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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September Debut Author~Elle Strauss

I'm very excited to present to you this month's featured debut author, Elle Strauss. Her time travel young adult novel, Clockwise, just released and it sounds fantastic! Because Elle is so awesome she's doing a giveaway to celebrate. Here are the details:

To celebrate, Elle Strauss is giving away five debut books by authors that you can meet on her blog tour which is happening now.

LOSING FAITH by Denise Jaden
THE CLEARING by Anne Riley
THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL by Heather McCorkle
PERILOUS by Tamara Hart Heiner
THE HATING GAME by Talli Roland

How to win? Sign up for Elle’s newsletter to enter. For extra entries just comment on any blog in the tour. The more blogs you visit and comment on the more chances you have to win. Five books, five days, five winners!

Now I'd like to introduce you to Elle. From your blog I know your cat Tiger inspired you to write a YA novel about a girl who could time travel. What I'm dying to know is why?
Elle: Sadly, Tiger is no longer with us, but at the time, it started with a dream. (I know, so many books do!) I’d dreamed that Tiger could talk and it was very emotional when I woke up because he’d said that he loved me (Oh so sappy!) Since I was already interested in the dynamics of time travel (I’d written one and shelved it. Sorry, for all these parenthetical statements!) I outlined a story where the cat could talk only when it went back in time with the protag. Obviously, that version of the story didn’t take, but it did sprout the first draft of CLOCKWISE. I gave Tiger a cameo just to thank him.

I'm so sorry about Tiger. :( That's awesome that you gave him a cameo in the novel though! While I know from your blog that you love red wine and dark chocolate (we're so much alike!), when you're writing, what is the one thing you can't do without? Or is the answer in the question? ;)
Elle: Well, I don’t eat when I write and that has nothing to do with self-control and will-power, and everything to do with a slight germ phobia (before you laugh, Contagion, anyone??) I have absolutely no problem drinking, though! Daytime it’s Soy Latte and at night there’s a good chance you’ll find me with a glass of red.

I saw that movie and totally still get the shivers thinking about it. What was your favorite part of writing Clockwise?
Elle: That’s a hard question. CLOCKWISE was actually quite hard to write. I didn’t know then what I know now about structure, plus with a time travel element you actually have two 3 act structures going on that have to meld into one overall story structure, so there was a lot of hit and miss going on. But I’d have to say writing the budding romance between Casey and Nate in the past was fun. They had so many obstacles to overcome.

Ah romance, that is indeed so much fun to write, and read! I'm going to be mean and make you pick favorites. Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Elle: I’d have to say Casey. She is the one I spent the most time with and got to know inside and out. It’s like she’s a real person, ya know?

I know exactly what you mean. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?
Elle: Thanks so much for having me, Heather and for being part of my blog tour!

It was my pleasure Elle. I wish you the very best of luck with your novel and can't wait to read it! You can't go wrong with Clockwise because Elle has already joined the ranks of the Indie Elite, a special group of independent authors who's work is a cut above. Join me in ordering it here. Learn more about Elle and enter her contest, and learn more about the Indie Elite here.

          


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Twitter Tuesday~New Agents And More

I haven't been able to make it on Twitter nearly as much as my tweeting addiction demands so I apologize for the small selection of tweets that I have for you. But they're good ones! This first one is from agent Jill
Corcoran on closing to queries and getting published:
@JillCorcoran CLOSED TO QUERIES +UpPDATED: THE HOWs AND WHYs OF GETTING PUBLISHED nblo.gs/mWqHa

Agetn Sara Megibow tells us that reviews sell books, and proves it by adding a few based on reviews she read:
@SaraMegibow good reviews DO sell books! I added UNHEADS by @SophieFlack and AMPLIFIED by @AuthorTaraKelly to my BUY pile based on recent PW reviews.

