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Weekend Writing Warrior 10/18/20 #8Sunday

Brave Little Thrall coverThis week I’m moving on to the next release in my Heartsbane Saga series, “The Brave Little Thrall.” I’d planned to release it yesterday, but life got in the way and edits aren’t quite done yet. It should be out in the next couple days, inshallah (God-willing, as my MC would say).

When I was a kid, Nickelodeon had an anime series of fairy tales that I assumed I watched all of, although only one episode sticks with me thirty years later: “The Brave Little Tailor.” It’s such a fun, silly tale that I knew I had to include it in my new series of retold fairy tales. It doesn’t really fit into the plot arc for the main series, so I decided to adapt it for one of the accompanying stand-alone short stories.

This week brings the start of the story. It starts out in Aghlabid, a distant desert land where book 2 is also set. The main characters in this story – a desert scholar and a barbarian king – are the fathers of two of the characters in the main story line, and this tale is about how they met. Fun fact: the real Viking Bjorn Ironside led a raid on the Mediterranean in 859-861 and basically got his butt handed to him, so this story is pretty dang historically plausible.

* * * * * * *

Fahim Al Rasheed sat at a table covered with books and papers in a tucked-away corner of the main library at the University of Bidat Alshroq. His concentration right now was on seven runes in front of him. Scholars had been trying to years to decode their meaning, with no luck so far.

Fahim didn’t need luck. His name meant Fahim the Wise, and he knew that if he focused enough, he could solve this mystery.

“Give up, boy,” a figure said as it strode through the stacks. “That barbarian language has been dead for centuries. Even if you could figure it out, what use is it? Learn a real language.”

* * * * * * *

And here’s the rest of that scene:

Fahim rolled his eyes. Khasir Al Mutakabir was the preeminent geography scholar at the university, and as such considered himself an expert in many other disciplines as well. Including linguistics. But no one was better in that field than Fahim Al Rasheed. He would figure out what the runes meant and then Khasir would be the one listening to him.

* * * * * * *

Book 1 in the Heartsbane Saga, Captive and the Cursed, is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of the characters’ exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

About “The Brave Little Thrall:”

Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to visit them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

 

New cover for an old short story collection!

A few weeks ago, I updated the cover for my short story “Tim and Sara.” Now I’ve also breathed new artistic life into another backlist book, Us, Together: A Short Story Collection.

Us, Together cover

No one ever said being a teenager is easy. These six stories are proof.

An unexpected pregnancy leads a high school student to plan out his life with The One, but does she feel the same way?

When substance use drives a father from his family, can his son fill his shoes?

A troubled home life pushes a girl to her teacher for help, forcing her to realize what she wants might not be what she can get.

When a historic flood threatens two teens on opposite sides of the river, can they realize what matters most before everything is destroyed?

As an undocumented student struggles to get an education, can he keep learning when he can’t even control his life?

When a young girl looks for love and belonging, who will help her find it in the right places?

These six short stories, all loosely based on stories and students ED Martin encountered while working with at-risk kids and families, highlight the struggles teenagers face today, from relationships and unplanned pregnancy, to absent parents and poverty.

Like “Tim and Sara,” this collection is just $.99 and available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Weekend Writing Warrior 10/11/20 #8Sunday

Captive and the Cursed CoverThis’ll be the last post from Captive and the Cursed, the first book in my Heartsbane series, since my second short story, “The Brave Little Thrall,” will be out later this week and I’ll be moving on to snippets from it instead.

Last week, we learned that Nyah’s sister had been kidnapped by barbarians. When her village council didn’t move quickly enough to get her back, Nyah took matters into her own hands and charged off to the barbarian camp to get her back. She demanded to speak with their leader, and a very polite man named Domhnall led her to the leader’s tent, where she’s now confronting a man covered in a horrible, painful-looking rash.

* * * * * * *

The disfigured man glared at me. “Go back to your village, girl.”

“I will as soon as you give me my sister back.”

The man shifted his glare to Domhnall. “What is she talking about?”

I am talking about the girl your barbarians captured yesterday.”

“Domhnall?”

“I’d guess she’s the sister of the girl we rescued.”

“You dinnae rescue her,” I spat at them.

“Oh,” the hideous man asked, “then what happened?”

