Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Covers

Since my left hand is in a splint, I decided to make this post mostly visual. My brand spanking new covers for the first 8 books of my YA series The Guardians of Glede.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Willing Sacrifice Book Trailer Video

Ever since I bought Anime Studio I've been speeding to get the last of my book trailers done. Willing Sacrifice was the final one (prior to my new book coming out in 2011 Price of Mercy).

So I figured I'd present you with the trailer and add chapter 1 after it for fun.


Willing Sacrifice
YA Fantasy
To save the world she must die! Or must she?

Chapter 1

The large undulating cloud spread across the fields, its hunger almost palpable. Food was near, food and entertainment. Thousands of them, all gathered directly in its path. Lightning flashed through the cloud from its eager anticipation.

Long tentacle-like appendages touched the tall city walls, as if caressing a lover, as the cloud glided upwards along its surface. The scent of prey was near.

A resounding gong filled the night as a lone foodling spotted it and called to others in alarm. Yes, make it ring. Call your brethren to the feast.

More foodlings appeared, some in their protective shells of metal and others not. It went over the wall, satisfied and reached out to begin the fun.

Screams echoed in the night as its acid touch ate through their shells to sear the flesh beneath. Ah, the smell of it. The eons it and its fellows had dreamt of this. Their time was finally here.

The foodlings’ attempts to foil its progress sent ripples of amusement through it. Their puny metal weapons bounced off its tentacles without effect. Those foolish enough to enter it screeched in agony and then were abruptly silenced—tasty snacks before the main meal.

The cloud did not slow, but flowed down the other side of the wall, expanding as it went. Like a wave, lights flickered on across the city as it engulfed the nearest homes, the horrified cries of those within waking those without who were still asleep. It could feel the panic rolling before it, frightened foodlings leaving their homes in a vain attempt to avoid its advance.

A lamp fell and shattered inside a shop and flames attacked the wood within reach. The cloud was not bothered by heat or cold and enjoyed the extra fear the fire inspired in its fleeing meal.

The blaze and the hunger closed in about the city until soon there was nothing left but the taste of death.


La’tiera sat up, her eyes wide with horror. The green luminous aura surrounding her dimmed, shrinking back unnoticed to outline the birthmark of a closed eye on her chest. Her damp golden hair falling about her like a veil, she leaned forward, shaking, trying to catch her breath.

She’d had another horrid vision—this one more vivid, more terrible than the last. Feeling cold at the memory, she quickly reminded herself it wouldn’t be long now—it wouldn’t be long before she would never have one of these troubling dreams again.

Grabbing her robe from the end of the lavish bed, she stood and wrapped it around her. She doubted she would be sleeping again this night.

She silently crossed the fur rugs strewn over the cold stone floor and made her way to one of the small stained-glass windows, her heart gradually slowing within her breast. Opening it, she stared out into the darkness toward the east.

Beyond the low wall at the edge of the manor’s back garden, past the large stone ramparts encircling the estate and the hidden city beyond it, she could see the lightening of the sky proclaiming the coming of the dawn. Wistfully, she turned her gaze upwards, looking for any signs of the Herald. The comet was there, barely visible but growing larger each day, its tail not yet noticeable. But it would be soon, that much she was sure of. And then the nightmares would stop.

La’tiera retreated from the window, a sudden desire not to be alone welling through her. Knowing her uncle was usually up before the sun, she left her rooms to go searching for him.

The high, long hallway was quiet except for the padding of her naked feet. It was a familiar silence, one she was used to whether it be the height of day or at night, for little to no sound of the outside world ever reached here. Hugging herself for warmth, the terror of her dreams still lying within, she passed the doors to her library, the dining area, the sewing room, the stairs leading down into the garden and finally reached her uncle’s study.

Stopping before the domineering double doors, she tied her robe on straight, brushed her thick hair with her hands and straightened her shoulders. At this stage of things, she had no intention of rushing into his room like a frightened child. Not when her nineteenth birthday was so close at hand.

Feeling slightly more dignified, she raised her hand and rapped on the closest door.

“It’s open.”

Smiling for a moment in relief at the sound of her uncle’s voice, La’tiera eagerly reached to open the door.

