Fall Into Fantasy Tour – Marsha A Moore

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Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Enchanted Bookstore Legends bannerThe Enchanted Bookstore Legends
Book One: Seeking a Scribe
Book Two: Heritage Avenged
Book Three: Lost Volumes
Book Four: Staurolite
Book Five: Quintessence
By Marsha A. Moore

Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One by Marsha A. Moore

Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love.

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love?

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.

Series Description:

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

Purchase Links:
Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One
Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two
Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three
Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four
Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five

ABOUT MARSHA A. MOORE
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!

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Excerpt from Seeking a Scribe:

Chapter One: Licorice Memories
The smell of anise greeted Lyra as she opened the door to Drake’s bookstore. It took her back to happy childhood memories. Licorice-shoe-string-rewards for following her parents’ requests to stay on the dock while they secured the family’s pleasure boat to its trailer. The aroma brought a fleeting remembrance of times long gone, a treasure now that her folks had recently passed. At ease with the familiar scent, she settled into browsing through rows of antique bookcases.
The shop owner stuck his head around a set of shelves. “Do you like tea?”
“Yes, I do.” Before she could finish speaking, he disappeared. “Is that the wonderful smell?” she called out.
Kitchenware clinked in the back room. Receiving no answer, Lyra followed the noises, scanning collections as she walked. This bookshop appeared established, but surely she would have remembered it from her last visit to the Lake Huron village five years ago. Books were her passion, especially fantasy. She paused in front of that section and studied its titles.
The owner appeared, holding a pewter tray with a teapot, two cups, sugar jar, spoons, and napkins, which he laid on the corner of an old library table. She watched him carefully pour the tea and hand her a cup. He was about her age, mid thirties or a bit older, and handsome. His medium brown hair, peppered with gray at the temples, grazed his shoulders in wavy layers, and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He wore long shorts, a knit golf shirt, and sandals—typical casual attire for this island resort community.
She set down her bag from the drugstore and accepted his offer with a smile. “Thanks. My name’s Lyra.” She blew across the hot surface of the tea to cool it and then inhaled the anise-scented steam. She closed her eyes to fully enjoy the memory. “Ah!”
“Afternoons of boating and licorice with your parents? Right?” he asked.
Her mouth dropped open. How did he know that?
________________________________________
He slurped from his cup. “Go ahead, take a sip. My folks gave me the same reward for taking my kid sister along on bicycle rides.”
Forgetting all about the tea, she asked, “How do you know my childhood memory?”
“Taste it.” His lips curled into a sly grin as he took another gulp.
She cautiously took a tiny sip, just enough to wet her lips and the tip of her tongue. The flavor flooded her mouth, and her mind swam with wonderful memories. The taste transformed into that of gigantic popcorn balls the sheriff’s wife down the street made for Halloween trick-or-treaters, accompanied by images of Lyra’s costume—a red, fringed gypsy skirt borrowed from Mom. Next came a pumpkin flavor and vision of holding a cold piece of “punky-pie” in her five-year-old hand. Another swallow returned her experience back to anise. “What is this? How did you know?”
“Let me introduce myself.” His grin spread into a smile as his eyes met hers. He took a step closer. “I’m Cullen, Cullen Drake, and I know many things. What I don’t know is what sort of books you like to read.”
His keen interest caused heat to rise in her cheeks. “Well, actually I have several favorites, all fantasy and magical realism. You have a number of authors I like in this section.” She turned to refer to the shelves behind her, but found non-fiction hunting guides instead. “This case held classic fantasy a moment ago!”
Cullen put down his cup. “It moved. It’s over here, and I have just what you want.” He slid an old-fashioned library ladder along its track, set the locking device, and climbed straight up to the top shelf.
Lyra followed, walking between four comfortable leather club chairs grouped on a Persian rug. A portrait of a young girl and a man wearing a cloak caught her attention. Something seemed familiar in the child’s smile.
The noise of books sliding on shelves distracted her. She moved to the base of his ladder and glanced up. The ceiling of embossed tin panels decorated with Victorian teardrop chandeliers and paper Chinese dragons made a unique combination, to be sure.
