Category Archives: Free Reads

New Pagan titles

Here’s a free read to kick off this month’s Pagan book news – Bodelia’s Anguish – a short FREE fantasy story from SD Stevens The fury of a goddess betrayed is about to be unleashed on those she once loved.

Find it on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo

These are not reviews – book information is taken from author and publisher sites. Pagan authors writing Pagan books are welcome to contact The Pagan and The Pen for inclusion in future roundups.

New from Moon Books – Arc of the Goddess, a month by month approach to working with the wheel of the year, from Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts.

http://www.moon-books.net/books/arc-goddess

 

 

Labrys and Horns, an introduction to modern Minoan Paganism, by Laura Perry.  Journey to the magical land of Minoan Crete, whose gods and goddesses are still very much alive today.

http://www.lauraperryauthor.com/

 

 

The Witch’s Book of Power, by Devin Hunter.  Published by Llewellyn, this book digs deeply into the roots of what makes a witch powerful.

https://www.llewellyn.com/

 

 

 

Valkyries, selectors of heroes: their roles within Viking & Anglo Saxon mythology and beliefs. Written by Pete Jennings, this book brings together the historic sources to explore what and who the Valkyries are.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Valkyries

 

 

Fairycraft, by Morgan Daimler. Published by Moon Books, this is an in-depth manual for practicing Fairy Witchcraft including theology, fairy lore, rituals, holidays, and magical practices.

http://www.moon-books.net

 

 

The Avalonian Oracle, by Jhenah Telyndru. Woven from threads of Welsh mythos, British legend, and Celtic Druidism, The Avalonian Oracle is a transformational journey through the sacred landscapes of Britain and a gateway to the Holy Island of Avalon. 46 beautifully illustrated cards guide seekers through an inspired reconstruction of the path of the Celtic Priestess.

http://www.avalonianoracle.com/

Guest Blogger Jaime Samms

Today we have a guest blog from Jaime Samms about an inspirational project she’s been involved in. While we don’t normally carry much book promo material here, this one is special. It’s about raising awareness of cancer, and also about the power of community.

Over to Jaime…

January 25 marked the release of a very special anthology, one I’m proud to have been a part of. It’s called Wishing on a Blue Star, and it is a tribute to fellow author and good friend, Patric Michael. His recent battle with cancer brought to many people’s attention thefragile nature of human existence and of our on-line connections.

It also proved the incredible strength of the human spirit and the ability for tenuous connection to become a thing of power and light.

Now, I’m not sure he would agree with me on this, but I am firm believer in the power of positive thinking. He would say it is such a shame it takes something like a life-threatening illness to bring about positive change, and he may be right.

But darkness and light exist in the universe and how do you tell one from the other without the contrast? Can we even have one without the other?

So when a group of us banded together to share our experiences and open our hearts to how Patric has touched our lives, I find no great surprise in the fact that his life was touched as well.

Because he is strong, because he has been wrapped in love and support by his family and friends, because he wanted it badly enough, Patric’s battle is won for the time being. Remission has granted us his presence for a while longer, so rather than the memorial this book was meant to be, it has turned into a celebration of life and of a man who has brought a lot of joy, love and encouragement to a lot of people through his words, something he values most highly. Please enjoy this collection of stories, poems, thoughts and Patric’s own blog posts, free for the asking, at Dreamspinner press. (The print version is seven dollars)

From our hearts, to anyone and everyone who reads it. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=50&products_id=2157

A Special Project by Dreamspinner Press & ManLoveRomance Press.

Edited by Kris Jacen.

How much impact can someone have on your life if you’ve never met them face to face? In this electronic age of E-mails, electronic publishing, and social networks, quite a lot. Through his emails, stories and blog, author Patric Michael has touched numerous hearts, minds and lives from the start of his career and further as he now takes us along on his journey to battle cancer. Along the way, Patric shows us a side of life that not many truly see– how we are all a part of something larger than just ourselves, and how we are each touched by others for the betterment of all.

Now, those that have been touched by Patric and his words have joined together to give something back, to him and to us all through something he values highly – words. In this compilation, gay short stories, poems, and anecdotes combined with excerpts from Patric’s blog and a few entertaining, educational group posts reveal, and celebrate, the man who has touched so many hearts and minds.

This collection, sometimes erotic, sometimes irreverent, and always poignant, is a gift from all our hearts to celebrate Patric and give strength (and a little levity) to others. The price reflects this; no one is receiving royalties or payment from the sales. Use it to celebrate life, celebrate words, and possibly inspire someone who needs it.

Sneak- a- Peak at Wyntress Nyght’s Supernatural Crack! Chapter One: Rave in the Grave

Noble Wyntress Nyght 200x300

Chapter One

Rave in the Grave

Good evening, my delicious, little darklings of darkness. Wyntress Nyght here, serving up your forbidden dose of supernatural crack. So hook up your IVs, roll up the psychic and toke her, or offer up your shot glass for some ectoplasmic delight. For I have the phantasmal kick you have all been jonzing for. No DTs here, my darklings, only the monster of all dragons for you to chase . . . me!

Now, for those readers who are new to my witch-board of communications, allow me to sinfully boast a little about the place I haunt.

It’s the Other World, the Underworld, or a label I am rather fond of and prefer, Hell.

*Gasps*

Did I say, Hell? Yes, I did, but please don’t bother pulling out the crucifixes yet. We aren’t as fearsome as you might think. The only fires burning down here are under the skirts of the Succubi. We did accidently start one screaming volcano of a flame once—or twice—but that’s not important. No one was really harmed, unless you count the couple of drunken Werewolves who were singed a little. Thankfully, fur grows back. *Winks*

Now, let’s get past the superstitious myths and fears, so you can better appreciate where I’m coming from. My world is something like yours, only it’s darkly Goth and sweetly decadent. Here is where the Ghosts, the Ghouls, the Vampires, the Werewolves, the Zombies and every other type of Dead or Undead roam.

