Beyond the Serpent Hills (Legends of the Lost Tribes Book 2) by Kitty Lewis Review

It’s time to return to the epic fantasy world filled with magic, gods and goddesses, and one young woman seeking revenge for her brother’s demise in author Kitty Lewis’s novel “Beyond the Serpent Hills (Legends of the Lost Tribes Book 2).

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It’s time to return to the epic fantasy world filled with magic, gods and goddesses, and one young woman seeking revenge for her brother’s demise in author Kitty Lewis’s novel “Beyond the Serpent Hills (Legends of the Lost Tribes Book 2). Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

The old priests have fallen, the Demons are no more, but Kandrina has yet to find out what really killed her brother. Her need for revenge takes her and her former teacher on a perilous journey into uncharted territory. They must travel north, into the lands of the fearsome lizard men known as the Li Buqu. Meanwhile, the tribal lands are under attack from predators, and rising internal conflicts between the Vice-Chiefs threaten to disrupt the People’s way of life. 

The Review

After conquering the corrupt high priests and setting the record straight about the Colourless, the hero Kandrina returns to find the monster responsible for her brother’s death. In her journey she discovers a fearsome and powerful race of beings known as the Li Buqu. There she learns just how large her world is, and must prevent an all out war that threatens to tear the world apart.

The author does a marvelous job of building upon the foundation laid in the first book. Moving on from the corruption of a twisted man’s take on religion, the story instead focuses to mirror mankind’s tendency to invade lands they feel belong to them, even when someone else or something else is already living there. The mythology expands greatly as we meet this new civilization, and the character growth of Kandrina especially in this story is so engaging that it keeps readers invested in the story, something not every author can accomplish with a book’s sequel.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this story. It’s the perfect sequel to the original book and continues to expand upon a world that is ripe for a full blown series. It captures the fantasy element in a very creative way and explores mythology in a comprehensive way that allows readers to get into it themselves. Be sure to grab your copy of Kitty Lewis’s novel “Beyond the Serpent Hills” today!

Rating: 10/10

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https://www.kittylewisfantasy.net/

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We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book of poetry deals with themes and elements of abuse, self-harm and suicide. If these themes are triggering to you, be advised and prepared.

An emotional story of one man’s journey of defining himself and struggling with the world he was born into takes center stage in poet and author Lamar Neal’s poetry book, We All Need Therapy. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

This is a collection of poetry of how a boy, who started whole, encountered the world, which caused some painful cracks to appear in his vessel. He soon learned that when we do not hide your imperfections, a cracked vessel is the one, which lets the light shine through.

The Review

I was taken aback by the beauty and tragedy and pure emotion of this poetry book. The poems spoke to me in a way that touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. You can feel the poet’s pain and heartbreak in each line, such as this passage from the poem Morning/Mourning:

“Living in the ruins of dreams
I was never supposed to have. Tomorrow we might lose everything Before our hearts can prepare.”

The author does an amazing job weaving themes and issues that plague our world to this day. Challenging the toxic masculinity that haunts young boys who dare to live outside of societal norms, fighting back against racial injustice and dealing with themes of love, loss and the pain of not fitting into the mold set out by our elders/peers, this book brings the causes of both inner turmoil and societal upheaval in our world currently into the spotlight like no other book of poetry out there right now. It also does a great job of addressing mental health overall, challenging this need to label anyone with a mental health condition as “crazy” when they are far from it. It was refreshing to see a poet and author expose their mental health struggles to the world in such an open and honest way, and showcase the need to fight against the stigma of mental health overall.

The Verdict

This is a must read book of poems. Due out on January 25th, 2019, these poems will touch on the struggle to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to fit you into a mold you don’t feel comfortable in. Full of heart, pure emotion and a message of hope and struggle that will help highlight the very healthy need for everyone to get therapy and face that inner turmoil head on. If you love beautiful poetry and raw emotional story telling, then pre-order your copy of We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal today.

