Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Halloween is for Stormy Seas

Free on Amazon MIDNIGHT OIL OCTOBER 14TH-18TH

Stormy Seas -  Witch Way to Go?

The boat slammed into another wave trough, and the block slipped a few more inches. Kat feared it would slide off the boat at any moment. She edged out of the wheelhouse and dropped to her hands and knees to avoid the worst of the wind.

Ivansi glanced in her direction. “No! Stay!” he shouted. She ignored him and continued to creep to the stern, water and wind lashing at her, holding the sides of the boat or anything else she could get a grip on. 

“Don’t, Kat! You can’t do anything about it,” Rune yelled. With both hands occupied keeping himself and Nadia upright, he was unable to stop her.

She looked back at her brother and saw the desperation in his eyes. “Got to try,” she whispered, knowing the howling wind would whip away any words she spoke.

She reached the closest line holding the ice. Thinking hard, she tried a containment spell, gesturing with one hand while she gripped the rope with the other. The ice slipped again, tugging her to the back of the boat. The rope burned her hand, and she shut her eyes against the stinging salt spray. A huge wave hit, and Kat flew through the air, following her father’s body into the angry sea.

“No,” Rune screamed as his sister disappeared behind a huge wave. Ivansi slowed the engine, but he didn’t dare stop or try to turn back. He had to keep the boat headed into the wind or risk being capsized. The boat kept pitching with the high waves. Rune strained to extend his vision in the direction his sister and the block of ice vanished, but even his vampire eyesight couldn’t find her through the tossing waves and the wind-driven spray. The salt water stung his eyes, and the motion of the boat kept him from focusing in any one direction long enough to pick up Kat’s life force.

The wind blew them farther and farther away. Ivansi slammed the throttle to its forward stop, and with the engine screaming at full power, he attempted to bring the boat about. As he turned the bow away from the howling wind, the boat heeled over until the rail was almost under water. He had to bring it back around before it shipped too much water. Freed from the weight of Boris’ ice block, the little boat bobbed like a cork. Punching his fist against the wheelhouse wall in frustration, Ivansi brought it back. It was no use. The boat was no match for the wind and the monstrous waves. The sea tossed them around like a giant slapping the boat back and forth. Indeed, it was a giant—the giant sea playing with the toy boat.

Rune squinted against the spray and then turned back to Ivansi, whose grim face did nothing to raise Rune’s hopes. 

“We go.” The old man pointed away from where Kat had disappeared. 

“But we’ve got to go after her,” Rune yelled. “We can’t just leave!”

Ivansi looked away from Rune and spoke to Nadia.

Nadia turned to Rune, her eyes sad. “No choice. Boat can’t do it.”

Rune pulled away from her and slipped and slid toward the stern, searching the crest of every wave for something, anything that might be his sister. He saw nothing but the raging sea. Rune hung his head. He could see that trying to follow was useless. He held his hands up, closed his eyes and concentrated on a farseeing spell. Again, nothing. Kat was lost.

* * *

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Halloween is for Orcas

HALLOWEEN IS FOR ORCAS

Salmon the OrcaHeroes don’t need to be human or even a sexy male alien. When a witch’s power is speaking to animals, a hero can turn up anywhere, even in the middle of an icebound arctic sea.

In the Witches of Galdorheim series, Katrina the teen witch, has the ability to speak with animals. She doesn’t even know she has this ability until she leaves her home, Galdorheim Island. Since the island is somewhere in the middle of the Barents Sea above the Arctic circle, leaving home isn’t a walk in the park. Crossing iced over water in bitter cold weather is hard enough, but when the ice starts to break up and some dangerous creatures appear, it becomes a life-threatening situation. Kat and her brother, Rune, confront an angry and sleepy polar bear. He wasn’t in the mood to chat.

Fortunately for the kids, a HERO appears. Just because he happens to be an orca (killer whale) makes him no less heroic. Once the Bad Spelling adventure is complete, Kat goes out to find trouble once again. This time, however, Kat gets to rescue Salmon.

EXCERPT

She heard a voice and looked around for the source. Rune and Nadia had their heads together, and Ivansi was facing forward, intent on the helm. The voice came again, and she sensed it was inside her mind. She stood and scanned the choppy surface of the sea. A few hundred yards to port, a killer whale breached the surface, rose impossibly high and flipped downward, smacking its flukes on the surface.

Skr pop skreee,” the whale whistled.

“Salmon!” Kat exclaimed, pointing toward the whale.

Nadia looked where Kat pointed then turned back with a puzzled expression. “Not salmon, Kat,” she shouted over the engine’s roar. “Orca.”

“No, his name is Salmon, and he’s an old friend of mine,” Kat said with a laugh. She stood, reached into the wheelhouse and tugged Ivansi’s sleeve to get his attention. “Stop the boat, Grandfather!”

Ivansi slowed the engine to an idle, looking around curiously. Rune said something to Nadia, probably repeating Kat’s statement. Still, the Sami girl looked worried.

Turning to the starboard side, she saw the hunters approaching fast, their paddles flashing in the sun as the kayak sped across the waves. They circled the motorboat and headed directly toward Salmon, who was breaching and slapping his tail.

Skeee ckckck pop pop skrr.” Kat heard his greeting in her mind. “Kat Witch has come to visit Salmon!”

