The Legend of Jhara

In a village far away there lived a man called Aviano. Aviano was a merchant. He sold birds in silver cages. The birds came to him through magic. He beguiled them with promises and then trapped them in the cages. He imbued the bars of the cages with magic, so that the birds could only be set free by one who passed him silver. The magic was flawed though and sometimes he caught creatures in his cages that were not truly birds.

Once, for example, the raven he had beguiled turned out to be magician who took on a raven’s form. He was rescued by a young girl who was punished for her deed. The punishment was immortality. The curse to live through the centuries and never be at peace. That curse, from what I hear, was recently broken, and another who is more suited for the task has taken the girl’s place.

But I digress. One day Aviano bit off a little more than he could chew. He captured a fairy called Argentia. He thought that the fairy would make a fine prize and that he would sell it for a thousand silver pieces, especially as she herself was the color of silver. This fairy however, was far more than she seemed. As she sat in the cage, she didn’t stress but rather she plotted. Plotted to destroy the bird man. For that though she would need silver, lots of silver.

She watched while Aviano sold his flock that day. He did a roaring trade and she counted seventeen birds leaving in their gilded cages with their new owners. The Bird Man’s pouch where he kept the silver became heavier and heavier.

That night while he slept, he rested the pouch at the foot of his bed, but he was careless and didn’t complete the ward spells he normally put in place before he slept. Maybe it was the goblet of oogleberry wine that somehow had found its place on his bedside table. Who knows? But in any case he entered the world of sleep without proper protection.

That night Argentia was released by a girl with chestnut hair. She thanked the girl, but did not leave immediately. Instead she fluttered into Aviano’s cabin and used a spell to exchange his silver coins with rocks. And so she was able to filch every last one before she took her liberty.

She chuckled at the thought of Aviano carrying around the pouch of rocks the next day. He did this for hours until hunger sent him into the village in search of a meal at the inn. He ordered a fine feast and opened his pouch to pay.

“What is this?” demanded the innkeeper. “I’m sorry but I do not take this currency. Come back when you have silver.”

Aviano looked down at the rocks. How had this happened? He marched over to the witch, Grisela’s cottage. She must have something to do with this. But she just shrugged when she saw the rocks. “Why are showing these to me?” she asked.

“I thought maybe … as you sell stones you might want these. They are worth a lot of silver.”

“No, they are not. They are merely common rocks you could find on the ground anywhere in the village. Take them away.”

That night Aviano wept. His fortune—he had lost his fortune. But that was not all Argentia had planned for him, though perhaps that is where she should have stopped. But the silver fairy never did anything by half measures, and the spell was only half complete. The stolen silver had a purpose. With it Argentia fashioned Jhara, an artifact so powerful that it could devastate not only its target but all its surroundings.

That of course had not been the plan. Argentia wanted a precision weapon. She wanted to take out Aviano so that he could no longer trap the birds. It did not work. The fairy and the Bird Man wrestled and in the struggle a portal of silver opened into our world and the storm was flung through it.

The other side of that fateful portal was in the bay of New Orleans and the storm that was released would be remembered not by the name of Jhara but by another name—Katrina.

Argentia watched the devastation, the destruction of thousands of innocent lives and wept. She found the weather mage, Latisha Watts, to help, but her help came too late. Together though they formulated a plan to trap Jhara into an artifact and send it away. Argentia initially wanted to destroy the storm, but Latisha understood that that was not possible. That with its destruction it would take much of America with it.

So instead they coaxed it into the artifact with a promise that one day it would have a worthy target. The artifact was taken by hand to St. Louis, or rather by flipper, as Latisha transformed into her dolphin form for the journey and swam up the Mississippi with the artifact embedded in her flipper. Jessamyn met her and took Jhara from her and concealed it in illusion in her chamber where it sits to this day.

So Jhara was safe or at least they thought she was.

But Jessamyn would very rarely check her hoard, and she trusted her students. That would prove the fatal mistake.