Rating: 10/10

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Interview with Author Ben Schneider

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

  1. A) I am currently active duty in the Air Force. I have worked for the military 15 years. I am also a cartoonist and a comedian. I discovered many of my jokes work better in literature than they do in cartoons or on stage. In addition, I am a fan of thriller novels, which inspired many ideas in my own stories.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

  1. A) The work of other action/sci-fi authors and films based on such books inspired my novel.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

  1. A) My book has several messages I hope to give readers. If I were to choose just one, it would be: “Life with a bad attitude is far too difficult.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

  1. A) Several things drew me to action/sci-fi, especially James Cameron films.

Chrome Flyer 20181026

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

  1. A) I would ask Sonya McCall what she would do if she were the first female president because she is very ethical and tough.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

  1. A) Facebook.

 Author Pic2

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

  1. A) Make your characters people you would admire and give them strong motives for everything they do.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

  1. A)Realm Journeyis my first book and is like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island. I finished it in 2009, but never tried to get it published. Now that I’ve seen some success with my second novel, Chrome Mountain, I am rewriting Realm Journey with the intend to have it published. Someday, I would like to write a sequel to Chrome Mountain as well as create and publish my 3rd Airman Artless cartoon book.

 

About the Author

 

BIO:  Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma. In 2003, he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design at Oklahoma University, married his fiancée, and joined the Air Force. Ben and his wife, Suzy, have been stationed in Italy, Okinawa, and Alaska. Aside from writing fiction, Ben’s other interests include drawing cartoons—mainly his Airman Artless comic strips. Chrome Mountain is his debut novel.

To order Chrome Mountain on Kindle or paperback, go here:

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To see 30+ reviews on Chrome Mountain, go here:

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Chrome Mountain is also available at the following sites:

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To message Ben Schneider or see more of his work, go here:

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Interview with Author Colm Dowd

1)Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Most of my writing has been in the form of song lyrics. I am the founder of the indie folk/rock group, The Last Hope Road Show. This is why I am dying to get the audio book narration done so I can finish what I hope to be an OC type soundtrack for the finished version. Some of the music I produce is theatrical in nature and I have been working the story and soundtrack for a couple of musicals. So  writing a novel was not really a big stretch.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

While I had always wanted to write, the catalyst for this book came from my son, who was nine at the time. He expressed interest in writing a book so I joined in, and the friendly competition helped us both to continue on. He has gone on to become a very good writer. So in that sense, this book has already become a success for me.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

While  I think that story telling can be a powerful medium to get important messages out there that need to be told, sometimes it’s just about entertainment. Fantasy books can get a little bit deep and involved, this is not one of those, not at this point in the series. That said, a couple of serious issues are brushed over in the book and they will have to be addressed later in the series.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My books are of the middle grade/young adult fantasy genre. I suppose you can blame Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings for this, but that would probably be simplistic. Way back in the day I used to stay up to watch the old 50’s science fiction movies being played late Saturday nights with my mom. I came up with some bizarre fantasy land short stories in my early teenage years, but nothing I ever pursued. In the end though, do we really need more real life?

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

By far the most interesting character in the book is the villain Salazon. While he seems to pretty much hate everybody. H especially seems to hold a grudge against his own people, the Northfighters. What really went down with him to get to where he is right now? While being very intelligent and cavalier in his attitude, he still seems to be holding on to a very deep grudge that will have to be explained somewhere down the line.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook and Goodreads are probably the most useful sites when it comes to starting out with your book. As I have quite a few illustrations within the book I will be pushing a big Instagram campaign, which will include T-shirts.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Getting into anything is tough these days. It’s pretty easy to self-publish your book. This is great when you get it done, not so great when it gets drowned in the other thousands of books in your genre. But if you have joined in some author groups and build up your network before your release, I’m sure you’ll get there.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I am currently working on the second book in the series, which is a lot of fun to write. It’s a big advantage with a series, most of the setup is already in place and you can get to all the fun storylines a lot quicker. The fantasy world holds a dozen different ways the story can go. Unfortunately for me, the storyline in the real world was going to be including a lot of political humor. The idea is Salazon, a raving lunatic, takes over as mayor of New York and thinks of himself as a king. Uh…yeah I know. Saying it out loud, it does sound a bit too far-fetched, even for fantasy.

