Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Release Day!

Daylight tells its stories easily showing all to everyone,
but for those who know to look and listen,
the night is so very much more than boisterous day.

Dr. Sophia Katsaros had a nice orderly life. Cold hard facts and science were her treasured companions. That was until her brothers went missing and magic was no longer just for fairytales. Since then she has learned that the world holds far more than she could ever have dreamed and that nightmares aren’t just for sleep.  

They ancient myths said that the goddess Selene leveraged everything to be with the man she loved, Prince Endymion of Ellis. But every story has a kernel of truth. The trick is figuring out what is real and what is fantasy in a world that no longer follows the rules that Sophia once knew.

With the help of Arthur and the Lykanos pack they hunt a serial killer who has begun to terrorize the area. Will they be able to find the monster before it finds its next victim? Will Sophia be able to marry science and magic and forge something new?

There will be new friends and even older enemies as the Sophia Katsaros series continues.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Sample chapter #3

To Bear Witness

“So, it is your belief that Timothy Monroe was murdered?”
I gazed out from the witness stand towards Mr. Monroe and his haunted eyes. I sighed, wishing I had a better answer. “The autopsy showed that the cause of death was drowning. But I cannot classify that as murder.” I had seen animals take human form. As I looked at the smug expression on the defense attorney’s face, I would not be shocked to learn that he occasionally scurried around on four feet with a long bare tale. “Judging by the many breaks and spiral fractures I found, I think it’s clear this little boy had been abused.”
“But that is not what we are here to determine.” Elias Quinn, attorney at law and perpetuator of stereotypes paced before me. “We are here to determine if my client, Timothy’s mother, killed him. Which is what the state is alleging and what you, Dr. Katsaros, said you could prove.”
“I never said I could prove that she killed Timothy.” I frowned. “I said that I could determine the cause of death. Which I did. You asked for my expert opinion. Which I gave. It is not up to me to either convict or exonerate your client.” I was getting annoyed. A sizzle of energy danced down my spine. It had been happening a lot lately. I would be a fool to pretend that nothing had changed and that my life would carry on. I was many things. But I wasn’t a fool. Taking a deep breath I forced myself to calm down. “Timothy Monroe had clearly suffered multiple breaks, including a recent concussion. There was a spiral fracture to his arm. Those types of fractures do not just occur, they are inflicted.”
“Are you saying that my client abused her son?” Mr. Quinn asked. “She is a Sunday school teacher and a member of the PTA.” He gestured towards the petite brunet. She was gazing at her ex-husband with desperation in her eyes. Mr. Monroe was too grief stricken to see the obsession burning there, but I saw it. I was willing to bet Mr. Quinn did too.
“As I said, it is not my job to determine guilt. I performed the autopsy. These are the facts.”
“You seem rather aloof.” Mr. Quinn squinted at me. “We are talking about the death of a four-year-old boy. I should think you would be a little more affected by that.”
And just like that, I was pissed. “Mr. Quinn, I realize you are trying to bait me. I’m not sure why. I’ve told you several times now it’s not my job to determine who is guilty and who isn’t. The facts tell me that this little boy drowned. They also tell me that he was mistreated frequently during his very short life. I can’t tell you who did that to him. I’ll leave that to the police and the judge to decide.” I inclined my head towards Judge Anderson. I had testified before her many times. I liked her; she had a no-nonsense air about her. “In many cases I am the last advocate for those who show up on my table. I speak for them when they can no longer speak for themselves. Timothy’s little body has a story to tell. It’s not my job to interpret that story, but simply to relay it in the form of medical evidence. Which I have done. And yet, considering all that the thing you find most interesting is that I’m not sitting here crying while I testify. But that Mr. Quinn is your problem. Not mine.”
“If you have a point, counselor,” Judge Anderson said, “I suggest you make it.”
“No, your honor.” He smirked at me. “I just wanted to make it clear that Dr. Katsaros, in her expert opinion, does not classify this as murder.”
Sadly, I had to admit that I couldn’t. I answered a few more questions, the judge released me, and I left the courtroom feeling more than a little annoyed. Mr. Monroe was convinced his ex-wife was hurting their son so that she could take him to the hospital. Officially it was called Munchausen by Proxy. Caregivers would exaggerate a child’s illness for attention. In this case, I was convinced that Heather Monroe wanted attention from her ex-husband, and this was how she was getting it. Did she drown Timothy? I couldn’t prove that. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did but there wasn’t any proof that she had. That small voice in the back of my head was whispering to me. I was missing something.
I wandered across the street, ordered a coffee and a bagel from the corner shop and made my way towards the park. I could feel the calming effect as soon as I passed under the shade of a weeping willow. The long fronds danced in the breeze like a maiden’s hair.
I sat down on a wrought iron bench, the coolness of the metal seeping through the thin material of my professional suit. Kicking off my shoes, I closed my eyes and exhaled. I had been practicing, yet I was still unprepared for the wave that crashed over me.
