Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Keeping an Eye on the Suspect

Hello readers!  Last post of the year from Jahrra's Journal!  I hope you have enjoyed the story so far and I look forward to posting more in the coming year.  This week, Jahrra keeps an eye on Ellysian, the one she suspects of setting her up.  Enjoy!
-J.E. Johnson

Keeping an Eye on the Suspect

Dear Journal,

Things seem to be getting back to normal at school. Today we talked about occupations (that's what jobs are called), so Mr. Cohrbin asked us to tell him what our mothers and fathers did for a living, then we had a discussion. Some students said their parents owned shops in Kiniahn Kroi, others' parents were merchants.

Of course, Eydeth and Ellysian talked for far too long about how their father was a wealthy business man, landowner AND the most well known breeder of semequins in all of Oescienne if not the entire Norwester Arm of the world. I wasn't sure what semequins were (I'd have to ask Master Hroombra later, if I remembered), but it must be something fancy.

When it got to my turn I told the class how Nida and Pada owned an orchard. I said the hardest part was watering all the trees and keeping the bad bugs away, and the best part was having all those trees to climb. There were also all those apples to eat (until you got sick of them) and the wonderful flowers in the spring.

I told them how we had several different kinds of apple trees and the blossoms could be snow white, or soft peach and pink, and that even one tree had blossoms that were a deep blue color. Those ones only bloomed every other year and it took two years for their dark purple apples to ripen. I told them all how Pada saved those to make the best cider and apple pies. Both Nida and Pada had won several first prize ribbons for their cider and apple pies at the fall festival in Nuun Esse.

After we had all shared, it was lunch time. Gieaun and Scede and I climbed the oak tree to get away from everyone, and it was then that I remembered to ask them what they thought about Ellysian being the one who stole Mr. Cohrbin's treasure box. They agreed and we watched Ellysian from the branches to make sure she didn't try to sneak anything into the classroom and into my desk. She did wander off quietly to somewhere beyond the schoolyard and returned with her hands in her pockets. She looked around to make sure no one had been watching her before she stepped back through the bushes. Gieaun and Scede gave me a very knowing look and we decided from then on to pay extra close attention to what she was up to.

-Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com 

Friday, December 11, 2015

FAEBORNE - First Chapter Teaser!

Hello Readers!  Only a few more weeks until the release of FAEBORNE, so I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at the first chapter of the latest Otherworld novel.  For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, and if you haven't been receiving my special Faeborne Preview Chapters newsletter, then this will be entirely new for you.  If you'd like to read the first five chapters of this novel, you can still sign up to receive the newsletter (Chapters 1-5 are scheduled to go out on December 16th, a week prior to publication).  The link for that special newsletter can be found on the right side of this post, or you can click HERE.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT FAEBORNE ...


If you missed my previous post with the cover reveal of Faeborne, here is a little bit of information regarding this latest Otherworld novel . . . Faeborne started out a few years ago as a short story idea during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and was set aside because I decided to focus on finishing Lorehnin at the time.  Since then, I've come back to Faeborne, realizing early on that there was far too much material for this tale to fit into a novella-length book.  By the time I finished the final draft, Faeborne became the longest Otherworld novel so far (135,000 words compared to the previous longest, Luathara, which ended up being around 125,000 words).  This story also takes place several years before Meghan and Cade's time and features an entirely new set of characters living in the northeastern part of Eile.  The Morrigan is once again stirring up trouble for the main characters, Brennon and Seren, but she remains a distant threat instead of an immediate one.  At the very end of the story, a familiar character from the other books makes a cameo appearance of sorts, but I don't name the character (I just leave hints, but those of you who have read the other Otherworld books should be able to figure it out rather easily ;)).  Faeborne contains many of the elements found in the rest of the Otherworld books, but this standalone novel is very much a story of love, family, second chances and redemption.  I hope you all will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed the other Otherworld novels and once I'm done with the manuscript for my fourth Oescienne book, I'd like to check back in with Meghan, Cade, Devlin, Robyn and Enorah since they all have a continuing tale to tell ;).  Until then, happy reading!
- JEJ

FAEBORNE - A NOVEL OF THE OTHERWORLD


Chapter One
Hunt

The split second before Brennon released the arrow, he realized it would not meet its mark.  He had been hunting the doe all morning, following her tracks with stealth and staying downwind as he moved through the forest like a silent fog.  Well, as silent as the occasional twig underfoot and clump of brush tugging on his cloak would allow him.  To get to this point and foul up on something as simple as a bowshot from such a short distance was unforgiveable.  He and Rori had been without fresh meat for over a week now, and the both of them were craving venison stew and hoping for jerky to carry them past Samhain.

Biting back a curse as the fletching of the misdirected arrow brushed against his arm guard, Brenn could only hope this shot wounded the deer enough, so he could follow her and finish the job.  He hated it when the animals didn’t die right away, for the last thing he wanted was to cause more suffering than necessary, but there was no helping it now.

In the end, the arrow didn’t miss his target as terribly as he thought it would.  The arrowhead struck the doe high on the shoulder, forcing a scream from her pale throat, but not taking her down completely.  Instead, she bolted into the thick undergrowth as fast as her injury would allow her.
Brenn sighed.  He had promised Rori he would be home before dark, now, he wasn’t so sure.

You cannot just leave her to die, he grumbled to himself.  Might take her all night, long hours of agony, and then, the wolves will take advantage of your ill luck.

Already, the sun was beginning to dip toward the western horizon, the sky taking on the deeper colors of impending twilight.  If fortune was on his side, he’d find the deer right away and be home before the predators living in this forest scented the blood.  Pulling his cloak tighter, Brennon narrowed his eyes and began his new hunt, trying hard not to think of the Samhain feast day that was fast approaching.  How had the time slipped away from him?  One moment, their part of Eile was in the throes of summer, and in the next he and his nephew were busy bringing in the harvest: Apples and pears from their small orchard, barley, corn, turnips and other root vegetables from the fields.  Hay, oats and feed grains had been growing since early spring and stored in the barn as food and bedding supplies for the animals.  Although Brenn and Rori had plenty to eat and enough to see the animals through the cold months, this time of year brought with it a taint of darkness which never failed to taunt Brennon’s demons.

Pushing through the tangled, dark-thorned bramble patches that contributed to the wood’s name, Brenn quickly reined in his thoughts and sent them down a different path.  Instead, he turned his attention to his surroundings.  Occupying several dozen acres of Eile’s northern lands, Dorcha Forest was second in size only to the Weald far to the southwest.  Brenn couldn’t help but feel the corner of his mouth curve up in amusement, despite the impending dark and the still missing deer.  As large as Dorcha was, it didn’t hold a candle to the Weald, and as dangerous as it was to be stuck in this particular forest at night, finding yourself lost in Cernunnos’s grand wilderness was far more terrifying.  Or so he’d heard.  Regardless, Dorcha boasted a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees and was said to harbor many wild creatures both natural and unnatural.

Brenn shivered as the bitterness of disgust rose in his throat.  Being so close to the Morrigan’s realm, he wouldn’t be surprised if an entire legion of faelah lurked under the cover of these trees.  And of course, thinking of faelah only brought his mind back to the past he wanted to forget, a past filled with violence, hatred and loss.