But Lyra was more curious about the strange happenings in the store and its owner. He was certainly odd, although not the bookish, geeky sort who usually ran bookshops she frequented. He had an athletic frame and strong legs.
“Can’t find it!” he exclaimed and quickly descended. His brow furrowed, he dusted off his hands on his shorts. “I’ve got to find that volume for you. If you don’t mind me saying, there’s a sadness about you. The book will make you happier than you’ve been since those days of licorice shoe strings.”
“After magical tea and shifting bookcases, I almost believe you.” She laughed to cover her concerns. Even four months after it was final, she worried that the loneliness she felt after her divorce blazed like a beacon on her forehead. But, Cullen knew so much—it startled her…actually, intrigued her. Her ex didn’t ever see inside her, didn’t want to. This man read her as though he knew her. Did he? He seemed so familiar.
“Once I find that book, I promise, you’ll be pleased.” He stroked his goatee. “Hmm. Where did I last see it?” The twinkle in his gray-blue eyes captivated Lyra. “Will you be here for the week? I can look for it and call you later.”
“I’m staying the rest of the summer with my elderly Aunt Jean. She owns a lovely cottage at the end of Walnut overlooking Lake Huron. I thought I’d keep her company and give her time away from her nurse during my teaching break. While I’m here, I plan to write my novel.”
“Great! You’re a writer? What do you teach?”
“Yes, and I teach American Literature at Southern University in Florida. Seems like you already would’ve known that since you jumped into my childhood memories,” she stammered, attempting some humor. Taking a long draught of the tea, her mind filled with memories of her pet dachshund wiggling next to her, displacing a row of dolls. Another part of her past he knew—impossible! Her forehead beaded with sweat.
“No, only thoughts associated with a lot of emotion, like the happiness of snuggling with your dog.”
“How?” she exclaimed, shaking her head. “I don’t understand.” Her mind swam, trying to grasp what happened. She desperately needed some fresh air. With trembling hands she set the cup down.
“I realize it must seem odd, but the book I’m looking for will help explain.” He leaned closer with a smile that somehow reassured her. “This is Saturday. If you can come by next Wednesday morning, I think I should have it for you by then…if you’d like.” He paused and looked into her eyes, waiting for a reply.
“Yes…I’m curious.” In spite of the confusion, she found herself agreeing. “Wednesday will work.”
“Fine. Let me take down your number in case I can’t find it.” He walked to the counter and located a notepad and pen. She dictated her number and full name, which he repeated, “Lyra McCauley, a lovely Celtic name for a pretty lady.”
“I think I need to go now. Thanks for the tea.” With shaking fingers, she collected her shopping bag and headed toward the door.
He escorted her out and offered his hand to shake, the corners of his goatee lifting into an inviting grin. “Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”
Lyra smiled and looked into his eyes, trying to discern his unusual clairvoyant gift. “You too.” The initial touch, of his palm against hers, sent electrical shivers along her arm. She jerked, yet didn’t let go, fascinated by the strong emotions flashing through her mind—attraction, excitement, and acceptance. After an awkwardly long pause, she dropped his hand, half-stumbled over the threshold into the sunshine, and took a long, deep breath.
She ambled to an outdoor café a couple blocks farther down Tenth Street, while her mind buzzed with questions. How did he know those things about her? She dropped onto a seat at an empty table, shaded by an umbrella. He was fascinating and frightening at the same time…and familiar. Her divorce and loss of her parents left her lonely. He intrigued her.
“May I get you something to drink while you look over the menu?” The waitress interrupted with a bright young voice, a college student working a summer job.
Startled back to reality, Lyra murmured, “Just water, please.” Alone in a crowd of lunch goers, her thoughts returned to the bookstore and many unanswered questions.
The waitress placed a glass of water in front of her.
She almost hated to drink and remove the sweet aftertaste of anise from her tongue.

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A Work In Progress

Life these days has been a little hectic, my writing time has been shrinking to a sad little one day a week affair. But I’m powering through it, I have a new novel in the works, and while it might take me a little longer to write it is coming along nicely. So here’s the opening chapter of my new ghost hunter story. It’s a little longer than my usual posts but if you’re curious about what goes on in my dark little writing hideaway (the outback caravan), have a read through and let me know what you think.