This book sounds awesome, you want to win it, trust me!
@HeatherMcCorkle Win an arc of GLOW by Kathleen Ryan: tinyurl.com/3sh787l via@cvaldezmiller Great looking sci-fi YA! #WritersRoad #writecampaign

Writer's Digest brings us word of another new agent:
@WritersDigest New Agent Alert: Barbara Scott of Wordserve Literary - Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new write... ow.ly/1eJAxJ <http://t.co/cGOtQZGY>

Agent Vickie Motter brings us an update on her agency:
@Vickie_Motter What's going on over at Andrea Hurst and Associates? Interviews! Twitter! Classes! New
services! Find out more: http://ow.ly/6qh3C

In case you missed it, I did a guest post on Chuck Sambuchino's blog,
and I've giving away a book:
@WritersDigest 7 Things I've Learned So Far, by Heather McCorkle - This is a recurring column I'm
calling "7 Things I've Learned So...ow.ly/1eKcMD <http://t.co/wOMKluS7>

I'll go my best to have more tweets for you next week. Let me know if I
missed any really good ones, including yours!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday's Muse~A Friend's Manuscript


This week I had the distinct pleasure of reading a friend's manuscript so that I could give her feedback before she started querying widely. I've read a lot of really good books this year but I've got to tell you, her manuscript is the best one I've read so far. I was so blown away by it that I can hardly wait for it to get picked up by an agent and publisher so all of you can read it too! I feel so honored that I got to be one of the first people to read it.

Though this is her first step into the realm of fiction, my friend is an accomplished non-fiction author of self-help books for parents and children. Go follow her now so you can get ahead of the pack because her first young adult fiction novel is going to rock the YA world!

Now back to my own editing and reading Spirit Bound by Rachelle Mead (which is getting really good by the way!). Don't forget to click on my links to the right for chances to win books, and to celebrate banned books week by honored banned books. If you can, join us tonight on the #WritersRoad chat tonight at 6pm PT for a discussion all about banned books. What inspired you last week?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Books Week Hop And Giveaway

Today I'm post-poning the creature feature to take part in a very important blogfest honoring banned books. It was brought to my attention by the fantastic I Am A Reader Not A Writer blog.

Nearly every one of the great Ellen Hopkins's novels has been banned somewhere. She writes about things that challenge kids today, sex, drugs, prostitution, terrible things for sure, but things kids are dealing with whether we like it or not. Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, about a girl who is raped, is banned in many places. Others may surprise you such as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The House of Night novels by P.C. Cast, The Golden Compass novels by Philip Pullman, and the Vampire Academy novels by Richelle Mead. There are so many more that it saddens me to go on. I've recently learned that my own novel, The Secret of Spruce Knoll, will not be carried in my most local bookstore because of an intense scene in it.

I understand parents reluctance to have their children read about certain subjects, and their desire to teach them about it themselves. But there are kids who don't have parents who can or will teach them and often the solace of books is the only place they can find answers to tough questions, feel a sense of connection, or understand they aren't alone, or that they have a choice. Banned books have helped me know I wasn't alone when I was a kid and I have no doubt they'll continue to help others.

In support of banned books week I'll be giving away the winner's choice of any one of the books pictured on the left (or any book by an author who has a book pictured below). The contest is open to followers of this blog and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment below. For extra points you can tweet or post on Facebook about the giveaway (+1), place a link on your sidebar (+2), or blog about the contest and link back to me (+2). This giveaway is open from September 24th~October 1st. Be sure to click on all the other links below and enter their giveaways as well!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happily Ever After

Does your novel need to end in a happily ever after scenario? That's a question we discussed this week on the #WritersRoad chat and people came up with many different answers. The general consensus was that most people liked a happy ending, they wanted it to feel natural, as if it wasn't forced by the author. But there were many different version of what exactly a happy ending is.

Some genres are more likely to have a happy ending while others are not. Cozies almost always tie up neatly with things turning out well for the protagonist in the end. One never knows with sci-fi and fantasy (which I discovered is a big reason I love it so much), and horror almost never ends well. So it's clear that there are some genre-related expectations. Does that mean we have to follow them? Heck no, we're fiction writers after all. But it is good to be aware of what the industry may expect. 

