Daven Talvi made a choice a quarter-century ago to serve the Bitterroot Elf Clan, allowing the Circle of Elders to send him into suspended animation until the queen could be rescued. In doing so, he gave up his mate and his newborn son, sacrificing his own life for that of the clan.
It had been a mistake.
With the clan now in chaos and the new young queen in hiding, Daven must acknowledge his own errors and take responsibility to set things right. He teams up with Lane Donatelli, a human who has too long used food and computer gaming to feed his own insecurities.
Together, they use Lane’s beloved technology with Daven’s innate magical abilities to wage battle against the evil elf mages threatening the clan.
[Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Book 3) | Fantasy novel from Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. | Available in Hardback, Paperback, and eBook]
“Kev! Come in! Man, you should have called. I woulda come down and saved you the steps.” He stepped aside so Kevin could skinny past him; fortunately, Kevin kept himself in military trim. Lane, on the other hand, had a longstanding love affair with Creamy Cupcakes that kept him mostly round.
Kevin continued into the kitchen. “What’s that noise? I thought you took that hawk back to the forest?”
Lane swallowed hard. “Oh, the hawk. Yeah. Yeah, we did.” He wandered back into the small living room where Crispy sat curled into the corner of their brown Salvation-Army acquired couch.
“That’s a….” Kevin blinked as he leaned on the counter at the pass-through.
“Yep. That’s a baby.” Lane smiled as little Elliun snuggled into Crispy’s arm, both hands on the bottle Crispy had just warmed. Elliun’s blue fleece sleeper zipped all the way to his chin, but Crispy had insisted on wrapping him in a knit blanket, too. Just in case.
Kevin set down the box he’d carried upstairs and walked into the living room, staring. His words dropped like stones. “Where. Did. You. Get. A. Baby.” He glanced first at the door, then at the webcam on the edge of the Cave. “Are we going to have police on the doorstep?”
“Not likely.” Lane sighed. “We’re just…babysitting.”
“Babysitting.” Kevin’s dry tone was laced with skepticism. “Really.”
“At least I hope so.”
Satisfied Crispy was meeting the child’s needs, Lane leaned against the door frame into the kitchen. ‘Babysitting’ wasn’t really the right word. “Kidnapping,’ now that was more accurate, in the legal sense. He’d had to take the baby. He had to. For the baby’s sake. Before something bad happened.
Crispy suspected, but he hadn’t said anything until they got home. Then he’d turned into the perfect little mother, tending to Elliun’s every need. But it didn’t keep the little one from crying. And even though it had been less than two days, the noise and needs of this child grated on Lane’s nerves. More ibuprofen, please…
“Seriously, Lane. Isn’t that your friend’s baby? How long are you keeping it?”
Crispy looked up, a Madonna-like smile on his face. “Until he’s safe. Everyone needs to be safe. You know that. You were a soldier.”
A furrow developed between Kevin’s thin brows. “Well, I can’t argue with you. Everyone sure does need to be safe. It’s just really peculiar.” He inched closer to the couch. “He’s a handsome little guy. But…how did you learn to–”
“Ehow.com,” Lane said. “They also have a page on how to change a diaper and how to mix formula.”
Kevin laughed. “I guess I never looked it up. I had plenty of brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. We did it all by watching. You want to know how to put a baby to sleep?”
“We learned that on WikiHow,” Crispy said. “They even have a video.”
“Unbelievable.” Kevin shook his head. “Hey…do you think I could hold him?”
Crispy looked suspiciously at Kevin. “Do you have baby credentials?”
“Probably more than you do, Crisp,” Lane said. “Go ahead. It’ll be fine.”
Elliun went to Kevin without a peep, studying his dark face curiously. He reached out to touch Kevin’s skin, then broke into a smile.
“See? He likes you.”
A knock at the door sent them all into shocked silence. Crispy hid his head behind a green sofa pillow. “The government’s here! Your camera told them we’re criminals!”
At her friend’s coaxing, Jelani tries on a glass slipper left lying on the sidewalk. When she steps into the shoe, it shatters, cutting her foot. As blood trickles to the pavement and mingles with the broken glass, dozens of two-inch high creatures emerge and then scurry away into the shadows. Soon she is approached by two mysterious and handsome men claiming to be elves who need her help to rescue their queen. More revelations come, threatening to unravel the life of this sassy barista from Missoula, Montana. Jelani must learn to accept that elves are real and living in the forests of the Bitterroot Mountains.
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Jelani opened her eyes and discovered a different world.
She and Daven had come up a single trail that led to the area. Now, as she looked behind them, she could see a dozen imprints snaking across the grass around them. The deer, the elk, even rabbits left distinctive marks and patterns on the green blades that made it clear to her what had stepped there. She looked behind to see her own footprints, heavy and destructive, plants crushed under the weight of her boot. Daven’s passing was marked only by a shadow on the grass that faded as she watched.
