Look for FreeValley Publishing’s booth at OddMall in Everett on June 4th and 5th! We can’t wait to see you at this zany event…
This weekend six of FVP’s authors will attend Norwescon, and you can find our books at Clockwork Dragon’s vendor booth. See you there!
T.A Henry – Scripting the Truth, Rachel Barnard – At One’s Beast & Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams, Kennedy J. Quinn – Secret Order of the Overworld, Victoria Bastedo – Roots Entwine, Sheri J. Kennedy – Likeness, Jeffrey Cook – Dawn of Steam Trilogy, Fair Folk Chronicles
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 second story:
There comes a time in all of our lives when enough is too much. In this prequel to SECRET ORDER OF THE OVERWORLD the young Glendra is shaken from enlightened vision to fury. She influences the direction of the Sisterhood, mixing Darkness and Light into a complex brew that boils into the future of the Overworld.
The young Glendra stood, her face flushed with emotion. She held high a small piece of Catalyst in her hand, and a wide gap opened in the hearth in the midst of the flames. The room caught its breath as Glendra rushed forward, charging into the back of the man’s chair and knocking him to the stone floor. “Bind him!” she screamed.
Three of the youngest Sisters awaiting her cue subdued and bound him in seconds. Before the others could stop her, Glendra kicked him repeatedly, rolling him into the gap in the fire created by the black block she held. He fell into the hole, tumbling as if down a stairwell. The gap snapped away, back into crackling flames. He had disappeared from the Overworld into the realm Underneath, where none of them could follow even if they dared.
“Glendra, you…” Kestra’s admonishment dropped off into the silent awe of the women surrounding her. All eyes were fastened on Glendra’s as she turned toward them. They had become shining inky black—even where the whites had been. They were darker than the robes she wore. The flickering flames reflected on their eerie surface and chilled them all to their ceremonial bones….
This much acclaimed Time Travel Romance is a fun read…
The writing quality and overall story deserve a five-star rating, but I gave it a four. The deduction of a star is due to a personal preference that might cause others to add a star. The author, Katherine Lowry Logan chooses to take every thread of the story to its bitter (or beautiful) end. This reader prefers a place of understanding showing the direction of conclusion rather than full explanation on some plot points, so I thought the book somewhat outlasted the story.
That being said, it was a rich journey well illustrated in words. Kit McKlenna’s character is complex enough to be captivating and raw enough to be a fully romantic woman. She’s inspiring and vulnerable, heroic and needy in just the right measures. Cullen Montgomery starts with the perfect name and continues to woo the reader with an excellent balance of masculine strength, educated tastes, wild passions and gentle understanding. The relationship between them rides the path of the west like a spirited stallion, taking great leaps and requiring meticulous care to thrive.
The time travel aspect of the plot has a well-traveled approach using a talisman as a vehicle, but there are some fun twists regarding its origin and purpose. Their slow revelations throughout the book add to the mystery and depth of the relationships. This isn’t the type of time travel that should be inspected by science. There are some changes to history and the whole thing could unravel like a loose lasso if scrutinized too harshly. But the treatment has integrity enough to carry the romance and the beautifully conceived circle of time and march of MacKlenna generations.
The only serious dent in the time travel machine for this reader was the readiness of the 19th century characters to accept Kit and her technology as coming from the 21st century. Since romances are about relationships, this psychological stretch was harder to run with than the scientific issues. I recently read a statistic that in our present time we process more information in a week than 19th century minds did in a lifetime. Even Cullen who was educated would’ve had very little new information to adjust to and live with. To have such a drastic change in paradigms would have bucked them out of their psychological saddles. The author does address it through Kit fearing they’ll think her a witch, but I think it would derail their journey together. I believe any acceptance would come hard, especially given my experience with the stubbornness of the progeny of those that survived covered wagon crossings that I have the pleasure to spring from. They were exceptionally slow to change, even in the 20th century when change was the norm.
I do understand that stopping to solve this acceptance issue would’ve made it a completely different story. So let’s set technicalities aside and enjoy the ride. It’s a good one. I was entertained and looked forward to reading the next part of the saga each night. I can heartily recommend it as a fiery romance and a great escape.
You can purchase THE RUBY BROOCH here
Find out more about Katherine Lowry Logan.