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“If you murder an innocent man you are responsible for the blood of his unborn descendants, and the weight of this responsibility is yours to carry til the end of time.”

 

#

 

Chapter One

 

Daniel watched the rain weaving patterns on his windscreen. He closed his eyes and inhaled a sharp breath, everything was harder when it rained.  This house was out in the middle of nowhere and he was parked on a dirt path for lack of better options. He could only hope the rain was heavy enough to erase the tyre marks when he left.

Between the trees he could see the lights flashing as the girl moved from room to room—she had no idea he was outside or of the things he was going to do to her. It was better that way, she would be easier to sneak up on and her spectres would be unprepared for his attack. He unzipped his jacket and checked the tools were secure; the lock-pick, torch, mirror and a flick knife for back up. He pulled the black leather gloves over his slim fingers and unbuttoned the sheathed knife in his boot. There was no point waiting any longer, it wouldn’t get any easier.

 

Daniel released the door, the hinge locking halfway before he shoved it open and stepped into the winter wind. The mud squelched beneath his boots—he would need to check for those tracks on his way out too. He slipped quietly between the trees, ignoring the rain seeping into the neck of his jacket. It was dark outside, she probably wouldn’t see him sidling up to the windows but he paused anyway. She stood in the kitchen, her eyes cast on the pot as she stirred the contents and put it back in the oven. She appeared to be a few years younger than him—in her early twenties at most—her light hair tied back in a loose ponytail. It was the most relaxed he’d seen her. For a second it made him wonder if now was really the time, if it wasn’t exactly the right moment he had no way of knowing if he was doing the right thing. And he didn’t want to kill anyone who didn’t have to be killed, especially someone so young.

She started to head back to the lounge room, absentmindedly scratching her arm as she walked past the window. Suddenly her eyes widened and panic filled her expression. Daniel found he’d been holding his own breath until that moment, silently hoping he’d been wrong and he could turn back and leave her for another night. But this was it, she’d seen them: the ghosts in the reflection.

 

A glass had slipped from her hand and shattered on the tiles beneath her. She stood frozen for a moment before the spectres stepped back into the veil. Now she was probably trying to convince herself what she’d seen wasn’t real. She moved closer to the window and wiped her hand over the glass. Daniel retreated into the shadows but he guessed she was too scared to consider looking outside anyway. Deep down she would know the reflection she’d seen only moments ago wasn’t human. He watched as she tried to find it again, her eyes blinking rapidly in an effort to recreate the image.

But that wasn’t the way it worked. The spectres couldn’t be called upon by the damned, they came to them when they were least expecting it. Usually lurking in the mirrors until the victim was at their weakest. Their dark, twisted faces seeking them in windows and pools of water, building on their fear until they thought they were losing their mind.

It was Daniel’s job to stop the spectres gaining control, but there was no way to save the host, their life was already considered lost. This girl standing on the other side of the glass, her innocent features so tortured by fear—she was as good as dead—the best he could do was end her suffering.

 

The girl was busy trying to collect herself, Daniel moved round to the other side of the house where the lights were off. He walked until he found a room with hard flooring instead of carpet, the last thing he wanted was to leave muddy footprints for the police to find. The girl would still be in the kitchen, the spectres would leave her alone just long enough for her to think she’d imagined them. He took the time to scrape the mud from his boots before he unzipped his jacket for the lock-pick. He worked quickly and silently, feeling the latch drop to the side before he slid the door open. A rush of central heating blew into his face but nothing could ease the chill from his bones before he made a kill. The only way he knew to do it was as fast as possible so his conscience didn’t have time to catch up with him.

 

The sound of the TV streaming from the lounge room helped to mask the sound of his footsteps. He paused before he turned each corner, within minutes they would be face to face but he couldn’t afford to be surprised by her. Once she saw him her spectres would appear at the surface of the veil and that was his moment.

The ghosts could only be viewed indirectly until he was willing to move into the veil himself. Eventually he would have to but even a few seconds of studying them would give him an advantage once he slipped into their dark world. He pulled the mirror from his pocket and used it to scan the kitchen, the girl was gone and she’d taken her ghosts with her. She was most likely watching TV, trying to ignore that creeping feeling she wasn’t alone. Daniel switched the oven off as he passed it and reached the doorway of the lounge room.