The young Faelorehn man pulled his cloak more tightly about himself.  Six years was not a very long time in the lifespan of someone native to Eile, but when those years were spent in the employ of the Morrigan, his world’s most brutal and sadistic goddess, every day, every hour, felt like an eternity.  A month after turning sixteen, Brennon had been turned over to the war goddess’s scouts by his own neighbors.  He had a gift, one they feared and one he considered a curse, and it had earned him too many enemies, even at such a young age.  The farm where he and his nephew now lived had belonged to their family since Eile first came into existence, or so it seemed, and their flocks and fields were always plentiful.  The truth of the matter was the soil of Ardún, the land surrounding Roarke Manor, was imbued with ancient magic, magic that had made the harvests plentiful and his family wealthy.

Everyone in the village of Dundoire Hollow either envied the Roarkes, desired their friendship or outright hated them.  One family in particular embodied all three.  The Corcorain clan sought to be associated with the Roarkes and had tried to arrange a marriage between their children and Brennon and his sister.  Baird and Arlana Corcorain were as cold and unfeeling as their parents, interested only in the vices that plagued Faelorehn-kind.

A tremor of unease wracked Brenn, making him misstep and nearly twist his ankle on an exposed tree root.  Such feelings often visited whenever he found himself thinking about the Corcorain family, especially their daughter.  Even though she had been only fourteen at the time, Arlana was as shrewd and calculating as one of the Morrigan’s ravens.  With her red-blond hair and sparkling, changeable eyes, she had early assumed the title of town beauty.

Every male old enough to notice the opposite gender was easily led around by the nose, should Arlana wish it.  Every male, that is, except for Brenn himself.  At age fifteen going on sixteen, he had begun to take notice of the young women in the village as well, but he knew better than to fall for Arlana’s charms.  And he was far more interested in hunting and war sports to waste his time on the girls who preferred to keep their hands clean and free of calluses.  If he was ever to marry, it would be to someone like his sister, Meara.

Meara, two years older than Brenn and just as wild and stubborn, was unlike the other girls in town.  Although not considered as beautiful as Arlana, she was striking nonetheless with her dark hair and gray fae eyes.  And her Faelorehn blood promised her the legendary good looks which were endemic to their entire race.  Just as Arlana had her cap set on Brennon, her brother Baird had his lustful eye fixed upon Meara.  Baird was three years older than Meara, and like his sister, was popular with the families in town.

Despite Arlana’s beauty and Baird’s charms, they did not appeal to the Roarke siblings in the least.  Meara refused Baird’s advances, time and time again, and when a young horse trainer moved into Dundoire Hollow in search of a new start, Meara’s disinterest in marriage soon turned.  Unlike Baird, Donal was carefree, kind, gentle and his knowledge of horses only made him more appealing to Meara.  Within a year, they were married and expecting their first child.

Brennon came to a stop, a three-year-old sorrow stirring in his chest and threatening to take over.  He forcibly blinked back the memories and took stock of his surroundings.  He had one foot on the leaf-carpeted forest floor, another resting upon the gnarled root of a beech tree.  Ice seemed to have formed over his fingertips, despite the gloves, and although his breath didn’t mist the air in front of him, the cold had numbed his face and nose.  The evergreen undergrowth rustled with the sounds of animals seeking their nightly refuge, and in the distance, the first mournful cries of an owl signaled the encroaching dusk.

The light of the waning day had not dimmed to the point of pure darkness yet, but it seemed Brennon’s vision had gone in that direction anyway.  He had loved his sister more than anyone in the world, except for maybe his parents, and it had been because of him she had died.  A Faelorehn woman who should have lived for all eternity.  Her bright eyes and mischievous smile would never cheer him up again, and her laughter would never dance among the barley fields on a summer’s eve as they raced home from a day spent fishing along the stream.

The pain in his chest blossomed sharply and burst, but he fought against it.  Giving in to the grief right now would not help him or Rori, the one part of his sister he had left.  Setting his jaw, Brenn tightened his grip on his bow and focused his eyes forward, scouring the dense brush ahead for signs of the deer’s passage.  He would find it and bring it home, so he and Rori could have meat for the next week or so without having to make a trip into town.  He would take care of his nephew, see to it that he grew into a strong young man.  He would not fail his sister for a second time.

* * *

In the end, it didn’t take Brennon very long to track the doe.  She hadn’t gone far, maybe a half a mile or so deeper into the woods, and the evidence of her clumsy passage was more of a tell than the occasional splatter of blood on the dark leaves underfoot.

Must be a young one, Brennon thought with some regret.  But it was well into the autumn season, and unfortunately, many of the deer killed during this time of year were the younger, inexperienced ones.

The broken brush gave way to a small, secluded meadow, and Brenn paused in his forward progression.  The sky was a wash of slate and cobalt now, so there was still a little light for him to see by, but he knew at least part of the journey home would be made in darkness.  That all depended on how close he was to his quarry.  Brenn didn’t spot the deer right away, not with the poor light and tangled overgrowth of brambles and holly, but it was clear she had stumbled around in this small haven.  Drawing his knife so he’d be prepared to end her misery the moment he caught sight of her, Brennon moved past the last bit of thorn bushes and began casting his eyes around.  Movement to his right drew his attention to a small den of sorts, hollowed out from a tangle of ivy and blackberry vines.  The perfect place for a deer to hide, if it didn’t have a hunter on its tail.

“I’m sorry about this, girl,” he murmured as he made his way forward, his cloak snagging on thorns and sharp branches.

The doe was curled up in a tight ball, her long, graceful legs tucked beneath her, her head bent around and nestled against her body.  The arrow stuck out at an odd angle, a large dark patch of blood oozing from the wound.  She did not stir as Brennon approached with his knife.  Taking a deep breath, he reached in to end her suffering, but an odd movement stayed his hand.  The muscles beneath the doe’s soft, brown hide began to ripple and pulse, as if some foreign parasite undulated under her skin.  Horrified, Brennon snatched his arm away and took a few steps backward, watching in fascinated shock at the bizarre scene unfolding before him.

What strange glamour is at work here? he wondered.

The darkness that had settled in this small glen was deeper, richer than the night shades creeping up on the main forest, but even then, he missed nothing.  The spindly front legs of the deer shortened and filled out, the hind legs soon following suit.  The doe’s abdomen tapered in the middle and then flared out at the hips.  Her narrow head swelled and long, dark spirals of hair sprouted from the scalp.  The deer’s large ears grew smaller, disappearing beneath the tousle of hair on a now Faelorehn head.  Hooves morphed into hands and feet, complete with fingers and toes.  The entire transformation took less than thirty seconds, but it had felt like an eternity.

Brenn was certain he made some sound of shocked fascination as he quickly backed even farther away from this unnatural thing.  He would have turned and bolted if not for the tangle of roots that tripped up his feet, sending him crashing, unceremoniously, to the ground.  Cursing, he rolled over, ready to scramble away as fast as he could, but a soft mewling noise stopped him.  Instead of regaining his feet and running back the way he had come, he turned his head to look at the doe.  Or, at least, what had been a doe mere seconds ago.  Now, it was a woman.  A very young woman.  He narrowed his eyes, studying her cautiously, half expecting her to change forms again.  Her own eyes were clenched in pain, and she reached up one hand to finger the arrow protruding from her flesh.

