Before supermarkets and corner stores provided the bulk of the food, humans grew their own in the backyard. Many also grew herbs to enhance the taste of their baked and cooked goods. Although times have changed, I keep several pots of herbs on the kitchen windowsill to use in soups, scrambled eggs and other dishes. It’s fast, convenient and inexpensive.

herbs

Given that the Castle Keepers series takes place in an archaic time, it’s no surprise potted herbs grace the windowsills of many homes, including that of Alaura of Niamh and Bronwyn Darrow.

When Liam Jenkins visits, he makes note of this.

Chapter 13, Scene 2

“Liam.” Alaura nodded her head towards the kitchen. “Let’s allow them to talk. I’ll get you a drink of water.”

He lifted Isla by the hips and squeezed past her to follow Alaura down the short hall. The compact, eat-in kitchen was perfect for a small family: two parents, two kids. It was similar to his dwelling when he was young. It even had a pot of herbs on the windowsill. He pushed the memories from his mind; he didn’t want to think about that time.

Alaura poured a glass of water from a pitcher kept near the back door and offered it to him.

“Thank you.” He took a sip and remembered the flavour of Maskil water. It tasted sweet compared to that in Wandsworth.

“It’s good to see you well.” She leant against the countertop, and her gaze swept around the kitchen.

“I was surprised when Isla told me you were livings here.” He took another drink. “I thought you’d have moved to Petra or another place.”

“I like Maskil.”

“And Bronwyn.”

“I can’t deny that.”

“I thought you were only friends, but Isla knew. She told me so, but I didn’t believe her. I mean, you pushed him into the lake.”

She laughed. “She’s perceptive, and that was an accident.”

“She is. It’s like she can read my mind.”

“She knows your history?”

He shrugged. “She knows me. She trusts me.”

“She still likes you?”

“I still like her.”

 

Book Cover Reveal

Healing Stones is the 4th book in the Castle Keepers series. The proof is on the way. While I wait, I want to share the full cover. Here it is.

Healing Stones fantasy novel

 

Today, Sunday February 16th, is the last day to download a copy of Scattered Stones to your Kindle. This is the 2nd book in the Castle Keepers Series.

It takes place five years after Shadows in the Stone. Bronwyn Darrow has been searching for his adopted daughter, Isla of Maura, all this time and tonight, he plans to rescue her from the Tigh na Mare dungeon.

Pick up your copy here:

Enjoy

This weekend, Scattered Stones, book 2 in the epic fantasy series is free in the eBook form at Amazon. Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll read in Chapter 2, Scene 2.

From his perch in a majestic hemlock, Morrigan Fae of Moonsface watched Tigh na Mare warriors spill into the forest. The explosion that rocked the castle while the elf had discussed slaves with Lady Orenda Nassen was followed by a second blast.

Morrigan came as close to the action as he dared. Warriors passed beneath his position, running about as they collected and relayed information to their leader. Within minutes, Lady Orenda Nassen surveyed the escape route personally, halting below the hemlock as three warriors rushed into the clearing to share their discoveries.

“My Lady.” The first warrior bowed before Orenda. “I have identified the intruders.”

“Who were the thieves foolish enough to cross me?”

Morrigan reduced his rate of breathing, released excess air and enhanced the energy to the Cloaking Spell. Not even his scent could drift on the evening air. He relaxed his muscles and appeared to melt into the evergreen. His body slept save his ears and eyes.

“It was Elspeth’s Mercenaries, My Lady. I recognised Rhys and his mate Morwen. They took two prisoners: a middle-aged dwarf and a young hauflin.”

The low growl in Orenda’s voice reverberated through the forest. “Elspeth.” She clenched her fists. “That dwarf has now crossed the meekest of lines. It’s time to end her escapades.” She scowled at her warriors. “We begin the hunt immediately. Gather the required supplies and mounts for thirty warriors. Meet me at the castle wall in fifteen minutes. Go! Now!”

“Yes, My Lady.” The warrior dashed towards the castle.

Orenda surveyed the area, her eyes settling on the two remaining warriors. “We’ll take no prisoners but one: Elspeth. I have something special in mind for her.”

A hundred thoughts flooded Morrigan’s mind. Was the young hauflin prisoner Isla or the twenty-one-year-old? If Isla had escaped with Elspeth and if Orenda caught the group, she’d be killed. Although a skilled band, The Mercenaries were no match for the number of warriors on the hunt. Fortunately, they had a head-start, Elspeth’s fundamental strategy to a successful escape. Her notorious history for evading capture failed to help Morrigan. It made his task difficult, knowing he might never find The Mercenaries’ trail. His only comfort derived from knowing Elspeth commanded fairly and guarded her followers as if family. If Isla travelled with her, she’d gain her protection.