I spent most of my days trying to concentrate on the here and now. And not on the symphony of sound that followed me around. I tried to tone it down so that I could focus. Erato had taught me some techniques but what came naturally for her, didn’t come so easily for me.
I could hear conversations from across the park, rodents scurrying in a nearby alley. The sap as it moved through the nearby pine tree. It was sensory overload. I had tried to tell myself that this was all new. But if I was being honest, I’d admit that this chorus had been with me my entire life. It had been a constant hum in the background. White noise. Something had turned up the volume. I was trying desperately to figure out how to turn it back down. I couldn’t live this way.
With a sigh I opened my eyes, forcing the chaos back into a dark corner in my mind. A shimmer, like heat off a summer baked road, detached itself from the willow tree. Dryad was really just a general term. Different types of trees had different spirits. The flowering trees were tended by the Kraneiai. Meliai inhabited ash trees and so on.
Erato had explained this when I referred to her as a dryad. She thought it was funny. “Not all humans are the same.” She laughed. “Some are male, some are female. Human is a very broad stroke to paint one with. As is dryad.” 
I couldn’t call her on the phone to ask her questions. Instead I dreamed. I would lay down to sleep and wake in some prehistoric garden that no human had ever seen. Those times were peaceful. The noise in my head would fade. I didn’t have to concentrate to dampen it. “You fight too hard, Sophia.” She smiled at me. “It will go much easier if you flow with it instead of against it.” I had no idea what it was. I sighed and rubbed my temples. I just wanted to get rid of my constant headache.
The spirit of the willow across from me smiled. I glanced around to see if anyone else noticed. A woman jogged by. A man stopped to watch her. His phone rang, he grinned before answering it and then wandered off down the path. An older woman was walking a decrepit bulldog. The ancient hound paused to look at the willow and the spirit there. His tongue lolled out of his mouth in a doggy grin. He gave a happy bark and sat down with a huff of exhaustion.
She had not taken a corporeal form yet. I could see the tree through her. Even though she was diaphanous I could still see her plainly and it amazed me that no one else could. Clearly, the dog saw her and was enchanted. No matter how much the old woman tugged and pulled on the leash the dog wasn’t moving.
“Chandler.” The old woman scolded “You are going to make me miss my shows. Get up right now!”
The dryad danced before the dog, winked at me and took off in a run. The dog barked merrily and ran off after her dragging his owner behind him who now screamed at him to slow down.
I laughed and let the tensions of the morning slip away. If I was missing something with Timothy’s case, I’d find it. I owed him that much. In the meantime, I needed to get back to work.
Tossing my empty coffee cup in the bin I swallowed my last bite of bagel and walked back towards the hospital. Spring was in the air. It had rained the night before and everything smelled wet. I knew if I listened, I’d hear the water droplets sliding along the leaves on the trees. And even the worms burrowing through the soil. But I couldn’t afford to be distracted.
The scent of disinfectant assaulted me as the doors to the hospital whooshed open. I allowed it to wash over me. This was familiar. This was home. I raised an eyebrow. Interesting I thought. Erato had been right. It was easier to go with it instead of fighting it. As I walked down the hallway, I saw the glint off the newly scrubbed tile floors. Heard the snap of a crisp sheet as a nurse made the bed.
The whimper of a patient as the needle pierced the skin and the moan of something… other. That gave me pause. I shivered as a dozen different thoughts swirled in my head. I was comfortable with the dead but as the hair on my arms stood up, I decided that I had had enough. Forcing the volume down I entered the morgue to find Arthur perched on the edge of an examination table watching TV. A long rope of licorice trailed from his mouth.
“Hey Dr. Kat.” He grinned. “How was court?” I gave him a look. “Oh, that good huh?”
“Quinn was the defense lawyer.”
“That guy is a rat,” Arthur said.
I grinned having thought the same thing not too long ago. “How does the day look?” I stripped off my jacket and reached for a pair of scrubs.
“Sloooow.” Arthur turned back to the TV. “Have you seen this?”
“What?” I smoothed my hair back into a ponytail.
“This lady says she is a psychic and plans to film her new TV show here”
I paused to stare at the screen as a news crew interviewed a pretty dark-haired lady. She certainly had the mysterious look going for her. Long dark hair and almond shaped brown eyes. Her voice held the hint of an accent though I couldn’t place it.
“She says her name is Erica.” Arthur snorted. “Shouldn’t a psychic have cool name or something?”
“What is wrong with Erica?” I sat down to slip off my high heels in favor of my comfortable sneakers.
“I dunno know… how about Clara Voyant?”
“Really?” I asked tying my shoes. “That’s the best you can do?” I was laughing when I answered the phone. “Dr. Katsaros speaking.”
“Hello, this is special agent Hawthorne,” an authoritative male voice said. “Would it be possible for you visit a crime scene tomorrow?”
I listened as he gave me the details, making notes on a yellow pad that I kept on my desk. “Yes, I can meet you there.” I gently placed the phone back in its cradle.
“What was that about?” Arthur asked seeing the expression on my face.
 I could feel the pull of a new case. A story waiting to be told. “It seems we have serial killer in the area.”