“Don’t,” Brenn protested automatically, holding a hand out to her.

Too late.  Her fingers brushed the shaft of the arrow, and she cried out.  Her head rolled to the side, and her hand slipped away, streaking blood across her collar bone.  At first, Brenn thought she had died, but then, he saw the gentle rise and fall of her chest.  She had only lost consciousness.  Thank the gods.  Strange magic or not, he did not need another death weighing on his soul.

Now that the deer girl was motionless and asleep, Brenn lifted himself up off the ground and approached her guardedly.  He couldn’t tell much about her without any light, but he noted her slim figure and long, dark hair.  She didn’t look underfed, but she was not built like most Faelorehn women he knew.  For one, if she were to be standing next to him, her head might come level with his shoulders, if that.  And her skin tone was darker as well.  Not the pale shade found on most of those living in Dundoire Hollow and in the other parts of Eile he had visited when under the Morrigan’s control.

Eventually, Brennon shook his head and clenched his jaw.  He could stand out here all night, staring at this strange creature like the letches who hid in the reeds near the riverbank to watch the women in Dundoire Hollow bathe.  Or, he could draw on whatever shred of honor he still possessed and make up for the harm he had caused her.  As peculiar as she might be, it was his fault, after all, that she was lying naked on the ground with an arrow protruding from her shoulder.

Wondering if he was making a mistake, then dismissing his doubts just as quickly, he shrugged off his cloak and draped it around her body, careful of the arrow wound and cursing at the thorns and branches hindering his progress.  The girl didn’t even sigh in protest when he lifted her, but continued to breathe evenly, her eyes closed, her long, thick lashes curling away from her cheeks.  Brenn was compelled then to hold her closer to his body, maybe because he felt she needed the reassurance of his quiet promise to help her, or perhaps he did it for purely selfish reasons.  Maybe he needed to feel that she was, indeed, alive and that his mistake had not killed her.

“Whatever you are, and whatever curse you brought down upon yourself, I hope I do not curse you further by bringing you into my house,” he murmured, as he carried her light frame through the ever darkening woods, heading southeast and towards home.

Continue reading Brennon and Seren's story in Faeborne - A Novel of the Otherworld
Available DECEMBER 23RD
***PRE-ORDER YOUR DIGITAL COPY OF FAEBORNE TODAY!***




Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Aftermath

Greetings readers!  These are the last two posts from Jahrra's Journal for this year.  I hope you've enjoyed her small adventures so far and I look forward to continuing them into next year.  This week, Jahrra talks about speaking with her parents about the incident involving the ponyfly cocoon.  Happy reading!
-J.E. Johnson

Aftermath

Dear Journal,

I just couldn't bring myself to write to you during the weekend, I was just too tired and upset. When I got home from school a few days ago, I had to show Nida and Pada the letter Mr. Cohrbin sent home. I cried the entire time and Nida and Pada gave me a stern look. When I finally calmed down they asked me if it was true, what the letter said (it said I had stolen items from Mr. Cohrbin's desk and that I had failed to confess). I told them it wasn't true and that I thought someone else put the ponyfly cocoon in my desk.

They thought about what I said for a long time, then Pada said he would get Master Hroombra to take us both into school at the beginning of the week to talk to Mr. Cohrbin. He and Nida then told me I should go to my room and make absolutely sure I was telling the truth. I was afraid to go back to school, but Pada and Master Hroombra were there with me. Gieaun and Scede asked me what was going on, and as Master Hroombra and Pada spoke with Mr. Cohrbin (with everyone watching and whispering in the schoolyard of course), I went and told them how Pada and Master Hroombra didn't believe I stole anything. After a long time, we went into the classroom and the day passed rather quietly.

After class, Mr. Cohrbin asked to speak with me. I was terrified, but he only asked why I didn't tell him I hadn't stolen anything when I had been accused, and I told him it was for many reasons. First of all I was afraid, secondly I was shocked, and finally, how could I say I didn't do it when the evidence was in my desk?

He told me he'd give me a second chance, and that cheered me up quite a bit. I can't help but wonder though, had Ellysian and her brother been behind it all along? Was this all over now? Should I tell Mr. Cohrbin I suspected them? I decided that I'd wait and talk it over with Gieaun and Scede tomorrow, before I make my decision.

-Jahrra 

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Worst Day Ever

Hello everyone!  In today's journal entry, Jahrra tells us about her worst day ever.  Something terrible happens at school and, as you might have guessed, it involves Ellysian and the still-missing items from their teacher's desk.  Happy reading!
-J.E. Johnson

Worst Day Ever

Dear Journal,

I don't even know if I can write this, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to the schoolhouse in Aldehren ever again. When we sat down at our desks today, Mr. Cohrbin asked us to take out our clean parchment and some pencils for writing practice. We keep our parchment rolled up, so I just reached inside the shelf in my desk and pulled the tube of paper out. But as it came free, something small and colorful flew out of the tube and went chink-chinking across the wood floor of the classroom.

Everyone, who had been chatting quietly, stopped dead and stared at the glittering object, bouncing and rolling toward the back of the room. I sat frozen in shock, for I had seen it before it shot away, and I knew exactly what it was: the ponyfly cocoon sealed in its glass tube.

'Miss Jahrra', that's all Mr. Cohrbin said, in the most horribly quiet and stern voice I'd ever heard from him, 'can you explain this?'

He had walked over and picked up the vial. He held it between his thumb and pointer finger, its green and ruby colors gleaming like a star. I felt the tears gather and fall from my eyes. The lump in my throat kept me from speaking, that and the sheer confusion I felt. How had it ended up in my desk?

I couldn't explain it, and since my words would not come, I became the suspect and Mr. Cohrbin made me stay in from our break, and our lunch time, and the half hour after school to write an apology letter and sentences claiming I was sorry and would never do it again. I cried silently, more horrified that I had disappointed him than ashamed that I had somehow committed some wrong. I DID NOT steal the ponyfly cocoon, but how could I tell him that? It was in my desk.

When I was finally permitted to leave (with a letter to be signed by my parents and returned the first day back from the weekend), I found Gieaun and Scede waiting patiently for me. We walked to the front of the arched drive to wait for Mr. Dharedth to pick us up. I kept my head low, with Gieaun on one side and Scede on the other, their arms around my shoulders, telling me they knew I didn't do it.

Just before Mr. Dharedth's mail cart came clattering up the cobblestones, I glanced up, and saw Eydeth and Ellysian quietly waiting for their ride. Eydeth smirked and Ellysian had a nasty gleam in her eye. It was right at that moment that I finally knew who had broken into Mr. Cohrbin's treasure box.

-Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Suspicious Activity

Last time, Jahrra got another riddle from her teacher.  This week, Jahrra notices that her nemesis, Ellysian is acting rather suspicious ...  Enjoy!
-J.E. Johnson

Suspicious Activity

Dear Journal,

Mr. Cohrbin seemed a little more cheerful today, but he still isn't quite back to his old self. He still doesn't trust us like he used to, and he still asks us every morning if anyone wants to come forward about the missing treasures. No one ever does.

