It’s Here!

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The Shattered Heart is here!

Buy it straight from me, or get it on Amazon.

Either way you don’t want to miss this. Things are going down.

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Happy Christmas shopping, everyone!

 

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The Shattered Heart – Final Deleted Scene


It’s only 2 days until you can read The Shattered Heart for yourself! In the meantime, here’s one last deleted scene that takes place just a couple of months before The Shattered Heart begins. Warning: it’s about to get real.

Somehow Adam drove from home to the edge of town without even noticing.

When he got in his car, planning a quick visit to the Gylf, he had started thinking through all of his questions again. When Alex had been attacked last fall, they had assumed Candice’s pet was crazed from the loss of its mistress, but after Dom and Logan had nearly lost their feet to frostbite, they were forced to admit that someone was still out to get them. Even though the papers they had taken from Candice’s cave had seemed useless, they were still the closest thing the Circle had to a clue about their enemy. Adam had been puzzling over them for the last few months without making much progress.

Candice’s notebook mostly just outlined her plan for attacking them last summer. The margins were filled with hateful comments. It wasn’t a pleasant read. Adam was more interested in the stack of letters that had been tucked inside. Someone was communicating with Candice on a regular basis, but it was impossible to tell who. The letters were written in come kind of code that mingled banal phrases about the weather with nonsense words. Nothing Adam had tried so far had helped him make sense of them. His latest attempt was to make a list of all the words that had to do with plants and animals and ask the Gylf what they knew about those things. It was a long shot, but Adam was desperate. So far, the worst damage they’d received was Logan losing all the toenails in his right foot, but it was pure luck that nothing worse had happened.

They couldn’t count on luck forever.

Adam slammed on the brakes when he realized that he had just driven past the Gylf forest. The road was deserted out here, so he backed along it until he came to the spot where he usually parked.

“You’re an idiot,” he muttered to himself. “You should know better than to think and drive.”

Grabbing his notepad off the passenger seat, Adam jumped out of the car. He figured he had about an hour before his mom would be expecting him for dinner. Being late wasn’t an option.

The grass by the side of the road had grown tall, and Adam pushed through it impatiently. It was a relief to reach the edge of the forest. Under the trees, he knew the going would be easier. They all walked the path often enough to keep it clear.

Adam rounded the first big tree trunk and, out of habit, ducked under the low-hanging branches on the other side.

Two steps later, the ground erupted in front of him as a thousand stinging insects swarmed out toward his face.

Adam threw his hands up in a futile protective gesture. His notepad dropped unnoticed on the forest floor.

All the world was buzzing and dozens of pain points erupted on Adam’s arms and neck as he was stung over and over. There was no defense but to get away.

Adam ran, fleeing up the path toward the Gylf’s home, batting away insects as he went, forgetting everything but the instinct to get to safety.

The pain on his arms and neck spread down his back and then to his face. It was getting harder to see, and he realized his eyes were swelling shut.

Adam tripped on a branch and stumbled to his knees. Standing up again was impossible, so he curled into a ball, his face tucked into his legs, his arms covering his head. He could still hear buzzing all around, mixed with smacking noises that made no sense to his fuzzy brian.

He waited for more stings.

He waited to die.

The next thing he felt was the pressure of tiny hands pushing his arms aside. Through the slits that were his eyes, he saw several Gylf examining his injuries with concern.

“All is well now, Adam,” a soothing voice said. “Your attackers are gone. Terfol is being brought. He will tend to your wounds.”

Adam tried to express his thanks, but only a croaking sound came out.

“Hush,” said the voice. “Do not try to speak. Rest now.”

Adam slipped into a dark dream, only surfacing from time to time. Once he felt something cool being pressed against his neck. Another time, he heard many voices. He thought he recognized Logan’s, but he slipped away again before he could be sure.

When Adam came fully awake, it was dark in the woods. A fire crackled nearby, and he saw dark figures sitting around it. His eyes opened a little further than before, and the unbearable pain of earlier was reduced to a dull ache and some itchiness. He tried to lift his head, but that proved impossible.

“He’s awake,” Eve said. “Hey, Champ. How you feeling?”