Now, once you pick your jaw up off the floor, I can get down to what happened that pretty much flipped my crypt upside down forever a few months back.

I was chillin’ at the Rave in the Grave, my favorite club, having a Bloody Mary while listening to DREADN, our local Vamp band, and tapping my dark crimson nails to the ear-shattering, beat-thrusting—Wyntress loves a good thrust—tunes pumping out of the speakers.

So far, the evening had been normal, if you would consider anything here normal. It was still early, and the Dead and Undead were just starting to roll out from their graves and crypts. Slowly but surely, corpses started to fill the inside of the Rave, dragging themselves to a table or bar, hoping to conjure up something extra wicked and liquid.

Ah, the Rave. *Swoons* Aside from its enormous size, I love how the walls are depressingly gray and how the many candelabras hanging from the ceiling sparkle and mirror the flames of the others. I adore how everything’s cluttered with old world frills and chill-thrilling charm. The Dead who linger there still reflect the appeal of their previous life and fashion, or at least some do, because I can promise you, I don’t. I pride myself on keeping up with the latest trends and styles. Why, I even had on my favorite pair of hip-huggers and web-spun black sweater. My long, raven hair was twisted and pinned in the back, so the tips were dangerously spiked off the top of my head, spilling forth in dangling strands down my curved backside. I wore cat-like eyeliner, emphasizing my jade-colored inhuman eyes. I have a come-hither mouth, and darkling, these tempting smackers aren’t filled with Botox either. But anyway, back to that night.

"Did you not hear me? Are you illiterate?" Starla Jones screamed from behind me. Then she marched toward a table adjacent to mine. "It’s impossible to get a proper drink and service in here anymore!"

Early or not, I saw some of the lunatics still managed to flee the asylum, and in my sexy but never humble opinion, Starla was the biggest lunatic of all.

She died in her thirties, a 1940s film star, and she was not famous for being the queen of good times in any way. Starla’s major mood detonations put her at the top of my ‘Not One of My Favorite Corpses’ list. I had the feeling we were about to see one of her blow-ups, based on the way her lip curled and her unbalanced expression appeared rather unhinged.

"Do you not hear me? Come over here!"

The weary deadtress (our word for waitress) hesitantly slid her feet against the red carpet. She waited while the brass case holding Starla’s imported cigarettes snapped shut. Supposedly, it was a gift from and engraved by Clark Gable himself. So she says, because she would never let any of us lowly corpses dare touch and see for ourselves.

As if the poor deadtress had all the time in the world, Starla blew out a faint puff of white smoke while smoothing out the creases from her silk gown. Something soft and amusing stretched her lips, giving the impression the storm had passed. She smugly patted the sides of her neatly pinned and finger-curled hair.

Meanwhile, the deadtress slouched a little, and I’m pretty sure she thought the worst was over, but Starla’s drama mode always kicks in when least expected. Her mouth coiled open to spew forth something vile.

"Now you little nit wit . . . I asked for two olives in my martini, not one. I also know this has been shaken not stirred. Do you think I cannot tell the difference? And this glass . . . do you not see this smudge? Just because you would drink from a sewer doesn’t mean I will!"

She threw her cigarette at the deadtress who scampered away, nearing tears. Starla’s over-the-top makeup-caked eyes darted in my direction. The intensity burning up her cheeks was proof she hadn’t finished.

"And what are you looking at, Wyntress Nyght?"

Well, I thought, isn’t she just the cutest ball of snot and snobbery ever?

"Only someone in need of a good bitch slap and a morgue full of downers," was my reply. I briefly wondered if she’d start foaming at the mouth.

"You are a cruel and offensive thing." She curved a corner of her lip in some weak attempt at a snarl.

That seemed to be her signature gesture for the night, leaving me to say but one thing. "Oh, how amusing; Sybil does tricks." (Yes, I nickname everyone. Too damn bad she wouldn’t play dead.) "Hey, Sybil, pop a Quaalude before your multiple personalities spontaneously combust." I knew my usual sarcastic, devilish grin was taunting her. "Back off the Dewbies, would ya?" (That’s our word for the newly dead.) "And apologize to the poor girl before she quits already. If you want to go into a meltdown, find someone who is more of a match . . . like me," I gladly volunteered.

"Mind your own business, Wyntress Nyght," she huffed. "I so tire of all this drama. Who knew the afterlife would be filled with such imbeciles."

"I’d say we knew the moment you died and crossed over. Things seemed rather peaceful until then." *Snickers*

She cut me a dry, venomous look, but my attention flew in another direction—toward the Crypt Master, Draven, the owner of the Rave. I’m sure the deadtress told him what happened, causing him to rush over and play typical peace reaper.

While he whispered away to Starla, my sight soaked him up, because he is such a dashing and darkly gorgeous man. He oversees this Dominion called Sheol and is top dog over everyone in the Dominion. Every Crypt Keeper (the guardian of a crypt) must answer to the Master. Hell is divided up into many Dominions.

But back to Draven. He’s a yummy looking Master, always dressed to the nines in a debonair, tailored suit with a red rose stuck upon his breast. Personally, I think he watches James Bond movies way too much—the Sean Connery ones. If Sean is smart, he will live forever, because the day he comes to my world, Draven will be stuck on him like maggots to bone.

Yep, you heard me; we have movies channeled from your TVs. Everything is energy—especially electricity. Tapping into it is nothing at all. You think this is farfetched? Oh, so I suppose Sylvia Brown or John Edwards calling us up on a Psychic-IV whim is acceptable, but we can’t steal a little cable. Puh-lease! Not only can we pirate your stations, but we also have our own news and movie channels. To be honest, I prefer those. If you ever saw our spoofs made of your films, well you’d be rolling over in your graves.