The two riddles are still unsolved (despite the fact that I got up after Nida and Pada went to sleep to try and figure them out), and no one else seems to have the heart to solve them. It was a normal day for the most part, but when Gieaun and Scede and I watched the rest of the class from our oak tree during lunch today, we saw that Ellysian and her brother were off alone in one corner of the yard. We tried to hear what they were saying, but it was too noisy. She opened her hand to show him something and his eyes got wide and his face drained of color. Ellysian quickly closed her fist and shoved her hand in her pocket.

When they walked under our tree we remained as quiet as bats, but the look on their faces made me itch with dread. Ellysian was straight-faced, her eyes giving away something cruel, and her brother had the biggest, nastiest, smuggest grin on his own face. I know they are plotting something, but I have no idea what and I have no idea how to make myself ready for it.

-Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sign Up for an Exclusive Sneak Peek of FAEBORNE!

FAEBORNE - A NOVEL OF THE OTHERWORLD

COVER REVEAL!


A STAND-ALONE NOVEL IN THE OTHERWORLD SERIES!

* * * * *
Brennon Roarke is cursed.  Stolen from his family at the age of sixteen and forced to use his glamour in the service of Eile’s most malevolent goddess, Brenn has little room for warmth in his heart.  For seven long years, he endured hardship and pain, only to escape and find his parents and sister murdered, his nephew left blind and broken.  With the stain of dark magic on his soul, Brennon perseveres for the sake of his young ward, always worrying that one day the evil infecting his spirit will destroy him for good.

Seren is an outcast among her own kind, ridiculed and ostracized by all but her mother.  Born to the Fahndí tribe of the Weald, Seren’s glamour allows her to transform into a deer, but it also grants her the power to heal grave wounds.  When she reveals this gift to her peers, jealousy and hatred drive them to murder, forcing Seren to either flee or fall victim to their malice.  Taking on her animal form, Seren leaves her old life behind hoping to find a safe haven in a world that has only ever offered her hardship.

Despite being worlds apart, Seren and Brennon are brought together in a single life-altering moment.  When the doe Brenn shoots turns into a young woman before his very eyes, he has no choice but to bring her home with the hope that she’ll recover.  What he doesn’t realize, however, is that Seren is quite capable of healing herself with glamour that may be able to cure his wounds as well, and not only the ones that run skin deep.

AVAILABLE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23RD, 2015!

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PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF FAEBORNE TODAY!


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Sign up to receive an EXCLUSIVE Sneak Peek of Faeborne

In the weeks leading up to the release of Faeborne, Jenna Elizabeth Johnson will be sending out weekly newsletters containing the first FIVE CHAPTERS of the novel!  You will receive one chapter each week, starting with Chapter One on Wednesday, November 18th and ending with Chapter Five on Wednesday, December 16th.






Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Another Riddle

Greetings readers!  Last time we found out that someone in Jahrra's class has been stealing things from the teacher's desk.  This week, although the thief is still a mystery, the class is given a new riddle.  Happy reading!
-J.E. Johnson

Another Riddle

Dear Journal,

I don't feel like writing a whole lot tonight. Mr. Cohrbin is still disappointed with us (I could tell because he didn't seem all that cheerful today and we still didn't get to play any games or act out any stories in class). The entire class seemed to notice, because no one got in trouble today and everyone was rather quiet (the older students didn't try and pass any notes or throw spit wads, and even Eydeth and Ellysian seemed down-hearted - usually they snicker and point at me).

Even though Mr. Cohrbin still eyed us all suspiciously, he told us to get our classroom journals out at the end of the day to write down the next riddle. He gave us such a sharp look that everyone did exactly as they were told and scratched down the riddle below the last one. The words I had written the week before glared at me in accusation, demanding to know who the culprit was.

I took a breath and wrote what he said, not once looking up:

Of the four Sisters I'm second to show, When you dance near the sun I blossom and glow. The day lasts forever when I am in town, And I wear upon my shoulders a green-golden gown.

Mr. Cohrbin stopped speaking abruptly and the next moment it was time to leave for home. He simply opened the classroom door and returned to his desk, sitting down heavily and getting to work with some papers and books. Usually he stays outside with us to answer any questions we might have about our lesson that day.

I gathered my things with a frown. Would anyone want to solve the riddles now that there were no prizes? I set my jaw; I wanted to solve them, even if there was nothing to win but the satisfaction of conquering the enigmatic rhymes. I wanted to solve them to show Mr. Cohrbin that I didn't need the lost treasures to want to unravel the puzzle. I decided right then and there that I was going to work every night to crack the code.

- Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: A Thief Among Us

Hello readers!  This week Jahrra writes in her journal that someone has been stealing things from their teacher at school.  Naturally, she suspects her not-so-courteous classmates.  Enjoy!
-J.E. Johnson

A Thief Among Us

Dear Journal,

When we got to school this morning, Mr. Cohrbin was waiting in the doorway of the schoolhouse with his arms crossed and a stern look on his face. He told us to come inside and take our seats. What happened next was awful. Mr. Cohrbin told us that when he arrived at the schoolhouse this morning, his desk had been gone through and that the lock on the box with the prizes for the riddle had been emptied.

The room was quiet with shock and I know that my eyes were huge and my mouth was hanging open. Who would do such a thing? Mr. Cohrbin suspected one of us (though I think he was thinking of the older students) because we were the only ones who knew what was in that box. He gave us all a long time of silent thinking to confess, but no one came forward.

I sat with my hands folded and my eyes down. Why would someone steal all the prizes? I wanted them just as badly as anyone else, but to steal them? It was during this quiet time that I heard whispering behind me.

I stole a backward glance to catch Eydeth quickly leaning back in his seat, his face looking very angry. He'd been talking to an older boy next to him and the older boy gave me a nasty look as well. What was that all about? Like it was my fault someone broke into the classroom and took Mr. Cohrbin's treasures?

The rest of the day went by very slowly, for Mr. Cohrbin wasn't in the mood to play any games or read us stories like he sometimes did. No, today was all quiet work and everyone seemed to be feeling guilty for some reason. I hope that whoever it was that stole the items from the box turns his or herself in soon.

-Jahrra


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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Ellysian's Up to Something ...

Hello all!  Last time Hroombra helped Jahrra out a little with the riddle.  This week Jahrra returns to class and her teacher addresses the class about it again.  Jahrra also notices that her nemesis is acting a bit suspicious ... Enjoy!
-J.E. Johnson

Ellysian's Up to Something ...

Dear Journal,

Today was like any other day at school, only everyone was anxious to see if anyone had figured out what Mr. Cohrbin's riddle meant. Okay, I was anxious to see if anyone had figured it out. Mr. Cohrbin waited all day and just before we left to go home, he asked if anyone had an answer to his riddle.

He pulled out his little box and carefully unlocked it. We all leaned forward in our desks, hoping to get another look at the treasures within, only he didn't open the lid. We all slouched back when we realized we weren't going to get another preview.