A grunt was all Adam could manage.

“That’s about what we figured,” Eve said. She and Alex crouched over him, working together to lift his head slightly and drizzle water into his mouth.

“How long…” he managed once he had swallowed some.

“A few hours,” Alex said. “It’s about 10 o’clock. Don’t worry. Your mom thinks you’re spending the night at Logan’s house.”

“Thanks…Those things…”

“Yeah, they did a number on you,” Eve said, “but the Gylf say you’re going to be okay. Luckily for you, you ran right into a group of them taking care of an abandoned baby fox. They fought off the stingers…and paid the price for it.”

“Price…?”

“It’s nothing you need to worry about now,” Alex said. “Terfol wants you to rest tonight. If you do, he thinks the swelling will be down by tomorrow, and you can go home.”

She turned away, but Adam grabbed her arm. “Alex…?”

She sighed and shook her head.

“A few of them got stung,” Eve said. “Terra got it the worst. She was hit several times. She…she didn’t make it.”

Adam dropped his hand. Alex’s shoulders were shaking.

“It’s not your fault, Adam.” Eve’s voice was angry. “If the Gylf hadn’t been here, it would be you that would be dead. No one is blaming you. It’s whoever is sending these attacks. They don’t care who gets hurt.”

Her words washed over Adam with no meaning.

Terra. He thought of her dark hair and expressive eyes. She was the first Gylf he had ever met. How could she just be gone?

He should have seen this coming. He should have known. He should have taken it all more seriously. He should have…

“We’re going to find who did this,” Eve said. “We will.”

Yes, they would.

“We’re going to find them, and we’re going to end them.”

Adam closed his eyes and held onto her words with all his might.


Just two more days! 

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The Shattered Heart – Deleted Scene 2


It’s just a little over a week until The Shattered Heart comes out! For those who are waiting, here’s part two of the deleted scenes that lead us up to the big day. If you missed part one, you can find it here. Now grab a cup of tea or cocoa. Things are about to get cold.

Dominic slid his shovel under the snow and lifted it up, tossing the frozen mess to the side in one motion. He had forgotten how long his grandparents’ driveway was. He forgot every year, until the first snowfall came along to remind him, but it had been longer this time. The first snowfall had come weeks ago, and Dom hadn’t been there to clear it away.

“I already said thank-you, but I should say it again,” he said to Logan, who wielded his own snow shovel a few feet away. “Not just for today. All the other times, too.”

“It’s nothing,” Logan said, still working.

Dom stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. He gestured at the half-cleared driveway. “This is not nothing.”

Logan grinned. “True. But it feels like nothing when she gives you those cookies at the end.”

Dom picked up his shovel again. Cookies sounded good. Not that he hadn’t been stuffed full of all of his favorite foods since he came home three days ago, but Abuela’s cinnamon sugar cookies were perfection.

There was no more talking for a long time. The only sound was the scrape of the shovels on the pavement and the soft plop of the wet snow on the banks as the two boys moved slowly farther away from the house.

If Logan hadn’t stopped mid-motion and straightened up, Dom might not have even noticed the tiny figure at the end of the drive. It was the size of a little girl and dressed all in white with a blue hood covering its head. If not for that hood, it would have been impossible to see against the snow.

Dom knew instantly that it wasn’t a little girl.

“What the…?” Logan said.

“Watch out!” Dom yelled.

It was too late. The tiny figure had raised its arms and streams of liquid shot toward them.

Dom ducked his head, but that wasn’t where the stranger was aiming. Before he knew what had happened, Dom’s feet and legs were soaked with water which instantly froze into ice.

Dom tried to yank his foot away from the ground, but it was already frozen in place and the streams of liquid from his attacker were still coming, thickening the ice with every second.

Dom reached down with his hands, only to have one of them take the brunt of the attack. Immediately his fingers were numb.

He straightened and used his other hand to hurl the shovel toward the source of the water. It was too far, and the shovel dropped into the snow without a sound, but it seemed to scare his enemy, at least. The streams of water stopped. The little figure darted away, its blue hood disappearing behind a snow bank.

“You okay?” Logan grunted.

“It got my hand,” Dom said. “You?”