There she was, straight backed on the couch, arms tight around her chest, her back to him as he used the mirror to watch her spectres. They moved faster now he had joined them, their ghostly arms trying to punch through the veil and enclose him. He could almost feel them gripping his throat as though they knew what he was here for. They would be screaming too even though he couldn’t hear them, he wasn’t the one who was damned, but the girl before him turned her head to the side as she listened. Just as the spectres couldn’t be seen directly they couldn’t be heard that way either. It was in echoes she would hear their ghostly taunts, they would be getting louder as Daniel’s presence angered them. Her shoulder’s tensed before she grabbed the remote for the TV and switched it off, in the darkness of the screen she saw another reflection, this time not just the spectres, but herself, and Daniel hovering just behind her.

 

She screamed and jumped from her seat, cheeks already pink with stress as she turned to face the man in black standing in her home. He held his hand out to make her pause, if she became too irate her spectres would be harder to fight. It was always a difficult choice to make—the more effort he put into calming her, the harder the kill would be. Her deep blue eyes filled with tears and what he saw in them weakened him. This was the first time he’d seen her up close, he hadn’t expected to be moved the way he was.

“It’s okay,” he whispered on impulse.

For a moment she looked as though she wanted to jump into his arms and beg for comfort. It just proved how much the spectres were already influencing her thoughts.

His expression must have held her back. “Are you here to hurt me?” her jaw was trembling so hard it looked like it might lock.

Daniel’s heart beat harder, he couldn’t afford to talk to her anymore. He lifted the mirror and held it to the side of her face, the spectres’ angry eyes flashed in the reflection so suddenly he couldn’t help reacting.

The girl turned to the mirror and she caught sight of her own ghosts once again. They were furious, their faces morphing together to form a grotesque image, a sight so frightening her knees weakened and dropped her to the ground.

Daniel pulled the bowie knife from his boot and the moment her spectres saw the weapon they found the strength to reach beyond the veil. That was the thing about ghosts of the living, they weren’t powerless like the ghosts of the dead. They slipped inside her one by one; her once innocent eyes immediately turning to fury. That image was just what he needed to finish the job.

 

Her hands stretched out like claws as she launched at him, her strength multiplied by the spectres inside her. She went straight for the knife, her delicate hand locking around the blade as her eyes seemed to draw him in. Daniel yanked the knife away, waiting for her blood to spill on the mahogany flooring, but her skin was left untouched. He paused a moment to make sense of it and that was exactly what they were expecting.

The girl jumped and hooked her arm around his neck, she was small but the force of it knocked his balance, he stumbled and bumped into a table, knocking the lamp to the floor. Her hand gripped the side of his face, her fingers digging so hard he was sure he must be bleeding. The spectres were stronger than he thought.

He threw his knife on the floor before she could take it from him, grabbing her arm and tipping her over his shoulder. She hit the ground with a thud but still it didn’t stop her. Her eyes were no longer a deep blue, they were a black abyss, the spectres using her life force to gain more power. There was only one way to destroy them. He held the mirror at arm’s length, using the reflection to watch the spectres moving inside her.

There were more than usual, at least five, all working together to manipulate her body. They were fast but once he moved into the veil everything would slow down. She snatched the mirror and smashed it against the floor boards, lifting a jagged piece to use as a weapon. Daniel took a step back, knowing it had to be now. If he didn’t go to the other side she would kill him.

He took a deep breath because once he crossed to the other side he wouldn’t be able to take another. His eyes shuddered closed as he concentrated on slowing his heart rate—within seconds the ghosts started to weave into his consciousness. Usually he spent all his time trying to block them but once he allowed the channel to open they would do the rest. Their hands reached out, their cries growing louder in his ears as they locked their icy cold fingers around his chest and pulled him through the veil.

 

His body felt numb, the atmosphere inside the veil was different, like it was just a dream. It was as though he was dead, his heart and lungs slowing to a dangerous pace as every shred of hope and happiness he once felt was stripped away from him. It was difficult for the body to adjust, his muscles contracted as the panic tried to take control of him.

