See you all at B-Fest! I will be talking about creative writing and signing books starting at 5:00 PM. #BFestBuzz
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Today's spotlight shines on Brandi Willis Schreiber!
It is so awesome to be in SECOND CHANCES: A ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA COLLECTION with you. Congratulations! Your story, "The Family Tree," has received great reviews. Please tell us about your story.
Brandi: “The Family Tree” is my FIRST PUBLISHED ROMANCE STORY! Writing it was very emotional! Bea, my heroine, experiences terrible tragedy and travels to Scotland to find a relative who might give her the sense of family she’s lost. While there, she meets Cairn, a handsome solicitor. Cairn agrees to help Bea and ends up reviving something in Bea. But it’s not until Bea learns that she can give Cairn’s family the ultimate gift that everything changes in her quest for a second chance.
Ariella: I heard we were both in Scotland this past summer. I was doing some research for my Young Adult fantasy series, The Two Realms Trilogy. It was my second trip to the isle, but your first.
Brandi: It’s hard to write about a place you’ve never been! I wrote “The Family Tree” almost 3 years ago, but I’d never been to Scotland (thank you, Google images). But this summer I finally got to see the real setting for my story!
Ariella: I can't believe we were both in Edinburgh! Let's share an excerpt from "The Family Tree."
* * *
A family tree is a glorious set of blueprints. Like a plan for a home, it illustrates every detail and turn through the doorways that make up life until the present moment: Who was born. Who fell in love and had children. Who lived long, and who died young. The branches stretch out like rooms, each one housing a life and its story. When you flip through the pages, you should feel a sense of completeness, of place. This is the house of my life, a good family tree says. This is where I belong.
Only I didn’t belong anywhere anymore.
Instead of a well-organized tree with branches telling every story, I had a diagram full of starts and stops, jagged and incomplete lines, some branches stretching into nothing at all.
But when I walked through Eleanor Brightwell’s door that frigid February evening, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a very long time: home.
Her walls were painted lemony yellow, and gilt-framed photos hung in a cluster near the entryway: a sepia wedding couple, a dark-haired family poised at the base of an ancient castle, a handsome young man in graduation regalia smiling with the sun behind him.
In the corner of the room, a log popped in a fireplace next to overstuffed floral chairs and couches, a spot where people obviously gathered. Indistinct jazz played from an unknown location and mixed with the sounds of clinking dishes and two teenagers – a boy and a girl – who shouted and chased each other around the room. Despite the cold outside, this sight warmed me, and I stood transfixed at the threshold, absorbing all the color, life, and energy of this Scottish family home.
I jumped at the firm voice next to me. So mesmerized by the scene, I hadn’t noticed the figure to my right.
“Brian! Ansley! Please don’t try to kill each other just yet. We have company.” He turned to me, and I felt the open space of the room narrow.
The man was tall with a powerful build. He either worked labor or worked out, as evidenced by firm biceps under his navy tee shirt. Thick black hair fell without direction across his forehead into his eyes, which were a hard-to-miss sapphire, as blue as the Texas sky before sunrise. Those eyes immediately reminded me of the past, and I felt a pain blossom in my chest.
“You came at a fine time. My wee brother and sister have decided to kill each other right before dinner, a usual occurrence in this zoo.” The tenor of his voice and roll of R’s sent a current down my spine. He must have been a few years older than me, maybe thirty-seven or thirty-eight, because then he chuckled, and little furrows of laugh lines appeared around those penetrating eyes.