“Can’t feel my feet,” said Logan.

“Me either.”

They were both encased in a four-inch layer of ice from the knee down.

“We have to get out of this,” Logan said. “We’ll get frostbite.”

“Use your shovel,” said Dom.

Logan began to beat at his own feet with the plastic tool. Luckily, it was a quality snow shovel, with a metal tip along the edge for clean snow removal. It chipped away at the ice until Logan was able to pull one leg out. Dom watched him, beating his frozen hand against his chest until the ice cracked and he could take off his glove. Then he pulled his arm up inside his coat, warming his hand against his own skin.

As soon as Logan had both feet free he stumbled to his knees. “I still can’t feel them at all,” he said as he started to work on Dom’s legs.

“As soon as I’m loose, we’ll get in the house. Abuela has a fire going.”

“I don’t think I can walk,” Logan said.

“Then we’ll crawl. There’s no way to get warm out here.”

“Wait. There is something,”Logan said. Dom’s right foot was free now. “In my pocket. Leaves from the wine tree.”

“You have some here?”

“I always bring them when I shovel. Hand warmers.”

“Get them out then. Give me the shovel. I can finish this.”

“You only have one hand. And I’m almost…there!” Logan fell back, panting and dropped the shovel.

Dom tried to take a step and tumbled sideways into the snow bank. “I think you were right about the walking.”

“Here.” Logan shoved a handful of red leaves into Dom’s good hand.

Both boys stripped off their boots and socks and crumpled the leaves, pressing them against their bare skin.

“Socks back on now?” Logan asked.

“Yes,” Dom sighed. Though the crumpled leaves had felt hot in his hand, his feet still felt nothing. He tried not to panic.

“What was that thing?” said Logan in the tone of someone who was trying to distract himself.

“No idea, but it wasn’t a friend.”

They sat in silence for a minute before Logan said. “I think I can feel my toes a little.”

Dom concentrated on his feet. He tried to wiggle them. They moved just the tiniest bit.

“It’s working,” he said.

“You ready to try walking again?”

Dom nodded.

“Who’s going to help who?” Said Logan.

Dom slid his feet over to brace against Logan’s and held out his hand. “We’re going to have to pull each other up at the same time.”

Logan gripped Dom’s hand tightly. “Easy peasy, right?”

“We’ve done harder things,” Dom answered.

“On three then. One…two…

“Three!”

If you enjoyed this short trip into the world of The Book of Sight, sign up for my newsletter to get even more deleted scenes and special sneak peeks. Plus, if you sign up before December 5, you’ll be eligible to win an entire set of The Book of Sight series! (Click through for details.)

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The Shattered Heart – Deleted Scene 1


For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the release of Book 5, The Shattered Heart, I’ve got a little treat today. This story was originally a part of Chapter 1 of TSH, but it was cut to move the action along. This scene, along with two others that I’ll share later, takes place in the year that passed between the end of The Poisoned Cure and the beginning of The Shattered Heart. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read The Poisoned Cure yet, don’t read the below. Instead, go get it already!
Alex loved fall. The days were still warm, but the nights were crisp and cold. She got to wear her jeans every day again, and on the best days, her dad would build a fire in the fireplace. Even her mounds of homework didn’t seem that bad when there was a fire to sit by while she worked on it.

When Adam dropped her off after school, Alex took her time walking toward the front door, making sure to crunch all the leaves on the path as she went. She pulled her key out and waved at Adam. He beeped the horn as he drove away. He was proud of his car, even though it was just a little hatchback from a previous decade. Adam had worked just as hard to convince his parents to let him buy it as he had to earn the money for it. Alex was happy to let him feel proud. Now that Dom was off training with the Messengers and Eve was taking community college classes, Alex and Logan would have been riding the bus home without Adam to drive them.

The key stuck in the lock as it always did, but Alex leaned into the door and gave the key a practiced twist. It clicked into place and the door popped open all in one motion. Alex stepped into the dim entry and closed the door with a nudge from her backpack.

When she turned around, something launched itself at her head.

Claws were raking at her face before she could even react. Alex threw her hands up and felt something furry. It bit her finger hard. Alex batted it away.