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Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two people find themselves forced to fight together for survival in author Ben Schneider’s Chrome Mountain. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Chrome Mtn Flyer

Trey and Sonya couldn’t be more different–yet their divergent lives are about to converge, with a bang. As Sonya evades the biker gang she was once involved with, she befriends Trey, a scientist, and helps him evade the Chromes, the most successful terrorist organization in the world. Trey and Sonya have more than their own lives to consider; the free world will change for the worse if the Chromes gain Trey’s priceless knowledge.

In the thriller Chrome Mountain, Ben Schneider explores one possible future our real world could be racing toward. Readers will find this story, driven by the female protagonist, a page-turner but without the darker tactics of similar sci-fi thrillers. The characters of Chrome Mountain tell their stories with clean humor, no profanity, a lot of advice from God, and action–lots and lots of action.

The Review

This science-fiction thriller is unlike any other. Filled with incredible character development and military style action, the story of two people from very different worlds coming together inadvertently in a fight against powerful forces made for an engaging read. An incredible blend and fusion of biker gangs, terrorist organizations, futuristic tech and relatable protagonists made this a truly fun read to enjoy.

Now one thing I will say that I cannot comment on fully is the inclusion of some religious storylines. I myself being not religious, I cannot comment on the strength or impact to religion this story has. I can say for anyone who enjoys characters with deep ties to religion, there are some truly important and strong stories intertwined with some of these characters that involve that subject. It examines belief and faith in a unique way as it mixes into this futuristic sci-fi world the author has created.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fun read. Filled with action and suspense, this original and incredibly creative tale is a wonderful fusion of interweaving character arcs, high-octane drama and a edge of your seat thriller you won’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy of Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider today.

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Author Pic2

Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1977.  He graduated from Newcastle High School in 1996 and earned his Associates in General Studies at Hillsdale FWB College in 1999.  While at Hillsdale he created Holidabblers, only then, he called it “Holiday Heroes” until another artist bought the copyrights to that title years later.  During the late 90s Ben drew his cartoons in colored pencil.  In fall of 1999 he transferred to the University of Oklahoma and later had cartoons published in “The Oklahoma Daily” (as shown at the bottom of the “Holidabblers” tab).  Since then Ben revolutionized his work, making it mostly computer-based by using Photoshop and Freehand.

Ben earned his Bachelors of Art in Graphic Design in May of 2003.  He joined the US Air Force the following month and received his first assignment in Aviano, Italy.  Ben’s experiences in the Air Force inspired him to invent Airman Artless.  In July of 2005 he had his first Airman Artless cartoon published.  He has been published repeatedly in the “Vigileer,” “Air Scoop,” “Kaiserslautern American,” “Samurai Gate,” and “Crimson Sky.”  One sample of each can be found on the “Published Work” tab.  The “Crimson Sky” sample also includes a story about Ben on page 18.  Ben welcomes any ideas for future Airman Artless cartoons.  Feel free to send an idea, question, comment or offer anytime to either of the following:

pinscratch@hotmail.com

pinscratch@yahoo.com

Author Pic1

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Guest Blog Post: The Importance of Classical Literature in Today’s World By Cheryl Carpinello

Today I have the honor of sharing with you the exclusive guest blog post of author Cheryl Carpinello. The author of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is here to share why classical literature holds great importance in today’s world. Be sure to check out the review of her novel and her blog tour stop I posted to my website here, and check out her social media sites and book information down below. Enjoy!

GuinevereDawnofLegend

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The Importance of Classical Literature in Today’s World

By Cheryl Carpinello

The world is a far difference place from the Golden Age of Greece in 500 BCE. Surely there is nothing to be gained from reading the stories, poetry, and drama of so long ago. Right? Wrong.