I digress. Back to that night.

"Starla, darkling, please." Draven spoke in his deliciously British voice. "The deadtress is new and I am finding it difficult to keep them. As a favor to me, do not frighten anymore into quitting."

"For you." Her gloved hand grazed his cheek while her other molested her tacky mink wrap. "You really do need to train them better, darling." She gave him a little pout.

"Shall I fetch you a stronger drink, love?"

Instead of nodding, she leaned over to whisper something to him, which I found rather rude, or would have, if I actually cared. Her eyes burned in my direction, so I knew she was attempting to build him up into scolding me or throwing me out.

Yeah, I thought, like her dreams would ever come true.

Been there, done that. Draven, that is.

Hey, the only abstinence we practice here is life.

Draven. Simply scrumptious. There is something to be said about spending the night with a mature corpse. He puts the art in making love, if you get my meaning. And no, fleeting or not, it’s not just sex with men like him.

*Sighs*

I swirled the edge of my glass with the tip of my finger, thinking about him.

Unfortunately, Draven was a one-timer and by my own decision. I shuddered to think he might request a threesome with Starla Jones some day, since they rocked both ways. Hey, I’m open to all genders . . . but Starla? I’d rather have my spleen plucked out. Besides, I admit to being very hungry the night I claimed Draven, but once my libido was soberly full, I had a moment to think about who frequented his bed. Starla’s image bitch-slapped my mind, and I just couldn’t hack a hairball like that up. I felt her crawling, bitter itch all over my carcass, and it really grossed me out. Draven, Mr. Delectable, was a one-time indulgence. Besides, sleeping with one’s Crypt Master wasn’t the wisest of choices. I mean, if things go south, a corpse could be in a very awkward position. Kind of like grinding your boss.

I pushed all thoughts of Starla and Draven out of my mind and focused on my Bloody Mary. And no, I didn’t have some girl named Mary all blended and bloodied up in a glass. I drink real Bloody Marys with a stick of celery and everything. We like our alcohol down here the same as you. The difference is we can’t get poisoning and die from it.

(You’re totally jealous now, right?)

Starla’s fist, beating against the table, broke my thoughts in half. Not even the loud, psychedelic music of DREADN could wash her out.

"Stop staring at me, Wyntress!" she shouted. "See, I told you she was harassing me!" She clung to Draven as if I were some crazy corpse stalker, (corpses who stalk a certain corpse).

She wished.

Okay, I did decide to sit there and gawk, because I knew by doing so I would annoy her to no end. But, was there anything—being purposely annoying, that is—in it for me? I mean, nothing would have given me a bigger laugh than to watch her completely lose what little sanity she had left, ending in a reenactment of her own death. But the thing is, once you’ve seen Sybil break down, it’s like a movie you’ve watched way too many times. Eventually, it loses its entertainment value, and unfortunately, I bore real damn easy.

Oh, what the virgin, I thought. If I can’t torment her then what good am I? And when I spied the deadtress hiding in the corner bleeding tears, because Starla can be the empty end of a Prozac prescription, well, let’s say that drove the final nail in the coffin of my decision.

"Hey, Starla." I smiled brightly, purposely coaxing her. "Did you smell the best of me on Draven’s sheets?"

"Wyntress Nyght, you filthy little . . . ."

"Oh, Starla, stop." I waved my hand, flashing a lighthearted and playful look. "Flattery will get you, and only you, absolutely nowhere."

"Flattery!" She leaped from her seat into a fighting stance, raised her untouched drink, and began to throw it.

Draven—moving quickly but oh-so-gently—grabbed the glass and her hand, bringing them both slowly downward. Then he gave me a scolding look, but couldn’t stress it deep enough, no doubt because the memories of Wyntress Nyght making his eyes roll into the back of his head were still fresh in his mind.

Am I a mind reader? Hey, I can sense these things. Once you’re lucky enough to have me, there is no forgetting it.

*Snap, snap, and snap*

"Wyntress, our relationship is an open one." He meant him and Sybil, sure as hell not me and him. "Please do not upset her. You know how fragile she is."

"Fragile my achin’ ass," I scoffed.

And with that, Starla began to charge my table with cheeks redder than crimson and matching stained lips, which were pulled back in her ugliest scowl. Her nails were ready to claw my exotic flesh off . . . .

That is until the doors to the club buckled off their hinges, and she, like everyone else, came to a dead halt. With a loud clash of instruments, and a few sudden fearful shrieks belted by some Crypt Groupies hugging the stage, the Wolves of mayhem descended upon us.

Why, I might have even wet my knickers if I bothered to wear any. *Winks*.

©C.H. Scarlett

Wyntress Nyght’s Supernatural Crack

Book I

Exes & Hexes

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Dark Satire/Humor

Publisher:Noble Romance Publishing –Dare to be Different!

Release Date: June 14, 2010

ISBN# 9781605921198

Pages: 271

Available Now! (Click to Purchase)

 

Where else can Wyntress be found?

Goodreads

Catch her and those who haunt her circle at:

Twitter-liscious

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Thoughts on Writing Sequels and Natural Order Peek

Lately I’ve been pretty focused on the subject of sequels. Before I started college this last fall I got e-mail from my publisher stating that my sequel for Ancestral Magic (currently named Shadow Magic), didn’t have enough back story. Now I admit, as a woman who enjoys a good fantasy or paranormal book series, nothing irritates me more than feeling like a previous book is being retold in the following one. Fortunately, for my sake and that of my readers would’ve been politely nudging me for the sequel, I finally got over the creative speedbump and now the newest version of Shadow Magic is in the hands of my publisher.