For a second she could only think of her pounding heart and the throbbing on her cheek and her hand. Then the creature leaped up again, this time sinking its teeth into her shoulder. Alex twisted in a circle, trying unsuccessfully to dislodge it. When she finally got a grip on the flailing thing and ripped it away, it took a little piece of her with it.

Alex yelled in pain, but there was no one to hear. Her dad’s studio in the backyard was too far away.

The creature twisted out of her hands and disappeared into the shadows of the darkened house.

Alex tried to think through the pain. She needed a weapon.

The living room was just ahead. Alex sprinted to the fireplace and grabbed the metal poker from the stand of fireplace tools. Even as her hands closed around its handle, she felt the creature jump onto her back. Her backpack protected her from the claws, but the furiously snapping jaws were right by her ear.

Alex dropped to the ground, and the thing tumbled off to the side. She whirled around, weapon held high. The creature darted forward again, and Alex swung. She felt the poker make contact with a crunch. The creature dropped onto the carpet, motionless.

The poker slid out of Alex’s hand. She was shaking all over, but at the moment her pain was masked behind a flood of adrenalin.

She stared at the thing that had attacked her. It looked small now that it was lying still, hardly bigger than a possum. It even had little hands like a possum, though the rest of it was covered in fur.

Alex recognized those tiny hands. If she could just get her brain to work, she would remember where she had seen them before. In the woods somewhere. This last summer? No, it was longer ago than that. If Eve were here, she would know.

That was it. Eve had talked to it. She had wanted to follow it. When they were looking for Logan a few years ago. But when they didn’t it had attacked them, and they knew it had been sent by the Breaker.

Candice.

Against her will, Alex saw the Breaker’s last shuddering breaths, saw her lifeless body on the cave floor.

Alex’s legs gave way, and she slipped to the floor.

This animal belonged to Candice. It was attacking her because she had killed its owner. Or had someone sent it?

Alex’s trembling was getting worse. She couldn’t feel her hands or feet. Vaguely she realized that she was going into shock.

She stared at the limp creature on her carpet. Was it dead or just knocked out? She couldn’t tell if it was breathing.

How was she going to get it out of here?

She needed help. Walking to her dad’s studio was impossible at the moment, but she could fumble off her backpack and pull out her cell phone. Her dad might not have his phone on him, but he wasn’t who she really needed anyway.

Her hands were so unsteady, she almost couldn’t punch the auto dial button.

“What’s up?” Adam’s carefree voice was jarring.

“I need you to come back,” Alex said, suddenly aware that she was breathing too quickly.

“What’s wrong? Alex?” When she didn’t answer, he cursed under his breath. “I’m turning around now. I’ll be there in two minutes. Stay on the line. Are you okay?”

“I don’t know,” Alex said.

“Right. Well…okay. You will be soon. I’m almost there.”


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The Shattered Heart Cover Reveal

This is a good day. I know, it’s election day in an awful election year, but still, this is a good day.

Want to know why?

This is the day I get to show you the cover of The Shattered Heart!

This is my favorite day of every book launch. For real. As happy as I’ll be when you get to actually read the book, that part is also nerve-wracking. This? This is just fun.

It’s beautiful.

You’re going to love it.

Before I show you, can I tell you what I like best about this cover? It has no hearts. Also nothing shattered. So…mystery. But! When you read the book, the cover is going to make perfect sense. It’s like an inside joke, just between you and me, except not that funny.

What do you call an inside joke that’s not a joke?

I just Googled it and found nothing helpful.

But I do think I’ve delayed long enough now.

Are you ready?

Presenting The Shattered Heart with cover design by the talented Matt Hasenbalg!

 

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Want to see the back, too?

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And even more exciting, the whole series together:

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Seriously, Matt outdid himself, didn’t he? He designed every one of those beauties. It’s been a privilege to work with him.

Speaking of beauty…that set up there? That’s what two lucky people are going to win in our giveaway! Check out the details and make sure you’re signed up!

Want to pin this and let everyone know what you want for Christmas? Here you go!

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We’re 23 days away!!

 

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Let the Countdown Begin!

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It’s officially one month until the launch of The Shattered Heart!  Time to get excited!