The one constant from the beginning of man’s time on this earth through today and beyond is human nature. Our surroundings and way of life have changed dramatically, but human beings have not. We are still dealing with the same emotions and situations as those who resided in ancient civilizations.

Love, anger, sadness, happiness, pride, despair, hunger, hatred, the need to succeed, the desire to be good and/or better, the frustrations of everyday life. These are just some of what drive our actions and our reactions. We evolve, and our world may get more complicated, but we can’t change those.

What classical literature brings are examples of how others have dealt with similar situations as ours, be that outcome good or bad. It is the Greek tragedies that have had the most impact. These stories by definition have tragic endings. But they also have something else: The Ancient Greeks called it catharsis—a cleansing; a release of emotions like fear, pity, and sadness through the viewing of some type of art. In this case the Greek tragedies.

Antigone by Sophocles deals with rash behavior and hubris (the Greek word for pride) in the two main characters: King Oedipus and his niece Antigone. When Oedipus the King decides that his rule about denying burial to a traitor must be followed for the better of the state, he ends up sentencing his niece and future wife of his son to death when Antigone buries her brother as the gods demanded. Ultimately his action also leads to the death of his son and wife. Even more relevant is the fact that each of the characters are right. Creon is obeying the law of the land; Antigone is obeying the law of the gods. How often we have seen similar situations play out on our streets today.

I mention Sophocles because a company called Theater of War Productions (founded in 2009) is using the plays of Sophocles—particularly Antigone and Ajax—to help veterans adjust to being home, to help First Responders deal with the tragedies they face, and to help communities understand and deal with the conflicts within their own neighborhoods. Some of the projects taken on include War & Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Racism & Social Justice, Police/Community Relations, Addiction & Substance Abuse, Gun Violence, and Caregiving & Death. A full list of the topics and literature used by Theater of War Productions is available on their website.

Antigone in Ferguson was presented in Ferguson, Missouri after the 2014, shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by a police officer. The play achieved what Theater of War Productions founder Bryan Doerries set out to do. In an article in Smithsonian (November 2107), he told readers his productions are not meant to solve problems, but to get conversations started between all involved. He has been so successful that in March 2017, he was appointed as the NYC Public Artist in Residence.

It is often heard that if we don’t study history, then we are bound to repeat the same mistakes over again. I believe the same is true for literature. There is no safer outlet for kids and adults to see the effects decisions can have on a life. Within the pages of Classical Literature, we are able to explore ways to deal with the difficult situations that arise and to get dialogs started.

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About the Author

Author Full Sphinx

Cheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.

You can find Cheryl at –

Website: http://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Writing Blog:    http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

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Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2) by Cheryl Carpinello | Blog Tour & Review

Today I am honored to be working with Women on Writing Blog Tours and author Cheryl Carpinello to bring you the blog tour stop and review of the novel Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2). First we’ll take a look at my official review, followed by some great info on the book and the author, as well as some fun snippets from the book itself.

Official Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Cheryl Carpinello brings the legend of King Arthur’s heroic wife Guinevere to life in the exhilarating and emotional middle grade historical fiction novel Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2). Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

“Think before acting,” her father always warned. But Princess Guinevere is ruled by her heart. Her betrothal to King Arthur has not changed this. When Guinevere and Cedwyn’s latest adventure takes a dangerous turn, they find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle as foretold by Merlyn’s Goddess of the Stones. Renegades—foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess—steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger. The plan quickly unravels, and Guinevere’s impassioned decisions come crashing down as Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality. Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

The Review

Now as someone who has come into this book series without any previous knowledge of the first book, this novel does a great job of creating a narrative that allows readers to jump head first into the story. Not only is the legend of King Arthur, Guinevere and Merlyn all well known to many, but the story of Guinevere and Cedwyn is natural and comes across in a way that is both familiar and new all at once.

The author does a great job of skirting that line between mythology, history and middle grade storytelling as readers get a glimpse at the brutal nature of medieval warfare, while giving an intimate look at a close friendship between a future queen and her future knight. Meanwhile, we get to see the birth of the woman who rivaled Arthur in both legend and heroism, Guinevere. Her character arc showcased the growing bravery and need to save others that few people possess, making her historical and mythological status feel current in this day and age.