'So? Does anyone have an answer for me?' he asked.

Some of the older kids said they thought they knew (a teenage boy said he thought the answer was "mother", another said it had to be Ethöes). Mr. Cohrbin shook his head, but admitted that Ethöes was close. Ugh, I can't stand it! He closed the lid to the box and locked it, tucking it neatly back inside his desk. He told us that in two more days he'd give us another riddle. I hope this one is easier.

So the day went by rather well, and no one bothered us during lunch. On our way out, however, Gieaun, Scede and I overheard Ellysian talking with her friends (she didn't know we were there). We heard her say "riddles" and "desk" and "box".

I strained to hear more, but just then I stepped on a twig and she heard us. She gave us one overbearing glance and grabbed her friends' arms to move to another part of the yard, shooting awful glares at us over her shoulder as she walked away. I don't know what she was telling those girls, but I know that she is up to something, and I'm sure it is something bad.

-Jahrra


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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Dragon's Wit

In today's post, Jahrra tells us about a lesson with her mentor, the Korli dragon Hroombra.  Hroombra teaches Jahrra about one of the creatures found in Oescienne, and then helps her out with the riddle assigned by her teacher.  Happy reading!
-J.E. Johnson

Dragon's Wit

Dear Journal,

Master Hroombra came over today, but it was for a lesson and not for fun. Luckily, lessons with Master Hroombra are always fun. We went out into the orchard (he couldn't fit between the trees so he had to call out loud what he wanted me to look for) and collected different seeds.

After I had found five different kinds, he told me to come back to him. I held out my hand and we both looked at what I'd found. One seed was smooth and glossy, another rough and bristly. Two had some sort of hard shell on them and the other one had long wisps of something that looked like white hairs growing from it. I thought it was a dandelion seed, that is until it started crawling around. I shrieked and dropped all five seeds, and the one I had thought a dandelion floated off with the wind.

Master Hroombra was laughing. I turned and gave him an angry look. He stopped laughing but smiled, 'I was hoping you would pick up a whispin. They are very common this time of year.'

Master Hroombra explained that a whispin was a small insect that looked a lot like a dandelion seed. 'That's how they move around, not with wings but with those little hairs. The wind picks them up and moves them from one area to the next.'

After a while I started to wish I hadn't dropped it in the first place. We looked for more whispins and found a few hiding in the grass. They were rather plain looking, but I liked how they could fly without wings. We watched a few float away and then I tried to get Master Hroombra to help me some more with Master Cohrbin's riddle.

'I'll give you one hint,' he told me, 'she came to visit about five months ago and stayed for quite a while.'

It looked like he was trying hard not to laugh. I frowned and thought really hard, five months is a long time to try and remember something!

'No one came to visit five months ago!' I insisted. Who could he be talking about? And why was it so funny? I didn't think it was funny at all.

-Jahrra


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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: A Day by the Creek

Hello all!  Today's journal entry has our protagonist spending a day with her dragon mentor, Hroombra, and her friends Gieaun and Scede.  Although this scene doesn't have anything too intriguing to offer, it does give a good description of the setting.  Hope you enjoy!
-J.E. Johnson

A Day by the Creek

Dear Journal,

Today Gieaun and Scede came over and we all went to the Castle Guard Ruin. Master Hroombra met us and we all climbed on his back, even Pada and Nida. Master Hroombra told us we were going to have a picnic at Danu Creek today and I couldn't imagine anything better. It was still a long way until noon and it was already very hot out.

The creek wasn't as full as it gets in the winter, but it had enough water in it to keep cool in. Nida kept telling us to be careful and not get our clothes all muddy, but we couldn't help it! I chased through the water after Gieaun and Scede in a game of tag, screeching each time I misjudged how deep the water was and went sinking in up to my waist. The oaks, sycamore and willows growing overhead made nice puddles of shade, and after lunch Gieaun and Scede and I traveled downstream to explore while Nida and Pada stayed behind with Master Hroombra.

'Be careful of the bluff's edge!' Nida warned, and we promised to be careful.

It took us a while to reach the edge, and when we did, we all three took a seat on a large stone sitting near the lip of the water fall and just gazed out at the scene before us. I sighed and hugged my knees - it was so beautiful! The farmlands spread out below us like a patchwork quilt of green and brown and deep red, protected from the vast blue ocean by the barrier of sand dunes. The dunes themselves were nearly golden in the afternoon light, folding and rolling as if they were shaped by an careful sculptor and not the wind. The hills were the faded color of ripe wheat and the clumps of woodlands served as dots of dark green, adding just enough color to make one's gaze linger.

After we were done with our break, we headed back up the creek so Nida and Pada and Master Hroombra wouldn't worry about us. By the time we got back it was time to go home, and we all climbed upon Master Hroombra's back. On our way out I asked him where the creek came from and he told us that it flowed from a swamp deep within the Wreing Florenn.

With a wry dragon grin he added, 'A swamp said to harbor a very mysterious and terrifying witch. But that is a story for another day . . .'

I chilled at the thought, and suddenly I remembered the ride home from school when I had thought I'd seen eyes watching me from the edge of that forest. Could it have been the witch? My skin crawled and I leaned closer into Nida. I didn't want to think about it at all, at least not right now.

-Jahrra 

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Slow Day

Hello everyone.  Today's post is not all that exciting, but next time it will have a little more to it.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!
-J.E. Johnson

Slow Day

Dear Journal,

Nothing much happened today at school, and I am grateful. The evil twins were both gone, something that made it much more enjoyable. No one figured out the riddle yet, something that cheered me as well (since I haven't figured it out either, though I might be getting close . . .

Pada told me to look carefully at the numbers mentioned in the riddle, but I'm still not sure what he means). Tomorrow I get to go see Master Hroombra (I go every first day of the weekend). Maybe he can help me with the riddle! I also have something called 'practice work' as well, math and writing exercises I have to do at home. Ugh, don't we do enough of that at school?

Well, I leave you for now Journal, it is already dark and it is still rather warm out. I think Pada, Nida and I will lay out in the yard and watch the stars drift by.

-Jahrra


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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Treasure Trove

Hello readers!  This week's entry in Jahrra's Journal describes the scene in Jahrra's classroom the day after they received the riddle from their teacher.  Some of the students don't seem interested in figuring the riddle out until their teacher shows the the prizes they might win if they do.  Enjoy!
-J.E. Johnson

Treasure Trove

Dear Journal,

Mr. Cohrbin asked us today if anyone had figured out the riddle he gave us yesterday. Most of the students looked at him blankly, as if they didn't know what he was talking about. I just frowned. I had tried, but I still hadn't figured it out before bedtime. Ellysian shouted out (because she doesn't think she should have to raise her hand like the rest of us since her father owns half of the Raenyan Valley). She was complaining that the riddle was stupid and a waste of time.

Mr. Cohrbin only smiled (I gave her a rude look, but she didn't see it because she was too busy sneering at Mr. Cohrbin) and pulled out a dusty old wooden box from a drawer in his desk.

'So you wouldn't be interested in seeing what the prizes are, then?'