But that wasn’t all. Her new sight revealed patterns in the trees, many of them set close together to create small enclosures. Looking up, she saw gossamer platforms extending between the branches, the elves on them hardly noticing her below through the nearly opaque walls of their chambers. For the first time, she saw elf children. Their tinkling laughter lifted her spirit.
“Kids? There were kids out here the whole time?”
Daven smiled, raising a hand to the curious toddler above, whose attention had now been captured. She laughed and scattered a handful of flower petals over them. “We didn’t all come out of a glass slipper, you know. We procreate much as humans do.”
She considered the view, looking around her. As her eyes adjusted, she noticed other dwellings in the trees around them. Surely their walls were like those of the Circle chambers, diaphanous but sturdy with magic, keeping out the elements. Even so… She winced as the small ones ran in what seemed to be open space, awaiting their death-defying tumble to the ground. But of course, magic kept them safe.
“You just live in the open? Just hang out?” She shuddered. “I don’t think I could do that.”
“We did not believe you would. That’s why we have created a special place for our new queen.”
They continued into the woods to the foot of a Douglas fir so tall it hurt her neck to crane back to see the top. Astan waited there to meet them, a warm smile on his face.
Her eyes narrowed at the negative thought that came to mind, even though she couldn’t believe Astan would be involved with something that could hurt her. “You’ll shove me in a tree, like my mother?”
“Of course not, denami,” Astan said. “This is specially created for you-for us.” He gestured at the trunk. “Look closely.”
She eyed the rugged bark, suspicious, but saw at last the outline of a door and three dots spaced closely together. When she reached for the dots, she found them separated by an interval that comfortably matched her fingertips. Contact gave her fingers a little tingle, then the trunk split open without the crack or noise she expected, the two sides raising and separating.
“Come into our home,” Astan said softly, taking her hand. They entered the opening to discover a small cottage of several rooms, complete with windows.
“Now, wait a minute,” she said, stepping out to examine the trunk of the tree, no more than four feet across. She looked back inside at the roomy space, which held several chairs, a small table, and some cabinets. A fireplace was laid out, but not burning. An open space in the back hinted at a bedroom. “How did you do this?”
“We want to make our queen happy,” Daven said. “Welcome, Jelani.”
She could hardly believe what she saw. The space reminded her of something Snow White might have stumbled upon in the woods. Except, of course, this was elves. “Is this the only house like this? Just for us?”
“No,” Astan said. “Others exist, but none are quite so suited to humans. The Circle has gone to some length to keep your comfort in mind.”
Grateful at the concern for her well-being, she’d marveled at the creation, her one frown prompted by the fireplace. “You want me to burn a fire inside a tree? That seems counter-productive somehow. Even if we wouldn’t die from smoke inhalation.”
A laugh burst from Daven, amusement flickering in his eyes. Shaking his head, he patted her on the shoulder. “You are quite right, Jelani. Burning an actual fire in this enclosure could be dangerous to you, and the tree as well. One of the elders has left you some flash dust.”
He demonstrated the use of the gift by opening a small glass box on the mantel. Inside was some nondescript powder that looked like well-dried ash. He said a few words in elvish and tossed a pinch of the powder onto the hearth and a fire appeared.
“Whoa.” Jelani stared at the flames, then came near. No smoke came from the fire, and heat came only as high as the fireplace enclosure. While the room warmed perceptibly, the heat faded as it approached the walls formed by the trunk of the tree that housed her.
“You’re going to teach me that abracadabra part, right?”
Daven crossed his arms and studied her. “I’ll teach you all the magic you can learn, my queen.”
Welcome to our guest AMANDA ARISTA and her paranormal mystery, The Truth About Night! Read to the bottom to sign up for her Amazon card and swag giveaway!
As an investigative journalist, Merci Lanard has an uncanny knack for getting the truth out of people, a talent she uses to expose the real story behind her city’s most gruesome crimes.
Until one night, when her partner, Ethan, is killed.
Reeling from shock and grief, Merci vows to track down his murderer. As she starts digging, she meets Ethan’s estranged brother, Rafe, who agrees to work with Merci to find his brother’s killer. She soon discovers Ethan had been hiding things from her, mainly that he was a Shifter and had a whole life in a supernatural world she knew nothing about.
A Shifter himself, Rafe introduces Merci to magic she never knew existed. As they work together to uncover hidden connections between Ethan’s murder and a series of strange dead bodies, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a turf war for the soul of the city.
If Merci is to have any hope of saving her city, she will have to face the truth about this war, the truth about this new magical world, and the truth about who she truly is.
About the Author
Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel.