We’re going to have all sorts of little goodies throughout the next month, including a cover reveal (I can’t wait for you guys to see the cover) and a few deleted scenes from The Shattered Heart. But today, we have something even more exciting…

Free Stuff!

In honor of the completion of the Book of Sight series, I’m giving two lucky winners a full set of all five books! All you have to do to register for the giveaway is to sign up for my newsletter. That means everyone who is already signed up is already registered!  The beauty of signing up for the newsletter is that you won’t just be eligible to win a set of books, but you’ll also get fun exclusive content delivered right to your inbox, along with all the updates. So in a way, everyone wins.

We’ll leave the door open for new contestants until December 6.  Then, two winners will be chosen randomly using a random result generator. Sorry, if you’re related to me, you can’t win, and all participants have to live in the United States. But that means better odds for the rest of you! Once we have our winners, I’ll announce them right here and send the winners a notification. If you win, you’ll need to respond by email, and I’ll drop all five of these beauties in the mail. They should arrive just in time for Christmas!

Give them away to someone special or keep them for yourself. They’re awfully pretty.

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Legal necessities: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning depend on the number of participants. Value of giveaway is $000.

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Spooky

Yes, my friends, Halloween has fallen on a Monday. We all had to get up to our alarms and put on regular clothes and go to work and school and try to focus all day. We all know we’re going to have to do the same tomorrow. No one is feeling many thrills and chills on this cloudy Monday morning. But we don’t have to let that spoil our fun.

We can still race home after our day is done. We can put on costumes and get out bags of candy. We can slurp down some soup and maybe a vegetable or two to counterbalance the sugar rush that is coming. We can light the candles in our jack-o-lanterns.  We can build a fire and sit around it while we wait for the costumed masses to show up at our door. We can pilfer a few pieces of the candy. And while we wait…we can tell scary stories to shake off the drab normalcy of our Monday.
We’ve got creepy of all varieties here, so pick your poison and drink up, my sweets.

  • You just never know when a day will turn to terror…Toast
  • Some people just won’t listen to warnings…Through
  • For the littles, it’s funny and someone dies, all without truly being scary…Three
  • This feels like it’s going to be spooky, but it isn’t…The Window 
  • Fall fairytale hijinks for those who’d rather laugh than cringe…Candy Apples
  • To top things off, a little poem about the truly scary part of Halloween…To Face Your Fears

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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The Truth About Pumpkins


It’s that pumpkin time of year. Pumpkins stacked artfully on every doorstep. Pumpin crafts in every elementary classroom. Pumpkin-shaped dishes and pumpkin-colored sweaters. And don’t even get me started on the food. Pumpkin spice lattes are only the beginning. Now we have pumpkin spice cookies. Pumpkin spice cereal. Pumpkin spice tortilla chips. Even our beloved peanut butter cups have mutated into pumpkin form for the season.

Don’t get me wrong. I love all of it. I have no fewer than six pumpkins by my front door. I own an orange shirt (something I once swore I would never do). Pumpkin spice is my jam. But lately, I’ve been asking myself why. 

Why have we become so crazy about pumpkins? Sure, it’s a fall vegetable, but so are other kinds of squash, not to mention cabbage and kale. You don’t see anyone obsessing over cabbage season, do you? Is it all just a clever marketing scheme? But if so, why haven’t they come up with a winter vegetable to lure us to spend?  Surely they still want our money when it’s freezing outside.

Then the other day, it hit me. I was cleaning up toys in our playroom (like some kind of family-member-turned-slave) and I saw the picture. You see that one up there? It’s from an old Cinderella book I found at a thrift store. The illustrations charmed me, so I framed them and hung them up to smile down on my playing children. And there it is. Cinderella, holding the pumpkin which is about to take her to a ball to meet the love of her life.

No wonder we’re so obsessed with pumpkins, ladies! They are embedded in our mythology as our transportation to bliss. 

Think about it. A plain lump of a vegetable, left in the garden after everything else had been harvested, gets chosen to be transformed into something special and lovely. It won’t last forever. The magic ends at midnight. But no one will ever forget it, even after it’s gone. It will have changed the course of a girl’s life, and even the course of a kingdom.