Everyone in the class sat up straight right then, no longer looking bored. Gieaun took her gaze from the window, Scede stopped doodling on some paper he had, even nasty Eydeth and Ellysian lowered their eyes to everyone else's level.

'These are just some of the things I've collected over the years that you might be able to choose from should you feel inclined to answer my riddles . . .' he gave a quirky grin and opened the box. My jaw dropped. He held up the first item, 'The cocoon of a ponyfly . . .'

It looked like a gem: brilliant green and gold and ruby. It was kept in a glass vial filled with a clear liquid. 'It sits in water and is currently dormant, but when placed in the right environment it just might emerge as an adult ponyfly.'

Gieaun's eyes grew round as saucers and I knew she would be paying closer attention to Mr. Cohrbin's riddles from now on. To have your own ponyfly, a palm-sized insect with clear fairy-like wings that resembled a tiny horse. I wasn't able to get a good look at what else was in the box, for Mr. Cohrbin replaced the ponyfly cocoon and put the box away.

'I'll show you more later, but right now we have to start our writing lesson.' Everyone groaned, even me. I like writing, but I wanted to see what else was in that box . . . .

-Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Riddles!

Greetings readers!  Last time, Jahrra noticed some strange eyes watching her from the Wreing Florenn.  This week, our young protagonist has a good day at school and starts to reconsider her opinion of the place.
-J.E. Johnson

Riddles!

Dear Journal, Oh what a wondrous day at school! Mr. Cohrbin told us that he will be giving us a new riddle each week to solve, and the first person to solve it gets a prize! Some of the much older students groaned, but he gave them a sharp look and told them some of the prizes would even be something they would want. I didn't groan. In fact, I sat straight up and paid full attention (I was daydreaming a little - but only a little! I couldn't help myself, it was during our math lesson and I'm not that good at math).

He said that even the first year students could try if we wanted, but he said some of them would be really hard. I didn't care, Master Hroombra gives me riddles all the time and I love to try and solve them, even when he helps me out (which is most of the time).

Well, here is the riddle Mr. Cohrbin gave us:


I am the first Sister to visit your land, The first before three others, we work hand in hand. I soften the earth and call forth the sun, I sing a great song of new life begun.

Ugh, I have no idea what it means! I'll have to try and figure it out this weekend. I hope no one else gets it before I do . . .

-Jahrra 


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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Strange Sight on the Way Home

Hello readers!  This week's journal entry has Jahrra noticing something odd on the edge of the Wreing Florenn.  For those of you who have read The Finding, you'll know that the Wreing Florenn is stock full of oddities, some dangerous, some benevolent.  And sometimes it's hard to tell the difference ... ;).
-J.E. Johnson

Strange Sight on the Way Home

Dear Journal, School today wasn't as bad as usual because Eydeth and Ellysian showed up late and got in trouble. They spent a long time trying to argue with Mr. Cohrbin about it, but he wouldn't listen to them. They tried to say it was their driver's fault.

But that wasn't the most interesting thing that happened today. On the way home, while we were riding in the mail cart, I felt the strangest feeling, like someone was watching me. I turned to look in the direction the strange feeling was coming from and found out it was coming from the edge of Wreing Florenn! And I know you won't believe me but I thought I saw eyes watching me, just eyes floating in space, but as soon as I blinked they were gone.

I was so frightened I huddled closer to Gieaun and Scede and Mr. Dharedth and refused to look towards that forest the rest of the ride home. I won't tell Nida and Pada about it, they'll think I'm making it up, so I'll only tell you. I'm never going near the Wreing Florenn. Never ever.

-Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Above the Crowd

The journal post for this week has Jahrra back at school and trying to avoid the mean kids once again.  When Ellysian tries to find her and her friends, Gieaun and Scede, Jahrra soon realizes that the giant boulder they have been hiding behind isn't sufficient enough to keep them safe from Ellysian's reach.  Happy reading!
-J.E. Johnson

Above the Crowd

Dear Journal,

I had to go back to school this morning, but I tried to be brave for Nida's sake. When we got to the schoolhouse, Gieaun and Scede and I hid behind the great big rock in front of the great big oak tree. We thought we were safe until I heard someone say 'I wonder where the Nesnan girl and her friends are . . .'

It was that girl Ellysian, and although her voice sounded nice on the outside, I could tell it wasn't nice on the inside. You know, like wild stainberries? They look so good to eat but if you break them open they stain your clothes and make an awful smell. Like that. Well, anyways, before she could find us Mr. Cohrbin called us to class.

As we were heading in, I noticed that the oak tree near the rock had notches in it where branches had once started to grow and then changed their minds. When we were let out for lunch, I ran straight to the tree, Gieaun and Scede too, and started to climb. The notches were like perfect steps! We ate our lunches way above everyone else, and even though I knew Ellysian and her brother Eydeth were secretly looking for us (they were snooping around in places they shouldn't have been), they never found us. Oh hurray! I love the oak tree in our schoolyard!

-Jahrra 

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Anticipating Tomorrow

Greetings readers!  This week's entry isn't as informative as the past few.  Instead, Jahrra talks about going back to Hroombra's home to learn more about the history of Ethoes.  She is particularly hoping that her mentor will tell her more about the Tanaan dragon Raejaaxorix.  Although it is low key this time around, I hope you still enjoy it!
-J.E. Johnson


Anticipating Tomorrow


Dear Journal,

Tomorrow I go back to school, and I am dreading it. I'm not dreading seeing Gieaun and Scede, they are my best friends, but I am dreading seeing everyone else. Well, maybe not Mr. Cohrbin. Even though he made me sit on the log all during lunch time, he seems pretty nice. I'll just have to try and enjoy the day. Pada did say that after we pick some more apples he'd take me over to see Master Hroombra.

Oh, I can't wait until we finish with the apples! We only have three more trees to go and then I'll be going to the Castle Guard Ruin! Maybe Master Hroombra will tell me more about the old castle and rulers of Oescienne, he always promises. Or maybe he'll tell me more about Raejaaxorix.

The last time he told me how Raejaaxorix burned down a whole fortress that had been the home to an evil man who was being mean to the people living in his town. The dragon Raejaaxorix had told the people to leave the town and only when they had all left did he come in and set the place afire. I asked Master Hroombra what it had looked like, red flames taking over an entire village! But Master Hroombra told me that Raejaaxorix's fire wasn't red like his own, but a blue-green color. How strange, to see your town being overtaken by blue-green flames! Oh, I must go, for I hear Pada calling me downstairs to finish with the early apple harvest.

-Jahrra

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jahrra's Journal: Glow Worms

Welcome back, readers!  This week, we take a break from school and get a look at some of the wonderful creatures of Oescienne.  In this journal entry, Jahrra describes a day in her father's apple orchard where he points out some glow worms to her.  Happy reading!
-J.E. Johnson

Glow Worms

Dear Journal,

I got to sleep in this morning because it is the first day of the weekend. Pada got me up after sunrise and said we needed to start picking some of the early apples before they fell to the ground. I groaned, but got up. I'm just happy I don't have to go to school today! The chickens clucked as we walked by and the goats fussed, but Nida had already fed them before I got up. We came to the orchard, the very tops of the apple trees fading into the low fog, and Pada climbed the ladder up the first tree.