Since then I have been working away on my newest project, National Rebirth, the sequel to my novel that came out last month, Natural Order. It’s crazy hard. It’s been so long since I wrote the first one, I had to really reacquaint myself with the story, and the little details. Timeline was a huge one. The characters, those seem to always remain with me, but setting, dates, even name sometimes, those can be tricky. I found the easiest thing was to become a scholar of the first book, before I even started working on the second. While I have enough back story this time with all slowing the pace? Who knows. But I now have a better respect for the authors I used to be irritated with as I waited for the sequels and continuing sagas of their work.

So for my readers who have enjoyed getting to know the wonderful folks in the community of Green Grove, and who are waiting patiently to revisit there, I invite you to come and get to know the Archiquette family and their newest daughter, Elizabeth.

Here’s a sample of that community from my newly released novel, Natural Order. Elizabeth has recently lost Dusty, the woman she loved, to a violent crime, and now she’s going to live with Dusty’s family in northern Wisconsin. She is pregnant, weighed down by grief, and watching her life seemingly go on without her control. She is currently riding in a truck with Dusty’s brother Orion, a gentle natured Oneida man who has been Elizabeth’s support system since his sister’s death a month ago.

Chapter 3

The farmers’ fields were aflame with crimson and gold fire, and the air was crisp and clean, like a fresh canvas for the painted sunset displayed in the early evening sky. Beth watched the farmhouses and grazing livestock disinterestedly as they passed, at times closing her eyes as the cool air stung her face through the open window. The short nap helped, but now the churning in her stomach made sleep difficult. A wall of cold air was preferable to the waves of nausea that seemed to worsen in the enclosed vehicle. Dusty had tried to get her to drink special teas, but there was a part of Beth that never trusted “alternative” remedies. It was one of several things she and Dusty had spent a long time butting heads about early in their relationship, before deciding just to agree to disagree. As the next gut-turning wave hit, she grimaced, wishing she hadn’t eaten all her saltines that morning.

“I picked you up some ginger ale in town today.” Orion jerked a thumb toward the space behind the seat. “It’s back there if you want it. The soda’s warm, but Dad used to make it for Mitexi when she was pregnant, and it always made her feel better.”

Beth looked over at him in surprise. “How did you know I was having morning sickness?”

“I just pay attention, something my father taught me long ago.” Orion flashed her a boyish grin. “Told me the girls like it when you pay attention.”

Beth laughed and reached behind the seat. She found a flat box that held several glass bottles, and retrieved one. She read the label critically, raising an eyebrow. “All natural organic ginger ale. Sounds tasty.”

Orion chuckled at the sarcasm in her voice. “You’ll get used to it. As I’m sure Dusty told you my family runs an organic farm. Free range chickens, wild game, organically grown fruits and veggies, hormone-free milk. We rarely ever eat anything we don’t make ourselves.”

Beth looked at the bottle, and tipped it, the light from the sunset shimmering inside the amber liquid. She moved the soda around and the bubbles fizzled and popped excitedly. It looked normal enough. “Dusty used to drag this sort of food into the house all the time. I never touched the stuff.”

“Think of it as an adventure.” At the raised eyebrow he received in response, Orion smiled. “I promise. It’ll make you feel better.”

Without her typical fallbacks like saltines and toast, the ride was looking to be a miserable one. As sick as she was, Beth was ready to try anything to make the nausea go away. Besides, she told herself, Orion had taken very good care of her these last few weeks. Beth had learned to trust that, even if his ideas often sounded strange, there was wisdom behind the words that came from his young lips. With one more uncertain glance at the bottle, she unscrewed the cap and raised the glass in toast to him. “Bottoms up.”

She took a long drink. It wasn’t as sweet as what she was used to, but had a bite to it that was interesting. She finished the rest and set the empty container next to her on the seat. As they drove, Beth saw houses and barns that were adorned with intricate symbols. Each was unique, but they were all circular in shape. Some were brightly colored, while others were simply black and white. Common symbols caught her eye, but the details were more difficult to make out from a distance. She remembered reading about the use of similar symbols amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch. They were hexes used to ward off evil magic they believed could affect the health of their family and livestock or cause crops to fail. It was a fascinating superstition, but not a practice she was familiar with this far west.

By the time Beth saw the sign for the Fox River, the nausea was fading. She wasn’t willing to give up on modern medicine just yet, but this time there seemed to be some credence to “traditional” remedies after all. Whether or not she was ready for the full organic experience, Beth got the feeling that over the next few months things were going to be very different. They drove over the Fox River Bridge, speeding past cables that hung down from the steel arch. It reminded her of bars on a birdcage. Looking away from the cables, Beth’s gaze fell to the river below. “Dusty said you all live close to the river. Must be nice.”

“Sometimes.” Orion opened a small rectangular tin with one hand and threw a white mint into his mouth. “But you have to be careful where you fish or swim. There are people trying to clean up the river, but some of the local factories spent several decades screwing it up. Gonna take a lot of work to heal the damage they did to the water.”

He offered her a mint, and she shook her head. Beth remembered Dusty liked those things but they had always been too strong for her. “Heal? Now you sound like Dusty. You talk about the river as if it had been burned or cut, as if it was a real person or something.”

“The river is a living thing.” Orion’s eyes remained on the road, but a deep sadness crept into them. He spoke with great reverence and love. “She’s timeless in her beauty and strength. Without her, none of us can survive. She is sacred to my people, Beth, sacred to anyone who hasn’t forgotten how to listen to the land.”

Beth was uncertain how to respond to this, so she turned back to the open window and watched as the truck turned up a long, dirt road. In many ways, Orion was like Dusty. They both took their beliefs to heart, and it permeated every part of them. Beth envied that conviction. What did she really believe in?