Watch for Selene: Book 3 of the Sophia Katsaros series on sale in hard copy or digital download Halloween 2019!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sample chapter #2


“I’m cold!”

“Sarah.” Janie cast an exasperated look at her friend. “I told you to be quiet. We will be there soon.”

“Don’t growl at me. You never said we’d be tromping through the woods in the middle of the damn night.” Sarah shoved a pine bough out of the way and squealed as it swung back spraying her with droplets of cold water. It had been a usually warm day for April. But now that the sun had set, the sudden change in temperature created a layer of mist so thick it made conspirators of all those who wandered lost within the fog.

“Come on!” Janie grabbed her friend’s hand. “Erica said I could bring a guest. Don’t make me regret my choice.”

Sarah made a face at Janie’s back and trudged along behind her. The heels of her designer shoes aerating the soil as she walked.

The small group of girls, twelve in all, walked along the obscure trail that had been worn down by things that moved on four legs, not two. And certainly not those wearing stilettos.

Small puddles of light ebbed and flowed as those carrying the lanterns moved through the mist. Off in the distance an owl hooted. His wings barely disturbed the air as he flew silently searching for a meal among the detritus of the forest floor. A lone howl drifted through the hills, high and lonesome, it sent goosebumps down Sarah’s arms. It had been rumored that a wolf pack had moved into the area. It’s probably just a coyote she thought as the ground changed from thick soil to hard granite.

“Come on.” Janie materialized out of the mist like a wraith. Sarah squeaked like a mouse and fell, slipping on the slick granite, her ankle twisting painfully. She reached forward skinning her palms on a rocky outcrop. Janie sighed and bent down and removed Sarah’s expensive leather sandals. “The cave is just ahead.” She pitched the shoes out into the dark.

Sarah gasped in outrage as splash told her where the shoes had landed. “The leather is going to be ruined! I am so bringing this up at the next sorority meeting.” Janie rolled her eyes and walked away. Casting a longing glace toward the direction of her lost shoe Sarah heaved a martyred sigh. Her toes were going numb from the cold ground. Grumbling she followed Janie into the cave that beckoned with the warm glow of a fire. 

The group of girls filed into the cave. Metal sconces set into the rocks held blazing torches. Wax trailed down from candle filled niches, their light cast a golden glow. The stone of the cavern still bore the chisel marks from its creation long ago by the hands of the first settlers.

Coal Grove Ohio was just down the hill and like its name the area was littered with coal mines. This had been a mine once. But judging by how shallow it was, Sarah could see the end, the vein must have died out, forcing the miners to abandon it. The sweet smell of coal hung in the air mixing with the incense that was burning in braziers.  

Sarah blinked, her vision going blurry. It reminded her of the time she had gone to one of the frat parties. There had been a sweet smell then too, but it hadn’t been coal.

Running a hand over her face she stilled as she sensed a change in the room. “She’s here.” The girls whispered. Sarah was trying to remember where she was. Her mind moved sluggishly. That small voice in the back of her head urged her to run, but she couldn’t seem to care.

She turned to see a woman moving through the crowd. Instantly, Sarah was captivated by her. Long dark hair curled gently, falling to her waist. Large almond eyes with irises so deep the pupils were lost, gazed intently at Sarah. Her diaphanous gown revealed that she was naked beneath giving subtle hints of alabaster skin. As she walked, the flames flickered, casting the woman in shadow and then illuminating her in their turn.

She stopped before Sarah, a calculating smile curling the edges of her full lips. Strong Fingers grasped Sarah’s chin turning her head from side to side. “Oh, you are a strong one,” she said. Her voice held a strange accent that hinted at Greek.

Sarah blinked, unable to look away. “Strong?” She frowned in confusion.

“Oh yes,” the woman replied. “Very. I can feel it pulsing within you. I’m surprised you haven’t noticed it yourself.”

“Noticed what?” Sarah asked.

“Do odd things happen around you?” she asked. “Do you know when the phone is going to ring moments before it does? Do you… dream?”

Sarah frowned. How did this woman know? Sarah had moved from Kentucky to Ohio when her mom re-married. Ohio was such a nice normal place. But deep in the heart of the Kentucky Appalachians, ghost stories and rumors of the supernatural were not uncommon. In fact, as a child Sarah was convinced that a young girl would visit her every night.