Within was a broad room jammed with books, papers and shelves of curios from around the world. A dark ironwood desk resided on the far side, an ample leather chair behind it. She loved this room. It, more than anything else, encapsulated her uncle’s personality for her, yet it was more than that. In some ways it was as if the room and its contents encapsulated the world as well. Fertility statues from the Barbarian Reaches, masks from the hunter tribes in Gaya, purported demon skulls, strange insects trapped in amber, prayer wheels, curved knives, stuffed animals from faraway jungles—she never tired of looking at these things, of touching them. Gathered over her uncle’s lifetime and some by his ancestors before him, these things gave her a glance at the people and places she would never see.

In the corner, facing a tall shelf of books, she found the one she sought. Though taller than she was, her uncle was not a large man but rather thin and wiry. His white hair thickly ringed the sides of his head, which was otherwise bald. Age spots covered much of his exposed skin and a slight stoop hunched his shoulders. He leaned heavily on a thick cane with a silver head while holding an open book in his free hand.

Yet all his age was belied by the bright energy and intensity of his gaze.

She saw the familiar brightness now as he finished the passage in the book he was holding and glanced toward her.

“La’tiera?” He let the book close and set it back on the shelf. “You’re not normally up this early. Is something amiss?”

Seeing his welcomed concern, she suddenly found it hard to keep her previously contrived calm. “I…”

“You’ve had another nightmare.”

Her thin veneer suffered another crack. “Yes, I did.” Her voice shook. “It was awful.”

Her uncle’s lined face softened and he held his arms out to her. “Come, child.”

As if it were a blow rather than an offer of comfort, her veneer shattered and tears sprang to her eyes as she quickly crossed the room to fall into the offered embrace. She felt his thin arms wrap around her.

“It was terrible. A whole city was destroyed. So many people died!” She hid her face in his thick robe, trying not to sob.

“Shush, it’s all right.” He held her, softly caressing her hair as he sometimes had when she was a child. “Everything is all right now.”

La’tiera tried to pull herself together but was having a hard time of it.

“Here, wipe your face.”

From a pocket, he produced a handkerchief and handed it to her. She took it, not meeting his eyes as he moved away from her to settle gingerly in the large chair. Wiping her face, she sat down on the cold floor beside him and laid her head on his knees.

“I’m sorry. I really don’t mean to be a bother to you.”

With a slight smile, he caressed her cheek, his right hand appearing like a talon so wracked it was by age. She thought it wonderful.

“Nonsense, you’re my treasure and could never bother me. I’m only sorry the Eye burdens you with such visions—especially since you already know how important your mission is.”

Yes, her mission, her whole reason for existence.

“You won’t have to put up with them much longer.”

Though she already knew this, it was comforting to hear him say so.

“I’ll try not to let them bother me,” she said, looking up. “As long as they’re only visions and don’t come true, it’ll be worth it.”

“Yes and it will all be thanks to you.” He lifted her head so she could sit up, a soft smile on his face until he looked down at her. “La’tiera…”

She stiffened slightly, familiar with the chastising tone. “What is it?”

“What have I spoken to you about before?”

She pulled back for a moment, not sure what he meant, until she noticed her robe had come slightly apart near the collar.

“The Eye!” Unbidden, her delicate hand shot up to her chest to cover the strange birthmark housed there. It was what set her aside from all others and gave her a purpose in life. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” She quickly stood and arranged her robe to keep it from view.

“You know how important it is for no one to know you who you are. It’s why I had your necklace made.” His voice turned very serious. “And why it is important that you never take it off.”

La’tiera bowed her head in apology. If only the necklace weren’t so heavy. It made it very difficult to sleep at times.

“I’ll try to do better.”

“I’m sure you will.” His expression lightened. “By the way, it seems we will have entertainment this evening. A traveling troupe arrived in town yesterday afternoon. If nothing untoward is learned about them today, they will be allowed into the manor.” He shot her a sly look. “Unless you’d rather not see them, of course.”

La’tiera felt a bolt of excitement shoot through her. “No! I mean, I would welcome the distraction, if you would permit it, Your Excellency.”

She gave him a small curtsy. Her uncle was the viscount of the area and in all things he held the final say. And she so hungered for things from the outside.

He laughed at her sudden formality. “Yes, of course, pending their approval. Now, run along so an old man can get back to his studies.”

“Thank you, Uncle.” She curtsied to him again, her excitement growing by the moment. Still, she managed to take ladylike steps to the door and let herself out.