You may remember a delightful excerpt shared with FVP readers recently by author, Sharol Louise HERE. I have since had the pleasure of meeting her and of reading this Historical Romance that is bursting with humor and fun. Here’s my review…
ROSEHILL MANOR -reviewed by Sheri J. Kennedy aka Kennedy J Quinn
At long last I have found a new Jane Austen novel! While not literally written by that English master of ironic humor and social commentary, ROSEHILL MANOR’S witty dialogue, snappy strong women and diabolically clever predicaments bring the immense pleasure of Austen’s writing back to the page.
The charade orchestrated by the earl’s young sister is so absurd that one can only give it credibility due to author, Sharol Louise’s masterful persuasion of the depth ‘Miss Violet’s’ loyal devotion to her friend, and the fullness of the reality bestowed upon RoseHill, which gives room to believe the story’s truth is stranger than fiction. This is a novel where the characters rise from the action and the action rises from the characters in perfect measure. The scene is set, the zany, stubborn and lovable characters emerge and the plot twists out of well-crafted words painted on the reader’s canvas in luscious clear color rich with emotion and fun.
The tension between affection and abhorrence, vulnerability and pride is an excellent driver for the relationship between the protective pompous earl and the indefatigable Miss Violet. Theirs is the best romance I’ve read for many years, and is an instant classic. With range of emotion from devastation to triumph ala PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, it again begs to be compared to the best of the best.
I guess it’s obvious I loved it. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I hope I forget some of the unforgettable details soon so I can read it again! This is a must read for Historical Romance fans and anyone who enjoys a good bout of laughter.
You can find out more about Sharol Louise and her other charming books at sharollouise.com HERE
It was a grey and drizzly Seattle night—again—and even Hope wanted to slump in the corner of a cozy café and nurse an extra-hot latte’. But she pulled herself up and patrolled the steely, damp oppression of the December evening. The sun had provided no warmth, no spark of joy today, and Hope was unwelcomed everywhere she had gone. Nevertheless, she continued to dog the steps of Despair.
Despair was so full he was nearly sated. The ubiquitous downpour had seeped into the souls of the city. Heads were down, umbrellas hunkered in tight. Hoods hid any glimpse of a friendly face. Despair roared with chilling laughter and strolled the streets drinking in signs of anguish and ruin.
Hope couldn’t take it anymore. As she weakened, Despair pounced on her with his scaly claws trying to take her down. She careened through the streets, grabbing for any morsel of light or good cheer, unable to shake free from his clutches or throw him off her back. The final flicker of sunlight drained from the sky. Hope floundered and was driven face first into the frigid, filth of the street. She was shocked into fury—something akin to righteous anger—and she threw her arms out to transfer the last measure of Hope to whomever she could see with some light in their eyes.
A young woman leaning on a street lamp gave off a subtle glow from beneath her hood. Hope transferred the energy, giving the girl powers that to a mortal would seem magical. The girl shifted from one foot to the other in her heavy boots and lifted her disheartened face. She noticed the struggling radiance of the moon shrouded in clouds overhead, and felt strangely encouraged. She wished it would come out into a clearing and was amazed when the curtain of the storm parted to give her a view.
Hope failed and left the fate of the world to the unknown human girl.
Jessica stepped onto the bus and threw back her soggy hood. The bus was nearly full, and the packed-in denizens of gloom gave her a chill. She imagined the tropical sun of Jamaica from her last vacation and yearned for its warmth. The bus’ heat rose in glorious waves from the vents along the walls, welcoming her fingers out of their gloves. In all the time she’d ridden the forty-four bus, Jessica had never felt a breath of heat from the bucket of bolts. It was uncanny. She glanced around and saw heads pop up like spring blossoms as the blissful warmth brought people out of their polar shells.
The bus was quiet—isolating the crowd. She wished for the hum of pleasant conversation to take the edge off her loneliness. The bus began to buzz with stories and gentle exchanges. Jessica giggled and shook her head, sure it was just a coincidence. The heat surged along with her amusement. She let herself wonder. Maybe she could make things better—maybe everything she wished could come true.