That girl was named Mary and Sarah loved her as the sister she never had. Mary was her constant companion through those long lonely years she spent hiding in her room from her dad who took his frustration out on her mother. “Your father is home, Sarah.” Her mother would whisper. “Hide in your room until I come for you. Don’t come out no matter what you hear.” And she had heard a lot. She and Mary had sat together and listened to the screaming, the begging and with the dawn, blessed silence.”

One night her father didn’t come home. Instead there was an officer at the door who said that there had been an accident. It was the first night Sarah didn’t have to hide in her room. 

Years later, while doing some research on her hometown Sarah found some old newspapers. One story caught her attention. It told of a young girl named Mary Francis Corday who had lived in that very house one hundred years before Sarah lived there. That newspaper clip also told of how Mary had died. The sepia photo of the young girl was the same child who had visited her every night. So, yes, Sarah knew things. But she was taught never to discuss them. And she hadn’t, but one look into the woman’s deep eyes and she confessed everything.

“When did you stop seeing Mary?” the woman asked.

“The night after my father died, we left Kentucky,” Sarah said, unable to stop herself. “My mother knocked over my dad’s moonshine still. ‘Go get in the car, baby,’ she said. Then she threw a match into the house, climbed into the car and we drove away.” 


“Who are you?” Sarah asked.

“I have had many names, but you may call me Erica.” The woman shrugged. “It suits me for the moment.” Something about that sounded odd to Sarah, but she couldn’t quite figure out why. Erica smiled and turned away to speak with another girl and Sarah let out a shuddering breath.

“When I was a little girl, my mother told me stories,” Erica said. “Some people call them myths and dismiss them. But the wise know that there is always a kernel of truth in every story along with a tiny bit of the author’s soul. And for those willing to look, there is magic.” She moved slowly her steps leaving tiny prints in the fine dust of the cave’s floor. Her gown floated about her as though it had a will of its own. The silk hugged her body and then moved away as though it was a temperamental lover.

The girls who had gathered whispered of magic and wondered would they see it this night. The moon was dark, and the air felt pregnant. Full of promise and purpose. Erica moved among them, whispering ancient words that drew on the spark they each harbored. Fanning it, coaxing it to life until the torches flicked and then bloomed. Great fingers of fire reached for the darkness of the cave ceiling.

“My favorite story was of the moon goddess Selene.” Erica stood in the center of the cave. The girls gathered in a circle about her. She cast an appraising eye and nodded to Janie. Joining hands, the girls watched as the woman wove her story.

“Selene, exceeding in beauty amongst the deathless gods, she drove her chariot each night, whilst her brother, Helios, drove his during the day. The darkness was her providence and the shadows obeyed her. Cloaking her as she moved about the land, hiding her body from the bold eyes of mortals.”

“Once, while dancing with Ocean’s daughter she beheld a youth of such perfection that her cold heart was touched. Weeping she begged him to see her, but he only had eyes for the stars.”

“Oh, fair Moon,” he cried. ‘Why douth thou conceal thyself from me? I seek but to worship thee.”

“Immediately Selene ran to her chariot, but Zeus stopped her. “Tonight is the dark of the moon, Selene. And well you know it. The beasts that pull your chariot must rest. Else they will falter. Such a misstep would be disastrous.” Erica turned to face each girl in turn as she spoke.”

“But the youth wanted to worship her, the moon, and Selene would not be dissuaded. Once Zeus left, she took to her chariot and forced them to the sky. Her brother Helios had already begun his course. The team of oxen that pulled her across the sky balked at the sight of the fiery chariot that approached. They stopped as Helios reached his zenith. The two chariots passed before one another, night warring with day. For a moment, the fires of day were extinguished, and the land was cast into darkness. Noon became deepest night. Shrieks rose from the mortals. They cried to the heavens and implored Zeus to save them from this calamity. In a rage, he struck Selene and cast her into the Ocean. Zeus commanded Helios to finish his course. But once he was done, he left his team and went in search of his sister.”

“He found her sobbing on the beach, holding the broken body of the youth who had captivated her. The boy had taken his own life when he saw the moon cast into the sea. Zeus took pity on the despondent goddess and granted her a boon. He would restore the boy to life but to a span of no more than one hundred years. Well, you can imagine that such a finite amount of time would seem but a blink of an eye to an immortal goddess. Selene begged and pleaded for her lover to live longer.”

Zeus, who tended to be crafty and cruel agreed to let the boy live. But the span of time would remain the same. However, only his waking hours would detract from his lifetime. During the hours he slept, he would not age, nor would death claim him. With a chuckle the king of the gods allowed Selene to decide how many hours each day he would wake.”