“Yes, Salmon, but look out for the kayak. Don’t hurt them.”

The killer whale popped his massive head above the surface. Kat knew his flukes were stroking hard beneath the surface to keep him upright. Spyhopping, as sailors called this maneuver, allows the whale to see what’s happening at a distance on the surface. Salmon slowly turned in a circle, his great black head dipping up and down. He spotted the kayak coming at him with only two of the hunters paddling, and he emitted a piercing whistle. The third hunter, the one in front, stood braced in the prow of the boat holding a harpoon at the ready.

“No!” Kat screamed at the hunters. “Don’t hurt him!”

Rune jumped up as the harpooner drew his arm back, ready to throw the barbed missile. The young warlock raised both hands toward the harpooner and bowed his head. Kat saw his eyes close, and his lips began to move, readying his own barb—a magical spell.

“Just the harpoon,” Kat shouted. “Just the harpoon!”

Throwing a quick glance at his sister, Rune scowled. “Right, right,” he said and then launched his spell. The harpoon flew out of the hunter’s hands and splashed harmlessly in the water, surprising him so much he fell backward onto the man behind him.

Ivansi followed the commotion. He revved the engine again and changed course to intercept the kayak, which was standing still in the water.

* * *

MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Halloween is for Sea Serpents


Ceto the Sea Serpent

In my series about a teen witch who can't spell worth a damn, our erstwhile heroine gets a little help from an unusual source. Did you ever wonder why there are so few sightings of the Loch Ness monster? Well, Nessie vacations on Ultima Thule, which may be the remnants of Atlantis.

She's not fond of the name Nessie or Loch Ness Monster and prefers to go by Ceto. From http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ceto
In Greek mythology, Ceto or Keto (Greek: English translation: "sea monster") was a hideous aquatic monster, a daughter of Gaia and Pontus. The asteroid (65489) Ceto was named after her, and its satellite (65489) Ceto I Phorcys after her husband. She was the personification of the dangers of the sea, unknown terrors and bizarre creatures. Eventually, the word "ceto" became simple shorthand for any sea monster. The term cetacean represents a case in point. Her husband was Phorcys and they had many children, collectively known as the Phorcydes or Phorcydides. In Greek art, Ceto was drawn as a serpentine fish. Ceto also gave name to the constellation Cetus.
In Midnight Oil (Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim) Ceto and Nessie become one. She's not a bad, um, person, but much misunderstood. She finds my heroine, Kat, adrift in the northern seas sitting on a block of ice. Oh, yeah, the block contains the body of her father. Ceto finds this all fascinating and helps my heroine dock the ice block at Ultima Thule and find a messenger to send for help from the Witches' Island of Galdorheim in the Barents Sea.

Excerpt 

Kat edged herself up on her knees, keeping a tight hold on the ropes. She scanned the water closely, and to her right, she saw a dark shape under the water. A whale, perhaps. Maybe her calls finally got results.

The shape turned and came back toward the ice block. It stayed several feet below, so Kat could only make out a dark shadow as it glided beneath her. The ice block lifted and dropped again. She looked to her left to see a long neck stretched out, followed by a bulky, black body. A short tail emerged from under the block and slapped down on the water. It sprayed Kat’s face with icy droplets but didn’t drench her.

The dark shape rose slowly upward. First, a small head appeared, and Kat thought it might be a seal, and then the long neck emerged. Her mouth dropped open, and her eyes followed the head upward until she had her neck bent back as far as she could. The creature regarded her with huge, dark eyes, seeming too big for the little nob of a head. Its skin was dark gray, almost black. Kat noticed how smooth it appeared. She wanted to reach out to touch it. She thought better of that notion when the creature’s mouth opened and revealed rows of sharp teeth.

A voice spoke inside her mind. “Who are you, little girl?”

“Little girl? Why, I’m almost…” Then, thinking it’d be rude to argue with her only potential rescuer, she finished, “I mean, I’m a witch, from an island…” Kat looked around and waved her hand, “somewhere out there.”

“You wear the skin of a seal, and you can speak to creatures of the sea. Are you, perhaps, a selkie in human form?”

“Selkie? No, I’m just a witch from Galdorheim.”

“Hmm. How came you to be on that block of ice?”

“I’ve answered your questions,” Kat said, peeved at being grilled by a sea monster. “Now you answer one for me. What are you? And where did you come from?”

“That’s two questions.”

“Well, you asked two, so answer up!” Kat sensed she need not be afraid. The sea monster, as she now thought it to be, did not send any warning signals. It was simply curious.

“I am me.”

Kat frowned. While harmless, the creature seemed to have an evasive streak. Why did it show itself to her if it didn’t want to talk?

As if it heard Kat’s thoughts, the creature said, “Very well. The world has called me many names. Sometimes Nessie from where I once lived.”

“You’re the Loch Ness monster? I thought that was just a legend.” Kat stared in wide-eyed wonder at the mythical creature who might, if she could work it out, be her rescuer.

“No legend, but I left the loch years ago. Too many curious people.”

“That is so cool!” Kat wondered if the serpent was one of a kind. The monstrous beast bent its tiny head down to Kat’s level.

“Cool? Why, yes, this sea is very cool.”

“I mean neat, keen, wonderful!”

