down, almost like a fishing hat but the brim was wider. Though the light wasn’t bright, I could see enough to make me believe the man was neat and clean.
He remained unmoving and didn’t make a sound. If he was a thief, he’d be quietly gathering loot – a murderer, there would be a weapon of some kind. This had to be a dream. To test my theory, I thought, if I sit up and it’s just a nightmare, I’ll awaken. I sat up in the bed and waited. He bent slightly at the waist and cocked his head in my direction. My mouth was open, a scream gathering in my throat, when his image broke apart and began pulling away. The same way cigarette smoke dissipates if fluttered by a slight breeze. 
I glanced at my sleeping husband trying to make up my mind whether to wake him or not. Deciding no, I got up, tiptoed to the door, and peered around the corner. Nothing. I pulled back quickly, and holding my breath, took another fast peek. No one. I released the air in my lungs and leaned against the door frame to steady my shaky legs. Like most mothers, I couldn’t go back to bed until I’d checked on my children, every door, and window in the house. Everything was locked down for the night as it should be.
For a long time, I lay still in the bed staring at the ceiling, afraid to go back to sleep. Was it possible to be so deep in slumber that you could envision something thinking it real? I don’t think so. As a child, I walked in my sleep on occasion. But in those situations, I interacted with my environment. The minute I woke, I knew I’d been asleep. And felt pretty darn stupid afterwards. Especially the time I walked into my brother’s room and started beating on him.
Whatever I’d seen was totally different. I’d swear he was real, and his head and body did move. I didn’t have a sense of waking, I was already awake. In my mind, I know I saw a ghost. Where this ghost came from or why he was there, I don’t have a clue. If ghosts have temperaments, I’d say this ghost was kind and good. At no time did I feel threatened. Scared yes, but not so much by him as by the fact that I’d seen him period. 
The next morning, I told my husband about our visitor. Being the analytical person he is, he scoffed at the idea of my seeing a ghost. His answer was I’d been dreaming, again. I do have vivid nightmares, ones in living color. If only I could remember them, I’d have tons of ideas for story plots. On occasion I can remember parts of them and make notes for future reference. But, make no mistake, on this occasion, I was awake. I know the difference between a dream and an apparition, ghost, whatever, standing at my door and making eye contact. I’d been haunted – well, not really haunted since I only saw him once.
Over the next few months, I thought of who this individual might be. Across the street and down a steep hill from our house was a railroad track and trains come through regularly. Is it possible he was once a hobo who jumped off the train and fell to his death? Or starved to death, or had been murdered? It didn’t sound likely. He was too clean to be a homeless man. There were numerous possibilities.
Our housing addition sits on soap stone. Until we moved there, I’d never heard of its existence. But when it gets wet, it is slick. As a result, rain washed away parts of the cliff across the street. Back yards slid down the hill, and two vacant lots remained empty where houses had once been. Is it possible that while the streets had been laid out, dirt moved, piled up to form barriers that the land had shifted burying one of the workers? That was a terrible thought.
When I decided to write this story, a fact that puzzled me was the hat the man wore. It was not one I’d seen before. I discussed it with several people and received different answers. I searched the Internet and looked for pictures. Frustrated, I shared my dilemma with my husband. He responded, “It sounds like a jungle hat to me, a Boonie or Daisy Mae.” And sure enough, it was, but not camouflage like the modern ones. After more searching, I found the hat in WWII Army gear – a fatigue Boonie hat to match the jungle fatigues worn in the Pacific.
It was then I realized what he’d worn was a uniform, one when fatigues were standard Army issue, not the camouflage type worn today. Of course, workmen often wore khakis, but I doubt they’d have worn a jacket like my visitor. After further thought, I believe his jacket was a field jacket because my husband still has the one he wore while in the Army in the late 1960’s hanging in his closet.
Our house was built in the early 1960’s, after the Korean War but before Vietnam. Is it possible the people who lived there before us lost a loved one and he’d come seeking them? Or was it someone we had known? It’s possible the ghost didn’t come to see anyone, but something in the house, an item he was attached to. As far as actual antiques, I didn’t have any in the house, but I did have some collectibles and garage sale items.
When our children were small, there were times when they’d wake in the night claiming, “Someone was in my room.” After a thorough search, we found nothing so chalked it up as a dream or moonlight shining through the curtains and highlighting objects on the wall. As for me, I never saw him again.
In the early 1980’s we moved to another town and friends bought the house. When I decided to write this story, I called to see if they’d had any unusual experiences while living there. She asked what kind of oddities I had in mind. I have to give her credit, she didn’t laugh when I said – a ghost. “No, I haven’t and as far as I know, none of the others have either, or if they did, they didn’t mention it to me. But I’ll ask them.” Darn, I was disappointed. I needed some backup, verification that what I’d seen was real.
One afternoon my son, now grown, came over and helped me with some work on my computer. I explained what I was writing and asked him if he’d seen anything unusual, like a ghost when we lived in Fort Worth. Many young men would’ve burst out laughing, but not my son. He’s more like me in his thinking, and doesn’t automatically deny the possibility of unusual happenings. His answer was, no, not in that house, but he and his sister both had seen something in our new home. He continued. “We talked about feeling spooked, and we both saw the exact same thing. Sometimes at night, when we first turned on the light in our bedroom, we’d see the dark shadow of a man. The vision only lasted a second.”
When I described what I’d seen that night, he snapped his fingers, pointed at me, and said, “That’s the kind of hat our shadow wore.”
                                                           The End