During the summer after second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, much to the surprise of the local librarian. So she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.
She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. She recently added a tiny human to the mix who is following in her mother’s footsteps of storytelling.
Along with her BA in English & Psychology and her MA in Education, Amanda is a graduate of the SMU Creative Writing Program and now teaches other aspiring authors. She has delivered lectures at several writer conferences and loves discussing craft, character, and structure. Her current favorite: Stirring up Trouble with Romantic Subplots.
She is represented by Kimberly Brower, of Brower Literary & Management.
Amanda is adopted and loves to share that story with others to promote adoption.
Amanda has a collection of turtle figurines that collects on her travels.
Amanda has a strange love of cheesy horror movies. She prefers demons and witchcraft to slasher films.
Amanda is a really good bowler and completely rocks at croquet.
Amazon gift card and Merci Lanard swag pack.
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The northwest corner of Montana is a magical place indeed. Not only do my Clan Elves of the Bitterroot live in the forests alongside the Montana Vortex, the Sasquatch is also rumored to live there! Advice from the pros? Pack your PBJ’s; leave the Skittles at home.
May the Fourth be with all of us today!
Especially with our guest author from the other side of the sea, Pippa Jay.
Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?
Thanks for having me! I’m a stay-at-home mum with three little monsters, firmly lodged in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with my husband of 19 years. I’m far too addicted to my high-caffeine coffee, still dream of being a Jedi and having my own X-wing, and spend my days goofing off to an alternate universe in my head.
I started studying a university course in Creative Writing back in 2010, but had only passed the introductory level when I got my first publishing contract. Since then I haven’t had the time to go back and complete it! Maybe one day… I’d say I learnt a lot of useful techniques from the course, but I don’t believe it’s essential to have that kind of academic standing to write a good book.
Tell us about your most recent publication?
Keir – a science fiction romance – is my first full-length novel.
Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?
For Keirlan de Corizi–the legendary ‘Blue Demon’ of Adalucien–death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She’s spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends’ counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.
When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin’s home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?
WARNING: Contains sweet romance, some violence and plenty of adventure.
What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
Keir started out as a dream which led to a short story that ended up dumped in a drawer. Five years later and suffering from a deep sense of losing my identity and total frustration, it grew into a novel, inspired by my favourite band – The Rasmus. At its heart, Keir’s story is about exclusion–of how society rejects anyone outside the norm. But at its heart there’s a glimmer of hope for those exiled–that love can see beyond the surface and lift even the darkest existence back into the light.
On research – I looked up quite a few things. But the most disturbing thing to research was the process of drowning.
How would you best describe your books?
Science fiction with a romantic soul.
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
To write – scifi, without a doubt. To read? I go through phases but always in speculative fiction. Right now I’m reading a lot of science fiction romance.
What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?
I’d like to write bigger and better. I’m already writing the stories I’d love to read, but I feel there’s scope to improve and do it all on a grander scale.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Getting the idea down, or that magical phrase that expresses your thoughts, is fantastic. What I don’t like is the days those words won’t come, or are so poor that you have to scrub them. I never really thought about being an author-the idea kind of crept in. I’ve just always written, but after I finished Keir I looked at it and thought “well, what shall I do with this now?” That’s when I started to think about publication.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I still take part in a writing forum set up for and by some of my fellow students from the Creative Writing course. Everyone there is really supportive as a group. I also recently joined Critique Circle, originally just to crit a friend’s work, but after putting a piece of my own up there I’ve found the feedback to be incredibly helpful.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
My favourite band is The Rasmus, but I listen to a lot of different tracks while I write. Generally they give a feel to the pieces overall, but sometimes a lyric will trigger a story idea too. The bands are all a mixture of rock, light metal and pop.
How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?
Originally I subbed to agents in the UK, but there aren’t many who’ll even consider speculative fiction. A friend and fellow author in the US encouraged me to sub to the States instead, and helped me find publishers in the relevant genre. I made a list of my top three, submitted, and Lyrical Press Inc offered me a contract.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
The fact that I not only managed to finish it, but where it’s taken me to. The whole experience, from writing to getting feedback, and then the path to publication, has been a blast. It’s had its downs, but mostly it’s been ups, and the people I’ve met along the way have made it one of the most fabulous experiences in my life.
What are you writing now?
I have a YA scifi novella that I’m trying to get the final tweaks done on. I have someone looking at the sequel to Keir at the moment, and another sfr novella that needs a small amount of work before I can submit it. Also, and oddly, I had an idea for an urban fantasy. It isn’t something I read a lot of and certainly not something I’d ever have said I would write, but I always obey the muse.
What would you like to tell readers?
Please let me know what you like and what you don’t. I know I can’t please everyone, but if there’s elements that are/aren’t working, I’d like to hear.