It took me a few books to realize I wasn't the one who got to decide how the ending turned out. This hit me when I came to the end of a fantasy trilogy and had no idea which decision I should have a particular character make. Then it hit me, it wasn't up to me, it was up to her. I allowed her to make the decision she would have made~true to her character~rather than force something else on her. That was the moment I knew happy endings weren't a necessity, staying true to the story and the characters, was. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

For my Twitter Tuesday fans, sorry but I'm throwing a new re-occurring post into the mix. No worries, you'll still get your Twitter Tuesday updates, it will just be every other week now instead of every week. There were weeks I was struggling to find tweets for you and I also decided that I wanted to add in a little something for the readers among my followers. But I'd love for my writer friends to participate too. I'll put a teaser of either my novel or something I'm working on, then I'd love your comments and links within your comments to your own posts on your teasers!

Here we go. This teaser is from my debut novel The Secret of Spruce Knoll:

     Eyes on the road ahead of her, she crossed the bridge without slowing~and was blindsided. The second she hit the blacktop on the other side of the bridge, a figure stepped into her path. Whatever it was must have been downwind and moving very fast; otherwise, she would have noticed it. She and the figure tumbled to the ground in a tangled heap. 

Now it's your turn! Let me know what you thought and share a link to yours! And don't worry, Twitter Tuesday will be back next week. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's Muse~First Appearance


Last week I was inspired by friends, coffee, and good books. My critique sisters are having me over on Monday October 3rd to visit and have a belated post-release party for The Secret of Spruce Knoll. But it isn't only their generous spirits that have been inspiring me lately, it is all of yours. I'm touched by each of you who has purchased my book, said kind things about it, put it on your to-read list, or who has just dropped by here and followed. Thank you all so much. *wipes away tear.*

My visit with my critique sisters in Seattle Washington will also be my first unofficial author appearance. I'd like to invite all of you who will be in the area to join us at Tully's Coffee in Seattle Washington (the one on Western Ave. Click on the store name for a map) to chat, have coffee, or even get your copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll signed between 5:00pm and 6:00pm. I'll be armed with fun swag and hope to see many of you there as I'd love to meet you in person.

So tell me, what inspired you last week?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Author Blog Bounce & Interview Stops

One of my author friends, Trisha Wolfe and Omnific publishing is hosting an Author Blog Bounce where readers and authors get the chance to meet new authors. It sounded like so much fun I just had to take part in it. *waves to new peeps visiting* To learn about me click here and to learn about my debut YA urban fantasy The Secret of Spruce Knoll, click here. Don't forget to leave me a comment though because I'd love to meet you all!

In other news: Yesterday my good friend Tina Moss had me over for an author interview on her blog. We talked about everything from my debut novel to writing tips. I hope you'll stop by.

Today my good friend Lisa Gail Green was brave enough to have the antagonist from The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Luke Moldovan, over for an interview. He's deliciously shudder worthy so I hope you'll drop by to learn more about him.

If you don't already follow these ladies I highly recommend them. Not only are they both a blast, they are wonderful people who love books, authors, and never hesitate to support both. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September Feature Author~Denise Grover Swank

As many of you know, I've been singing the praises about September's featured debut author all over the internet. A short while ago I just finished reading Denise Grover Swank's novel Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes and I LOVED it. Seriously, I've already started buying it for all the ladies I know. I'm honored to have Denise here with us to chat about it.

Hi Denise! Your novel was not only a great mystery with a touch of magic thrown in, it was one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. I laughed so hard I cried. What inspired you to write such a touching, funny, and exciting book?
Denise: I'd just finished Chosen which is much darker and edgier and decided I wanted to write something that was lighter and humorous. Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is more like my family blog, There's Always Room for One More. I used to take my children's zany often disastrous adventures and put a humorous spin on them. But I'm a widow with small children so I would sometimes interject things I struggled with. I think Twenty-Eight is a combination of my old blog posts with a sweet, funny, endearing main character who finally decides to live her life. In some ways, I guess Rose is a bit like me.

Knowing that adds so much more, love that! I'm going to have to read it again (with pleasure)!What was your favorite part of writing Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes?
Denise: Wow, that's hard. Honestly, I think it was the scene when Joe finds her drinking on her front porch and teaches her the rules of drinking (as well as giving her her first kiss). I was on Twitter and Facebook that night asking people to help me come up with the rules. And also encouraging them to drink with me. (I had a glass of wine.) I turned it into a competition seeing which social network had more people joining me. Twitter won, of course.
How fun! Our Twitter peeps are the best! I loved Rose, she was reluctantly innocent, adventurous, and never gave up. But I'm curious, who was your favorite character to write? 
Denise: Rose, Her enthusiasm to embrace what little life she thought she had left was inspiring to me-- and still is. But I also really liked Mildred, her eighty-two year old neighbor across the street. She'll be in the next book in a bigger capacity. And truth be told, although Momma's only in the book in the first two chapters, I had a lot of fun coming up with things she erroneously told Rose. I think my favorite was that Momma didn't let any computers into the house because she took the brand name Gateway to mean the gateway to hell.

