Tuesday, June 20, 2017



          “Quit daydreaming!” A large crack sounded as pain registered across Heather’s back.

       “Sorry, Master.” Heather bowed despite the pain and hurriedly lifted another crate of canned goods onto the wagon. And then another and another until all the vegetables were loaded for market. Taking a deep breath, she added the final two crates of fresh goods. Fear and an intense need to please the master had her finishing in no time.

       “Loaded and secured, Master.” She knelt at his feet.

       “About time.” He jumped into the seat and grabbed the reins. “I’ve left a list of chores to keep your idle hands busy. The most important is the wedding dress. Finish it. Mr. Humphries paid a handsome price for your lazy hide, so make sure you’re ready.”

       “I will, Master.”

       “You will or you’ll marry naked. Make sure your room is cleared and ready for your replacement. She’ll return with me.”

       “Thank you, Master.” She bowed and kissed the dirty hem of his robe. “Please have a safe trip.”

       He snapped his whip. Heather flinched at the sound but watched his departure until he was out of sight and the dust cloud created by thundering hooves dissipated.

       Joy radiated from her toes to her fingertips as the Master’s distance grew. Bliss filled her soul. Her body swayed, and a song rose from her throat. Heather sang and danced until breathless, then sank to the ground and lay among the forget-me-nots.

“Have you decided?” a tiny voice asked. It came from a small body. Transparent wings vibrated faster than a hummingbird. The nymph flitted from flower to flower before settling on Heather’s knee as she sat up.

       “I’m not sure,” she told him.

       “What’? Are you daft? Either you cross the bridge to freedom or marry old man Humphrey and slop his swine until he decides to kill you.

       “Ethan, don’t be so dramatic.”

       “My best friend Bertrand saw it. He tried to intervene and lost both his legs because of it. I wouldn't lie to you.”

       “Nymphs are bewitchers – little devils.” She gazed at him through her eyelashes, embarrassment reddening her cheeks.

       “Master told you that?” The small nymph stood on her knee his hands on his hips, his wings still and glistening in the sunshine.

Heather nodded. She found the creatures’ bright blue eyes mesmerizing despite his ugliness and spindly limbs. He looked like a twisted twig, only his eyes and perfect white teeth were human in nature.

“Have I not healed the many wounds he’s inflicted or aided you when the chores became too much? Why do you question me?” He sat down in the lotus position on her knee cap. His arms crossed and his eyes wide and questioning.

She giggled. “You’re always so serious. The horrors you describe just can’t exist. The world is too beautiful.” She threw her arms open to the heavens.

“You would be concerned too if Master didn’t have you enthralled with black magic. Do you remember how you got here?”

“I’ve tried, but no. My only memories are of Master’s love for me.”

“Love? You call daily beatings love?”

“He says I’m a silly girl given to a restless mind. He’s right. I have daydreams. He took me in when I was homeless, and he’s given me everything.”

“The Master lies!” Ethan flew up from her knee in a huff and sprinkled her in sparkling dust. “REMEMBER!” He flew off in a blur.

Glittering remnants of the dust settled onto her exposed skin and then disappeared. Memories began flooding her mind. Recollections of another life, another place and time. A family. The mother she resembled, her adoring father, the sister who looked up to her. Even the wedding she’d planned to a handsome young man named Cody. But most surprising was her name – Logan Marshall, not Heather.

Her scream brought Ethan back. “Now do you see?”

“Where am I?” She looked at the world differently.

That doesn't matter, but if you follow me, I’ll show you how to get back to your life.”

“Show me.”

Ethan flew toward the forest, and Logan followed. The plowed fields were densely packed but easy to traverse. She stopped right before entering the dark forest.

“Why do you hesitate?”

“I’ve heard screams. Master says wild man-eating beasts live here.”

“Peacocks. This is my home. There’s nothing to fear!”

Logan looked back at the log cabin, the farm that had been her home, but memories of a family tugged at her. Hesitation vanished. She joined Ethan who waited just inside the foliage. He led the way to a clearing. The gorge opening yawned wide before them. The end of the road.

“Where’s the bridge?”

Ethan whistled and threw out more glittering dust. A bridge of fire appeared. “See, salvation.”

“Fire? No way!” She backed away.