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Want to read more? Pick up a copy of JHARA today on Amazon on paperback or Kindle or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Jhara is Here!

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It’s here! Wait no longer, the sixth book of the P.A.W.S. Saga, JHARA has arrived and is on sale today in ebook and paperback on Amazon plus it’s free for subscribers of Kindle Unlimited.

Jenny has been painting fairies her whole life, but now a new fairy has emerged, one with wings of pure silver. She wishes she could share this new fairy with Jamie, but Jamie has disappeared and Jenny is worried.
Sandy is also worried. Her weather magic is out of control and she is taunted by a storm that whispers its name to her – Jhara.
Deep inside the bottle, the spirit of Jhara waits. She hates this form and detests her creator who has trapped her in there. It was not fair. You cannot create a storm and then trap it in a teacup. That worked only in idioms. And this was Jhara’s life.
The P.A.W.S. Saga continues with Jhara.

Pick up your copy today!

 

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Cover Reveal – Jhara!

It’s here and it’s beautiful. My awesome cover designer Rachel Bostwick created a new kickass cover for Jhara (P.A.W.S. 6). The book will release on June 15th, 2020 but I really wanted to share the cover with you guys now. So here it is!

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Isn’t it scrumptious? I love it.

So what is Jhara you may ask? Well SHE is a powerful storm and she’s super mad as she’s been trapped in a bottle and hidden away. Now she wants out and woe betide anyone in her way.

Preorder her story today on Amazon.  

OR for a limited time pick up an ARC over at Story Origin.

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

Catch up on the P.A.W.S. Saga

Hi Everyone, today is my birthday! And to celebrate I’ve put my whole P.A.W.S. Saga on sale for just 99 cents/99p a piece – that’s FIVE books for under five bucks!

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Plus, I’ve got together with a bunch of other cool fantasy authors who have all got their books on sale this week for just 99 cents! Click on the banner below to check them out.

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Crimson Fire for 99 cents & a sale on fantasy box sets (including mine!)

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She had power at her fingertips, but the world had other ideas.

Magic was the last thing on Tabia’s mind — until she discovered she could use it. When her father hands her over to the princess of a neighbouring country to pay his debts, she may have the chance to learn how to control her new abilities.

But her new mistress’ enemies have plans of their own. Caught up in a web of divided loyalties, coercion and betrayal, Tabia can trust no one.

Can she find a way to regain her freedom and return home — or will the struggle cost her the ultimate price?

Pick up a copy of Mirren Hogan’s awesome Crimson Fire this week for just 99 cents on Kindle.

And continue the series with Crimson Fury and Crimson Fate (‘cos you can’t just read one!)

Also for the month of December the box set of my own P.A.W.S. Saga (Books 1-3) is just 4.99 (normally 8.99) or as always FREE to subscribers of Kindle Unlimited.

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Plus I’ve got together with a bunch of other cool fantasy authors over at Story Origin to bring you oodles of box sets to download and read for the holidays — all titles are 4.99 or less. Click on the banner for details.

Check Inside the Box

Archon and a 99 cents sale

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Hi folks, I’m off to ARCHON this weekend with my son and co-puzzler, Joey and my friend and author and youtuber, Steven Thomas.

We’ll have a table in Author Alley plus you can find us at a number of cool panels throughout the weekend.

On Friday evening at 8pm learn to Publish Your Book (Without Spending a Fortune) in Marquette B (Gateway Center) with Steven Thomas. Steve has run this seminar in many locations around St. Louis and St. Charles and is now taking it to Archon. You can also pick up some of Steve’s awesome action adventure novels from our table in Author Alley.

On Saturday morning (10:00 am – Doubletree Madison C&D) Steve will also be joining me, Jennifer Lynn, and TW Fendley in a panel about Audio Book Creation.

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Who likes puzzles? A few years ago at Archon, Joey and I ran a successful panel about puzzle construction. This year we’re back, but instead of learning about puzzles we’re running an interactive puzzle event, ESCAPE FROM ARCHON. It seems the Plutonians have got news that the people of Earth do not take the planet as seriously as they should, so they’re journeying to Archon to help educate the Earthlings.