The Verdict

This is the perfect middle grade, historical fiction story to bring a strong and heroic female protagonist into the children’s book mainstream audience. A fantastic play on the origins of one of history’s greatest iconic figures, the legend of Guinevere runs deeper than you could have ever imagined. A fast paced read filled with memorable characters and an emotionally pulling story, Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2) by Cheryl Carpinello is a must read. Grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Book Summary

GuinevereDawnofLegend

His one desire…To be a knight.

His future queen…At times reckless.

Best friends…Bound by Friendship and Loyalty.

When their adventure turns deadly & dangerous, Guinevere & Cedwyn find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle.

Not only are they in danger, but so are the kids of Cadbury Castle.

Renegades–foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess–steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger.

As the plan quickly unravels, Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality.

Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

Print Length: 150 Pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (May 2017)

ISBN: 978-1946229441

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is available to purchase on Amazon.com

Awards for Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend

2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Juvenile Fiction

2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Children’s Literature

2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Fairytale/Folklore/Mythology

2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Juvenile Fiction
Short-Listed for 2019 Chanticleer Int’l Awards
2018 Honorable Mention Purple Dragonfly
100 Most Notable Indies for 2018
2018 Wishing Shelf Finalist

2017 BookLife Quarter Finalist
2017 Apple eBook Children’s Official Selection

About the Author

Author Full Sphinx

Cheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.  

You can find Cheryl at –

Website: http://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Writing Blog:    http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend snippets

  1. The Goddess Speaks:

Many trials await the two of you. Perhaps the hardest are the ones you will have to endure alone.

“You, Guinevere, will find yourself lost. You—who are destined to be a great queen—will have to traverse a journey of immense pain and self-doubt. You must let your inner feelings guide you. The journey will be hard and painful. You must summon the courage of your soul to sustain you.

“You, Cedwyn, faithful friend of the princess and the queen. Your journey may be the hardest of all. You will be sent far from those you serve and love. Your duty will demand that you see this most difficult journey to its end. Whether it be death or life for you will depend upon many things. Your courage must also come from deep within your soul for one so young. Your love of family and friends must be great. But greater still must be your loyalty to the knight’s duty. For your knight’s vow comes soon. You must embrace it. You must defeat the temptations to turn aside for your own safety.

  1. Great Sadness and Danger:

With saddened and heavy hearts, they left the gruesome glen behind and rode for the castle.

Samuel followed Guinevere, having chosen to ride beside Aaron. His tears dried, but the anguish not buried with his family. The grief was clearly evident in his hunched body, the anger in his clenched fists on the pony’s reins. Cedwyn worried about the boy’s state of mind.

Guinevere now led the trio, concern for the safety of the castle and the people there were marked by the hard set of her chin. Worry etched lines in her wrinkled brow and deepened her hollowed eyes.

Cedwyn brought up the rear. His eyes noted every movement. Ears tuned to the echoes of the forest, head swiveling at each movement and sound. Fear had taken permanent hold over his body—a feeling he was certain should have been as foreign to him as it would have been to Arthur’s knights. Cold fear tightened its grip on his heart and throat. Those who would kill the gentle monks would stop at nothing. Now the little group rode in the dark, a time when all earthly creatures took on the pallor of ghosts, and hidden danger lurked all around them.

  1. Fathers and Daughters:

His finger on her lips stopped her rebuttal.

“Not now. Other issues demand the attention of the knights and kings.”…

“But Father…I promised.”

“So you did, daughter mine, but kings must rule with their heads not their hearts. This discussion is over. You are dismissed to go to your room. I have a knight there who will make sure your rest tonight isn’t disturbed.”

Her legs refused to move. She opened her mouth, but no words came.

“Go. Now Guinevere. Before I forget you’re my own flesh and have you flogged for the dangers you’ve brought upon us. Go!”

Guinevere ran from the room, fists clenched, tears streaming down her face.

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