“Blue flame is magic, cool.” Ethen flew through it. “See, move closer, you’ll feel no heat. You’re pure of heart. An innocent. Strip first, you have to leave everything from this world behind to make the journey.”

Logan stepped forward, and a mixture of blue, green and purple flames formed a solid looking bridge with massive girders. Instead of crackling the fire sounded like the flutter of hundreds of nymph’s wings. Ethan was right, she felt no heat.

She kicked off her shoes, removed her smock and underclothes, but hesitated.

“Go on, your family is waiting.”

She smiled and took the first step forward. “Thank you.”

“No problem, saving virgins is my calling.”

Logan’s eyes grew wide. “But I’m not . . .

Ethan laughed.

Logan screamed as the flames consumed her.

“I know. But each sacrifice brings me closer and closer to becoming a full demon and owning a kingdom of slave maidens of my own.” His skin turned red and horns popped out on his bald head.

970 words
© Yolanda Renée 2017


Monday, June 19, 2017

Moxie's Decision by Hank Quense

Sometimes it’s fun to add a little laughter and satire to our daily routine so that’s why I’m delighted to be a part of author Hank Quense’s MOXIE’S DECISION Blog Tour with MC Book Tours today.

Entertaining from beginning to end, MOXIE'S DECISION is uproariously
funny and satire at its best. Selected as one of
2016's best YA novels:
Huffington Post. It’s also a top pick! Indie Reader: 5 stars

You can enter to win a copy of MOXIE’S
today. Be sure to check out the giveaway details below.

Moxie has a plan; she’s determined to rule as
queen after her father, King Smedley, dies.

But Smedley refuses to acknowledge her as his
heir. Her uncle also wants the throne and he’s already tried once to eliminate
Moxie as competition.

           Moxie recognizes she hasn't been
trained to rule and she needs lessons about the real world. Moxie goes on a
quest to learn how to rule and to learn about life outside the castle. 
Moxie faces unexpected obstacles as she struggles with adventures in a brutal reality that tests her mettle and determination. 
This is a fantasy coming-of-age story that is decidedly different than the usual ones. The book is filled with satire and humor. What more can a reader wish for? 

It takes place against the backdrop of Camelot, but this isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe where the Knights of the Round Table play football and Guinevere coaches the team’s cheer leaders. The wizard Merlin struggles to understand the Magic of the Mind using primitive ink stained diagrams and Stonehenge is a theater-in-the-round.   

Moxie’s rollicking adventures are the stuff of comedy. Enjoy!

Add MOXIE'S DECISION to you Goodreads shelf!


Backstory: Moxie has a plan to become a decisive, independent-minded woman.  The first phase of the plan involves joining the Heroes Guild to learn self-reliance and weaponry.  She is accompanied by three friends, all knights and graduates of the Guild: Percivale, Bors and Gareth.

~ ~ ~

Moxie gulped.  In front of her lay her destiny.  Would she get accepted and become a heroine, or would she get rejected?  For the first time, Moxie realized she didn't have an alternate plan.  All her energies had been focused on this day and Moxie had assumed her plan would work.  With mounting anxiety, she climbed the steps and walked through the doors held open by a porter, who remembered and greeted the knights.

Moxie entered a large hallway lit by glazed windows and chandeliers filled with lit candles.  On her left, portraits covered an entire wall.

"That's the Wall of Fame," Gareth said.  "Those are the most famous graduates from the Heroes Guild."

Moxie observed that all the portraits were of angry men about to smash someone or something with a large chunk of metal.

To her right, Moxie saw an area where six clerks labored at desks with quills and abaci.  An open sitting area held stools where eight men waited.

Beyond the waiting men was a large office with closed doors

Bors walked over one of the clerks.  "Tell the administrators that three Guild graduates want an audience with them."

The clerk ignored Bors and continued to scribble on a parchment.

Bors grabbed the clerk's tunic in one hand and lifted him off his stool.  An ink pot fell to the floor.  "You have my permission to tell the administrators that we're waitin'."  Bors dropped the clerk.  "Do it now!"

The clerk jumped up and ran into the office.  He emerged a minute later and held the door open for Bors and the others.

Inside, Moxie saw a long desk with two men sitting behind it.  Both were middle-aged and ate well judging by their jowly faces and the folds of skin circling their necks. Both had neat, trimmed beards.  They gave a bare smile at the knights, but had raised eyebrows for Moxie.