The girls that were gathered watched Erica with tears in their eyes, heartbroken over the plight of the lovers. With a flick of her wrist, the girls broke the circle, allowing Erica to step farther into the cave. She took a torch, dipped it into the fire and lit the dry brush. A crown of fire erupted from the grasses. “Many scholars believe this to be a fine tale indeed. But as I said, to each story there is a bit of truth. And the author of this story gave a fair more than a kernel of their soul to craft it.” She stood before a dais, draped in heavy damask painted with mesmerizing shapes. With a grand gesture she whipped the fabric away revealing the body of a beautiful man. He appeared dead, cut down in the prime of his life. Thick lashes lay like crescents upon his sculpted cheeks. The hard contours of his body cast in harsh relief by the flickering flames.

Sarah moved closer to the man upon the table. He was so perfect he appeared to be carved from stone by the hand of a master. She reached for him, but bony fingers encircled her wrist. She tried to run but couldn’t. Looking up, she met the knowing eyes of Erica.

“In the stories the youth is none other than the prince Endymion. Known for his beauty and his love of the stars. Once Zeus retrieved his soul from the Underworld, the prince’s body was laid in a Latmian Cave. There, each night, in the moments just before dawn and dusk he would wake, and Selene would rush to him. They would have but seconds to embrace each other. Selene had a duty to drive her chariot each night. And the day hours were hostile towards her. For an immortal being who had been unanswerable to time, she found herself a slave to it.”

Sarah sobbed. She had seen a movie once where two lovers, always together, but ever apart were tormented with only a glance of the face of the other at dusk and dawn. She had loved the movie as a young girl and watched it over and over. Erica chuckled. “Yes girls, not all stories are make-believe. Behold!” Erica shouted. “The prince Endymion in his eternal sleep. Join with me this night, and let’s summon his lover, the moon!”

Hurriedly, they rushed to form a circle once more. Clasping hands in eager anticipation. Erica chanted in a strange language. The fires grew. Sweat poured down their bodies. The air pressure changed. Sarah’s ears popped, forcing a cry from her lips. A cool mist danced around their ankles before forming a column in the center of their circle.

Sarah gasped as the column of mist solidified. A pair of midnight eyes blinked at her from the mist. And then suddenly, where there had been only mist, there was now a woman. Long silver hair was interwoven with strands of jet that glinted in the fire light. Pale skin like marble was quickly hidden as the shadows swirled about her, forming a long robe.

With a grimace the woman pulled the cowl up, covering her magnificent hair. She sneered when she saw Erica. “I tire of you.” She growled. Her words filtered through the room in a hundred different languages. “Be careful, witch. Lest you suffer the same fate you deal.”

Erica laughed, loud and long. To Sarah’s ears there was more than a tinge of mockery in it. The silver-haired woman seemed to think the same thing. Her long elegant fingers curled into fists.

“A beast may be brought to heal, but only a fool would think it tame.”

Again, Erica laughed. “I care not if it is tame, so long as it does as commanded. Kneel Selene and do as you are told if you wish to gaze upon your lover this night.”

Selene screamed in outrage as her knees hit the dirt floor. Dutifully, she offered up her wrist. The sleeve of the shadow cloak slid down, showing the blue veins beneath the surface. Sarah watched as a glint of steel flashed. A line of crimson appeared along Selene’s arm. She hissed in pain, her eyes promising death to the woman who dared command her.

Erica pressed her lips to the wound, drinking long and deep. The air around her shimmered. Erica’s skin glowed with the vigor of youth. The few strands of gray among her ebony hair faded. When she looked up, her lips were stained with the blood of the goddess, her eyes sparked with power.

Janie handed her a chalice. Squeezing Selene’s arm, Erica forced a few drops of blood into it. With a nod, Janie took the chalice; dipping her fingers into the blood she smeared them across the lips of each girl.

When Janie stepped before Sarah, she smiled maliciously. “This is the gift I promised you.” And then she coated Sarah’s trembling lips with blood. The world exploded, driving Sarah to her knees. Suddenly there were colors that had never been imagined. She could hear the sounds of the forest below. The scurry of the rodent that was blissfully unaware of the owl that hunted it. The sighs of the lovers who took their pleasures in homes and shadows miles away. Insects working tirelessly at their ancient industry.

Her heart beat so loudly she was sure all could hear it. And then it slowed, time stalled in its tracks. She spied Mary standing at the entrance to the cave. Mary beckoned for Sarah to come out. To leave the cave. Sarah wanted to go to her, but she couldn’t. The girl gestured urgently, tears of frustration gleamed in her eyes and still Sarah could not move. With a cry Sarah met the knowing eyes of Erica. The raven-haired woman shook her head once. When Sarah looked back towards the entrance of the cave, Mary was gone.