* * * * * * *

And here’s the rest of that scene:

Swallowing down my revulsion to the disfigured man’s appearance, as well as my fear, I strode over to his table and glanced down at the maps and papers scattered on the table. Father had many of his own maps from his travels, and I’d studied them often, so I was familiar with the geography of Llogeria. “Let me recap for you. You sailed across the northern sea in your long ships, looking for easy treasure.” I traced his path on the map while I spoke. “As you make your way to our capital, you’re gathering men to you, with promises of treasure and slaves. And if they won’t willingly join you, you take them captive, like you did with my sister and her companion. Aye, I know what happened, because Dar escaped and told me everything.” I shook my head in disgust. “It’s horrible enough what you’re doing here, but you barbarians have been invading our shores for centuries. What’s worse is when my fellow countrymen put their own greed over Llogeria. This man, for example.”

I turned my ire to Domhnall. “What did he bribe you with? Gold? No, I can tell you’re a lordling so you dinnae need wealth. A title, perhaps, and land of your own. Maybe he’ll let you rule at his side when you overthrow our king? Well, you won’t overthrow him. You should know our king is raising his own army to fight back against these hordes, and—”

“Aye, we know,” the disfigured man interrupted. “What does this have to do with your sister again?”

* * * * * * *

This is obviously not the reaction she was expecting!

Captive and the Cursed is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of the characters’ exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Fall 2020 goal review – ‘Ronaverse edition

How is it that 2020 feels like a million months’ long yet is still flying by?

I did an online writing conference in August, and that’s really helped me to focus. I love to-do lists, and so I now keep a planner with weekly goals. I don’t always hit them (okay, I never hit them all), but it’s helped keep me on track a lot better than my previous method of wishful thinking. It’s especially been helpful as I’ve ramped up Amazon ads and systematically gone through and updated my backlist covers and blurbs.

Anyways, here’s my quarterly review of how my progress towards my goals is going.

  1. Finish and submit/publish my Heartsbane series and 7+ related short stories.
    I DID THIS!!!!! I released the first short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” in mid-July, followed by book 1, Captive and the Cursed, at the beginning of September. I’m finishing up edits on the second short story, “The Brave Little Thrall,” and book 2, Sleeping Shaman, which is also finished except for edits, is available for preorder, set to release December 1st. I’m currently working on going wide with books .5 and 1, and 1.5 will be wide probably by early November.
  2. Publish to Medium at least twice a month.
    So far in 2020 I’ve published 22 stories on Medium, with one more submitted and waiting on publication. I didn’t publish anything in September, which I can definitely feel in the decline of views. It can be difficult to get that momentum back, but I have several pieces in the works to try to recover and continue publishing regularly.
  3. Continue to increase my networking.
    I’ve reconnected with Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly blog hop that shares snippets of works in progress. I’ve also joined a couple Facebook writers groups. As part of #2 above, I plan to continue to try to clap for 15+ Medium stories every day, specifically those written by people I follow and people who follow me.
  4. Buy a cabin on Lake Superior.
    Last goal review, I mentioned how the transmission went out in my minivan. I was able to get the warranty company to pay for it (yay me!) but they wouldn’t pay for a new timing belt. And then just a couple weeks ago, as I was about to embark on another cross-country road trip, I ended up needing a new catalytic converter and four new tires. Ouch. BUT sales have been decent on my new books for the past month (although not enough to buy a cabin, sadly) and I’m signed up to do a craft fair at the end of the month. Depending how that goes, I may do another one in November and/or December. Although who knows what’ll go out on my van next month….
  5. Marie Kondo the shit outta my life.
    As the weather is starting to cool down, I’m starting to get back into this. After the craft fair, my plan is to tackle my dining room: fix the stuck pocket door, repaint, and declutter. Then onto the upstairs bedrooms.
  6. Read 100 books.
    Right now I’m at 30 books for the year, which is 46 behind where I should be. This is not going to end well.

On the positive side, I’ve gotten a lot more travel in, which is really important for self-care. I just got back from a 10-day, 5300-mile roadtrip around the American southwest, with lots of hiking and vanlifing. It was wonderful, especially Death Valley, and I’m already planning out the next trip. (I also tweeted my observations during the trip; follow me on Twitter for lots of random musings that don’t make it onto my blog.)

Like most years, I’m making progress on some goals, not so much on others. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen for the year when I set my goals back in January, and I think this year wins for least predictable year ever. But I’ll keep going. As my buddy Armando Perez says, “Reach for the stars and if you don’t grab them, at least you’ll fall on top of the world.”