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll leave a comment.
Happy Reading and Writing!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Linda Swift shares her latest novel—Full Circle—Ebook Give-a-Way

Linda is here today to share, Full Circle, her latest novel's journey to publication.

Full Circle is a book that has lived up to its title. It began as a contracted book with Kensington but due to closure of its line, was cancelled the month of release. I already had its beautiful cover flats and I wept all over them. A digital publisher accepted it but required all the subplots be omitted. Need I tell you that cutting out half the book was like chopping off my arms and legs? Again, it had a gorgeous cover and was well received as a romance book. At last, I have put the entire book back together again and once more, it has a perfect cover. Not only will readers now be able to enjoy the reunion of Joanna and her one true love after many heartbreaking years, but you will be able to read the entire story that was only hinted at in Circle of Love. The full story deals with an adopted daughter's agonizing search for her birth mother and the conflicting emotions of her adoptive father. However, all is not gloom and doom in this story.  There is also the off again, on again courtship of two secondary characters, the humorous episodes of Pete's and Joanna's attempts to placate his resentful children and Joanna's efforts to fit into the role of rural and domestic life. So if you have read Circle of Love, now you can fill in the gaps with Full Circle. And if you missed it, never mind, for now you can take the shortcut and read the 'unabridged" edition. 

A free digital copy will go to one reader who leaves a comment

And for a limited time Full Circle is being offered for half price at both the links below:



FULL CIRCLE, Contemporary Romance- New Release by Linda Swift
Joanna and Pete were high school sweethearts who believed they were destined to be together always.  But Pete was drafted and never knew that Joanna was pregnant with his child. Her domineering father relocated the family, forced her to give up their baby for adoption, and kept them from finding each other when Pete came home.

Years later at a school reunion, they meet again.  Pete is a prosperous farmer, a widower with five children. Joanna is an unmarried big city college professor. In that same city, Beth is desperately searching for her birth family while her adoptive father is determined to stop her.
Can Joanna and Pete overcome the obstacles that separate them now? Will Beth find what she seeks? Does fate complete the circle of these diverse lives to bring happiness at last?