Once Upon a Midnight Moon

Hi folks!  Since this is Free for All day, I decided to upload a story I created for Halloween last year for a blog I participate in.  I hope you enjoy it!

Maya Delgado Santiago rubbed bleary eyes and sat back from a laptop on her cluttered desk. A thesis paper hung in computer monitor purgatory waiting to become hard copy. She saved her latest entry to it and shut the system down.

A chill wind blew from the ocean, sauntered through the picture window of her bedroom. It was cold and damp forcing her to skim her hands up and down mocha colored skin prickled by the breeze. She stood to close the sliding glass pane, but the briny scent of the water and the distant crash of the surf made her hesitate. She loved that smell, the sounds of the sea. Within a moment, it lulled her active thoughts, led her to the surreal.

The dream started once again. Filled with the promise of distant shores, her mind wandered. In the solitude of her room, she stepped away from her comfortable world and into that other place, that other time. A vague recollection of a life beckoned to her. If she attempted deliberate recall, it would dart away and close a door in her memory. When she allowed it free rein, then she could gather herself, attempt to make sense of these events when they came upon her. If only she could remember enough to provide detail to her journal, something she started years ago when the dream first began. Writing helped her understand and work through a problem, but there was still no solution in sight for this, whatever it was happening to her.

A spirit sighed. Where are you?

Maya dared not move, lest she lose the fragile grip she had on her psyche when in this state. It was a voice she recognized but couldn’t place in her current memory. A frustrating thought of something left undone would follow. She prepared for it, determined a calm, rational approach could help her where former emotional reactions could not.

You are missed, Daughter of the Moon.

There was such sorrow in the lament. Her heart lurched in sympathetic ache, as if it was breaking. This reaction made no sense in the context of her life. She was happy and healthy, came from a good family. Her father and mother were wonderful, giving her everything, she could possibly want, loving her without reserve.

Accepted to the university of her choice, Maya set about pursuing her psychology degree. While she had no siblings, Maya had two best friends, both young women she grew up with, both of whom were attending the same college along with Maya. They shared a three bedroom apartment overlooking the coast and fairly close to campus. They couldn’t believe their luck when they found the place, even the rent was reasonable, the neighborhood decent. When shown the bedroom with the sea view, neither Deidre nor Nina desired the space because of its western location.

“It may be wonderful now,” Deidre stated when Maya admired it. “Just wait until summer, though.”

Nina agreed.

“I don’t care,” Maya replied. “It’s perfect for me.”

Maya could feel a desire building within her. She wanted to run, to feel the wind in her hair, the water chasing her as she teased the waves to follow her along the shore. It was so cold, but that did not dampen her desire. A thought stopped her, halted her reverie.

Why do I feel so alone?

A lilting soprano, comforting, sure and strong, responded. One does not run without the others.

Maya’s knees gave way and she dropped to the floor. Never before had she heard that voice. It filled her, surrounded her, lifted her to a place where moonlight expanded throughout her mind. She lay down as the dream moved forward, taking her to a new space, a new experience. She must remember. She pleaded with the unseen woman to allow her to remember.

A soft hand reached to her, the arm of which ascended into a lush cloak. Maya could not see a face hidden deep within the wrap’s hood. The voice held such promise of beauty, so much love. Silken fingers of alabaster stroked her brow.

Shh, my daughter, your time comes. For now, know that we miss you and welcome your return with open arms.

Maya could not contain the welling of energy racing through her body from the woman’s touch. The skin shined silver in the moonlight, but the power of the caress radiated the sun. Unable to bear it any longer, Maya fainted.

*****

“Maya, Maya!” A gentle shaking of her right shoulder roused Maya to consciousness. Deidre was staring at her, still shaking her while Nina stood overhead in silence, a look of concern etched on her face.

“Are you okay? I heard you drop something. I knocked to see if you were all right. When you didn’t respond I got scared and opened your door. Good thing I did.” Deidre stated. She helped Maya stand while Nina grabbed an afghan from the bed to wrap around Maya’s shoulders.

Maya regained her senses. The other life, the whispers, the unidentified woman were gone. The dreams were always vivid but never before did they occur in her waking state. She thought for a moment. Had she been awake? Maya looked to her computer. It was off and folded closed. She noted her comforter, blanket and sheets turned down, but her pillow carried no impression from her head. An unnerving chill flowed through her. She held back tears threatening to spill. Was she losing her mind or was she just hallucinating because she’d been pushing herself so hard? Either way as a student pursuing a Masters in Psychology, seeing things and hearing voices did not bode well for a career in her chosen field of study.

Think, Maya, think! The last thing she remembered was the overwhelming desire to run. It was a frustrating position to be in. She knew she had, once again, a strange almost otherworldly experience, but couldn’t remember exactly what happened afterward. As usual, the bits of her dream formed a puzzle of sorts, but it was fragmentary, pieces were missing. Should she tell her two best friends about the voices she heard, the dreams she had since she was a girl? How could she do that though, when she couldn’t recall what was said to her or the fleeting images that escaped her? Her psychology trained mind decided against it. That’s all she needed was for her friends to think she was nuts. In this day and age, any sign of mental illness on a university campus was taken very seriously. Maya was in her senior year of her Bachelor’s degree and had applied to the Master’s program. She wasn’t about to ruin her chances for her long sought after goal. She’d figure out what was happening to her one way or another.

“Yeah, no kidding,” Maya concurred. “I’m sorry, I must have fallen asleep at my desk and fell off my chair. I’m such a nerd.” She laughed and both of her roommates chuckled.

Nina shook her blond head. “I know you’re working hard on your thesis and semester testing is coming up, but you still gotta sleep, My!”