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

Weekend Writing Warrior 10/4/20 #8Sunday

Captive and the Cursed CoverI was out of town for the past couple weekends, wandering the country for some #vanlife self-care, and although I posted I forgot to link on the WeWriWa site! If you feel so inclined, check out that post too!

Now I’m skipping ahead a bit. MC Nyah had a bit of a disagreement with her younger sister Payton regarding love – Payton, being a typical teenager, of course knows everything and is guided by her hormones. Nyah reluctantly agreed to let her go out walking with her beau, and Payton never came home. After a couple days, Nyah learned that her sister is being held captive by a nearby barbarian army. In this scene, she’s stormed into the village council meeting, demanding they get her sister back.

* * * * * * *

Earc, the village toísech, waved a piece of parchment I was sure none of the council members could read. “But I have a plan.”

“What about Payton?” I asked.

“What about her?”

“When will they release her?”

“The lord says they intend to keep her, until we pay a sum for her release.”

“And you’ll pay it, aye?”

Earc just looked at me.

My mouth fell open as angry tears pricked at my eyes. “You have to pay it!”

* * * * * * *

And here’s the rest of that scene:

“And where would we get the coin they demand? Maybe your father could pay it?”

Several men laughed, fueling my rage.

“So we just let him keep my sister?”

“Nyah.” Wynne came around the table and laid his hand on my shoulder. I angrily shrugged it off. “We’ll get her back. Have patience.”

“You’ve known Payton all her life. You know how frail she is. Yet none of you would spare coin for her release?” I stared around the room at each man in turn. No one would meet my gaze. “Fine. If you won’t rescue my sister, I will.”

I stood so forcibly my chair toppled over, before I stormed from the room.

“Nyah, wait!”

I didn’t slow for Wynne.

“What are you going to do? Walk into their camp and demand her back?”

I dinnae have a plan, but that was as good as any. “Yes.”

Wynne grabbed my arm and swung me around to face him. “Dinnae be so rash. The barbarians will kill you.”

“She’s my sister. I have to do something.”

“Let the council get her back. Give Father time. He’ll—”

Gillian burst out of the inn. “Nyah!”

Wynne turned towards the barmaid’s voice. Seizing my chance, I broke free of his grasp, gathered up my skirts, and sprinted out of the village towards the barbarian camp.

* * * * * * *

Captive and the Cursed is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of the characters’ exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

About Captive and the Cursed:

She must choose: follow her head or follow her heart?

Nyah’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and excitement, but after he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, like her betrothal to the illiterate son of the village chief. But when a roving band of barbarians kidnap Payton and the village leaders do nothing to rescue her, Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.

The army is led by Brandulfur, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse. Although he’s officially in her country to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.

Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is that even what she wants anymore?

Captive and the Cursed is the first book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series.

Weekend Writing Warrior 9/20/20 #8Sunday

Captive and the Cursed CoverThis week I’m still snippeting from my new release, Captive and the Cursed (Heartsbane Saga book 1).

Last week the main MC, Nyah, got into a bit of an argument with her betrothed when he took her chicken and she demanded his cow. There were some comments about why she’s with him if they don’t seem to have much in common. Let’s skip ahead a bit and find out!

In this scene, Nyah’s made it home and is talking with her younger sister, Payton.

* * * * * * *

“I got our chicken back.”

Payton slowly climbed down from the loft, a scowl on her thin, pale face. “I dinnae know why you even put up with Wynne.”

“Wynne isn’t so bad. He means well, even though he did take our chicken.” I continued watching Father, who was now gesturing to a robin perched on the garden fence. “With no dowry, I should be fortunate that Earc [the village chief and Wynne’s father] even agreed to our betrothal.”

Payton snorted.

“We’ll make sure to focus on a marriage of love for you,” I promised.

* * * * * * *

And here’s the rest of that scene:

“I dinnae want to marry, especially no one in this village.”

“Not even Dar Gheen?” I teased. I’d seen her walking with the young smith several times over the past month.

Payton blushed. “No.

“He’d be a fine match.”

She avoided looking at me. “If Father were well, he would find us better matches.”

“Father isn’t well.”

We’d had this conversation hundreds of times. Our father was a merchant, often gone for months at a time. Five years ago he’d returned home for the last time, missing a hand and feverishly babbling about barbarian curses and stolen treasure. We’d tried questioning him but his mind was gone. On good days he would sit in a rocking chair by the fire or in the garden, humming and talking to himself. On bad days he raved about the cottage, smashing whatever he could reach before collapsing and spending the following days or weeks in bed, too weak to get up. Payton held out hope he’d return to his former self; I’d accepted the worst and tried my best to provide for the three of us.