   In minutes, Joanna was back in the bedroom, where she could hear the conversation which had grown more heated.
   ".. .but I just couldn’t believe you would do this to our mother." LaWanda’s voice sounded near tears.
   "This has nothing to do with your mother. Joanna and I—" Pete began but his daughter cut off his protest.
   "Really, Dad, what I find hardest of all to take is your bringing that...woman here to sleep in our mother’s bed. How could you?"
   She cringed as Pete thundered, "For your information, Joanna has never slept in your mother’s bed. Though it is no longer her bed anyway. And let me remind you that both you and your sister have barged in here uninvited and unannounced!"
   "Since when do we have to be invited to come to our mother’s house?" LaWanda choked out the words and Joanna felt her pain.
   "LaWanda, let me repeat." Pete spoke in a measured tone. "This is no longer your mother’s house. Your mother is dead. Has been for over three years now."
   LaWanda’s voice caught on a sob and Joanna put her hand over her mouth, torn between rushing to reassure her and sobbing herself.
   Finally she said in a subdued voice, "I never thought you’d act like this, Daddy. I thought you loved our mother."
   Now she wanted to rush to Pete’s side and reassure his daughter that he did but Pete’s next words proved that he was able to defend himself against the unjust accusation.
   "My God, LaWanda," Pete exploded. "I did love your mother, do love her. At least, I love her memory. But I’m not married to a memory. I’m human. And I have needs—physical and emotional needs—that a dead woman can’t satisfy."
   "Oh, Daddy, how can you even think about sleeping with anyone else...especially a woman like Doctor Joanna Flemming?"

Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. Her first two books were published by Kensington. She writes historical and contemporary romance; mainstream and speculative fiction, short stories and poetry (available in e-books and print from Amazon and other distributors) Linda's publishers include Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, Champagne Books, Whiskey Creek Press, Whimsical Publications,  and Willow Moon Publishing

Please visit her website for more information:

You can find all of Linda's print and ebooks here:

Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for and Ecopy of Full Circle.

Thanks for stopping by today. Please leave Linda a comment.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Meet Champagne Author Graeme Brown with his Fantasy Novel The Pact!

Welcome Graeme! Thank you stopping by to share with us how your novel The Pact was born. From your explanation below, it sounds like you're one of those people who like to start your story with your characters. I'm that way too.

Readers, Graeme is giving away an ecopy of The Pact. Directions on how to win are at the bottom of his post.

How I Came up with The Pact

The Pact was conceived dark and early one morning while I was walking to my opening shift at Starbucks. Just like that I met Will Lesterall and his brother, and realized they were both going to lose everything dear to them. I knew it would be a short story and would not have a traditional ending, but, given the number of stories that end as expected I thought it would be worth writing, and since many epic fantasy stories begin long, I thought having a story that could be read in one or two sittings was a good introduction.

I was also in the process of looking at my writing method. With two failed manuscripts that had taken me years to write and (try to) revise, I was ready for a new approach. I had just attended a workshop by local author David Annandale (Warhammer 40,000) on writing genre fiction and the bulk of the presentation was on the plot point outline. I left there thinking about the structure of story and wondered if it was possible to build one from the bottom up, rather than starting on page one and hoping by the end everything will work out.

I decided to test this with The Pact. Within days of meeting Will, I started outlining in stages and realized this story was set in my fantasy universe. “Their home” soon became Fort Lesterall and Will had a father, a sister, and a household servant who was far more than she seemed. I wove intrigues in and out as I expanded my outline plans and profiles, and realized this would be a prequel in a larger arc of stories. A world I had spent nearly 20 years developing suddenly came to life and, even though the concept for The Pact was quite dark, as I started writing it Will turned out to be a relatable, likeable character who I felt readers would enjoy.

I finished writing it, then submitted to Champagne Books. I wasn’t sure if it would be publishable because it ended up being too long to be a short story, so I expected a rejection letter and the possibility that, while this story was quite good, it wasn’t compatible with the market. (I also, quite obviously, knew nothing about the ebook market at the time!) So, when I stared at the email offering me a contract for this story, I was shocked.