That was one of my favorite things about Momma too! I know you have a great looking paranormal thriller, Chosen, coming out later this month, but can you tell us if you have anything more in store for Rose from Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes?
Denise: I plan to write Sacrifice, the third book in my Chosen series and then hopefully write Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons for NaNoWriMo. Technically, I'll be cheating a bit since I've already started it and have about two chapters. So shhh... Let it be our secret. I have three Rose Gardner Mystery books semi-plotted out. I plan (at this point) to write one a year.

No worries, I won't tell a soul. *hides computer and clears throat...* Thanks so much for joining us Denise. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?
Denise: I had always heard write your story and don't worry about trends. So I wrote Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes and sent it out into the publishing world and heard over and over and over "great story, great voice, not for me." But I also realized Twenty-Eight doesn't fit neatly on a book store shelf. It's not just a mystery, yet it's not a true romantic suspense. Then there's the tiny bit of women's fic and not to mention the humor. But when I considered taking any of those pieces out, I lost the heart of the story, Rose's story.It just wasn't the same. My gut told me to keep it and I'm so glad I did.

I'm so glad you did too because it was amazing, so amazing that it convinced me traditional publisher make mistakes and pass up fantastic books. I loved Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes so much that you made a fan for life in me and I'm looking forward to reading everything you write! :) I hope you'll all join me in pre-ordering Chosen here and I hope you'll pick up Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes too because you'll love it! And today over at the Critique Sisters Corner I'm spotlighting another friend with a great book out, Talli Roland. I hope you'll stop by to check it out too!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Twitter Tuesday~Agent Advice & Critiques


I caught a lot of great tweets for you last week! The wonderful and frank Audry T brings us this great post about why we should plot:
AudryT Are you a pantser-by-default? Get off your ass and start plotting: terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/03…

One of my favorite blogs talks about when to do research:
LTWFblog Let The Words Flow When to do Research? Before the first draft, or after? wp.me/pF0gi-1Tf #amresearching #amwriting #amwriting

Agent Sarah LaPolla stresses the importance of reading our manuscripts aloud:
sarahlapolla Sarah LaPolla by julichilliard: Writers: Read your work aloud. If you trip over too many words or poorly constructed sentences, it's time to rewrite.

Agent Sarah LaPolla brings us a tip on dialogue:
sarahlapolla Sarah LaPolla by julichilliard: #writingtip If it's obvious who is speaking, you don't need dialogue tags. Narrative is much cleaner when you remove unnecessary "said."

My critique sisters and I are hosting another critique session:
HeatherMcCorkle First Paragraph Critiques: tinyurl.com/3j8upbj Need help with yours? Stop by and leave a comment! #writecampaign #WritersRoad #writing

Agent Vickie Motter highlights a learning opportunity:
Vickie_Motter NEW Webinar. Let instructor and agent Andrea Hurst show you how to structure your plot, with an included critique: bit.ly/qAVPPC

Agent Diedre Knight stresses the importance of networking:
DeidreKnight The flip side of how small the writing/pub world is? Network like crazy b/c you never know when a relationship will develop or help. #pubtip

Writer's Digest highlights a great conference:
WritersDigest Check out the Hampton Roads Writers Conference in Virginia Beach, Sept. 22-24 tinyurl.com/3qaaafp Agents in attendance

Agent Jill Corcoran brings us a post by Agent Rachelle Gardner on a "No" response:
JillCorcoran Can I be honest, I love Rachelle Garder's post When No Response Means “No” rachellegardner.com/2011/09/when-n…

Still here? Get clicking! Well, okay, you can comment first if you like. :) Let me know if I missed any great tweets!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday's Muse~Stolen Moment

Doesn't this picture just make you sigh? Well, okay, maybe not the guys who are reading. ;) Anyhow, you can see where my mind was last week as I tackled more revisions of book 2. Don't be deceived, though it's a strong undertone throughout the novel, romance is certainly not the main theme. But writing moments like the one pictured above are my some of my favorite scenes to write, I must admit. There is a lot of action, indecision, and confusion in the second novel.