That pumpkin is potential. That pumpkin is hope. That pumpkin is us.

Too far? 

Okay.

I’m not saying that if a cabbage had been all that poor girl had left in her garden, we’d all be drinking cabbage spice lattes today. I’m just saying that there has to be some correlation, don’t you think? Surely we can all agree that the stories of our culture have far-reaching affects. Why coudn’t this be one of them?

You consider it. I’m going to go make myself a pumpkin spice tea before my kids get home from school.

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Through


Michael knew there was something wonderful about the pond the minute he saw it.  

They were at their grandfather’s house for two months, and these woods were the only form of entertainment he had. This pond was going to save his summer. His sister took one look at the murky, greenish water and told him to stay away from it.  She warned him that it was probably full of nasty bacteria.  But Michael had never been good at listening to warnings.  

The very next day he dived in.  It was cool and refreshing and much, much deeper than Michael had thought.  Near the edge, he could touch the muddy bottom with his feet, but three paces in, the water was over his head, and the floor dropped down steeply.  Michael was a strong swimmer.  He always had been.  His mother said he was part fish.  It was harder than he thought to kick all the way to the bottom, but it was worth it.  What he saw there made the rest of his air whoosh out of his body, so that he had to shoot to the surface to breathe.

He was only up for a minute, and then he dove again at top speed.  He could see it through the gloom this time as he approached it: a huge stone archway.  There was writing around the edges.

Heed the danger, friend.

DO NOT PASS

Turn back before it is too late.

Go home while you can.

STAY AWAY

Each warning was in a different handwriting, and some looked much older than the others.  Slowly, Michael approached the arch.  It didn’t look dangerous.  He reached out a hand and touched it.  Nothing happened. He had half expected an electric shock or something.  He considered another trip to the surface to breathe and thin it through. But really, he could see both sides of the arch.  The same green water.  The same brown muddy bottom.  The stone of the arch looked like it had grown straight out of the earth, solid and immovable.  

Michael read the warnings again.  He shrugged.  He had never been good at listening to warnings.

He swam through the arch.

Nothing happened.  Michael was deflated.  He shot to the surface for air.

The brilliant colors caught his attention first.  When he had left, the woods were green and brown, the leaves so thick that the light was dim.  Now sunlight showered down and he saw reds, yellows, oranges, purples.  Purples?  Michael pulled himself out of the water.  The nearest tree was small, its bark brown but somehow soft looking.  The leaves were yellow and hanging among them were large round purple discs.  He reached out and touched one.  It was smooth and hard.  It looked so much like candy that Michael couldn’t help himself.  He knew he shouldn’t.  His mother had warned him not to eat things that grow in the woods.  You never know when something might be poisonous.  But Michael had never been good at listening to warnings.

The purple thing was candy, and it was delicious.  Michael was still sucking on it when he realized that the tree trunk had melted a little where he had put his hand while picking the purple candy.  He leaned closer and licked it.  It was chocolate.

After that, Michael was too busy eating to think about anything else.  Only when he had eaten so much that his stomach felt tight and his head dizzy from too much sugar did Michael begin to think of going home.  He wasn’t sure how it worked, but this was obviously not the same woods he came from.  Somehow the arch had brought him here, so it would take him back again.  He swam down and looked at it again.  The same arch.  The same warnings.  This time he swam through from the other side, headed home.

When his head broke the surface, Michael knew at once that it hadn’t worked.  He was no longer in the candy forest, but he was definitely not in his grandfather’s woods, either.  The trees here were so tall he could barely see the leaves above him.  The trunks were smooth and straight like pillars in a cathedral.  In fact, the whole place had the still, silent feeling of a church.  As Michael climbed out of the water, he noticed that the ground was covered in a thick carpet of leaves.  They crunched underfoot, giving off a faint scent that reminded Michael of candles burning and Christmas cookies in the oven.  He was dripping wet but didn’t feel cold at all.  The air seemed to snuggle around him, warming his skin without making him feel hot.  A few steps away was a pile of boulders.  Michael sat on the nearest one to think.  All thought was surprised out of his head when the rock proved to be softer than the softest pillow.  He lounged back on the pile, feeling more comfortable than he ever had in his life.  He thought he would just rest here for a minute before swimming back down to the arch.  In moments, he was asleep.