My was the nickname Nina graced her with when they were nine years old. My, My Maya was a cheer the girls use to shout whenever Maya got into trouble. My, my Maya, lookin’ for a fight, My, My, Maya, always thinks she’s right, if you dare to mess with her, she will take you on, My, My Maya will chase you ’til the dawn. A goofy little chant that somehow made her reputation precede her. It caused the neighborhood bullies to leave her and anyone she befriended alone because Maya tended to be everyone’s knight in shining armor. If she wasn’t defending the downtrodden, she was the neighborhood counselor. Everyone, including some adults would come to her with their problems. Somehow Maya always seemed to have the answer.

Maya walked toward her bed and sat down on the comfortable mattress. The girls followed. “You’re right, I should, huh?”

Nina stepped to Maya’s window and closed the sliding glass panel. “It’s cold in here.” She stopped and stared out of the glass, squinting at something outside. “Halloween’s starting early.”

“What?” Deidre and Maya asked in unison.

“What other time of the year can you wear a cloak in California and get away with it?”

“What are you talking about?” Maya responded and joined Nina, Deidre following.

An irrational bout of fear ran through Maya as her gaze followed Nina’s line of sight. Maya’s bedroom window overlooked an open courtyard. At the end of well tended foliage and lawn surrounding the front of the apartment complex, a sidewalk extended to street parking then two vehicular travel lanes, one for each traffic direction. Across the street, more lawn reached to a boardwalk lining a sandy beach. The loose sand stretched several dozen yards to the west. Beyond that border, the Pacific Ocean lay in the distance. When the weather was sunny and clear, Maya loved to watch the shining waves spilling their contents onto the dun colored sands.

Maya saw a figure in a dark cloak, the hood drawn, the face hidden because a street lamp backlit the person, offering only a silhouette. It was obvious to her the individual was looking up at the three girls now crowded around the window. A memory butted its way into her consciousness. Daughter of the Moon, She said. Maya was struck with the strong urge to leave and go to Her. Her? There’s no way to tell from here. Yet, somehow, Maya knew it was true.

Nina turned to her roommates. “See what I mean?” They nodded in confirmation. When the girls looked back to the figure, it was gone.

Deidre shrugged. “Probably a homeless person who sleeps in one of the beach bathrooms at night. It’s really sad.” Maya smiled at Deidre’s sympathetic nature. That’s why her friend was studying to become a social worker. Maya disagreed with Deidre’s assessment, but kept her opinions to herself.

A minute later, Deidre yawned and Nina rubbed at her eyes. It was late and the trio commiserated with each other on their sleep deprivation. Both girls said their goodnights and left the room only after assured by Maya she was fine. Alone in her room, Maya prepared for bed. Before she lay down, she dared return to the window. Nothing. She sighed then moved to her mattress and pulled the bed coverings up. Wiggling into the downy softness, Maya closed her eyes and wished to any guardian spirit watching over her she could find an answer to what was happening. She was becoming more and more concerned over this matter. Maya closed her eyes, exhaustion taking her rapidly down into the REM state. A dream began. In it her abuela called to her and she ran to the diminutive, pudgy woman whom Maya adored. Her grandmother’s arms gathered the girl in and held her so tight. Maya inhaled. Her grandmother always smelled of lavendar soap and baking flour. Maya started to sob.

“Mija, why are you crying?”

“I’m scared, Grandma. It’s getting worse. I’m hearing the voices when I’m awake now. Am I crazy?”

“No, Gordita, you are not.”

Maya smiled. Her abuela always called her little fat girl because when Maya was very young she was short and chubby, just like her grandma. Even when Maya’s height finally caught up with her weight and she had become a curvy young woman with a healthy, athletic figure, abuela still called her by that name. Maya allowed it because it was said with love.

“What’s happening to me?” Maya sniffled and took the handkerchief her grandmother offered her. She was surprised to find laughter in her abuela’s dark, almond shaped eyes.

“The truth, Gordita. It is time to know of your birthright for She is calling to you.”

Maya didn’t know how to respond. A chill of foreboding mixed with an odd feeling of excitement warred within and she began to shiver, unsure of which sensation was winning. “M-my what?”

Abuela laughed merrily. “It is time to find out who you really are, Daughter of the Moon.”

Maya pulled away with sudden surprise and watched in disbelief as her abuela transformed.

*****

Maya was hypnotized. Where her grandmother stood, a delicate, white coated doe now existed. An ethereal glow emanated from the hind. Light, almost blue-white in luminosity, ebbed and flowed around her. There were no words forming in Maya’s mind at the beauty of the creature. She could feel her spirit straining to burst free from her body. An overwhelming wave of love and empathy surrounded her.

“Time to run, Daughter. The Others are waiting.”

“I-I don’t know how…” Maya gestured to the deer, indicating her inability to transform. A sorrow claimed her, she was frustrated at her lack of understanding.

“Yes, you do. Remember?”

Maya could swear a smile appeared on the animal’s slender muzzle.

“I don’t…” Maya’s voice trailed away. She could feel an internal welling of energy building within. It engulfed her feet and moved its way up through her muscled calves, thighs and hips as it spiraled its way to her center. Maya’s solar plexus convulsed and she was forced down on her hands and knees. She gasped at the strength of the experience. There was no pain, only a great building of electricity so intense she couldn’t draw breath. There was pleasure, but the sensation came from her soul shouting its triumph as its efforts to escape were succeeding. In a final dynamic burst of power, Maya changed. There was a moment of understanding. Who she was and what she became collided in a symphony of harmonic awareness. Sight, sound, scent expanded and coalesced into sharp clarity. Maya knew everything. The remaining question was why. Why her?

“Follow, Daughter. You will soon learn all you need to know. Then, you will have a choice to make.” With that, the hind leaped across the lawn of Maya’s apartment complex. She dashed after her. The pair hit the beach in tandem at a full gallop. Maya shrieked with euphoria. One final push and her soul burst forth. In full stride, she ran and ran, doing what her heart had desired all along. She bounded through the cold waves crashing on the shore, the shock of the water spurring her forward as her companion urged her to greater speed, smiling at her enthusiasm.