Percivale snapped to attention.  "Chief Administrator Thibault and Administrator Castrani, I'm Percivale.  My mates Bors and Gareth and I have a request to discuss with you."

"How nice to see the three of you."  Thibault didn't sound convincing.  He was tall and lanky with pale skin, white hair and a long face set in a permanent frown.

"And to find you in good health and still in possession of all your limbs," Castrani added.  This one was short and pudgy with a mostly bald head.

"Who is this lady?" Thibault asked.

Moxie hopped from foot to foot and tried not grimace at the men.

"This is Princess Moxie.  Her father is King Smedley of Usca.  Moxie is the reason for our visit."

"That sounds odd," Castrani said.  "We rarely have women visitors."

Moxie gulped.  She couldn't tell if the two men were friendly or hostile.  Both had rigid expressions that gave no hint of their thinking.

Percivale cleared his throat. 

Moxie saw Bors chewed his lip while Gareth picked at a nail.

"You see, Moxie wants to join the Guild and she persuaded us to plead her case."

Both administrators sat back in surprise.  "Really?" Thibault said.  "A female trainee?"

"On our way here," Gareth said, "we was attacked by bandits and Moxie helped us defend ourselves and killed two of them with her dagger."

"Moxie saved my life," Percivale said.

Castrani leaned close to Thibault and whispered in his ear.  Thibault whispered back as the two held a hurried consultation.

Thibault stared at Moxie.

Moxie squirmed under the inspection.

"As strange as this may seem," Thibault said, "Administrator Castrani and I recently had a discussion on this very subject.  We agreed that — possibly — it was time to admit a woman or two, provided suitable candidates applied for admission."  He pointed a finger at the knights.  "Do all three of you support Princess Moxie's candidacy?"

Moxie almost wet herself waiting for the knights to answer. 

All three nodded their heads.  Bors said, "We do."

"Then it's settled," Thibault said.  "This will be a scholarship of course, so Moxie won't have to pay tuition.  Will one of you tell my clerk to fetch Harry?"

Gareth left the room momentarily to tell a clerk.

Castrani questioned Moxie.  "Do you really understand what we do here?"

"I've traveled with my friends here and I've seen how they react to emergencies and how self-sufficient they are.  They told me they learned that stuff here.  I need to learn how to do those things."

"Are you prepared to dedicate yourself to the training regimen required to graduate from the Heroes Guild?"

"I am."  Moxie had trouble believing that she had been accepted.  Her life was about to change forever.  When she graduated, she would be a completely different woman from what she was today.  She had never been so exhilarated in her life.

A door in the side of the room opened and an impossibly large man walked into the room.  He had a shaved head and a full red beard.  He wore a red-painted leather vest with leather trews and heavy calf-high boots.  His bare arms rippled with muscles, tattoos and scars.  "What?" he roared in greeting.

"Ah, Harry.  Good of you to interrupt your training and attend our little meeting."

Harry walked over and slapped the knights on their shoulders.  "Still alive?  Ya can't be doin' much fightin' or yer'd all be dead."  Harry grinned at the knights.  "Still, it's good to see ya."

Harry turned to the administrators and waited.

"Er, Harry," Thibault said, "I want you to meet the newest trainee.  This is Princess Moxie.  Moxie, this Harry the Murderer."

Moxie cringed in fear as Harry stared down on her with an expression of disgust and rage.  The man exuded violence.  She had never met anyone who could send waves of fear coursing through her body like Harry did just by looking at her.  Even the bandit attack was nothing compared to what she felt around Harry.

"I ain't teachin' a bloody woman." Harry rounded on the administrators.  "Are you two outta yer minds?”

"Harry," Thibault said mildly, "we've had a change of policy and we now accept female trainees."

"Hah.  This one won't last two days."

Moxie saw her dreams collapsing under the scrutiny of Harry, but she wasn't letting this man destroy her future.   She would not be thwarted by him. She took a deep breath and said, ”Hah.  That's how little you know."

Harry whirled on her.  "Who gave you permission to speak to me, vermin?"

"I'm a princess.”  Moxie slammed her fists onto her hips.  “I don't need your permission."