Suddenly Janie was there. “Come on, you idiot. Selene and Endymion are to have their time. We mortals are not to interfere. Don’t embarrass me again.” Janie hissed. Sarah was finally able to rise, wanting to ask when she had embarrassed Janie the first time. But the words would not form. Numbly she stumbled out into the night. Dawn was not far off. The promise of day flirted with the horizon, chasing back the spectrum of night and heralding the return of color.

“Come on.” Janie pulled her along. “We need to get back to the dorms before we are noticed.”

“No.” Sarah finally found her voice. “I want my shoes.”

Janie stopped and blinked at her in amazement. “Fine, go get them.” She huffed. “You can find your own way home.”

Sarah watched as the last girl faded from sight. Slowly she turned back to the cave. She had to see Endymion. Was he real? Would he really rise? Would the lovers be reunited for a moment like they were in the movie?

The cave was cold, the fires banked, and the dais empty. “Was it real?” She whispered to the dark.

“Yes.” A voice whispered behind her. A gurgling cry rose as blood filled her lungs. She blinked at the sight of her heart beating slowly in the hand before her. As she fell to the ground and death danced for her, Sarah smiled. It had been real.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Sample Chapter #1

Book 3 of the Sophia Katsaros Series

The blissful misty moments of dawn were violently ripped away and replaced with the sounds of battle. Steel swords clashed as the weary peasants fought to defend the small village against the invaders. A chant began to rise from a meager hut. Soft at first, uttered by a terrified but determined heart. As resolve grew so did the skin prickling feeling of power.

For a long-agonized moment, it seemed as though the chaos would never end. And then, with a white-hot lance of pain, it did. It was a sudden change. Followed by a vast stillness, dark and blessedly silent. Life drifted away for mere moments or centuries, impossible to decipher. Until that too, changed.

The sea salt scent of the ocean permeated the air as the water crashed against rocks that had grown smooth from centuries of this dance. The moon hid her face, denying the world her light and casting the land in eerie darkness.

The deep blanket of night was relieved by a small glimmer that drifted through the woods. An impoverished light that went all but unnoticed except for those beings who are not counted amongst humankind.

A dryad blinked a weary eye as the light found her. “Do not bother me. You do not belong here.”

“Where do I belong?” the glimmer asked. “What am I?”

“I know not what you are,” the dryad replied. “As for where you belong, you will know when you find it.” And with that the spirit of the wood closed her eyes. Her thoughts borne away on the sap coursing through the tree she inhabited.

The glimmer paused, confused. There was something important that lay in the other direction. But it was frightening and so the glimmer hurried on. Not knowing what it was running from, but knowing it needed to get away.

An owl drifted past, barely sparing a glance as it hunted that which scurried on the forest floor. “What am I?” The glimmer asked of the owl, but no response was given. Just a beat of silent wings and the cry of a rodent, quickly ended.

The ocean crashed against the shore sending droplets of mist that caught the simple light of the glimmer and made it more. Drawn toward the depths the glimmer sank beneath the waves to the world that knows no sound.

An oceanid saw the glimmer and swam over, her sea grass hair trailed behind her. Gently she ran her fingers around the orb, entranced. What are you?” she asked, bubbles leaking from her mouth.

“I do not know,” the glimmer replied.

“But you are something,” said Ocean’s daughter. “And that is a grand thing to be.”

“I used to be…” The glimmer began and then the thought drifted away. There had been the taste of iron, but now there was only salt and water. There had been pain and love. At least the glimmer thought that there had been. But then, like all else, that too was forgotten.

“You must choose a form,” the oceanid said.

“But how?” the glimmer asked.

“I do not know how, you simply do.” 

“Like you?”

“No. I am me.” She smiled. “You must be you.”

“But I do not know what I am.” the glimmer replied, frustrated.

“Your soul knows. Just listen. It will tell you.”

“I have a soul?” The glimmer blinked, it’s light fluttering.

“Of course.” The oceanid laughed as her sisters joined her. “All things do. From the trees to the worms that crawl. All live and all are important.”

“How pretty.” Another swam up. “Sister, where did you find it?”

“It found me,” the first said. “It thinks it is lost. It is not. It just doesn’t know where it is going yet.”

“Oh yes, most wise,” a third sister said. “You can be only lost when you know where you are going. If you do not know, how can you be lost?”

The glimmer floated amongst the sisters of the deep. They were frightfully beautiful. Long hair floated about them. Gills on the side of their necks opened and closed as the tides swirled over them. Silver scales danced down their backs reflecting the cool fire of the moon that struggled to penetrate the deep waters.

“How do I choose a shape?”

“Choose.” They sang in chorus. “Choose. Listen to your soul.”

Had the glimmer been able it would have sighed in frustration. But then something caught the glimmer’s attention. It was song. Instantly known, though its refrain had never been heard before.