“Ah, wonderful I am. I might say awful, too.”

“You don’t seem awful. Why would you say that?”

“Full of awe, I am.”

“Oh, you mean awesome, not awful.”

A deep, resonant chuckle rattled around in Kat’s head. “Why are you clear out here? Wherever here is.”

“This is the ocean of Atlantis.”

“The Atlantic! My great-uncle Freddy! I floated all the way from the Barents Sea.”

“You might call this part the Arctic Ocean. How did you get here?”

“A storm. The wind and rain came up suddenly. I fell off the boat with my father.”

“Did he drown?”

“Oh, no. He’s right here.” Kat pointed down. Nessie bent even lower and looked down into the ice.

“My condolences. Yet it is strange he would freeze in the summer seas.”

“No. He froze years ago. We, my grandfather and brother and me, were taking his body back to Siberia for burial.”

“You are far off course.”

“I guess I am. Look, can you help me out? I need to get to land so I can contact my mother.”

The beast turned its head to look across the sea. “The nearest land is that way.”

Kat strained her eyes but couldn’t see anything on the horizon.

“Which way is that way?”

The beast turned back to her. “West, to an island where I make my home these days.”

“Does it have a telephone?” Kat asked. The rumbling chuckle wafted through her brain.

“I do not know what that is, but if you mean a way to communicate, I believe there is.”

“Any land will do for now. By the way, do I call you Nessie?”

“I am Ceto of Thule.”

“I’m Katrina of Galdorheim.”

“Nice to meet you, Katrina.”

The beast ducked below, and Kat saw the shadowy form circle the ice raft, then she felt a jerk. Ceto had taken hold of the trailing ropes, and Kat and her frozen father moved across the water.

* * *

MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Halloween Is for Elementals



AJATAR THE ELEMENTAL SPIRIT


Earth, Wind, and Fire. Wait for it .... Water. The four classical four elements have been part of mythologies since the first time a smarter than average Cro Magnon decided to cash in on his superstitious tribe claiming to have a direct hot line to the somewhat amorphous deities.

Deities and demons have proliferated over the intervening 20,000 years or so, with the winners being those smarties who knew how to cash in on fear. The shamans, priests, and other assorted grifters.
  • Earth: The ground shakes and splits open. Uh oh, the earth god is ticked. If you’ll just give me your hard-won haunch of mammoth, I’ll intercede on your behalf.
  • Air: Windstorm coming up. Boy, are you in trouble for holding back on my share of the cave bear hide. Ol’ Wind is mighty pissed.
  • Fire: See what happens if you don’t listen to what I say. Your whole forest burns because you all are bad people. Just lay a pile of pretty shells at my feet and I’ll see if I can placate the Fire Demon. 
  • Water: Oopsie, a flood. Well, wasn’t I the smart one for building that big boat. Did I mention the fare? All proceeds go to the Water God, of course.
The natural elements wreak havoc and a clever guy makes out like a bandit. As time marched on, the elementals took on different names and personalities. The shyster’s way of collecting for multiple personalities for those four basic elements.

Before a caveman could count, um, one. The world was littered with all sorts of mythological beings lined up by the wise shaman to collect trade goods from the fearful masses.

Besides a plethora of gods and demons which I have mentioned some of already, I selected a lovely forest elemental (notice how the element population is dividing and growing) named Ajatar. She happens to be a Finnish spirit and is the main troublemaker in my second book of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Ajatar was known as the Devil of the Woods, so I set her in a magically protected forest glade. She controlled her local flora (writing tree roots, fast-growing brambles) and snakes to protect her cache of boxes, bottles, pots, a bent bicycle tire, laundry detergent, dried flowers, old tennis shoes, and Andy.

Oh, right, Andy happens to be a changeling, a human who spent much of his life in the Troll Kingdom and is now Kat’s main squeeze. Ajatar kidnapped him to draw out her sister, Ilmatar, an air spirit who had been hiding out on Galdorheim disguised as the old witch (she prefers sorceress) Mordita.

Lots of stuff happens, but the sisters finally come together in an epic battle (they’re fighting over a man, wouldn’t you know). Ajatar takes her dragon form, while Ilmatar becomes a giant white roc.

Excerpt

Ilmatar spun, danced, and dived. It was too many years since she had taken her true form. She was the wind, the hurricane, the tornado. Air she was, air she would be. She sighed, and a tree bent with her breath.

She rose with the heat, dropped low and sped across open fields when clouds blocked the sun’s rays. Yet, neither heat nor cold drove her. She flowed over or around as she pleased. When she was in the mood, she flattened everything in her path.

She laughed, and earth-bound creatures cringed at the booming thunder. She smiled, and a gentle breeze danced over hills and valleys. She reveled in her freedom and then grew angry when she thought how Ajatar stole this from her. She’d almost forgotten the power and glory that was Ilmatar.

Now, she’d get payback. Ajatar, she vowed, would regret this day for the rest of her days if Ilmatar the air spirit had any say.

But enough reveling for now. She had a job to do. Gathering free air to her as she flew, she coalesced into a cutting shaft, sharp and deadly as any arrow, and one thousand times as large. She swooped up, down, and sideways, leaving a vortex of spinning air in her wake.