When Michael woke up, he felt so rested he thought he could run a marathon.  Instead he stared at the pond.  Obviously the arch could take him to different places, different worlds he guessed from what he had seen (and tasted and felt).  Wonderful worlds.  Worlds anyone would want to visit.  Why would anyone warn him away from such worlds?  

One possible reason presented itself, but Michael ignored it.  Of course he wasn’t lost forever. Of course the arch would eventually take him home.  There were only so many possible worlds, right?  Sooner or later, he would show up in his own.  To keep from thinking about this any more, he dived into the water.

Through the arch.  Up to the surface.  Weeping willows with branches trailing into the water on every side.  Some sort of sad music playing off in the distance.  Michael dived.

Through the arch.  Up to the surface.  Rubbery trees swaying in a wind so strong Michael’s hair was whipped in every direction.  A strange smell of burning sugar drifted on the wind.  Michael dived.

Through the arch.  Up to the surface.  Night time, no trees, only small round shrubs in every direction glowing with some unearthly light.  Michael dived.

Through the arch.  Up to the surface.  Sheets of rain so thick it was impossible to see the bank of the pond.  A fork of lightening.  Michael dived.

Through the arch and through the arch and through the arch.  World after world after world, none of them familiar.  Michael began to feel desperate.  All the energy he had gained by sleeping on the pillow rocks was gone, but still his fear spurred him on.  His legs and arms felt weak, but he dived and dived and dived again.

Through the arch.  Up to the surface.  A grey sky.  Blackened stumps on every side, smoke still rising in places.  A shout, harsh and unintelligible.  Pain bursting through his shoulder.  The shaft of an arrow sticking out.  Michael dived.

Swimming was agony.  His right arm was useless.  He could see his blood clouding the water around him.  The arch down below seemed impossibly far.  In desperation he kicked.  The next world had to be his own.  It would certainly be the last.

Through the arch.  Up to the surface.  Dim light.  Warm air.  Familiar trees.  Home.

Michael staggered up on the bank and collapsed.  Blood seeped from around the arrow, but the pain seemed far away now.  The whole world seemed far away.

A shout.  A soft touch.  His sister’s face, set with worry.  A sharp pain.  The arrow was gone.  Capable hands wrapped his shoulder tightly.  A bottle was raised to his lips.  Water…and something else.  Michael came suddenly wide awake.  He was being carried on a stretcher.  He couldn’t see who was behind his head, but his sister was carrying his feet.

“I’m so glad you were here,” he whispered. “I don’t think I could have made it home.”

That familiar smile was a little puzzled now.  That familiar voice answered, but with words he could not understand. Michael’s heart constricted.  Another voice answered from above his head, words in the same strange language but in a voice he recognized.  It continued, haltingly in English, “Do not fear.”

That voice. It couldn’t be. Ignoring the pain, Michael twisted to look up.  His own face stared back at him in wonder.  His own hands carried his stretcher. 

In mindless terror, Michael lurched to his feet, stumbling toward the pond with the last of his strength.

The voice that was his and yet not his followed him. “You must not!  Your wound!”

Michael had never been good at listening to warnings.  

Michael dived.

 

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Mark Your Calendars


Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Does that picture look just a little…incomplete? 

I’ve told you that book 5, The Shattered Heart, is coming soon, but we don’t like vague around here. We like to make plans. We like to mark things on our calendar and have something definite to look forward to. 

So here we go! Get those calendars out. 

The Shattered Heart will be available on December 1, 2016!

You’ll be able to buy The Shattered Heart in paperback form, like those beauties up there, or download the e-book to read on any device you like. 

In the meantime, you still have six more weeks to get caught up on books 1-4.  And if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, do it today! I’ve already sent out some deleted scenes from The Shattered Heart, and there will be more exclusive content coming in the next few weeks, so if you want something to hold you over until December, the newsletter is for you.

Are we good? Calendars all synced? 

Awesome. See you in a few more weeks with pictures!

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