Harry stepped back and examined Moxie once more.  "Ya ain't a princess once ya go through that door."  He pointed to the side entrance.  "Wanna know what yer are then?  Yer pond scum and I'm gonna pound ya inna ground.  Two days under my wing and ya'll be screamin' to go home."

Moxie looked at Thibault.  "This man is incredibly rude.  I assume you'll punish him for his attitude?"

"Harry is our chief instructor.  His manner may be a bit harsh, but he is a very good instructor.  I'll have a clerk assist you in settling in.  Then, in the morning, you'll begin your training."

Harry stomped out of the office mumbling curses and slammed the door.

"I'm sure you'll come to love Harry just like all our trainees do," Castrani said with a twinkle in his eye.

Moxie's exhilaration over getting accepted had been tempered by meeting Harry the Murderer.  She would just have to put up with Harry's rudeness and his boorish manners.

Nothing would be allowed to impede her journey to become a heroine.

Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and
fantasy stories.

He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles.

He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie
novel that takes place in the Camelot era.

He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe.
They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.

This tour-wide
giveaway (prizes courtesy of the author) is for five (5) eBooks copies
(worldwide) of MOXIE’S DECISION and three (3) print copies of MOXIE’S
(U.S. entries only). The giveaway ends at 12 a.m. (EST) on
Monday, July 3. 

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. If the widget doesn’t appear, just CLICKHERE for a chance to win a copy of this fun book.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Do you enjoy stories with bits of fun blended in?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 9, 2017


When the sky is pink
does it make you think?

When the sky is blue
are you?

When the sky is gray
does your mood fray?

When the sky is red
does your soul feel bled.

When the sky is white
are shivers your plight?

When the sky is black
do you wish the color back?

How does color influence your day?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG - Dam Builders

Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I’m not sure I said “I quit” but I did walk away from a book for almost a year. It just wasn’t coming together. So I attempted other things, like short story writing and flash fiction.

Changing genre and style helped me complete the book. I think stretching, whether it’s writing or other creative outlets, can make all the difference when a blockage occurs – you know that thing that some say doesn’t even exist (writer’s block).

What about you. Does your writing flow like water or do those pesky dam building rodents sometimes clog up the works? What's your solution?

Have you signed up for the June Challenge?
It's easy!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Tour Complete

Thanks to Mason Canyon, my book tour is finished. Mason did an amazing job. Organization is a virtue that she has in spades, and was so vital during the last month. If you're looking to do a book tour, consider Mason. She won't disappoint you!

Thank you also, to everyone who participated. Without your help the Snowman Tour wouldn't have been.

Did I sell thousands of books? No. Did I sell hundreds of books? No. Then why even hold such a tour? I did it to get the word out about the book, to make sure that a google search on The Snowman would bring up loads of sites - to give readers and potential readers more information about the story. Will that translate into sales. That remains to be seen. I'll keep you informed.

In case you missed it - here's The Snowman's full tour:

May 1st

Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Guest Post on Inspiration & Research

May 2nd

Romance Under Fire – Feather Stone’s Review

May 3rd

Denise Covey, Author – Denise’s Review & Author Guest Post a Warning

Random Thoughts – Excerpt – Dead Weight

May 4th

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Excerpt – Body on the Beach

May 5th

Julie Flanders – Excerpt - Disappointments

May 8th

Alex J. Cavanaugh – Top Ten Snowmen

Christine Rains – Guest Post - Setting & Tension

May 9th

May 10th

Pat Hatt Books – Murder Bag & Author Q & A

May 11th

May 12th

Lexa Cain – Feature

Elizabeth Seckman – Guest Post - Temperature & Crime

May 15th

Just Us Book Blog – Excerpt - Reincarnation

May 16th

May 17th

Writers and Authors – Guest Post - The Importance of Editors

May 18th

The Bookworm Chronicles – Excerpt – A New Masterpiece

May 19th

I Think Therefore I Yam – Susan Interviews Stowy in Prison

May 22nd
The Five Year Project –  Guest Post – Putting Memories in the Story

May 24th

May 25th

May 26th

May 29th

May 30th

May 31st

Celticlady’s Reviews – Excerpt – Reality Check

Reviews by Crystal –  Q & A with the Author

Have you done a blog book tour?
How do you feel about them, are they worth it?
Would you do it again?