Once in the hallway, however, she let out a small squeal of pleasure and took off for her suite. Her bare feet slapped against the floor, echoing off the stone walls.

Out of breath by the time she got there, she crossed her spacious bedroom and jumped into her bed, snuggling into the thick covers. A performing troupe would be coming by tonight! It was too delicious. New music, new faces—it would be wonderful. It would also be a sweet pain to have to wait for it until the evening. She’d have to make as much of it as she could. She wouldn’t have much longer to take advantage of such opportunities.

A smile on her face, she didn’t mind too much as she reached to her nightstand for the necklace bearing the viscount’s family crest and placed the heavy thing around her neck, hiding from view her reason for being.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles Book Trailer

A visual excerpt! Book Trailer for "Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles"

If you like what you see, you can find sample chapters and more info at

Have a great weekend!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Release - The Fane Queen - A YA Fantasy

It's officially released! Book 11 of The Guardians of Glede YA fantasy series. Here is the blurb:

Attempting to escape one’s past can have devastating consequences.

Ask Tavin Sylvain, who is trying to forget all about the abuse he suffered at the hands of the trolls six months earlier.

Ask Kitiara, who would like to escape her sordid past in Kartonn, where she was known as the Princess of Pleasure.

Or ask King Jansson van Tannen, who would like nothing better than to keep his family intact and not have to face the possibility of losing one of his own beloved children to fate.

When the past rears its ugly head, all three are thrown into turmoil. Tavin, Brann and Kitiara are lost in Karsaba, without magic, without direction, without hope. And in the middle of a troll invasion. In a race against time, King Jansson and King Kyel gather their closest friends and allies to find the children before the trolls find them first.

Here is a snippit from one of the chapters:

The scene was so familiar. Thirty-four years ago when he was but a child of five, the Keltins had stormed his own village, killing everyone. He had been the sole survivor due to his father's quick, desperate thinking. Druce's gaze traveled over the interior of the hut, finally settling on a small, wooden grain bin. Such was the one he had been hidden in, told to be very quiet, and left. He had heard the screams of his parents as they'd died, the heavy accents of the Keltins as they ransacked and robbed the cottage. And then silence had descended. This same heavy, pain-ridden silence that pressed on him from all sides. Slowly, he approached the grain bin, memories making his heart pound wildly. If he just opened it, he was sure he'd see himself, that terror-stricken five-year old of Mere Odain.

He reached out a shaky hand, grasped the wooden handle and pulled.

A small face with wide eyes stared back.

Druce shrieked and stumbled backward, fell against and over a chair to land in a painful heap on the hard wooden floor. Before he could even right himself, Willow was in the doorway, her sword poised, her green eyes fierce. She caught sight of the child at once, and quickly lowered her weapon.

"What happened?" she murmured to Druce, then without waiting for an answer, went slowly to the child. "It's all right," she cooed softly. "You can come out now. The bad people are gone."

"Willow," Druce managed through a throat gone dry. "Her parents."

Willow's gaze darted to the dead couple, and she positioned herself in front of the child to block the view. Druce staggered to his feet, snatched up a blanket and covered the bodies.

Willow returned her attention to the child. "Come on. Come out. I'll help." She extended her hand and helped the child from the box.

It was a little girl, no more than three, with large, almond shaped blue eyes, and curly wisps of pale strawberry blonde hair framing her round face. She was still dressed in her nightshirt, and her small feet were bare. Druce handed Willow a blanket he found on the floor. The little girl's eyes lit up and she grabbed the blanket, hugging it to her, and stroking her cheek with the frayed edges. Willow picked her up and took her from the cottage. Druce followed slowly.

"We need to get her out of here," Willow said quietly. "There are probably horses not far away. They'll try to return to their stable. Hopefully we can catch two." She looked at him with a frown. "Are you all right?"

"Y…yes," Druce stammered, though he was trembling. "Let's see if we can find those horses." He began to walk, Willow trailing along.

You can read a larger excerpt on my homepage at: JennaKay Francis and you can read the entire first chapter on my publishers page at: Readers Eden


Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Crown of Zeus

Title: The Crown of Zeus (The Library of Athena, Book One)
Author: Christine Norris
Author's website :
Buy Link: Amazon (more links to other retailers at author's website)


Thirteen-year-old Megan Montgomery's world is falling apart. Her father's promotion means leaving her whole life in New York behind. She finds herself transplanted to a huge house in the English countryside, with no one for company but the distant staff. Her new school only adds to her misery - neither the girls nor the teachers seem to like her.