'We have to get the apples picked before they fall and the glow worms get them.' he told me. 'Glow worms?' I asked. And I'll tell you the truth, I was feeling rather lazy and bored until he mentioned those glow worms. 'Yes, the glow worms.' he repeated from the tree's branches. 'We'll look for some when we're done.' So I helped him pick apples upon apples and put them in the baskets he had set out the day before.

When we were done, Pada walked me over to a pile of rotting apples on the edge of the orchard. 'Look, glow worms.' he said, pointing and smiling. I squinted, and after a moment I saw them. Oh! They were so wonderful! Caterpillars the size of my fingers, glowing in all different colors: blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink. They looked like the inside of a candle when the wick is burning low, and they were covered in tiny hairs that shone even brighter at their tips.

'They do love apples,' Pada remarked, standing casually with his arms crossed, 'but I prefer it when they eat the old ones and not the new.' I stayed out in the orchard for quite some time, watching the glow worms munch away at the bruised fruit. I couldn't wait to tell Gieaun and Scede all about them when we went back to school at the start of the week.

-Jahrra 

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Want to read more about Jahrra and her adventures?  Download The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding, the first book in the Oescienne series, for FREE from Amazon.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sneak Peek at Faeleahn - A Novella of the Otherworld - AVAILABLE SOON!

Hello Readers!  It's been so long since I've posted anything new here and I do apologize.  My author schedule has kept me quite busy this year, especially for the month of May (I have three big book events coming up at the end of the month, so I might be scarce in the coming weeks :P).  Anyway, I do have some good news!

Meghan and Cade are back in a BRAND NEW short story that will be published EXCLUSIVELY in the upcoming Faery Tales bundle - publication date May 18th, 2015!

As I often like to do, I am posting a preview of this newest addition to the Otherworld Series (the first chapter!).  Faeleahn is around 30,000 words (about the length of Ehriad, for those of you who have read that one).  Below I'll include the blurb, as well as the first chapter, for you to check out.  I hope you enjoy it and keep an eye on my Facebook page and, for those of you signed up for my newsletters, your inboxes as well.  I'll be sending out a special newsletter and posting the links when the ebook is up and running.  Until then, happy reading!
- JEJ



I blinked at my reflection, my Faelorehn eyes shifting from one color to the next.  I tried to get them to settle on a blue shade to go with my dress, but my nerves were too wired.  In less than an hour, I would be Mrs. Caedehn MacRoich, Lady of Castle Luathara.  During that hectic stretch of days, when Cade and I had traipsed about the countryside, spreading the word of our upcoming wedding, I didn’t have a nervous bone in my body.  Now that the day had finally arrived, I was ready to fall to pieces.

Caedehn MacRoich and Meghan Elam have been through more trials and tribulations than most young couples can imagine.  Despite the constant presence of a malevolent goddess bent on destroying them both, and the High Queen Danua doing her best to keep them apart, Meghan and Cade have persevered through it all.  Hardship, pain, mistrust and even death have hounded them nearly as mercilessly as the Morrigan's Cumorrig, yet they never lost sight of one another, or the love that kept them strong through it all.

Now Cade and Meghan are ready to make their relationship official, to pledge their souls to one another in a traditional bonding ceremony of Eile.  Before the wedding, however, they must inform everyone of their intentions.  A month after Cade's proposal, he and Meghan embark upon a two week journey to tell their family and friends of their plans.  Although the goal is to share the news of their upcoming wedding, the faelah bounty hunter and the princess of Erintara grow even closer as their love is reflected back to them by those they hold most dear.


AND NOW, A SNEAK PEEK AT FAELEAHN - A NOVELLA OF THE OTHERWORLD ...

AVAILABLE MAY 18TH, 2015 EXCLUSIVELY IN THE FAERY TALES COLLECTION!

FAELEAHN

Chapter One
Luathara

MEGHAN

I woke to the sound of spring birds chirping outside the window, their boisterous songs filling the air with joy and promise.  Although I was no longer asleep, I kept my eyes shut, not yet willing to let in the brightness of the morning sunshine.  I could feel it pouring in through the tall windows.  I knew instinctively, without even reaching across the wide mattress, that Cade was already up.  Ever since the ordeal with the Morrigan - his warmongering, glamour-hungry hag of a mother - came to its climactic closure, I had noticed a change in the both of us.  It wasn’t so much a physical change, or, more precisely, it wasn’t a physical change at all.  It was something different, an awareness just beneath my skin.  I imagined this alteration had a lot to do with our glamour.  Perhaps all the time we spent together had trained my magic to recognize his on a level far deeper than I had previously realized.  It was as if my magic could reach out and connect with Cade’s without my even being aware of it.  Then again, it could simply be a side effect of my being completely and unquestionably in love.
Grinning like a fool, I stretched and reached out across the mattress.  As I had expected, Cade wasn’t there.  I tried not to feel disappointed.  I knew he wasn’t far.  Probably out on the patio or walking through the garden.  He might have already dressed and gone down to his study, but he wouldn’t be riding the acreage with Speirling today or venturing into Kellston to address any concerns the townspeople might have.  Today, we were leaving Luathara for a time, and we planned on heading out long before noon.
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, I allowed my eyes to flutter open.  The room was indeed bathed in golden light, the rich color bringing life to the hues in the tapestries, rugs and drapes hanging around our four poster bed.  For a few moments, I simply lay there, cocooned in the soft sheets, tracing the embroidered design in the comforter.  Even after all I had been through in the past few years, I still woke sometimes, sucking in my breath at the absurdity of it all.  Three years ago, I had been one of the awkward nerds at my high school.  I had started out my junior year the same way I approached the previous two: keeping my head down and focusing on getting good grades, so I might get into a reputable college someday.  I had lived a typical teenage life, and other than my moments of insanity when I thought I saw monsters and imagined I heard weird voices, I thought I was pretty normal.  How wrong I had been.
Rolling over in bed, I crooked my elbow and rested my cheek against my hand.  I was facing the glass doors that opened out onto the terrace just outside the room Cade and I shared.  The doors were open, the cool breeze of early spring flowing in and making the gossamer drapes dance like cheerful specters.  The air smelled of lingering frost and the sweet flowers that dared to open this early in Eile.  And beneath it all, I could smell the faint, unique scent of wild glamour.  I breathed it all in as I stretched once again.
A small movement out of the corner of my eye distracted me for a second.  I shot my gaze toward the balcony once more, just making out the shape of a tall figure.  The corners of my mouth curved up, and I felt my body flush with joy.  Cade.  Even after having known him for three years, and having survived everything we’d been through since, I still got chills when I looked at him.  Well over six feet tall and built like a Celtic god, Caedehn MacRoich was the image of any young woman’s fantasies.  I thought back to the first time I had seen him, wondering how I had kept my cool long enough to string more than two coherent thoughts together.  Alright, if I was being honest with myself, I had fallen for his charms quite quickly.  In fact, the sensible Meghan Elam would have smacked the love-struck version of myself upside the head.  Before seeing Cade in all his Otherworldly glory, I would never have gone for a guy like him.  He was too beautiful, too large, too frightening.  Yet, I had kept going back for more.  I had agreed to meet him and listen as he slowly peeled back the wool from my eyes.  And I had fallen fast and hard.  Yet, I didn’t regret any of the decisions that had brought me to this point in my life.  True, Cade and I had been through trials and tribulations, many of them so horrifying I don’t wish to reminisce on them.  But because of those tests, we had grown closer than ever.
I bit my lip and glanced down at my wrist, admiring the beautifully woven and bejeweled bracelet secured there.  It wasn’t just any bracelet, though.  This was the piece of jewelry Cade had given to me over a month ago, when he had asked me to marry him.  Another flurry of chills coursed through me, and I sighed.  The day Cade proposed had been one of the happiest days of my life and I only imagined those days would grow happier.  After all, we were Faelorehn, and we were immortal.  And, we no longer had the Morrigan hunting us like wild game.
I smiled again as I rose from the bed, bringing a sheet with me in lieu of clothing.  As I headed for the open doors, I felt my powerful glamour well up and reach out toward Cade’s.  For so long, we had fought against our common enemy, and finally, finally, we were going to start our new life together.