I'm reading Spirit Bound~a Vampire Academy novel~and am enjoying it, though I'm starting to think editors at publishing houses care less about editing as a series goes on. There is a bit of lag time, telling, and 'ly's' in this one. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a huge fan of the author and so far would still recommend this book. I'm doing my best to read like a reader, not a writer. But I'm making a mental note to do my best to keep my editor engaged and interested in editing throughout my series.

Before I go I wanted to say welcome to my new followers. I'm honored that you've chosen to follow and hope you'll visit often. So, what inspired you last week? What are your favorite scenes to read or write?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Contest Winners And Wednesday Writing Goals

Since I know many of you are dying to know who won the Tour of Secrets contest I figure I better start with that. Thank you so much to everyone who participated and entered. There were a massive amount of entries with points all contestants earned together totaling over 200. I want to reward you all for spreading the word about my novel so please, everyone, feel free to leave me your address in a comment (don't worry I won't publish it) and I'll be happy send you signed bookmarks, postcards, and stickers, cause I love you that much. :) On to the winners. . . 

The first place prize of a $50 gift certificate to B&N, swag bag, and signed copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll goes to:


The second place prize of a signed copy of the Secret of Spruce Knoll and swag bag including: Spoiled by Jessica Cocks and Heather Morgan, Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, and A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young goes to:


The third place prize of a signed copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll and a swag bag goes to:

Congratulations everyone, I hope you enjoy your books.

As for my Wednesday #WriteGoal peeps, how did you do on your goals last week? I finished my chapters and made it to page 200 on my editing so I'm stoked! My fingers are crossed that you met your goals too. For those looking for help on the opening paragraphs of their novels drop by my crit group's blog, the Critique Sisters Corner today to drop your name into the hat for a free critique! We still have spots open and would love to help. Also today I'm being interviewed over at my good friend (and fabulous author) Jessica Subject's blog! She asks me some tough questions you won't want to miss. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Twitter Tuesday~Agent Advice


Today's Twitter Tuesday is chalked full of agent advice! Diving right in, agent Sarah LaPolla warns us about the 'ly's':
@sarahlapolla Sarah LaPolla Writers: If you want to emphasize an action or emotion by adding "truly" or "really," please curb that impulse.
 
Agent Sandy Lu gives us her thoughts on word count:
@sandylunyc Why do I keep getting 180,000+ words #queries? Sorry, no matter how good your writing may be, that number is just too overwhelming for me.
 
Agent Sara Megibow drops a thought about word count as well:
@SaraMegibow It's such a relief to be reading this 55K YA submission. Seems like all YA submissions recently have been 80K.
 
Jane Friedman's famous list of best tweets for writers:
@JaneFriedman I've curated this list for 2+ years to help you find best links to writing advice: Best Tweets for Writers: bit.ly/qlH6MT
 
Editor Heather Howland of Entangled Publishing reveals their wish lists:
@HeatherHowland Check out my submission wish list and send me something awesome! RT @entangledpub: Wish List: September 2011nblo.gs/mqsL1
 
Writer's Digest brings us the stories of how several authors go their agents:
@WritersDigest How These Writers Got Their Agents (And What You Can Learn From Them) - bit.ly/mZJisN
 
Writer's Digest shares how to elevate our characters: 
@WritersDigest: How to Raise Your Characters Above the Status Quo http://bit.ly/qnGPer 
Hopefully more than one of those is helpful to you. If I missed any great tweets feel free to leave me a link. Be sure to come back tomorrow when I announce the winners of the Tour of Secrets, and reveal a bit of a giveaway for all of you!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday's Muse~Helping Libraries


This isn't a pile of garbage, it's a pile of soaking wet books from a library in Upper Jay New York. Though much of New York escaped hurricane Irene mostly unscathed, the Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay New York did not. Their inventory was devastated by flooding. The children's and young adult books were the worst impacted as they were on the lower shelves so the children could reach them. Why would such a sad sight inspire me, you wonder? Because of the response of the online reading and writing community.