“Oh. He sings.” The sisters cheered. “Come. We must go listen.” With a swirl of water and glistening scales the sisters swam away leaving the glimmer to tumble amongst the waves in their wake.

The sisters hid among the rocks, partially submerged, to watch the boy who sang sweetly to the moon. “Why do you deny me?” He implored. “Please show me your beauty, cast your light upon me.” Picking up a reed he began to play. The sisters wept briny tears as they listened.

The glimmer paused. The soul that had been spoken of took notice of the boy. Slowly the glimmer hovered about him. His eyes were closed as he played. The glimmer’s light illuminated the features of a boy, showing the promise of the man he would become.

He wore clothes that had been dyed a deep color though the night hid their hue. About his neck were chains of gold. All these things the glimmer saw. And all were fascinating.

“Come back to us, little spark.” The oceanid whispered.

“Yes.” Her sisters sang.

Slowly the glimmer left the boy and his haunting melody. 

“He is beautiful,” the glimmer whispered.

“He is a prince.” The oceanid cast a knowing look at the boy.

“Oh, a prince.” That word sounded familiar, but pain followed hard on the heels of the memory. And so, it was pushed aside. Fleeing from the echo of blood the glimmer floated once more about the boy as he continued his song.

The sisters giggled amongst themselves as the glimmer danced about the boy.

“I know what you are, little spark,” the oceanid said.

That was enough to draw the glimmer’s attention from the boy. “What?” the glimmer asked.

“A woman,” the oceanid said.

“Yes, indeed. A woman.” Her sisters echoed.

“What is that?” the glimmer asked.

“A most frightful thing,” Ocean’s daughter said.

“Indeed.” Her sisters sang.

Saturday, August 3, 2019



Book 3 of the Sophia Katsaros series

Release date: October 31st, 2019

It would be an understatement to say that Dr. Sophia Katsaros has had a lot of change recently.  But nothing is ever simple, and time waits for no dryad. With the help of Arthur and the Lykanos pack they take on an immortal witch and hunt a serial killer who has begun to terrorize the area. Will they be able to find the monster before it finds its next victim? Wrapped up in the myth of Selene, the moon goddess who fell in love with Prince Endymion, she leveraged everything to be with him. There will be new friends and even older enemies as the Dr. Katsaros series continues.

Watch this space. 
I will post a few sample chapters as well as the link when the book goes live for presale. 
Enjoy what's left of your Summer because Autumn just got real. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Entry #4
by Paul Freeman

“Whore! Harlot! Look! see there! Look at the fallen woman, see how she parades her shame in the face of God and all honest folk,” the old preacher screamed his tirade from a plinth set up in the town square so that he could preach to the God fearin’ folk of the frontier town. 

“Don’t listen to him, Abigail, you know he only hates you because you spurned his advances and refused to marry him.” 

“I know, but his barbs find their mark all the same,” Abigail said to her sister, tears glistening in her eyes. The two girls hurried, arms linked, from the square with the hems of their dresses dragging in the mud and the preacher’s taunts ringing in their ears, unable to avoid the scornful eyes of the townsfolk on their backs. 

“Let he… or she who has forsaken God feel the heat of Hell’s fiery flames. Let her burn. See, see how she turns from the words of our Saviour. See how she scurries when I brandish the good book.” He held aloft a tattered, leather covered bible.  “I name thee Satan’s child, witch! She has cursed us and damned her own soul.” Spittle flew from his mouth as he worked himself into a frenzy, jabbing a finger at the girls retreating backs.  

“Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name…” he roared the words after them. 

“He’s gone too far this time, don’t listen to his lies, Abigail. We’ll have father speak with him. He can’t do that to you, not on this day of all days, a day of celebration, a day to give thanks….” Abigail suddenly felt the absence of her sister’s arm as her words were cut short. 

“Catherine! Catherine, what is it?” she cried, staring in shock at her sister who was lying on her back in the mud. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the rock beside her and a crimson pool swelling by her head. Catherine groaned but didn’t move. 

“Witch! I live in the farm next to her and all the milk turned sour over night,” a hard faced woman shouted. 

“She cursed my Timmy and the poor lad has been abed sick these past three weeks,” another accused.

Abigail was crying openly now, shaking her head at the madness of it all, she was no witch. She bent down to her sister, wondering how they were going to explain Catherine’s ruined dress to their mother. How can people be so cruel – so vicious? She looked to the gathering crowd, seeking help and mercy in their cold, hard stares. 

“Grab her! Hold her!” Rough hands manhandled her away from her stricken sister.  

“Burn her!”  The cry was taken up by the entire mob. 

Abigail sobbed as she was taken to the centre of the town and tied to a stake. She pleaded and screamed to no avail. “I’m not a witch, I’m not a witch.”  