Increasing her speed and the velocity of spin, she smashed through the tops of trees and touched down, a whirling cyclone in the center of Ajatar’s glade. Moss and branches whirled through the forest clearing and trees bent away from her, howling, cracking and snapping, with the thunder of rustling leaves.

Ajatar had heard her coming; she could hardly miss Ilmatar’s roar. Ajatar grew taller, rising above the treetops, spreading her vast scaled wings. Her mouth gaped and fire roared out. With a single downward thrust of her wings, she soared upward. Ilmatar’s tornado followed close behind.

* * *

MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October is for Reading

That's right. October is a whole beautiful, balmy, tree-leaf changing, chilly nights, pumpkin lattes, and Halloween. And, of course, Halloween is for Witches.

We're coming up to halfway through the giveaways. Don't worry, there's still time to put the rest of the ebooks on your To-Read shelf.

Now that you all have a couple hundred copies of my books (Spellslinger and Bad Spelling), I'd super appreciate it if you started flipping pages through those books so I can collect what's called KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages). At the end of the month authors whose books are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Owners Lending Library get a miniscule piece of a penny for each KENP readers gaze upon and flip to another page.

I hope you have your free copies of the first two books and are prepared to snag freebies of the next three up for grabs this month. When you do, please read some pages...pretty please! Otherwise, I'm taking deductions for all of you on my taxes since I won't be making any money otherwise.



Here's a bit about the entire series. I hope you enjoy the Witches of Galdorheim series. If you missed the first two freebies, you can still get them cheap on Amazon. Tell ya what. I'll make all of the books 99 cents this month in addition to the 5-day periods they're free. I can't think of anything else I can do.

SPELLSLINGER (Prequel Short Story) - Free October 2nd-6th
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament? This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

BAD SPELLING (Book 1) - Free October 8th-12th
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

All of Kat’s family are either witches or warlocks, depending on their sex, of course. Kat is fourteen and really ought to be able to turn a rabbit into a toad, but things just don’t work out for her. What she gets  is a slimy green hopper. That’s the good part. Unfortunately, it also has long ears and fur. That’s bad spelling.

MIDNIGHT OIL (Book 2) - Free October 14th-18th
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Kat discovers that an evil forest spirit has kidnapped her brand-new boyfriend. She sets out with her brother, Rune, from her Arctic island home on a mission to rescue the boy. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are capant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding that the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

SCOTCH BROOM (Book 3): Free October 20th-24th
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’s minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger, too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

BLOOD TIES TESTED (Sequel Novelette) - Free October 27th-31st
Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Following the events in the series Witches of Galdorheim, this additional tale relates what happens to Katrina the Witch's younger brother, Rune. Half vampire and half warlock, he faces life with a wisecrack and some powerful magic. Whatever happens, he does not want to be a vampire like his father. Unfortunate events lead him to fatally call on his vampire half. This failure leaves him in anguish. How can he assuage the guilt he feels? His mother thinks he needs to visit dead old dad, a vampire residing in the Tatras Mountains of Slovakia.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Halloween is for Sorceresses

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Mordita the Witch (She Prefers Sorceress)

Hands down, readers' favorite witch on Galdorheim is Mordita. She's powerful, all right, but it's her wicked sense of humor that makes her a fan fav. She also has some secrets, which are revealed in Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Kat meets Mordita in Bad Spelling. In Midnight Oil, the two have become close friends. Even Aunt Thordis gets along with the sorceress since Mordita helped rescue Kat and Rune. Well, they pretty much rescued themselves in Bad Spelling, but Mordita's skill with a scrying crystal helped greatly.

While Mordita has tons of magic, she prefers to maintain her old hag appearance just to keep the Galdorheim witches from stopping by to visit. Mordita is alone, and she likes to keep it that way. She's not quite alone if you want to count a fat orange tiger cat named Kudzu.

Mordita is a mystery. Why did she come to Galdorheim if she doesn't want to consort with the witches and warlocks? Learn Mordita's deepest secret in Book 2 - Midnight Oil (#free later this month).


EXCERPT FROM BAD SPELLING

Kat woke in the dark and dressed without turning on a light. She slipped out the front door and jogged down the empty main street. When she reached the very edge of the village where a gate barred the way, she stopped. This was the home of Mordita the Sorceress.

Unlike the neat houses lining the rest of the street, Mordita filled her yard with brambles and poison oak. Translucent green slime covered the stone path from the gate to the door. It twinkled in the early morning sunlight. Pretty, but it made walking hazardous.

When she neared the dilapidated front door of the house, she hesitated. What am I thinking? Mordita would as likely turn her into a toad as help her. Still, she knew Mordita wouldn’t tell anyone what Kat wanted, if only to thwart the other witches. Aunt Thordis despised Mordita. The feeling was mutual.
Kat rolled her shoulders, took a deep breath to get herself ready, stepped up to the door, and spoke to the knocker. “Hello. I’m here to see the lady of the house.”

The knocker just hung there, a plain old horseshoe turned upside down with a spike on a hinge attached at the top. Kat reached out to raise the spike, hesitating just before she touched it. When her finger came to within a fraction of an inch, a blue spark of electricity arced from the spike to her hand. The knocker cackled with maniacal laughter. Kat tried to shake some feeling back into her fingers. Then the door swung open with a spooky-sounding creak.