* * *
© Brandi Willis Schreiber
“The Family Tree” in SECOND CHANCES Buy Links
Barnes & Noble:
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2wkIz4H
More About Brandi
Brandi Willis Schreiber has imagined romance stories her entire life in her head but only recently started writing them down. A graduate of Texas Tech University, she has an M.A. in English, and uses her love for nature, travel, poetry, and everything beautiful to fuel her fiction, which will always have a happy ending. Her work has appeared in All Things Dickinson: An Encyclopedia of Emily Dickinson’s World, The Texas Review, Red River Review, and elsewhere. Now she writes sensual, southern romance that reflects the endless landscape in which she lives. Most recently, her contemporary romance short story, “The Family Tree,” was published by Romance Writers of America in the anthology, SECOND CHANCES: A ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA COLLECTION. Brandi lives with her husband, rescue dog, rabbits, and countless other wild creatures in her beloved West Texas. She loves to connect with readers and writers, and you can find her at:
Amazon Author Page:
Sign up for my newsletter! http://bit.ly/2f0og6Q
Blog on the writing life: http://www.brandiwillisschreiber.com/desertpastoral/
Monday, September 18, 2017
The Amber Elixir - an Arthurian tale of magic, shape-shifters, and the quest to win back a forbidden love - is now available in paperback on Amazon.
E-books release on October 3, 2017
In the time of King Arthur
Lake of Forgotten Memories
Far below the lake’s surface, in the cold dark depths where only blind armored fish venture, the water fairy Morainn stirred within her cave. Sensing dawn had spread its golden light, she swam past Roderick, curled upon their shared treasure. Once past the sleeping dragon, she frog kicked towards open water.
Morainn’s sleek sapphire body rippled through the water like the eels swimming overhead, stirring silt and small rocks. She angled upwards and broke into a fast kick, speeding her ascent to clearer water. Green, scarlet-finned perch darted out of her way. As she neared the top, her pondweed-like hair entrapped passing minnows. With a shake of her head, she freed them.
When Morainn breached the surface, a moss-green spell-sheen washed over her, spreading like a fleeting veil down her head and shoulders. She sniffed the cold spring air. The stench of charred pine, fear, and a lingering hint of Merlin’s musty aroma of ancient books and sulphur seared her nose and throat. Wincing, Morainn swirled to face what remained of the Lady of the Lake’s sanctuary.
Viviane is free!
Nine days ago, Merlin had seized the isle, conjured a towering castle of solid ice, and imprisoned Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, within it. Roderick had seen it all. He had watched as Merlin cast a curse upon the lake, a moss-green bloom that would turn to stone any of the Lady’s handmaidens or priestesses who attempted to cross the water to save her.
In the shallows on the far shore, Morainn spotted the two priestesses who had failed to heed Merlin’s warnings and were now statues captured mid motion.
A tiny plunk of ice falling into the water caused her to turn her gaze back to the sanctuary. Last night, after encountering a small boat carrying a handsome Halfling, a human girl, and two pixies, she had returned to her cave on the lake’s floor. Soon after, she had heard the crackling noises of battle being wrought by magic and the loud crumbling, thumping sounds of what she now saw must have been the destruction of Merlin’s ice prison.
For indeed, the better part of the ice castle lay in ruins. Chunks of ice, the debris from sheared-off spires, littered the shores and rocks surrounding the ruin. Mayhap their fall caused last night’s earth tremors. Morainn’s gaze swept the devastation. The core of the castle also had been destroyed, though here and there, waist-high opaque ice walls remained.
And where is the young Lady of the Lake? Morainn scanned the isle, but caught no sight of Viviane’s auburn hair or the indigo cloak she favored. Nor did she see the impetuous young wizard who had trapped her.
Did Merlin or Viviane leave behind any treasure? She scanned the ruins more closely. Nay. They left nothing bright and shiny.
Morainn swiveled in the water. Her hair, the dark green of water lily pads, swished about her shoulders as she turned her back to the isle and studied the distant shore. An empty coracle had beached not far from the two stone handmaidens.
She thought back to her encounter with the small round boat’s occupants. The Halfling’s cloak had been fastened with a gold Norse brooch. Alas, he had resisted her beguiling enchantments with complimentary charms of his own, which had made her forget about collecting treasure and instead bless him on his journey. No pretties had been visible on the flame-haired human, but who knew what the girl had hidden beneath her fairy cloak? Morainn contemplated the Halfling’s seasick pixies. No treasure there.