The scent of the sea claimed Maya first. Never before had she smelled so many different odors. There was a variety of fauna. She laughed at the abundance, thrilled by their survival in such a damaged world. There was flora, earthbound and ocean living, in various stages of growth and decay. It was perfume to her, an intoxicating confirmation life thrived no matter what. Large ears didn’t miss a single sound. Vehicles, human lovemaking, babies fussing, dogs barking, it was endless.

Maya realized the scenery was changing. They were no longer on the shoreline of California. They were moving into the rolling desert hills of her home state. They had been running for hours. She was surprised at her stamina, not tired in the least. Different scents came to her and she inhaled. The air was dry, as other species of plants and animals were captured by her extraordinary sense of smell. They moved farther and deeper into hills that became greater, larger, higher. Her curiosity was piqued. They were now in the mountains for sure. Pine trees and snow resonated clean and crisp within her nostrils. She noted she wasn’t cold. Her thick pelt protected her well. Her guide led her through an abundant forest. They jumped and moved in synchronicity, Maya enraptured by her grandmother’s grace. In time, they slowed to a walk, stopped as they entered a clearing. Once again, she was startled by what she viewed. Even though Maya knew she was still in California, the scene before her looked as though she were in some ancient Celtic forest.

Eight other white hinds stood in the center of the opening in the dense woods. Each deer stood next to a stone monolith, each of which encircled a large shining rounded crystal, shaped like a pomegranate, two feet high. Within its center were protrusions of crystal looking like seeds. One stone monolith remained unoccupied. Maya stood in front of it. The energy pulsing from it and the crystal was palpable.

“You may change, Daughters.” This was the first time her grandmother spoke during their strange, exhilarating journey. Bright, intense light blasted the dell. Within moments, Maya was her human self and looking at eight other women. Some were older than she, some were younger, barely out of their teens. Instinct told her they were not American but from different parts of the world. One looked Middle Eastern, another African. A lovely red haired woman had a distinctly Irish appeal while an Asian woman with short black hair stood in silent contemplation. It was as if they were plucked from the tree of the world to represent their homelands. It was very clear all were here for a purpose. She turned to her abuela and realized she was no longer her mother’s mother, but the cloaked woman of her earlier encounters that evening.

The figure pulled back her hood. Maya drew in a sharp breath. Beautiful was a poor description of her. Long, golden blonde hair flowed down the woman’s back to her hips. Large eyes, a rich, sparkling brown framed by thick, dark lashes gleamed from a fair skinned face. Tall and lithe, dressed in clothing Maya could imagine would only be found in Arthurian legend, the lady moved easily to each woman within the circle, embraced every one in tender care. When she came upon Maya, she reached out and drew her in, holding, comforting her. Memories of her mother and grandmother’s love flooded through her. Maya knew she was home and finally comprehended the being before her.

The Goddess stepped back to the crystal in the center of the ring. “It is time, Daughters of the Moon. Our Earth Mother needs you. She can no longer endure the pain inflicted upon her by an uncaring humanity bent on its self-destruction. Each of you has been called as you are in or will be in distinct positions of power and influence to do your part to save Her. However, my Children, this will not be forced on you, as you do have choice.” She leaned down and removed nine small crystals from the interior of its parent.

The Lady moved toward every woman and presented her with a glowing gem. When she reached Maya, she extended her palm. Maya noted the clear stone beaming golden light and hesitated. Her field of study was psychology. She wanted to work in a clinic setting with adults afflicted with multiple personality disorder, but somehow she knew change would come, if she agreed.

“Daughter, your purpose is noble and true. I would ask you to consider reorienting your field of study to work children. Help them before their path twists beyond their ability to make wise decisions. Will you consider this?”

“I will.” Maya’s response was immediate. She realized though she had time to consider the request because each of the women in the circle was asked to consider a new path, to make a choice between what they knew and the potential of the unknown. All understood they must come to the decision on their own. To Maya their faces revealed their deepest thoughts as each considered the importance of this meeting tonight.

Raising her hands, the Goddess’s gaze looked to the heavens and she smiled. “Blessed be,” She whispered. A light converged in the dark sky. Milky and golden, a full moon moved over the glen. In a sudden burst of energy it cast its glow down on the group. The crystalline stone at the center of the ring caught the luminescence and refracted it, sending rainbow colors outward, catching Goddess and all.

“Blessed be,” all of the women responded in unison, arms uplifted. The intensity increased and the energy expanded.

“It is time to return to your lives, Daughters of the Moon.”

The hinds reappeared, Maya among them. To her delight, they darted and ran into the forest, stretching long slender legs, laughing and singing in their freedom, in the magic of the night. Maya felt herself returning, dashing back towards the desert, to her favorite place, the ocean, where once again she teased the waves. Stepping to the courtyard of her apartment building, Maya raised her delicate head. Her world spun and an irresistible urge to sleep pulled at her mind.

****

Maya woke with a start as her alarm clock blared. She slapped at the sentinel to shut it off and lay back in her bed. A feeling of disorientation filled her. I was dreaming again. Saddened by the fact she was able to remember the dream with perfect recall, but thinking it was only a dream, she rolled over, stared at the morning sky, wishing it had been real. As she did so, a sharp poking in her hip forced her to sit up. “Ouch,” she exclaimed.

As she pulled her blankets back, Maya gasped. A crystal approximately one inch long and wide, twinkled in the sunlight. It was mounted in silver filigree on a long silver chain, its sharp end standing at attention.

You are loved, Daughter of the Moon, she heard the Goddess whisper.