Kat peered into the gloom, but it was too dark to make out any details. She shrugged. An open door was an invitation to enter, so she stepped over the threshold and into the Sorceress’ abode.

“Madame Mordita,” she said, not daring to raise her voice above a whisper. “Ahem. It’s Katrina, Ardyth’s daughter.”

Outside, the safety committee had peppered the village with spirit lights to ensure the safety of the residents. Mordita’s home did not have a spirit light in front of it, though. When the municipal-care warlocks set one by her gate, it disappeared by the next night. The front room was gloomy, with only a glow from the fireplace casting weird shadows on the walls. Looking left and right, Kat noticed shutters covered the two front windows, one on either side of the door, so even during the day little light could seep into the house.

Something touched her shoulder, and Kat jumped. She suppressed a full-out scream and squeaked, “Erk!” She whirled around while grabbing her shoulder, but whatever touched her was gone.

She saw a hazy form floating toward her from the other end of the room. It must be Mordita, who had a flair for dramatic entrances. When the ghostly shape stopped before her, it thickened and became opaque.

“Well, well. Thordis’ niece. What did your auntie do? Send you because she’s afraid to face me?”

“Of course not. Aunt Thordis has nothing to do with why I’m here.” Right away, Kat regretted sounding so abrupt. She needed Mordita’s aid and insulting her wouldn’t help.

She pasted a sweet smile on her face and continued. “Of course, if Thordis did want something, she’d be too afraid of you to come herself.”
* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Halloween is for Classy Witches

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

HALLOWEEN IS FOR CLASSY WITCHES

The entire Witches of Galdorheim series has a few characters featured in all the books. I thought re-introducing the stars of the series a good setup for the Witch Extravaganza month of October. Oh, yeah, it's going to be BIG! All five of the books in the series are also available in Audio format.

To set things up for the big month, here's a bit on two more Witches of Galdorheim characters who play a major role in all four books.

Ardyth; Kat's and Rune's mother is one of the three most powerful witches on Galdorheim Island. You wouldn't believe it from her somewhat scatter-brained demeanor. Kat's pretty sure she behaves like a flibbertigibbet just to irritate her older sister, Thordis. When writing the books, I always pictured Ardyth as looking like Candice Bergen. Yay! She's bringing back Murphy Brown.

Prior to the events in the series, we learn that Kat's father Boris, a Siberian fisherman who was stranded on Galdorheim, is frozen between life and death from a ice cave collapse. What was he doing in the ice cave? Ardyth is mum on the subject.

After Boris' semi-demise, Ardyth visits Transylvania to meet an eligible warlock. Unfortunately, Drakos had been attacked by a vampire and was turned himself. Ardyth escapes with her life, but pregnant with Rune.

Throughout Kat's adventures, Ardyth steadfastly supports her daughter, even if it must be from afar.

Thordis: Ardyth's elder sister and Kat's aunt, Thordis is the top witch on Galdorheim. Most of her duties are administrative, but she rules over all of the witches and warlocks on the island. Still, her gruff exterior and nose-in-the-air attitude hides her love for her niece and nephew. Her take-charge attitude and powers allow her to assist Kat in her adventures.

Kat's mishaps force Thordis to tolerate Mordita since they must work together to keep the kids from sure death at every turn. In my mind's eye, I always see Endora from the Bewitched TV series (are you old enough to remember watching it?)



All books in the series are available in Audio Format.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Halloween is for Werewolves

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Werewolves: An Alternative Transportation

Werewolf from New Moon
The most well-known werecritter is the werewolf. At this time in the cycle of what’s hot, what’s not, werewolves are getting great press via the Twilight books and movies by Stephanie Meyer.

I have to admit it. Werewolves can be totally sexy guys (gals) in human form. Meyer finally got one legendary being right. Well, she agrees with my concept, which I used before I read any of the Meyer saga. To tell the truth, I still haven’t read any of the books, because the first movie put such a bad taste in my mouth. OMG, Edward loves Bella because she SMELLS good?!?!? Gimme a break.

As we all know, werewolves are shape-shifters. When the full moon rises, your normal guy (or gal) changes into a werewolf. Sometimes, they are portrayed as mindless beasts who’ll rip the throat out of anybody they come upon. Other portrayals show that the maintain their human intelligence when shifted. Since the legends vary so wildly, I decided to not only have my werewolves remain intelligent, but also able to shift from human to wolf form at will.

How do I justify this turning away from the legend? I don’t need to. Some folks will howl in disgust with my tampering with the myths. Let ‛em whine or even bark. I’ve seen authors do just about everything with the tropes: weres, vampires, demons, fairies, angels, ancient gods. That, I believe, is perfectly okay. You want a half-vampire, half-demon? I’ve seen that in paranormal more than once. Gods less than god-like? Yup, been done.

Anyway, I have a six-pack of werewolves in “Bad Spelling.” Here’s a taste (ha ha, get it?) of my werewolf mashup.

EXCERPT

Rune joined them. “Are we going to stand around here all day? Where’s the alternative transportation you told us about?”

Andy tore his gaze from Kat and scanned the slope. “There it is.”

Kat looked where Andy pointed and gasped. “What—?”

“Don’t worry. They won’t hurt us,” Andy said with a confidence Kat didn’t quite trust.

