T. Tommia Wright – Midday’s Madness – Anthology Sneak Peek VII

As you may know, FVP’s new Anthology, Free-flowing Stories, will be released online and at our sale on Dec. 6th.

Here’s a teaser and a snippet from the seventh story:

 

Takako photoMIDDAY’S MADNESS  by T. Tommia Wright

Jalem Vitalma’s afternoon leads to an extremely extraordinary educational encounter with an enigmatic stranger.

Jalem Vitalma sat on the edge of Lavendars Lake and watched the flames beneath the surface of the water. She loved the warmth, the bubbling, the newness and the solitude. She discovered more here than from the lessons the professors taught at the Learning Hall—or so she told herself. Jalem wasn’t old enough to go to the sessions yet.

Hearing footsteps in the leaves, Jalem pulled her arms and legs in, tucked her feet beneath her and held her cloak closed as she tucked her chin down. Even with the concealing spell she created, the child was careful not to make a sound.

She scooped up some of the violet water and wordlessly formed a sphere with it that spun just above her palm, a braided collection of elements woven in ever-changing patterns. The humming from within the sphere blended with the emerging winds. A thin smile on her face, Jalem brought the sphere under the cloak—the hum keeping her warm.

Across the lake, she watched a stranger stagger towards a stump as he tossed his cloak onto a pile of wemota leaves by the stone fireplace.  She made her way through the otamew stalks and listened as the stranger continued talking to himself. The closer she got, the more she could see of him. His kind old face reminded her of Rune Noble, the librarian in the township.

“I can help,” she said, answering the stranger’s question.

He gave her a quizzical look. “I didn’t think they taught that language in the learning halls around here. Never mind; my manners. I’m Leirej. And who are you, my dear?”

Jalem stood to her full height. “Jalem Anse Vitalma,” she said, the same way she heard her parents introduce themselves to visitors to the house. “You’re not a warrior, are you? They know how to protect themselves.”

Leirej chuckled. “I’m more than a warrior. But you’re right; this collection of injuries is a bit over the top, isn’t it.” He called out a healer’s roll, and it hovered within reach. With his good hand, he started a fire in the fireplace—a small cooking pot hanging by a cooking arm in the middle. “Want to know what these wounds are?”

Jalem nodded, quietly expanding the concealing spell to protect him, too….

Want more? You can get the Anthology December 6th, December 13th & December 18th at our events. We’ll have a link to Amazon for online purchase as soon as it is released.

Anthology 2014 final cover frontAnthology 2014 final cover treats

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A TURN OF LIGHT (NIGHT’S EDGE) by Julie E. Czerneda – Book Review

A Turn of Light ImageBOOK REVIEW by Sheri J. Kennedy

So often magic seems added to a fantasy world. The characters practice it, but it’s not necessary to who they are or to their world. Czerneda’s Jenn Nallyn and Marrowdell ARE magic. I felt enchanted by the charming and bright village that first appeared and enthralled by the dark feeling magic that peeked through in every crack, shadow and hollow.

This is a long book, but the pace was good and development justified the page count. The complexity of plot and well-conceived magical realm was revealed in tantalizing doses that built to wonder at the masterful imagination of this author and the new reality she’s added to our fantasy worlds.

I was fascinated by the unique twisting of light and dark worlds in this story. Marrowdell is quaint and dear. Its relationships are close and almost unbelievably perfect. But as Jenn grows from innocence to understanding the reader also grows in understanding of the darker side of her reality and the secrets of Marrowdell and the Verge. Czerneda grounds to a dark reality without burying the beauty of a romantic tale. Ultimately the light shines with truth and the timeless intensity of a star.

Find out more or purchase A Turn of Light  

You can review a book for FreeValley Publishing’s site. Send your submission to: freevalleypublishing@gmail.com. Let us know what you’ve been reading and/or writing.

Turn to Stone

Here’s the first story submitted in response to our photo prompt by Jean-Daniel PhotographyThere’s still time to send yours by Sept. 5th to FreeValleyPublishing@gmail.com

w23At the back of the scaffolding the stone crackled. A face appeared, for just a moment, it grimaced and it called. But the boy leaning against the pillar couldn’t hear. He was standing in a portal, where flesh turned to stone, turned to plaster or bronze or any other substance that transformed the animate into frozen inanimate.

A sign nearby read;

‘Take a moment to pause, to look at the world,

To ponder your place in it. Or, take a step down from here,

Walk away and forget to learn anything.

Or stay and wonder, what does it all mean, Forever.’

The boy couldn’t see the sign either. He was teasing for the camera, making a pose. Perhaps it would be alright. Young people have a hard time holding themselves truly still. They fidget, and posing, grin just a little bit.

The face at the back of the scaffolding ached. The boy was frozen, for just an instant, and that encouraged action to be taken by the wrong agent. And once again the face was caught too. Not in the solid, hidden world it preferred, but in the impervious deplorable snapshot. The animate became the inanimate. The boy, along with the face and the bronze man leaning against the other pillar, was stilled for all time in the photograph.

by Victoria Bastedo – winneyb at SnoValleyHobbit

Mistress of the Dancing Bones

Francois appeared to Ashia’s right and slashed his dagger at one of the spears. The metal tip flew off. Then he was gone. He reappeared at her left and thrust his dagger through an opening. It bit at her side and she hissed in pain. Gripping thedancing-bones-cover wound, she spun around to face left but she knew he wouldn’t strike there again. Ashia thrust her spears behind her, trying to catch him, but true to her father’s training, Francois was adapting to her already.

Francois appeared crouched down at Ashia’s feet right in front of her and swept her feet. She tumbled down to the ground on her side, the one that was already bleeding and it sent an intense jolt of pain through her body. Ashia again tried to blow Francois back, but he rammed both blades into the ground and held onto them tight. Though his body lurched back, she couldn’t quite shake him loose.  Once her blast ended, he leapt back to his feet and landed on top of her with his blades crossed at her neck.

“Surrender or die!” Francois shouted to her playfully.

The crowd groaned in fear for their favorite Ashia. She just smiled. “Never!” Her lifeforce was already sinking into Francois draining his life force. She had a good reserve she was building already from him. Now with him so close, her lines were weaving into him everywhere. She slowly pushed his arms up away from her and towards his own neck. His brows furrowed as he fought back against her. His strength was formidable, but ever so slowly she was winning out.

Francois backed away from Ashia and she leapt up to the balls of her feet. “What are you doing?” he asked in a strained voice.

“Trying to win!” Ashia said with a smile. As he backed away, her control weakened, and within a moment, he pushed his arms out in front of him. She still couldn’t maintain such tight control for long at a distance.

He stood back up, but stumbled as he did. He was starting to feel the lifedrain. Francois shook himself to clear his mind and focus. Ashia backed up and gathered her scattered weaponry to her. They spun around her again in a tight formation as she watched his face for any slight betrayal of his next move.

He was learning quickly. Francois’s face betrayed nothing. His body tensed and he seemed about to flicker away, when Camille spoke.

“Enough!” she said in a quivering tone Ashia had never heard come from her lips. “I’ve seen enough!” Her hands ran through her hair and she looked away, her eyes scoured over everything other than Ashia.

They settled on Etienne. “What did you do to my daughter?” she asked, though she and Ashia were not technically related.

Etienne said dryly, “I stepped out of her way.”

Camille’s heels echoed through the silent courtyard as she approached, visibly shaken.

“I came here to collect a wayward child and I find… this,” Camille said.

Excerpt by Thomas Alexander – Featured with permission

NEW RELEASE! MISTRESS OF THE DANCING BONES – See More About Thomas Alexander