Mayhap the Halfling lost his brooch. Brightened by the prospect of adding Norse gold to her trove, Morainn dove beneath the waves and swam towards the coracle. She surfaced in the shallows. As the water lapped against her glistening body, she eyed the compact vessel. The foursome must have abandoned the craft in great haste, for they had not tethered it. Thank, Mab!
Idly, the tide licked the woven willow hull.
Come to me, she willed.
The little boat lifted in the water. With three receding waves, the craft floated within reach. Morainn tipped the side and peered in. Treasure! Not the Norse jewel she had coveted, but something equally rare—a gilt-edged sheet of parchment.
Her prize scooted away from her though no breeze stirred the air. Intrigued, Morainn whispered, “Are you enchanted, Little One?”
In answer, the page slid just beneath the plank seat.
Morainn crinkled her nose, for the parchment reeked of charred pine, magic-laced ice, and Merlin’s wretched scent. Its ragged edge suggested the page had been ripped from a book. The water sprite eyed the black marks written in a neat flourishing script.
As if it sensed she sought its secrets, the gilt-edged sheet shrank back.
A page from Merlin’s spell book! It has value far beyond its shiny edges. She pressed her glittery indigo lips together. Will the water lift away its words?
A shadow slithered over the coracle. Morainn shielded her eyes from the sun’s glare as she watched a white owl glide low overhead. An owl in daylight? How curious.
Waves surged behind her, and Morainn glanced over her shoulder. A broad river coursing through gently rolling marshland separated her lake from Avalon’s mist-shrouded shore. A vessel glided through the water. Her barge! The Lady of the Lake and one of her priestesses approach the isle. The women stood at the front of the barge as they neared land, their long flowing garments pressed against their slender bodies by the gentle breeze.
The owl soared and disappeared into the clouds while the parchment scurried mouse-like up the side of the coracle. Morainn snatched it. The page writhed in an effort to escape. But Morainn tightened her grip and dipped one corner of the parchment beneath the lake’s surface. More words appeared. It is enchanted!
Clutching her tattered treasure, she frog kicked away from the shallows. By some foul magic, the wretched parchment burned her hand. Enraged, Morainn submerged the struggling page below her, half hoping to drown it.
Nay. I’ll hide it.
Memories of rumors arose in her mind, murmurings that Mab, the foreign-born, newly crowned Queen of Fairy, often spied upon her subjects. Unease crept across Morainn’s shoulders. Mayhap Mab watches me now.
A queen who spies upon her subjects is not worthy of her throne, Roderick would say.
Although Morainn could hardly disagree, Mab was queen, and likely to remain so for centuries. It would be dangerous to ignore her or challenge her power. So far, only Merlin had dared oppose her.
And I have a page from the great wizard’s spell book!
Fearing she had already drawn Mab’s attention, she decided on a new course, one best kept secret from Roderick, who would surely disapprove. I will give the page to the queen and earn her favor.
The gilt-edged scrap curled and cut Morainn’s fingers.
Eel’s teeth! With a wrathful kick and small splash, Morainn plunged to the dark depths with her furious prize.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Two Realms Series Continues!
If you enjoyed THE BELTANE ESCAPE,
then you will love THE AMBER ELIXIR,
the next installment in the Two Realms series.
Viviane, the new Lady of the Lake and High Priestess of Avalon, accepts a challenge from Merlin unaware her bold actions will have tragic consequences. Two of her priestesses are turned to stone. A forbidden love deserts her. Now alone, she has six young handmaidens to train and protect.
When Morgan le Fay demands assistance with a spell that could change the balance of power in the Two Realms, Viviane refuses her. But what if Morgan’s secret knowledge could restore the stone priestesses? Will an alliance with the sorceress prompt Viviane’s love to return? Or will the gamble cost her all she holds dear?
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Paperback and Nook versions coming soon.
This Lady of the Lake Two Realms novella further sets the stage for
THE VIKING MIST, Book 2, The Two Realms Trilogy.
Expected Release: January 2018