Today we are luck to welcome two guests on the Magic of Solstice blog tour.
Melissa Barker-Simpson has been writing since, well…since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. She often looks back on those earlier stories, and apart from laughing at the heavy-handed drama, or cringing at her inexperience, she is reminded that she has always lived in other worlds.
Her first novel was published in 2008, and she loves nothing more than working on a new project. The voices inside her head invariably pull her in different directions, so although she tries to work on one thing at a time, those who know her would tell you it doesn’t always work!
She has a full-time job which, though does not involve writing per se, incorporates her love of language. As a British Sign Language Interpreter, she gets to translate information between two languages which is (mostly) fun.
She has two beautiful daughters who bring her great joy. They also keep her grounded, because otherwise she would have her head in the clouds permanently!
Melissa is the author of The Contract which appears in the CHANGING WORLDS anthology
It is a prequel to the Fractured Series. Here’s the synopsis:
After the Demonic War, a battle which devastated the mortal realm, humans now stick to the world’s major cities. To even the score, and to protect those cities, hunters joined together to establish cells across the globe. Maddison Wood is part of an alpha cell within the north of England.
Though a skilled fighter and powerful witch, Maddison can be brash, and unpredictable. She has a penchant for trouble, and is usually the first to volunteer in battle. When she accepts an assignment to protect the Hympe King, Tobias Locke, Maddison’s fate becomes bound to his. As the stakes change, and she finds herself trapped inside the bowels of an enemy camp, Maddison must fight for her freedom, her independence, and for a prisoner who has not seen the light of day for almost a century.
And here’s an excerpt:
Maddison roamed the Great Halls, her eyes blind to the ancient beauty. Instead, she was tormented by thoughts of Tobias Locke, the half-blood leader of the Enchanted League. She had pondered over his request for days. A request, coated in a demand, which amounted to the same thing – he needed her help. She should have been flattered, because Tobias trusted few outside the League. But what she felt – was anger. No, anger didn’t cover it. She was pissed. Royally pissed.
As a freelance demon hunter, she had often crossed paths with the League. In fact, more than once she had formed a tentative alliance with Tobias and his guards. Sometimes it was even fun, if she managed to convince herself he wasn’t an ass.
An ass who kissed you, don’t forget that.
Her boots hit the stone passage with a resounding thwack, thwack, as she tried to walk off her temper. Tobias hadn’t just crossed the line, he’d obliterated it. Taken a giant leap into a different continent and changed the very nature of their relationship. And the worst part – she’d enjoyed it. His sensuous mouth had dominated her dreams, which wasn’t all bad – at least it kept the nightmares at bay. Perhaps she should thank him for the distraction, and she would have. But beating him bloody probably didn’t count.
Still, she hadn’t accepted the assignment. Yet.
“Who crapped all over your day?”
She turned to Jonas, their self-proclaimed patriarch at Hunters-Are-Us. He was the only human among their band of merry fighters.
“The Enchanted League.” She grinned at him. “But you know I never turn down a paid gig.”
“Or the chance to get your hands dirty,” he said, raising his brows when she opened the electronic door with the flick of a wrist.
“Well, there is that.” She laughed, falling into step as they made their way down the long stretch of corridor.
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Gina Briganti has been writing since she could hold a pencil. It has always been a comfort that to create she needs only three things; the pencil, the paper, and her imagination.
She lives in beautiful Joshua Tree, CA, the setting for her debut paranormal romance series, Natural Gifts.
Her story in the Changing Worlds anthology is Saunders’ Choice a Natural Gifts novella.
In it Saunders finds himself in a plane of existence called the Dreaming, where he encounters Velvet, the most exciting creature he will ever meet. The answer seems obvious, but Saunders’ life has never been easy.
Velvet visited with her dear friend Riddle for most of the next morning. He showed her the history he had added to his sandcastle walls while she was away on the tour. One of the designs was a story from a world she hadn’t seen before. She suspected that it was where Riddle, and possibly Debra, came from originally.
The story was about happy, content, creatures practicing the art of creating, sometimes with teachers, and at other times on their own. The final, cleverly painted frame of the story depicted the accomplishment of a luxurious looking natural world, full of wildlife, lush green trees, and crystal blue waters.
“This is a beautiful story.” Velvet planted a kiss on the top of Riddle’s head.
He blushed, as she thought he might. There were times when she held her kisses back, just so she wouldn’t embarrass him. She enjoyed his new art too much to hold back this time.
“Thank you,” Riddle mumbled, and then cleared his throat.
“Can I ask questions about it?” She’d learned long ago to respect Riddle’s privacy and wouldn’t push the point if he was reluctant.
Riddle didn’t hesitate. Apparently he already decided what he was willing to share about the story.
“You may have one, then your questions will be done.”
He didn’t always speak in rhyme, but the few who were lucky enough to know him knew that when he did, he was imparting a true gift. Few people knew Riddle at all. Even fewer had heard him speak.
One question. Velvet pondered. The perfect question then popped into her head.
“What does this story mean to you?” Velvet settled onto a chair while Riddle looked from her, to the picture, and then back again.
“It means that we all have a greater gift than we realize. We can create infinitely more than we give ourselves credit for.” Riddle settled himself into a chair like Velvet’s, and then smiled at her when he saw that she understood how much he meant what he said.
“Thank you for sharing that with me, Riddle. It means a lot to me that you did.”
Riddle simply smiled. They sat together in companionable silence until Velvet decided to try a few of her new physical comedy jokes on him.
Riddle smiled and clapped, feeling giddy. Seeing Riddle acting so happy was one of the best feelings Velvet could imagine.
Long ago, Velvet had knocked on the sandcastle door with the simple goal of telling the creature who lived there that she thought it was an incredible looking sandcastle.
The door had opened on its own, and Velvet stepped inside without hesitation.
Riddle took a small chance in allowing a new creature into his home, but his intuition was much more developed than Velvet understood at the time.
When she saw him for the first time, and accepted him completely through her reactions, they became friends.Their friendship was one of the most important in both of their lives.
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Visit me on KJ Hawkins’s blog today.