Jessica imagined what she would choose if she could change the world…less rain. The deluge stopped for the first time in several days. Or, it isn’t really the rain that’s the problem, it’s the dreary, closed in clouds. The mist lifted and the spirit of the city lifted with it. A soft rain dropped from high clouds—the kind that refreshed the earth and encouraged growth.
The brightly lit sign for the noodle café caught her eye, and Jessica hopped up to ring the bell for the stop. As she stumped into the café with her excessively waterproof boots, she hoped they would have the Thai noodle special she liked. She had to wait to be seated while the hostess finished erasing and rewriting the special—Thai noodles 3.99.
“Unreal,” Jessica whispered to herself as she was lead to her favorite table by the window and the heater. “Can I please get the special and a Thai iced tea?” she asked the hostess.
“Oh, sure, the special is good.” The woman smiled. “But we are out of Thai iced tea tonight. I’m so sorry.”
“Um,” Jessica was filled with caprice. “Could you…well, I wouldn’t normally ask…but could you double check on the Thai iced tea? I was really craving some…if you could just look again.”
“Okay, sure. I’ll check. Why not?”
Jessica gazed out at the soft rain catching the light from a street lamp. She saw a stooped-over man shuffle to a stop and shore up his belongings. He appeared homeless. Her heart went out to him. She wondered if he was hungry and wished she could give him some food. He walked toward the door. Jessica jumped around and focused on drinking her glass of water. He came to stand by her, looking bewildered.
“Sorry to bother you, ma’am. I thought I heard you call my name.” His brow furrowed, and he walked back to the door—awkward with humiliation.
She longed to ease him. “Eddie, isn’t it?”
He turned to her. “My nickname, yes. So you did call me in.”
She was flustered. Co-incidence was becoming a stretch to explain all of this. “Yeah…um…I wanted to buy you dinner.”
“I don’t remember you.” He stated without emotion.
“That’s okay. You don’t have to talk to me or anything. Sit where you like. Enjoy…No strings attached.”
Eddie smiled, and his gold tooth flashed, making Jessica smile too. She loved gold teeth—a strange quirk, but true. He sat down and gathered his things by the other window.
When the waitress came out with a tall glass of Thai iced tea, Jessica laughed right out loud.
The waitress looked at her delighted face and laughed too. “How did you know?” she asked.
“It’s magic.” Jessica’s grin shone with Hope’s pure light.
The waitress lit up and turned to Eddie. Her laughter faded to a nervous smile. “Can I help you, sir?”
“He’s on my tab,” Jessica assured.
Eddie cracked a full smile, and the woman relaxed when she saw the joy in his face. His tooth gleamed with his pleasure. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
By the time they were slurping their last noodles, Eddie and Jessica were chatting away. She learned that hard times were not new to him. He was a refugee from the Congo. Haunting faces from the crisis in Rwanda came back to her from the six o’clock news. As she heard the heart-wrenching story of the fragmenting of his family, she wished she could give him her new-found happy-magic.
“It was wonderful to meet you Eddie,” Jessica said sincerely, as she pulled her coat close.
He nodded and met her blue eyes with the deep brown of his own. His gold tooth glinted as he turned to go, leaving her warmed and content under the rain-washed sky where she waited for her bus home.
Eddie felt a level of energy that far exceeded the power of noodles. He could sense the life in his veins and decided to walk to the square and find some men that he knew. He avoided company, but tonight he felt connected to the world again.
He held his head high and looked up to see a line of silver moonlight painting the edge of the receding storm front. The moon pierced his soul with memory. He began to sing a tune that his mama had taught him when he was a boy.
Some young punks were tussling on the sidewalk ahead. A nightly ritual of ‘beat down to man up’.
“Quit fighting, boys. It’s a good night.” Eddie called out. He was surprised to hear his own voice shout words of peace. The boys looked surprised too, but they shied away from their skirmish and wandered away in the same direction as Eddie was headed. In a few more strides, he caught up to them.
“What business is it of yours what we do?” one of them started. But there was no point to his barb.
“No business. Only pleasure,” Eddie gave them a glittering grin. “The storm has gone away.”
The youngsters fell back into the shadows along a building letting Eddie continue on his way. When he glimpsed back, they were laughing with each other, bathed in the light of the moon.