“But werewolves?” There was no mistaking them for regular wolves. Besides being twice the size of the largest of the wolves, the eyes gave them away. Even from a distance, Kat could see them gleaming with intelligence.

“Look behind them,” Andy said.

The big wolves loped along easily; they were harnessed to a sled, bouncing along behind them. The speed with which they approached told her they would have no problem pulling a heavy load.
The wolves came up the slope and stopped in front of them. The lead werewolf looked at each of them with some interest. Kat felt like an item on a menu, like when they faced the polar bear.

The lead wolf said, “Good morning. Hmm. Humans, not trolls. Interesting.” The wolf looked over his shoulder at the others. “Remember, King Olaf hired us to deliver these people to where they want to go. You are not to eat them.” The other wolves nodded, but their long tongues hanging over gleaming, razor-sharp teeth was not a reassuring sight; their mouths dripped saliva in a most disconcerting manner.

The lead werewolf turned his pale yellow eyes back to Andy. “So, where are we going?”

Andy briefly explained what they wanted. The werewolf nodded and said, “If I understand correctly, we are looking for the Sami tribe. Do you realize they’re nomadic?”

“Sort of. All I know for certain is they spend much of their time on the northern coast.” Andy glanced at Kat. “Anything else?” She shook her head.

The wolf stared at Andy for a moment and then said, “Well, come closer so I can smell you. The girl, too.”

Kat hung back. “Why do you want to—? Oh, I understand. You can find the Samis through our scent.”

“Very good, young lady,” the werewolf answered and sniffed at her outstretched hand. He licked it once. Kat jerked her hand back. “Taste helps, too,” the werewolf answered, with a hint of humor in his gruff voice.

“What’s your name?” Kat asked.

“I call myself Mazi in my wolf form. I try to keep my human life separate.” The werewolf raised his head and howled. The other wolves joined in the chorus. Goose pimples rose on Kat’s arms. Then, they all fell silent and pricked their ears, turning their heads this way and that. From off in the distance, Kat heard a faint answering howl.

“Hop on the sled. It’s time to go,” Mazi said.
* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Learn About Werewolves from Renee Duke

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

SEE RENEE DUKE'S BLOG
TIME TRAVELLING WITH KIDS 
FOR THE LOWDOWN ON WEREWOLVES
See my post on this blog about the Bad Spelling Werewolves.

* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Trolls Are Not Monsters!

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Are Trolls always big, ugly, mean monsters? 
Find out on Renee Duke's 
* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Halloween is for Klutzy Witches

Free BAD SPELLING - OCTOBER 8TH-12TH
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
  Katrina the Teen Witch

Tap tap tap squeal!!

Is this thing on? Oh. I don’t need a microphone? Alrighty then.

My name is Katrina Galdorheim, but I'd rather you call me Kat. Try to convince my mother and aunt of that and you’d most definitely bring on one of her lectures. Especially if you try to argue with Aunt Thordis about ANYTHING! She’s the chief administrator and de facto mayor of our little island village full of witches and warlocks.

So when she implies I’m a L-O-S-E-R, everybody pretty much agrees with her. Oh, most of the other witches are nice enough to me, but the whispers behind my back are none too subtle.

A couple more people to introduce for this story.

My mom seems like a ditz, but her magic is just as powerful as Aunt Thordis’s. I think Mom just likes to be the total opposite of her overbearing sister. Don’t tell Aunt Thordis I said that.

My only real friend is Rune even if he is my brother (half) and crazy good at magic. Everything comes so easy for him and it’s enough to make me insane. The only thing he does have trouble with is keeping his vampire half in control. I know how hard it is for him. If he sees even a drop of human (well, witch or human) blood, he totally freaks. Eyes go blood red, canines grow. Yeah. Seriously. But he’s working on it, and will beat the blood-sucking monkey on his back someday.

What else can I say? This book is about me mostly, though mom, Aunt Thordis, and Rune all play a big part in it. So my problem is that I can’t cast spells without them going wrong. Not just little, teensy so-what wrong, but big, gigantic, totally outrageous wrong.

When you’re living on an island populated by witches, and the island runs on magic, being magic-challenged doesn't just suck, it's downright dangerous.

This excerpt makes clear just how much of a klutz I am. Don't worry, though. Things get worse, but eventually they do get better.

Bad Spelling - Chapter 1 Excerpt

Kat ran up the steps of the schoolhouse as a flash of red light pulsed from the space beneath the front door. A screech of girlish laughter followed by shouts of “yes!” and “whoa!” got louder when she pulled the door open. Her heart sank. Dang it. Late again.

A muffled bang accompanied by puffs of red and violet smoke billowing out from the back of the room gave her cover to rush to the last available seat. When the smoke cleared, Kat rolled her eyes, barely controlling a snort. Her brother Rune’s used-to-be vampire bat now clung to his finger chirping angrily while his best friend’s was-a-rat now stared with hungry eyes at it in the temporary form of a scruffy gray cat.

Unfazed, Miss Mariah cleared her throat and glared at the boys. “Would you please wait for everyone else?” Rune and Dalton grinned at each other and transformed their respective familiars back to their original forms.

Grow up, bro. Really! Kat thought, but a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. She was proud of Rune’s mad skills, since she couldn’t spell herself out of a beanbag chair. She knew she had the power; everybody knew it. What she lacked was control. Every spell she tried to cast went wrong in the most disastrous way.