It was also my last shift at Starbucks, so I thought the timing was perfect.


Graeme Brown is has been enchanted by the epic fantasy genre since he was a child, and consequently he started creating his own world with its stories at the age of thirteen. Influenced by writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and George R. R. Martin, he has finally brought the first of those stories to life with his debut title, a short story called The Pact—48 pages that will whisk you away to a dark, medieval fantasy world with gritty realism. When he’s not writing, he can be found exploring number theory problems or writing computer programs, training for a marathon, or unwinding in a yoga hot room. He has also explored other facets of art, both as a hobby and a profession, including vector graphics, pen and ink, classical piano, and web design. Despite being a full time student and a junior editor for Champagne Books, he makes sure to do a little writing every day.

For more about Graeme, visit his website:


Enter the world of Will Lesterall, a boy who’s grown up in the safety of his father’s castle.

Tales of the outside world ruled by warring kings and creatures of nightmare have never seemed a threat, yet on the night celebrating the two hundredth year of the sacred Pact that has kept Fort Lesterall safe, a secret intrigue ripens, and in the course of a few hours Will is confronted with a choice greater than he can comprehend.

Join an unlikely hero as destiny pulls him into the middle of an ancient conflict between fallen gods and ambitious women, one that demands blood, both holy and wicked, and the power of an ancient fire bound in steel. As swords clash below a watching wood, hope and betrayal war as fiercely as fear and valor. 

Whether he lives or dies, Will Lesterall will never be the same.


Will hurried across the dark stones. The soft tap of his shoes against the cobbles echoed in the empty Square. In the middle, where the ground sloped down toward the sewer drains, the statue of Amarr the Barbarian cast a long shadow. Will passed into it and stopped. He heard voices.
Two men spoke in hushed tones, but their words carried when the wind wasn’t gusting.
“It’s that hag, I tell ya,” came one voice. “She’s roundin’ them up, preparing one of her big spells, she is. I heards there’s a sacrifice comin’, and she means to raise the dead.”
“Don’t be stupid, Roth.” Will recognized the raspy tone at once. It belonged to Mern, the whitesmith, whose half-slashed throat had never fully healed. Will squinted, but couldn’t see where the voices came from, other than realizing they drifted over from the dark, walled yard outside Hellistead’s Tavern.
“I’ll not have ya callin’ me stupid. Oh no. I know what this is about an’hoo. You’re just afraids, justs protectin’ yurself. Ya know whatcha got in it, ands I don’t blame you for bitin’ your tongue.”
“Quiet, you hay-brained crofter,” Mern spat. “Tonight’s not a night to whisper about such treacheries. The Lord Ham will cut your tongue out, and the world’ll be a better place for it if he does.”
“Old Cren will put it back, if he do, but I says he’d best act quick, or he’ll be lacking for the parts as fits him proper. The night’s black, Mern, and it’s gettin’ blacker yet.”
There was a hollow clatter, then sharp hisses. The man who spoke improperly cursed in words that would have made Grandma Mae gasp then Will heard quick footsteps and a series of clunks. He looked back to the castle, to where father gathered his fighters, then the other way, to the Stablehouse. If father’s in trouble, I have to warn him. Will knew his words wouldn’t be taken seriously, though.
He began to run across the stone expanse. Fort Lesterall won’t fall. Mern’s a wicked man, and whoever that other one is, he’s got no wits. Cren’s just an old woman who lives in the woods. She probably doesn’t even exist.
The side door to the Stablehouse opened as Will arrived, revealing a long labyrinth of stalls lit by rows of hanging lanterns. Jak peeked from behind the door, and Will slipped inside. When the older boy closed it, the dangerous night seemed far away. They were alone, Jak peering at Will, a curry comb still clasped in his hand. He was broad-limbed and of average height, with tousled hair the color of wet earth and eyes like onyx. As usual, he smelled of straw and horse manure, but that only made him all the more inviting.
Jak grinned. “I thought you’d hurry over after the feast proper. Too many clouds tonight, though. I’m afraid we won’t be spying Hell’s Cap, but I’ve another surprise for you. Found it myself, last night.”
“We won’t be going to the groves, Jak.” Will lowered his voice. “The Unborns are going to attack. Alter Dun showed the Red Token. That means the Unborns have challenged us. The Pact is broken. Even as we speak, my father’s gathering an army.”
“Of course he is.” Will turned toward the metal spiral stair. Barrik, a wiry man with salt-and-pepper hair and a bushy moustache, bent his impressive height as he descended from the second floor serving quarters. “I’ve a hundred retainers to see to and that’s lots of horseshit, my little prince. A good thing they’ve taken to the barracks. I’m full, and there’s a thousand more coming, twenty companies marching under you uncle’s banner knight, Telliken. If we hold the night, then there will be others, and we’ll feed the Unborns hell like they haven’t seen in centuries. But if what I’ve heard’s true, then they have hell to feed us first, before we can draw breath.”
Will gaped at the Master of Stables then shook his head fiercely. “Fort Lesterall cannot fall.”
Barrik grunted, though it sounded like a laugh. He picked up a pail and carried it to a nearby stall. “I wish I believed that, lad, but this world’s not run on luck, I’m afraid. A man forges his own blade then learns to use it, or he gets cut by everyone around him. This world’s a fierce battlefield, a bitch with a thousand teeth.”
“We can fight with them,” Jak insisted. “I’ve practiced with the sword you gave me lots of times in the groves. I’m not bad.”
“You would be with armor on.” Barrik came out of the stall with a pail full of black dung. He looked at Will, at Jak, his expression grave. “No, you boys have another errand...