Through the flames she could see the preacher, watching with his dark malevolent eyes, a barely concealed smirk twitched at the side of his mouth.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Magic of Stories

Entry #3
The Magic of Stories
by Sharon Van Orman

People always complain about Thanksgiving being forgotten between Halloween and Christmas. They grumble and post silly memes on social media for a bit but they always move on. They don’t remember, we made sure of that. It was the only way to keep everyone from going mad. But there are only seven of us left and the spell is weakening. If this continues they will remember soon, God help us.

23 November 1823
Boston Massachusetts, USA

“Moore!,” the man yelled, shaking his friend. “You’ve got to pull it together! This will take all of our strength.”

“How are we do to do this, Livingston?’ Moore asked, taking his wire rimmed glasses from his face. He wiped them on his shirt front without thinking. The moment he popped them back on his face the scarlet smear of blood on the white linen was so shocking that once again, all he could do was stand there and blink in confusion.

“I thought you said your friend was powerful, Livingston,” Martha said, as she entered the room with candles .

“He is,” Henry Livingston Jr, lately of Poughkeepsie New York, insisted. Though he had to admit that after the events of the day, he couldn’t attest to being certain about anything. Livingston reached out to pat his friend Clement Clark Moore on the shoulder. He noticed absently that his hand trembled like dry leaves in the wind. He had wiped the blood away, but it was still there. It would always be there.

“The other’s will be here soon.” A large women known as Ramona walked though the front door. She had a bag thrown over her shoulder which was filled to the brim. There was a pitiful cry when she dropped the sack to the ground.

Livingston took a step back from her out of instinct. She was smiling around the pipe clutched between her teeth, but it wasn’t a pleasant smile. Within her dark eyes a deep malevolence swirled. She knew he was afraid and it pleased her.

“Time has been stopped but that won’t last long;” She loosened the rope from around the sack and quickly set about her work. A bundle of dry herbs went into the fire. The flames erupted, not red like normal, or even blue like fire’s heart. But white and then a sickly green. Eventually the fire settled down into a deep black.

“Black,” Moore whispered. “How can that be?”

“The half hour before midnight is the time of good magic, Ramona said, the pipe bobbing as she spoke. “But the half hour after, well that’s another thing entirely.”

“We are not meant to do black magic,” Livingston protested. “We just banished…”

“Do not say their names!” Martha shouted quickly slapping her hand over his mouth. “The portal is only newly closed. If you speak their names it will give them strength and all our work will have been for naught. Too many have died this night. I’ll not have it undone by your foolishness.  

He nodded and sat down on a nearby barrel. Moore continued to stare into the flames as the rest of the coven filtered into the room.

“We have enough strength in this room alone to twist the spell,” said one of the women. She was so old that her face was lined with wrinkles. All the smiles and heartbreaks were laid bare on her face. Once upon a time her hair would have been a vibrant red. Now it had faded to a buttery yellow though no hint of silver touched it. “If the spell is to last, it has to be given a life of its own. Under no circumstances can the events of this night be allowed to be revealed. That will give the things on the other side of the portal strength. The most powerful among us have died in the effort to close the portal. You’ve seen evil take form and walk the earth and yet you live. We’ll not get a second chance.”

She moved before the window, the moonlight shone in, glinting of the silver buckle of her shoe and giving it back a thousand times. The fresh snow reflected the same light. It seemed as though the darkest hour was given the luster of midday. A herd of deer paused at the edge of the woods, frozen mid-step. Time had indeed stopped, even the snow was suspended mid fall, twinkling like tiny diamonds.

“I don’t understand my role in this,” Livingston asked. “My friend Moore is a biblical scholar and I but a poet. What would you have from us?”

“There is much strength in you,” the old woman replied. “I felt it while were fighting…” she paused unwilling to name their opponent. “But this night your skill with words will serve us well.”

“I write poetry, not spells.” He stuttered. “I have no magic.”

“That is not true at all,” she said, her eyes crinkling at the corners. “All stories are magic. When they are read, be that aloud or silently, they take on life. That is truly the strongest magic of all.”

Livingston had no words to argue and clearly the old woman felt that she made her point. They set to work, building the fire, setting oils to boil until the room was heavily steeped in the dueling aromas of incense and myrrh. He made himself comfortable on the barrel and began to write. They needed to make sure that the time between Samham and the Winter Solstice were cloaked in forgetfulness. Yet the spell needed to be something that would be repeated year after year. As the woman said, the more it was believed the stronger it would be.

You’re done then,” the old woman asked as she took the parchment from him. “Oh this will do just fine.” She said, smiling as she read “Twas the Night before Christmas…”

Release Day!

Daylight tells its stories easily showing all to everyone, but for those who know to look and listen, the night is so very much ...