Rune’s bat flapped to the rafters and hung upside down, glaring down at his owner. Rune dodged a drop of guano, picked up his wand, and tapped it on the desktop. With a high-pitched squeak, the bat dropped to the desk and folded its wings, but it didn’t look happy.

Miss Mariah muttered, “Fiksu aasi noita.” She watched Kat as she hunched over and dropped her book bag on the floor. “Nice of you to join us, Katrina. See me after class about your tardiness.”

She faced the class. “Now then, please take out your chalk and wands for today’s lesson, which is,” she shot a semi-annoyed look at Rune and Dalton, “transformation.” The Wiccan students rustled bags and whispered to each other while they did as told.

When the witches and warlocks in training looked up, she continued. “Although some students can transform without benefit of pentagram and wand, those of you who are beginners, or less motivated—” she paused and gave Kat a hard look, “must practice first with the proper equipment.”

Kat’s face warmed, and she sank lower into her chair. Heaving a sigh, she set her brown bunny, Teddy, on her desktop and fumbled in her bag for her spell book, yew wood wand, and chalk.

Merry, the curly-haired blonde witch sitting next to Kat, waved her arm in the air.

“What is it, Merry?” Miss Mariah asked.

“Can you make Katrina sit somewhere else? Whenever she’s near me, my spells don’t work right. She’s a jinx.”

The class snickered. Kat grimaced at Merry. If I got my hands on her…aw, what’s the use? 

“No, everybody stays right where they are,” Miss Mariah snapped. She pasted on a fake smile and continued in a treacle-sweet voice. “Now, class, draw the pentagram on your desktop and place your familiar in its center.”

The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points.

She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or  tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be  prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star. “Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.

Merry curled her lip and hissed, “You’d better not screw me up. If I can’t work this spell right, it’ll be your fault.”

“Tough luck, Merry,” Kat snarled. “If you’re such a great witch, my being here shouldn’t make any difference.”

Turning away from Merry, Kat finished the final leg of her pentagram and set the bunny in the center. “Stay right there, Teddy,” she whispered to her little brown rabbit, setting a chunk of carrot in front of him. He made a dash for the edge of the desk. Kat hauled him back. “Cut it out. You’ll smear my chalk lines.” She stroked his soft fur for a moment. “Hope this works.” He twitched his nose twice, closed his eyes, and hunkered down.

Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “Fullgerður!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand. Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”

Kat’s mouth hung open for a moment; then she clamped it shut when she glanced down at what was left of Teddy sitting in a pool of slime dripping onto the floor. Merry was right about one thing. The goo smelled like pond scum.

Teddy looked up at his witch with sad, bulging eyes, the top half of a frog’s body floating in the green glop. Kat groaned. Poor, long-suffering Teddy. Green and slimy—that was the good part. The pink nose and floppy ears—not so good. If she couldn’t master transformation and the other mid-level junior spells, she’d be left behind again.

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?


MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?


SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.


SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

BLOOD TIES TESTED - Sequel Short to Witches of Galdorheim
Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?


Saturday, October 06, 2018

Final Free Day for Spellslinger

FINAL FREE DAY ON AMAZON FOR

What Reviewers Said

This is a charming short story using a main character from the author's Witches of Galdorheim series. What I most enjoyed about this tale was that the main character is a boy who is "different" (half-vampire, half witch) and in search of his own unique identity. That's a lot for a short story to carry off, and Spellslinger does it very well indeed. - Conda V. Douglas, Author

I enjoyed this story, and especially liked the skillful way in which the author gets into the thoughts and feelings of a small boy as he actually does conjure up an imaginary world. A good introduction to the series. - Renee Duke, Author

This short story is a prequel to the Witches of Galdorheim series. Rune is the half vampire brother of Kat, this is his story of when he is first developing his magic. An imaginative little adventure. It also includes excerpts from the first three stories of the series. - Cathy, Amazon Reviewer


SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?


This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Videos on Renee Duke's Blog

Renee Duke is featuring the entire set of Witches of Galdorheim book trailers on her blog

Click on over for 10 minutes or so of fantastic entertainment. Be sure to bring popcorn.

TODAY AND TOMORROW "SPELLSLINGER" IS THE FREE BOOK ON AMAZON.



SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Spellslinger - Rune Plays Sheriff

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

EXCERPT FROM SPELLSLINGER

Rune looked left and added a stairway going up to nowhere. He plunked a piano with a mustached player under the steps. A tinny version of Buffalo Gals overlaid the background chatter. Glancing at the bar, he added a barkeep with a white apron polishing glasses. On the customer side of the bar, he conjured a few cowboys hefting mugs of beer. Looking to his right, he set up a poker table with more cowboys. One player was garbed in a black suit, black hat, black tie, black hair, a black cigar (unlit), and a black pencil-thin mustache. The villain.

Taking a step, Rune paused, and then snapped his fingers. “Right. The saloon gal.” She appeared standing next to the villain with her arm draped over his shoulders. Nodding with satisfaction, Rune clanked toward the poker table. He had to get the action going pretty soon or he’d run out of play time.

“Black Bart,” Rune said with a throaty growl, “I told ya to stay outta my town. Now I’m gonna have ta bring ya in.”