Note from Graeme:   I'm giving away a Free ecopy of The Pact to the first person who EMAILs me the name of Will's best friend (and protagonist of The Pact's sequel). You will find the answer by visiting my WEBSITE and MY PAGE for The Pact.) See link to website below. Email your answer to 



Please leave a comment!

Happy Reading and Writing Folks!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

R. J. Hore—The Queen's Pawn

Hi, Ron. Thank you for joining us today. First off, let me say I love your cover. Anything with red, a sword and a dragon and I'm sold! Readers, Ron will be giving away an copy of his book today so be sure and leave a comment and hopefully your name will be drawn from the hat. Now, here's a little about Ron and his writing experience.

Ron Hore … a Biography:

My writing history includes:

Winning first prize in a national Canadian Authors Association short story contest (a romantic ghost story) and having that published in an anthology, and a modern vampire tale published in another anthology, Evolve.

I currently review science fiction and fantasy genre novels and anthologies for an on-line magazine aimed primarily at school libraries. I have completed something over 60 reviews so far and recently co-authored a history: The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-100 Years of Service.

Through BURST Books, writing as R.J.Hore, I have a medieval fantasy novel of murder and intrigue entitled The Dark Lady that came out in February 2012 and a fantasy detective story in December 2012 called Housetrap. Housetrap was the first in a series of novellas under the The Housetrap Chronicles. Three others in the same series are: Dial M for Mudder in July 2013, House on Hollow Hill in September 2013, and Hounds of Basalt Ville in November 2013. Another medieval-style novella Knight’s Bridge arrived in March 2013, and a second full-length novel, again a medieval fantasy, The Queen’s Pawn, on April 1st 2013. These were all published first as ebooks, with both full-length novels coming out later in print.

I also have a large stack of completed manuscripts in various stages ranging from a “What If” — the North Americans discovered Europe first, set in 1215AD – to a contemporary bickering married couple swept away to an alternative universe, and a futuristic tale of a lady archeologist set in outer space. Have just completed two sequels for The Dark Lady which will be published in 2014.