Maya started to cry, her heart welling with joy. It was real! In slow motion, she grasped the jewel, held it to her chest. It was warm and comforting and in its presence, her night with the Goddess returned in full force. Maya opened her eyes and put the necklace on.

****

Trick-or-treaters bombarded Maya’s apartment in a frenzy. The girls couldn’t believe how many children came to their door. The costumes were adorable and the kids’ enthusiasm for the night unending. Deidre and Nina took a moment in the lull to run to the local convenience store a block away. They were picking up more treats for the crowds as Maya continued to dole out their remaining candy.

When the last batch of children trickled down, Maya sat in tired happiness on her sofa. A few minutes later a timid knock caused her to stand and grab her half empty bowl of sweets. When she opened the door, a little girl with long, golden hair and chocolate eyes dressed as a princess stood before her, crying. “I’m lost. I don’t know where my Daddy is.”

Maya’s heart lurched. “Oh no, it’s okay, querida. Let me put on my shoes and I’ll help you find him, all right?”

The little girl snuffled and nodded her head, rubbing her tears on her sleeve. Maya returned within seconds and offered her hand to the child. “What’s your name?”

“Guinevere.” The child hiccupped.

“Wow, that’s pretty.”

“My daddy named me after my grandma.” She responded still sniffling while attempting to suck her thumb. The little girl told her all about her father, what he looked like and where she last saw him.

Maya’s whole body began to vibrate. Something was building. She was being called. They rode the elevator to the first floor of the complex then moved toward the lobby when the front double doors flew open. A frantic looking man was talking on his cell phone. She could hear him describing his child, this child. Maya breathed out a sigh of relief.

“Sir, I think I’ve found her,” she stated as she picked Guinevere up and presented her to him.

“Oh my God, Guin!” He yelled as he dropped his phone and reached for his daughter. He covered her in kisses, holding her tight, asked if she was scared, apologizing over and over. Turning to Maya, his face colored as if he were embarrassed. “She let go of my hand for only a second and got caught in a crowd of kids when the elevator doors closed. I was caught in the crowd on the elevator and couldn’t reach her!”

Maya smiled. “She’s okay. She knocked on my door and asked for help right away. She told me all about you. Guinevere is one smart little girl.”

He pulled Maya to him, hugged her and laughed. “Thank you! Thank you!”

Guinevere hugged his neck tight. The pair said goodbye to Maya once again and turned to leave the building. As she headed toward the elevator, she heard the man call the police department again to advise his daughter was found.

“Thank you, nice lady.” Guinevere smiled through her thumb, waving with remaining fingers.

Maya turned and returned the gesture. “You’re welcome. Hold on to your daddy’s hand and don’t let go from now on, alright?”

“I will,” she replied, leaning her head against her father’s.

A tear slicked Maya’s cheek. She experienced a profound relief and happiness. It was as if her own child had been rescued. As she watched the pair leave, Maya knew beyond a shadow of doubt she made her choice and she knew the Goddess smiled.

THE END

Big Announcements & Tons of Free Stuff for May 2010!!!!!

Now, while we don’t have a lot of announcements for May — we do have free stuff and some major ones!

First off, WE HAVE LISTENED TO OUR TWITTER FOLLOWERS!!!!

We realize that sometimes posting comments on blogs is an utter pain because many of you have let us know. Having to enter your URL, Email, and Username over and over again can really get time consuming unless you save them or become a user after which you have to keep logging in. So, by reader request, we have created a Free Forum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, we have some categories already, but you can request more if you’d like or just post to the General Board. This forum is set up for our readers to discuss WHAT you will –WHEN you will. I even pimped up the profiles so you can add your twitter, facebook, blog, web site links and more! You can send private messages, chat, whatever you like.

For those who find posting on blog easy, you can still do so, but for those who want a place to make into their own stomping ground, well we at The Pagan and the Pen look forward to conversing with you!

This is just to show our appreciation for feedback, comments, and for following us.

CLICK TO JOIN OUR FREE FORUM TODAY!!!!

______________________________________________________

May’s Theme is:

Gardening (All things Nature–herbs, harvesting, etc)

&

Divination

______________________________________________________

Did you get your free May calendar for desktop?

Free May 2010 Desktop Wallpaper Ready!!!!

______________________________________________________

 

Did you see our NEW Pagan Artist of the Month that the fabulous Brandi Auset interviewed for us?

May: Pagan Artist of the Month : Russelle Westbrook

 

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Now, with all that being announced, we have something else free for you brought to us by Jesse Fox and the many other Authors of Dark Roast Press. (Some of which write for The Pagan and the Pen) They have created a collection of Free reads. So go grab yours today! Click the cover to get it!

DRPSampler-Small

Details:

Do you have a taste for something a little different?Not the usual erotic-romance? Something perhaps a little darker?

Come sample what the Black Coffee Klatsch has to offer!

You might just be surprised…

In celebration of Dark Roast Press’ 2nd Anniversary we would like to announce

A FREE DOWNLOAD

Barista’s Choice: A Sampling of the Authors of Dark Roast Press

Featuring Shorts by Authors

Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks

Christopher C. Newman

Jamie Lynn Miller

Jesse Fox

Nera Ragno

Tyree Kimber

______________________________________________________

C.H. SCARLETT

www.chscarlett.net

Coming Soon from Noble Romance Publishing Click to Purchase

Quote: Chaucer from A Knight’s Tale: I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.

~

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The Lion Roared

bloodiedquill

I’m just sneaking this under the wire for my day at the blog… family issues came up and I’ve only just arrived home. Still, I wanted to get this story up for you all, and I certainly hope you enjoy it!

It has some disturbing and violent pieces, so I’m placing it behind a cut, if you’d rather not read a creepy-kid horror story… 😉
Continue reading The Lion Roared