When author Kate Messner came across this little library in her travels and saw this sad sight, she responded by blogging about it and reaching out to others for help. To read her entire story go here. Like Kate, the moment I heard about this I had to do something. Thankfully, Kate has given us all the info we need to direct our efforts. A local bookstore is helping the library by hosting an auction of donated signed books. I've donated a signed hardcopy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll to be auctioned off. They are also accepting monetary donations to help replenish their book stock. If you're an author who would like to donate a copy for auction you can send a signed copy of your novel to:

FOR SILENT AUCTION 
The Bookstore Plus 
2491 Main ST. 
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Even if you choose not to help the Wells Memorial Library, in this ever tightening economy chances are there is a library in your area that could use your help. As authors and book lovers it is up to us to help keep our libraries alive and thriving. Visit your local library when you can and become involved.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First few pages of chapter one of To Ride A Puca

With a trembling hand, Neala adjusted the spyglass to get a better look at the ship that marred the perfect blue horizon of the ocean. It was still too far away to tell much about it, save that it was large and imposing. A twist of the spyglass revealed the fierce figurehead on the prow. Fear rose up and clamped an icy grip on her throat.
“Danes, oh no,” she murmured.
Her heart began to thud with the intensity of a blacksmith’s hammer. Nervous energy hummed through her body. A hot summer wind blew a strand of her long brown hair across the spyglass, obscuring her view and shaking her from her paralyzed state. Her horse shifted beneath her and stomped his foot. She didn’t need any more urging, it was time to go.
The click the spyglass made as she compacted it made both her and her horse jump. It was silly to think the Danes could hear. Knowing that didn’t make the fear go away, though. The spyglass slipped from her hands and she fumbled with it, barely catching it before it fell.
“No!” she gasped. An entirely different kind of anxiety clutched at her chest. To lose her spyglass here, now—knowing what was coming—would be more irony than she could handle. She clutched it close to her heart for a moment, then carefully tucked it into a pouch at her waist, ensuring the ties on it were well secured.
Murmuring soothing words to her horse, she patted the arch of his muscular, black neck and took up the reins.
“Easy Dubh,” she said, not liking how loud her voice was out here on the deserted hilltop.
With no saddle between her and Dubh she easily felt his muscles bunch in preparation to run. A rustling sound drew her attention. She shifted her weight back, cuing Dubh to wait. A tiny creature that looked like a dangerously thin human but was no bigger than Neala’s hand, fluttered on iridescent wings above Dubh’s neck. It cocked its head and gave her a concerned look.
“Go little fairy, it isn’t safe here,” Neala told it.
The fairy cocked its head at her, and the look of concern that pinched its tiny features made Neala’s chest tighten. It floated to her shoulder and lingered there. Its delicate wings brushed her ear.
“Please go, I’m beggin’ ye. Tell yer kind this town isn’t safe anymore,” Neala said.
After a glance in the direction of the ship which was only a speck on the horizon, the fairy nodded and disappeared. The air glimmered green and blue for a moment, then all trace of her was gone. She must have understood the danger to some degree, but how much, Neala couldn’t be sure.
Turning Dubh toward the port town of Dublin, Neala let him go. He thundered down the green hillside, his massive feet with their long, black feathers of hair throwing up huge chunks of earth. Once they reached the cobblestone streets she had to slow him to a trot to maneuver through the horse-drawn carts and pedestrians. Dubh was so big that people moved quickly out of his way and a path was cleared.
It felt like an eternity before she reached the shop where her da was, though it took only moments. Their cart, with Dubh’s black and white brothers hitched to it, was parked in the alleyway next to the building. It was empty. Good, that meant her da had already unloaded the wool. Before Dubh came to a stop at the hitching post Neala leapt from his back. She didn’t bother to tie him. Though he stomped and snorted, he wouldn’t go anywhere without her.
Forgetting all propriety, Neala threw the door open and ran into the shop, darting around tables covered in bolts of material and wool. At the back of the shop her da was leaning upon a tall table engaged in conversation with the old man behind it.