Shouts and screams echoed throughout the forest, and Orenda swung around to glare in the direction of the castle. In the limited light provided by the slither of moon, Morrigan saw the grimace on the woman’s face as she marched towards Tigh na Mare with the two warriors at her heels.

Pick up your copy here:

Enjoy

February is Fantasy Month

As we continue to celebrate February is Fantasy Month, the eBook Scattered Stones is free for three days, starting today (February 13th, 14th and 15th). The novel stars Bronwyn Darrow, Alaura of Niamh, Tam Mulryan and Kellyn Mulryan.

Description

Honour is nothing without the ones you love.

Five years. That’s how long Bronwyn Darrow has been searching for his daughter who is trapped in that elusive Blackvale Castle dungeon. He’s grown desperate during that time and when he learns she’s being transferred, he’s willing to sacrifice everything, including his honour, to rescue her.

If you love stories of adventure mixed with magic and romance set in archaic landscapes, you’ll love McGyver’s Scattered Stones. Unlike many fantasy novels, family plays a central part in this story, so be prepared for the hero to receive unwanted motherly advice.

Scattered Stones is the second book in the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series. It continues the adventures of the characters introduced in Shadows in the Stone and takes readers on a journey across Ath-o’Lea to find the young girl named Isla.

Pick up your copy here:

Enjoy

When I first saw a picture of the Giant Ficus Tree (Ficus benjamina) many years ago, I knew that tree grew in my fantasy world. I even knew it would entrap someone within its branches. Fast forward to Healing Stones, book 5 of the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series, and we find this tree growing in the first chapter.

Isla of Maura, McGuigan and Lyneth happen upon it on their way to Moonsface. Here’s the start of the scene. You’ll have to wait to see who is trapped in it.

(more…)

In Blade of Truth, 18-year-old Bronwyn Darrow convinces his mum to let him enlist in the Aruam Castle Army. She’s hesitant, but understands he doesn’t want to follow in his brothers’ or granddad’s footsteps.

Here’s a snippet from the short story. Details on where to find the eBook free for your Kindle below.

“Mum.” His voice sounded softer than he anticipated.

“Yes, dear,”

Blade of Truth book coverHis hands warmed and formed a cloud of moisture on the steel near where his fingers touched the fork. “Would you be upset if I didn’t become a wainwright with Joris and Calder?”

Maisie stopped washing the dishes. The skin on her face tightened. “Did you want to join your granddad making waggon wheels?”

“No.” His swallow hurt his throat.

“Do you plan on staying on at the bakery? We need another full-time worker. Our feet walk slower these days.”

“Mum.” Bronwyn left the table and leant on the counter next to her. “Mum, I want to enlist. It’s my only desire.”

“Bronwyn, you are so young.” His mother sighed. “Why don’t you wait until you’re older?”

“Would it make you happy if I waited?” He didn’t want to disappoint her. He loved her and respected her opinion.

“Being a soldier is dangerous work. As I’ve said before, I’d prefer it if you left the job to men more experienced.”

“I can’t become experienced unless I complete the training. No one can. I’m good with the sword, Mum. You know that. I practise every day. I’m strong and fast.”

“Bronwyn, I’m not certain how I would cope if you…”

“Mum, I’ve grown up. You can’t protect me forever.” He wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his head on her shoulder. “You taught me to always do what I believed in. I believe I can do this. It’s what I’ve always wanted.”

Maisie hugged him. “I know you are wise and strong. I know you would be the best soldier the castle ever had.”

A wave of relief consumed him. She’d finally agree to his trade choice.

“But you’re my baby.”

He rolled his eyes and endeavoured to defend his maturity, but she stopped him and continued her speech.

“Promise me one thing.” She gazed into his eyes as if to gather courage to grant his heart’s desire. “Promise me you will wait until the next waning moon to enlist. During this time, I want you to learn more about what is expected of a full-time soldier. I want you to think about the benefits and the drawbacks. Once this time passes,”—she paused, and he heard her swallow hard—, “if you still feel this is your calling, I will give you my blessing.”

He lifted her into the air and spun her around. “Thank you, Mum!” He set her down and hugged her tightly. “Thank you. I will not let you down. I gladly make the promise.”

This is the last day of the sale. Get your free copy of Blade of Truth for you Kindle here:

February is Fantasy Month