Payton joined me at the window and leaned her forehead against the glass. “If I were to marry, however, I would want it to be a prince, or one of the merchants who passes through and travels the world. Or a traveling prince.” She wrinkled her nose. “Wynne is none of those things. Why, he can’t even write his own name.”

“He can write his own name! He just can’t write anything besides it.”

* * * * * * *

Captive and the Cursed is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of Storm’s exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

About Captive and the Cursed:

She must choose: follow her head or follow her heart?

Nyah’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and excitement, but after he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, like her betrothal to the illiterate son of the village chief. But when a roving band of barbarians kidnap Payton and the village leaders do nothing to rescue her, Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.

The army is led by Brandulfur, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse. Although he’s officially in her country to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.

Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is that even what she wants anymore?

Captive and the Cursed is the first book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series.

New cover for an old story!

Tim and Sara” was the first story I published, and even now, 8 years later, it’s still one of my favorites. Every few years I try to breathe life into it with a new cover. Here’s the latest.

Tim and Sara cover

The victim of debilitating flashbacks, Tim is content to spend the rest of his life at Kirkbride, a state mental hospital. But his friend and fellow resident Sara is concerned that she has to save her soul before it’s too late, and so she devises a plan to break them out of the hospital.

Can Tim help his friend while holding onto what’s left of his sanity?

This story is just $.99 and available on Amazon and Smashwords. And if you’re a Medium member, you can read it there too.

Media Monday: Urban fantasy trilogy Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Media MondayThe books: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Dreams of Gods and Monsters

The music: “Who You Say You Are” by Eels

Book 1 in this series was recommended to me at a writing conference I was at lat month. I don’t remember why, other than it had something to do with my new series of fairy tales maybe? Some aspect of storytelling or craft I was supposed to use as an example. Regardless, I’m always looking for something new to read, so I picked this up.

The first book definitely falls into urban fantasy. The main character, Karou, is a teenage girl living in Prague, with a vague backstory that’s slowly revealed to readers in little drips. We find out that she was raised by a family of chimeras, and she does tasks for the head guy, Brimstone. Then everything falls apart when some angels appear and destroy everything.

Book 1 is great. Great characters, great pacing, great job of giving us bits and pieces of backstory that fit with how Karou finds out things. It ends with this heartwrenching cliffhanger that propels us straight into book 2.

Book 2 is not really urban fantasy. It’s more dark fantasy that’s still clinging to being urban fantasy. And at this point, the little drips of backstory are getting annoying, as is the foreshadowing comments the author has started throwing in. “Karou wanted this to be the best night ever. It wouldn’t be.” “Akiva wanted this moment to last forever. Little did he know, all hell was about to break loose.”

Book 2 blurs into book 3, which was a bit better in that it wrapped things up, but it introduced a whole new subplot that wasn’t necessary. And again, there’s all this stuff thrown at us that the characters know, yet we the readers don’t. It reminds me of the movie Oceans 11. Remember the ending? The audience thinks they know what’s happening with the heist, but then we’re shown the sleights of hand that allowed them to pull it all off. Well, that works in a movie, but not in a book where we have a close 3rd person POV. We should know all the characters thoughts and memories and actions, but I felt like we were left in the dark just for big reveal moments.

There’s also a standalone novella, Night of Cake and Puppets, about how one of the side characters met her boyfriend, but I only read the first few pages because it’s written in first person present tense POV and is tonally much different than the rest of the series, and I just couldn’t get into it.

Overall, it’s not a bad series. I love the characters, especially Akiva, who’s that perfect broken hero who just needs a hug to help him through his redemption arc. Karou is great too, as a spunky female heroine in way over her head. The plot goes off the rails, but I still recommend the series.

The music for this series is “Who You Say You Are” by Eels. Not only do the lyrics fit with the series, especially the relationship between Akiva and Karou, but Eels are a great band that more people should listen to.

If you’ve read this series, what are your thoughts on it? Share in the comments below!

Weekend Writing Warrior 9/13/20 #8Sunday

Captive and the Cursed CoverMy new book, Captive and the Cursed (Heartsbane Saga book 1), just launched last week, so I’m going to continue posting from it.

So far we’ve been introduced to Storm Llanfaell, a “merchant” who managed to rob another country’s treasury before being caught and brought before the king, who ordered him put to death, but someone at the court intervened and his life was spared, although he was cursed and went a bit mad as a result.