Hobbies include photography, trying to keep on the good side of my wife, keeping track of my children and grandchildren, and wrestling the blasted cat off of the keyboard. In my diminishing spare time I sail on Lake Winnipeg and try not to get lost.

The Queen’s Pawn – An idea

Writer’s often get asked where their ideas come from. In my case, they can pop up from almost anywhere and demand to be set down in print. Sometimes it is a newspaper headline, sometimes an image on television, and sometimes it is simply a single scene that I imagine while day-dreaming or out for my early morning walk. In the case of The Queen’s Pawn, I pictured a young man trapped in the fall of a burning city. I’m not certain where this idea popped up from. Maybe I had just seen something about Troy on the television, or set down a book I read about the fair Helen. In any case, that is all I had in the beginning, just a scene and one character.

Starting with a panicked young man, who on the first page turned into an older student from a school for the priesthood, I sent him fleeing through the city as flames and a rampaging army crashed through the streets behind him. Still short on ideas, (I’m a pantser, not a plotter) I had him stumble upon a dying duke, and a magician, and a plot is launched. Our reluctant hero must rescue the beautiful Queen and escort her to safety. New characters suddenly just begged to be included in the tale: the queen’s spoiled daughter, the queen’s large amorous maid, and a throng of other folk clamoring to be rescued.

At this point in the story I don’t have an idea on the character’s motivation, and I’m not even certain who the villains are. I have finally figured out where we are going, which is always a good thing when you are writing a novel. What I find interesting as I stumble through an adventure such as this, is how the characters can develop, change, take on a life of their own. After a few ah hah! moments all is revealed and I can press on.

Is The Queen’s Pawn the end of the story? I must confess I have already written down a couple of sentences under the “what happens next” category…just in case.   

A Blurb:

On his way to study for the priesthood, Harow is mistaken for a bold and infamous duke. Instead of study, he finds himself thrust into action to rescue a beautiful queen and her spoiled daughter as they flee the city. Now, a rebel army is hot on their heels and Harow must keep his wits about him as he leads the small group of survivors to safety. High adventure, with a gentle touch of humor and romance. 

An Excerpt:

“Did you kill him?” the low, harsh voice grated.
“, I found him like that. I must flee, the enemy is near and...”
“Silence! Do not lie to me, boy. I saw him deliver a message to you. What was it? Tell me quickly or I will reach down your throat and pull out your feeble heart, then feed it back to you.”
Long bony fingers materialized from deep within black sleeves. One pale hand held a dagger with a thin curved blade almost the length of a man’s forearm.
“Rats stolen your voice box? No difficult problem, my young friend. I’m certain I can dig something useful out of you, given time.” He smiled, revealing yellowed, broken teeth. The words dropped to the melody of a soft purr blended with honey and seasoned with fine spices. “Come here, my friend, and tell me all you know of this affair.”
Harrow felt his mind turning to soft gruel, felt those eyes burning two holes inside his aching head. Suddenly a hot desire to babble all, like a man who has just witnessed his own death and woken to realize it was but a bad dream, or a young rooster who has just avoided his first hungry eagle, gripped him.
“He had a message for the queen. The king is dead. He wanted me to take his medallion and ring, go to the palace, and deliver a message to the queen. He made me swear to do it. I do not know him. He fell there, right in front of me and died here on the street.”
The tall wizard bent, examined the body carefully, glancing up once or twice at Harow who knew he must look like a comic statue in the lane, mouth open, eyes wide. The sounds of fighting drew nearer, raging up the street on the other side of the row of buildings.
“You must do as you were bidden.”

For updates:

Thank you for sharing with us today, Ron. I'm sure readers are ready for you to get busy on those few lines you have to mold into a sequel. Reader, don't forget to leave Ron a comment and also add your email address. You may be the lucky winner of this ebook. Ron will be selecting the winner on Sunday evening.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Linda's Amazon Page