Eddie’s arrival at the square found the usual idle hubbub of street folks claiming their places for the night. During the slow motion ritual he noticed the cold weight of Despair dampening the strength of young men and squelching the spirits of women who would have shined with beauty. He could sense their vigor and their light. It was as if the sun lived in his eyes. He wanted to warm these people—to remove the oppression.
Eddie tried something he hadn’t done since he was a teen—he touched someone by choice. “Maria,” he spoke, as his hesitant hand came to rest on her shoulder. “Take heart.” He smiled gently. He saw her movements become relaxed rather than burdened. When he continued on his way, he caught her eye, and it followed his finger to the beaming orb above.
“Luna,” she sighed with contentment.
He made his way around to the other side of the brick plaza, gaining momentum as his spirit caught the fire of the magical night. “Joseph,” he spoke as his hand reassured his brother-of-the-heart, patting his back through the rain slicker and damp wool.
The two men had walked so many miles together that the touch conveyed it all. Joseph looked into Eddie’s eyes and threw his head back in a howl of joyous laughter under the watching moon.
The raucous sound caught the humor of Mario and Julio, and they joined in with choppy guffaws. Old John snickered with a snort. Graeme and Quincy burst out in school boy giggles at the geezer’s weeze, and Jenny, Mona and Ellie answered with a chorus of laughter. The mood crossed the square until every mouth smiled, every belly jiggled and every eye crinkled with glee. Eddie topped it all with a hearty chuckle that carried sweet music to Hope’s encumbered ear.
Despair’s grip quaked as Hope’s radiance returned to her. The spirit of laughter lifted her from the cold pavement throwing Despair’s oppression back into the fleeting shadows. She soared toward the moon on the lightness of being that shone from the souls united in the square. And Hope spread her bright abundance on the warmed December night.
by Sheri J. Kennedy aka Kennedy J. Quinn, Featured Author Published with Permission Image by Sheri J. Kennedy from THE Companion BOOK to Essence Churning, Sketchbook Project 2011 -Note- Hope’s Charm for this story is: Laughter
Loquisha waved her wand and pulled its tip from Summer into Fall. The tall grasses, dry with the sun and sweeping in the newly crisp wind, seemed to bulge forth in a golden mountain. A face burst into glorious bloom, all whiskers, fur and magnificence. A shaggy mane shook leaves fluttering into the air showering the scarlet, ash, russet and ochre into the newborn season. The faerie stood boldly in the presence of the rising lion.
“ Good season, Garmonsion,” Loqisha unfurled from her tongue in a low booming tone, “Your time has come to wake and lead us from Summer through the luscious languor and wistful chill of Autumn. Do you stand at your summons from our kingdom or would you sleep into oblivion?”
“ROOOOAR!!!” Garmonsion shook the air with his reply. His great paws lifted, claws bared into the breeze, as he stood on his haunches before leaping forward to charge across the field into the distance.”
A trilling laugh broke the stillness left behind him, introducing the arrival of Sister.
“ Bromillia, my dear,” Loquisha began nervously, “it is so marvelous to…”
“Yes, yes,” Bromillia interrupted in a voice high and piercing as a piccolo, “I suppose you think your drama quite dignified and enchanting. Who gave to you the rites to the Changing of the Season. You must be charmed to have escaped unscathed. He could have dashed you to pieces!” She broke once again into her giggle like a passing parade of a thousand bells.
Loquisha was quite deflated. She threw herself down on the brittle grasses, her lovely rose skirts soiled by bug spit and popping seeds.
“I only wanted the heat to end.” She complained, “this endless sweating was ruining my satin silkies.”
Bromillia rolled her eyes and disappeared in a tiny star-like flash. She appeared again pushed along through the sky on the rising wind only inches from Garmonsion’s flowing mane.
“GARMONSION!!!!” rumbled the air on the open plain—her tiny voice magnified to shake even his storming enormity.
He slowed and padded to a sinewy stop. He paced purposefully, standing at each point of the compass and staring into the distance to see what or who had called his name.
“Sleep….” cooed from Bromillia’s lovely throat.
With a wave of her wand, Garmonsion rolled to his side and disappeared into the Summer grass along with the cold wind.
by Sheri J. Kennedy Published with Permission
Image by artist, Marcia Tuttle also appears in Fall Into Story – used for promotional purposes with permission.