This week we’re skipping ahead to his daughter’s POV. She definitely has her father’s spirit. (I think I maybe posted this years ago, in a slightly different form, in case it seems familiar to anyone.)

* * * * * * *

I stomped across the village green, a chicken tucked under my arm and my long blonde braid swinging down my back, not caring who witnessed my ire.

“Nyah, wait!”

Against my better judgment, I stopped with a huff and waited for Wynne Maddox to catch up. Maybe he wanted to apologize.

“You’re being ridiculous,” he said as he reached me.

Or maybe he dinnae.

I glared at him and said, “You stole my chicken; I took my chicken back. What’s so ridiculous about that?”

He glared back. “I dinnae steal anything.”

* * * * * * *

And here’s the rest of that scene:

“Oh, really?”

“Really. First, my chickens went missing, and Father must have eggs for breakfast. It’s only right, for him as toísech. And second, we’re betrothed, which means what’s yours is mine. So if I take something of yours, it’s like taking something of mine. Right?”

“Then give me your cow.”

His jaw dropped. “What? Why?”

“If we’re betrothed and what’s yours is mine, then it’s my cow. And my father must have milk with his breakfast porridge.”

“Your father dinnae even know when it’s time for his breakfast,” Wynne muttered.

* * * * * * *

Captive and the Cursed is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of Storm’s exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

About Captive and the Cursed:

She must choose: follow her head or follow her heart?

Nyah’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and excitement, but after he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, like her betrothal to the illiterate son of the village chief. But when a roving band of barbarians kidnap Payton and the village leaders do nothing to rescue her, Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.

The army is led by Brandulfur, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse. Although he’s officially in her country to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.

Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is that even what she wants anymore?

Captive and the Cursed is the first book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series.

Weekend Writing Warrior 9/6/20 #8Sunday

Captive and the Cursed CoverMy new book, Captive and the Cursed (Heartsbane Saga book 1) launched this week, and the response has been great! I’m so excited to be able to share the beginnings of this world with everyone.

Today’s excerpt is from Book 1: Captive and the Cursed, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. So far we’ve been introduced to Storm Llanfaell, a merchant so confident in his latest exploit that he’s thrown caution to the wind, and of course was promptly caught by the king’s guards. His crime? Stealing the entire contents of their treasury. We’re skipping ahead just a bit to where he’s been taken before the king, Gudrodar.

* * * * * * *

“The gold and jewels you’ve stolen from me mean nothing,” the king said. “They are but objects and can be easily replaced. If it were just those things, I would cut off your hand as if you were a common criminal before hanging you.”

The king nodded, and two of his huskarlar moved to Storm’s side. The one on his right grabbed him, one hand at his wrist and the other at his forearm.

Storm gritted his teeth against the agony in his shoulders. His mind was still too clouded with alcohol to devise a plan, so he did what he always did in situations like this: stall. “You aren’t the first to try to hang me, and you won’t be the last.”

“Enough, thief. I have no further use for you if you refuse to cooperate.”

* * * * * * *

And here’s the rest of that scene:

Gudrodar stood, moving into the light, and Storm gasped. Angry weeping rashes bulged across the king’s face and hands, interspersed with deep scars. His left eye was swollen shut and his lips so disfigured they could barely move. This must be the curse Storm had heard rumors of. The king gripped the chair’s arms tightly, swaying slightly, and the young man moved closer to his side. Gudrodar waved him away. “Illfuss, what say you about his fate?”

The man who’d helped capture Storm stepped forward. “The god of the Llogerians demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I think he would also find it fair to demand a life for a life. He has taken from you any hope of a cure for your curse. Let him be marked as a thief, and then let him share in your curse as well, before he hangs in the morning.”

“So be it,” the king said.

The second huskarl raised his axe, and Storm struggled to free himself from the first’s iron grip, still not ready to admit defeat.

“Father.” The voice of the young man to the right of the king echoed through the hall, and the huskarl paused, axe in midair. “Might I suggest otherwise?”

* * * * * * *

Captive and the Cursed is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of Storm’s exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

About Captive and the Cursed:

She must choose: follow her head or follow her heart?

Nyah’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and excitement, but after he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, like her betrothal to the illiterate son of the village chief. But when a roving band of barbarians kidnap Payton and the village leaders do nothing to rescue her, Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.

The army is led by Brandulfur, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse. Although he’s officially in her country to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.

Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is that even what she wants anymore?

Captive and the Cursed is the first book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series.

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