Come join is in Madison C/D at the Doubletree at 4:00 pm to help save planet Earth.

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Back over to the Gateway Center (Marquette A 6:00pm) and I will be joining Jennifer Lynn, Jessica Matthews and TW Fendley for a panel about Speculative Fiction for Children and Teens.

Finally on Sunday morning I’ll be reading stories with Jessica Matthews in Children’s Programming at 11:00 am. Come listen to my brand new tale, WANDA’S WAND and take home your own wand and coloring sheet. Unfortunately I won’t have copies available for sale yet, but I will be taking preorders.

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Not able to make it for ARCHON?

Well just for this weekend I have all my P.A.W.S. Saga books on sale for just 99 cents each on Kindle.

Catch up on the P.A.W.S. Saga

 

Walter and Shirley

Today would have been my parents’ Shirley and Walter Manber’s 57th wedding anniversary. Here’s a little something I wrote a few months after my mother passed at the end of last year.

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Walter sat in the chair reading. This was the fourth book in the series and he smiled when he read about the camel. She reminded him of someone. Someone he had known a long time ago.

There was a knock on the door and she entered. She looked like she had done when they had first met at the dance. She walked up to him unsure.

“I see you made it,” he said.

She nodded and smiled, then pointed at the book.

“I liked that one. It was the last thing I read. You know she put the camel in for me?”

“I thought so. It was definitely a good bit.”

 

“Ah I see she found you,” said a voice from the doorway.

Walter nodded at the cat that waited just outside the door. He was used to Griddlebone. The cat would come by and talk every few days and would ask if he wanted to pass on to the next place. He always said no, he would wait until she could join him.

“Are you ready?” asked Griddlebone.

Walter turned to Shirley and she nodded, and they both followed the cat.

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Cotula is here!

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It’s alive! It took awhile (almost two years) but COTULA – part five of the P.A.W.S. Saga is now live on Amazon in paperback, Kindle and FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

What’s it about? Well …

Follow the Cotula. The stone will show you the way.

Rifka is lost, far away from home. Kidnapped by an insidious werewolf.
Far off in Manus Wu, a plan is set in place. An Old One sends colutae out into the world. These stones when brought together have the power to release Rifka. Yet does she truly want to go home?

Meet an empathic goat, a family of otters, a girl who loves to draw fairies, and a dragon in this new installment of the P.A.W.S. Saga.

Pick up a copy on Amazon! 

OR if you’d like your own personal signed paperback, I have a handy dandy form for that. If you are going to either Penned Con in September or Archon in October I can sign you a copy there OR if you’d like me to mail you a copy let me know on the form and I’ll work out the shipping to wherever you are. (Warning international shipping from the US is a little pricey so if you’d prefer to buy a local copy I can send you a signed bookplate in the mail instead).

Order signed copies of Cotula and my other titles here.

Want a chance to win 2 free tickets to Penned Con this September? Make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter as they’ll be an exclusive newsletter only contest going out on Aug 15th.

Happy Reading folks!

Cover Reveal – COTULA – plus a freebie and a sale!

Attention everyone. I know I haven’t been here much recently. That’s because I’ve been working really hard getting ready to release book 5 of the P.A.W.S. Saga later this summer. I apologize that it has taken so long. It’s been almost two years since I released Londinium and I never meant to have a gap of more than a year, but …. This new book is a monster. Finishing at over 130K words, it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written. And finally it’s done and already on preorder on Amazon.

So do you want to see the new shiny cover created by Rachel Bostwick? Of course you do!

Here it is.

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You can preorder it today for just 2.99 – that’s a full $2 less than it’s release price.

PLUS for the first time ever I have the first book FREE for just 3 days to celebrate the upcoming release of Cotula.

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And so that you can get caught up on the P.A.W.S. Saga, I also have the other books all on sale for 99 cents each.

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Happy Reading everyone!