CADE

The sun had been up for at least an hour, yet the stubborn frost of winter still coated the hills surrounding Luathara.  I had slipped out of bed only ten minutes ago, reluctant to leave Meghan alone, but my sleep had been restless again.  Ever since defeating the Morrigan’s army a few months ago, I hadn’t been able to relax.  One would think that destroying the goddess responsible for so many years of my misery and suffering would be enough to banish all the demons that haunted me, but for some reason or another, it wasn’t.  I had a terrible feeling that although my tormentor was now nothing more than a memory, her evil glamour and negative influence were still strong contenders for dominance in this world.  That would explain my lingering fear.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in through my nose, scenting the early spring air for danger.  It was pointless, really.  I couldn’t really smell danger on the wind, but one never knew.  I could most certainly smell faelah if they were near.  The very thought brought a sneer to my face.  Yes, my mother’s leftovers still plagued our world, but I could deal with those in time.  A sudden gust of light wind sent a chill through my blood.  I lifted my arms and crossed them over my chest.  I hadn’t dressed completely after rising from bed, and at the moment, I wore a pair of loose pants and one of my thin linen shirts, and neither was keeping off the cold.
Just as I was about to abandon my survey of Luathara’s landscape, a pair of familiar arms wrapped themselves around my torso, and I felt Meghan press her warm body up against mine.  I leaned my head back and to the side, allowing my eyelids to drift shut.
“Hello, my love,” I murmured, relishing Meghan’s body heat as it took the chill off my own skin.
“What are you doing standing out in the cold?” she wondered, in a sleepy voice.
I huffed a breath, trying to will my worry away.  “Just thinking,” I answered.
“About what?”
I smiled.  My ever curious Meghan.  Shrugging, I answered, “Many things, but right now I’m thinking about our upcoming journey.”
Meghan lit up at that.  I knew because I could sense the change in her glamour.  It had been snoozing quietly beside her heart, but now, it was pulsing with joyful curiosity.  She had become so much better at controlling her own power since the battle against the Morrigan, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I turned to face her then, grinning rakishly when I noticed what she was wearing, or rather, what she wasn’t wearing.
As if she could read my thoughts, Meghan gave me her own impish smile and pulled the sheet more tightly about herself.
“What time is it?” she asked, dancing out of my reach.
Giving up on my attempts at seduction, I exhaled and answered her, “Between eight and nine in the morning.”
She gasped and dashed toward her chest of drawers.  “We had better get moving, then.  Good thing we packed last night!”
I chuckled and stepped fully into our bedroom, tugging my shirt over my head as I did so.  “Relax.  We have plenty of time.”
Despite my reassurance, both Meghan and I were dressed and hauling our travel packs down the stairs within half an hour.
Briant, my steward, greeted us in the entrance hall with a stack of documents he wanted me to look over one last time before we left.
“Briant,” I complained as I set my pack down, “we’ll be in the mortal world for no more than two days, then we’ll stop back here to get clean clothes before heading to the Weald.  I have taken care of everything, and you will do fine in my absence.  You have managed quite well before.”
The Faelorehn man gave me a stern look and huffed out a breath of air.  “Yes, I know, but it is still best when the signature and directions come from you.”
I took the papers and glanced over them quickly, added my signature to the ones that needed it, then handed them back to Briant.
Melvina, Briant’s wife, came bursting out of the kitchen carrying a dish cloth stuffed full of something giving off a savory scent.
“Scones,” she exclaimed, shoving them at Meghan.  “Since you insist on leaving so quickly.”
Meghan dug around in the cloth and pulled out a hot scone.  She took a bite out of it and closed her eyes in bliss.  “Thank you, Melvina,” she managed, around a mouthful.  “And can you blame me?  I’m going to see my family for the first time in weeks!”
In her state of excitement, she reached out and gave the woman a tight hug.  Melvina only chittered in feigned embarrassment while Meghan offered a scone to me.
“Thank you, both of you, for looking out for Luathara.  While we’re gone this time and for all the times before and those to come,” I said, giving them each a grateful look.
“Luathara is as much our home as it is yours, Cade,” Briant insisted.  “Now, go on.  Your friends and families have waited long enough to receive the news of your engagement.”
With a quick smile, I escorted Meghan outside where the horses and our spirit guides waited.  Both Speirling and Lasair had been led into the courtyard by Cormac, the new stable master.  They were completely free of the usual tack since they would return to the stable once they dropped Meghan and me off at the dolmarehn.
After helping Meghan onto Lasair, I mounted Speirling, casting Fergus a questioning glance.
Any new faelah I should know about?
Haven’t smelled, heard, or seen any, the white wolfhound responded.
Good.  Perhaps they’ve moved on.
Or, more likely, they are lying low for the time being.
I nodded grimly.  Fergus was right.  I couldn’t hope they had all simply disappeared from Luathara land.  Some of them had started developing a will and life force of their own over the years.  I feared there were even more of them out there, wreaking havoc and spreading their dark magic even though their mistress was no more.
Shoving my dismal thoughts aside, I turned Speirling toward the gate.  I could worry about my mother’s lingering black taint on Eile when Meghan and I returned from our trip.  We had the mortal world, the Weald, the Dagda’s abode and Erintara to visit before we returned home to make the final plans for the wedding, and we had only a couple of weeks to do it in.
Clicking my tongue at Speirling, I encouraged him into a quicker stride, checking to make sure Meghan and Lasair kept up.  Meridian swooped through the sky above us, and Fergus kept pace with the horses as we crossed the rolling fields of Luathara.  We made it to the dolmarehn an hour after leaving the castle and bid farewell to the horses.
Gathering up our packs, Meghan and I stepped into the cave together.  Fergus and Meridian had gone in already and would meet us in the mortal world.
“Are you ready, Meghan?” I asked quietly, wrapping my arms around her and pulling her close.
She tilted her head back and looked up at me with her beautiful hazel eyes.  They darkened to honey gold for a split second before melting into green.
“Of course,” she smiled.
Stepping away, but keeping a firm grip on her hand, I winked back at her.  “Then let’s go tell your family the good news.”