The ghosts surrounded him, all their faces reflecting the girl he’d come to kill. They were her ghosts after all, created and sustained by her. They were attached to her life and that meant they were capable of influencing the world in dark and violent ways. But everything had a weakness and he knew theirs.

His presence inside the veil distracted them, their voices grew louder as they lashed at him, their ghostly tendrils wrapping around his body, making movement more difficult. Straining to escape them would do no good, what he wanted was to focus their attention so he could slip back to the other side before they had chance to realise his intentions.

He turned his head, the other side still visible through the veil. The girl was on the floor, her hair now messy and hanging in her eyes but he could tell by her posture the ghosts had left her.

Instead they were feeding on him, using their translucent hands to reach inside his body and take the energy they desired.

 

It didn’t take long for his body to droop, he was growing tired and the longer he spent here the harder it would be to get back. If he focused his attention on the physical needs of his body he could shake the veil, but he had to act quickly before the ghosts moved back to their host.

His lungs were starting to burn, in this world they didn’t need air but his mind still craved it. The more he thought about oxygen the more he wanted it, there was a stagnant feeling in his chest, a feeling he couldn’t bear any longer. The cold grip of the ghosts started to fade as he focused his mind. Daniel’s lungs fought back, heaving as though the sheer force of it would create the air he needed.

The haze over his eyes cleared, his body warming and stomach lurching as though he’d been dropped to his feet from a sickening height. The girl lifted her head the moment he returned to his body, her eyes glistened as she stared up at him for mercy but it was too late for that.

Daniel pulled the flick knife from his pocket and used his boot to pin her shoulder to the floor. She didn’t make a sound as he pressed the blade against her skin and drew it across her throat.

 

Blood seeped from the wound but he didn’t allow himself to take in the sight. Usually he reached only for his mirror to check the spectres had been destroyed—that’s how he knew his job was complete. But the mirror was broken into small pieces, the only one big enough to use was already covered in the girl’s blood and he knew better than to pick up soiled items. Her eyes were open and staring, the lifeless pupils surrounded once again by pure blue. Suddenly the house seemed too silent. He collected the bowie knife from the floor and secured it back in his boot.

There was a mirror on the wall, he stood in front of it and checked his face for scratches—there were red marks where she’d pressed against his cheek but the skin wasn’t broken. He used the reflection to check the body behind him. There were no auras moving around it, no spectres floating nearby, everything was still and there was nothing left to do but cover his tracks.

 

–*–

 

The first couple of hours after a kill always passed in a haze. He’d learnt to switch off the emotional thought process and focus on the job. For it was in the hurry to leave a site of murder that mistakes would be made. Instead he breathed deeply and calmly, spending time scouring the rooms for evidence and carefully removing anything that could place him at the crime scene. The rain outside had grown heavier, the mud thicker when he finally stepped out and relocked the door he’d entered. The footprints from earlier had already been washed away and after checking the sky he felt confident the weather would destroy all signs of his presence within minutes of leaving.

Rain gathered in the neck of his jacket, a steady stream flowing down his back as he turned his head to check amongst the trees. Goosebumps formed on his torso, the wind following the water and turning his skin to ice. But he was alone, he felt sure of it. The house was so remote there was little chance of anyone seeing him. Still he sat in his car for a long time, quietly observing his surroundings before he prepared to leave.

His hands were sweaty, he pulled his fingers free and slipped the gloves inside a paper bag. The adrenaline was wearing off and his hands were shaking. It wouldn’t be long before the flashbacks started.

 

Daniel drove a long way and as the distance grew his mental state started to change. He’d completed his job—the kill and the clean up—as a professional he’d succeeded. There was nothing left to focus on, no evidence to hide, no body to dispose of. Now he was just a man—a man who had committed murder.

 

 

Here’s a little blog about the labour and love of writing a novel.

Here’s a little blog about the labour and love of writing a novel. Let’s start with the labour … Everyone knows books don’t write themselves, it’s hours and hours of someone sitting alone in a room. I’m lucky I can … Continue reading