Black Bart jumped to his feet and pulled a derringer from his waistcoat. Rune liked the brocade vest and quickly added a watch chain. Black Bart obligingly stood still waiting for Rune to complete Bart’s stylish outfit.

Rune drew his own gun from its holster. “Don’t make this any harder than it has ta be, Bart.”

“You’ll never take me alive, Sheriff Rune!” Bart pulled the dance hall girl in front of him as a shield. The girl shrieked and grasped the arm encircling her neck.

Rune lowered his pistol. “You can’t hold onto her forever, Bart.”

The villain sneered and dragged the girl across the saloon floor toward the swinging doors. “I can hold her long enough to get out of here.” Rune snapped a glance at the saloon gal, and she put on a show of struggling. When Bart reached the door, he shoved the girl away from him and fled into the street.

Rune chased after him, but stopped a moment to help the girl to her feet. She gave him a simpering smile and a wink. Rune jerked away. “Eww! I didn’t make that up.” Then he forgot about the girl and dashed into the street just as Black Bart mounted his horse—a black horse, of course—ready to ride out of town.

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Halloween is for Warlocks (with a dash of vampire blood)

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WARLOCKS

The Witches of Galdorheim series is all about witches...and warlocks. While some people insist warlocks are always evil, and think that's as nonsensical as saying all witches are evil. Or all people. Or all puppies.

One warlock in the series plays a major role in all three novels and has his very own prequel story about his own experience growing up on an island full of witches and magic. You don't just perform magic without a little practice, or things might get very out of control.

Rune: Kat's younger brother is the offspring of a witch and a vampire. Don't give me any grief about vampire's not being able to breed yada yada. This is my fantasy book, and I'll write it any way I want to.

Anyway, Rune has a double-dose of magical ability since he has inherited his witch mother's spellcasting talent, but also can call on his vampire side for some benefits. His biggest problem is keeping his vampire side in check. The slightest hint of blood sets him off. He struggles with his blood craving and hopes to overcome it someday. In the meantime, everybody makes sure Rune doesn't see so much as a pricked thumb.

Kat asks Rune for some packaged spells to help her in her scheme to run away from home. Always loving an adventure, Rune decides he has to come along with his sister. Not only does he love her, but he also finds her clumsy spelling a source of infinite amusement.

Excerpt from Spellslinger

He got his best swagger on, and headed for the saloon. On the way, he added spurs to jingle, jangle, jingle while he walked. He pushed open the swinging door and looked around the smoke-filled room. Deciding he didn’t like that, he cleared the air and added No Smoking signs to the walls.

Rune looked left and added a stairway going up to nowhere. He plunked a piano with a mustached player under the steps. A tinny version of Buffalo Gals overlaid the background chatter. Glancing at the bar, he added a barkeep with a white apron polishing glasses. On the customer side of the bar, he conjured a few cowboys hefting mugs of beer. Looking to his right, he set up a poker table with more cowboys. One player was garbed in a black suit, black hat, black tie, black hair, a black cigar (unlit), and a black pencil-thin mustache. The villain.

Taking a step, Rune paused, and then snapped his fingers. “Right. The saloon gal.” She appeared standing next to the villain with her arm draped over his shoulders. Nodding with satisfaction, Rune clanked toward the poker table. He had to get the action going pretty soon or he’d run out of play time.

“Black Bart,” Rune said with a throaty growl, “I told ya to stay outta my town. Now I’m gonna have ta bring ya in.”

Black Bart jumped to his feet and pulled a derringer from his waistcoat. Rune liked the brocade vest and quickly added a watch chain. Black Bart obligingly stood still waiting for Rune to complete Bart’s stylish outfit.

Rune drew his own gun from its holster. “Don’t make this any harder than it has ta be, Bart.”

“You’ll never take me alive, Sheriff Rune!” Bart pulled the dance hall girl in front of him as a shield. The girl shrieked and grasped the arm encircling her neck.

Rune lowered his pistol. “You can’t hold onto her forever, Bart.”

The villain sneered and dragged the girl across the saloon floor toward the swinging doors. “I can hold her long enough to get out of here.” Rune snapped a glance at the saloon gal, and she put on a show of struggling. When Bart reached the door, he shoved the girl away from him and fled into the street.

Rune chased after him, but stopped a moment to help the girl to her feet. She gave him a simpering smile and a wink. Rune jerked away. “Eww! I didn’t make that up.” Then he forgot about the girl and dashed into the street just as Black Bart mounted his horse—a black horse, of course—ready to ride out of town.

Rune raised his pistol, but knew he couldn’t shoot Bart until the bad guy shot first. It’d be against all good guy rules. Bart obliged by raising his derringer and firing a round at Rune, who easily ducked to the side. The bullet smashed into the wood door jamb. Bart jerked his horse’s head around, and dug his spurs (when did Bart get spurs?) into the steed’s ribs. The horse leapt forward putting Bart’s back to Rune. Good guy rules kicked in again. He couldn’t shoot somebody in the back, even if they were fleeing.

* * *
SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story - Also in Audio Book Format
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Spellslinger Slideshow on Renee Duke's Blog

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

 to watch the Spellslinger Audio Slideshow.



SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Short Story
This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.

What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?


This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.