Then Megan meets three girls who actually talk to her instead of about her, and at first she thinks things are getting better. The girls seem more interested in the strange rumors that the house is haunted. Megan invites them to sleep over for the weekend. A discovery of a cryptic poem, a key and a diary written by the builder of the manoran eccentric archaeologistturns the sleepover into a treasure hunt. Clues lead the girls to believe the Parthenon holds a great secretand suddenly they find themselves sucked into one man's version of Ancient Greece. The only way home is to find an object thought to be mere legend.

If they survive that long.


“Hey!” Rachel caught Megan by the arm just before she fell into the fire. “It’s okay, I’ve got you.” Rachel pulled Megan back, and she landed on the hearth, hard.

Megan was unable to catch her breath. Her hands shook, her heart raced, her chest felt tight, and—did she smell burnt hair? “Thanks,” she said between gulps of air. Rachel sat next to her.
“I couldn’t very well let you fly face first into the fire, now, could I? What was that all about? It’s not like you to be so ungraceful.”

“One of these stones came loose, and I lost my balance.” She could breathe now, but her voice still trembled. She waved Rachel aside and scooted herself backwards to get a better look at the gray hearthstones. They were all different sizes and shapes, held together by thick mortar.

“This one.” Megan touched the offending stone. The mortar around it was thinner than the others. She curled her fingers around the edges and pulled. The stone came away.

Rachel peered over Megan’s shoulder. “Hey, look, a hole.”
There was a space beneath the stone, about ten inches deep. Rachel looked inside. “There’s something in there.” She reached into the hole and pulled out a rolled-up sheet of paper and a small book.

“What is it?” Harriet asked. She jumped down from the bed and sat on the floor next to Megan.

“Beats me.” Rachel unrolled the paper. A large brass key fell out and onto the floor with a clonk.
Megan picked it up, and the firelight painted it red and gold. She wondered what it opened.
“There’s something written inside the wrapping.” Rachel scanned the writing. “It’s a note.”

“Maybe it says what the key is for,” Claire said.

Rachel took the note to Megan’s desk and turned on the lamp. She sat in the chair and smoothed the paper on the surface. Megan looked over Rachel’s shoulder at the note. Harriet and Claire crowded around Rachel.

“What’s it say?” Claire said.

“Give me a minute,” Rachel said. “Let me read it.”

Megan chewed on her thumbnail. This was unexpected, but exciting. A secret compartment in her room! She thought about the portrait by the stairs, of the young man with the mischievous grin. It made her stomach do a flip-flop. Maybe her father had been right, and there was a secret passage, too.

“It’s a poem,” Rachel said at last.

“A poem?” Claire said. “Why would someone hide a poem?”

Harriet wore a half-hearted grin. “Maybe they were a really bad poet?”

Rachel gave her a look. “I don’t know. But listen to this.” She cleared her throat and read.

“From her father’s head
Born was she
Now she guards the door
For thee.
When night-bird falls
The way is clear
But be fair warned
There is much to fear

If still you enter and
wish to find
Sacred treasures that
Once were mine
Those tales of old
Will be your key
If unversed you are
Then trapped you will be.”

At the bottom of the page was drawn a small tree with branches extended, like a fruit tree.

“What do you suppose that means?” Harriet said.

“I haven’t the slightest.” Rachel sat back in the chair. “It’s not signed, so I don’t who wrote it. And it doesn’t say anything about what the key is for.”

“Ooo, a mystery,” Harriet said. “This is even better than my gran’s ghost story.”

“Let’s look at the book,” Megan said. Even if this all turned out to be nothing, it was something besides the same old slumber party stuff. Something for them to talk about at school on Monday.
She picked up the small, brown, leather-bound book. The cover was plain, with only the letters “G.A.” embossed in faded gold in the lower right-hand corner. On the back cover, in the center, was the same little tree as at the bottom of the poem. She flipped through the pages. Most of them were filled, all written in the same neat script. Some of the pages had detailed diagrams in addition to the writing.

Why do people hide their journals? To hide their secrets, perhaps? The thought made a chill run up her spine. She turned to the first page and read out loud.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

xcerpt from The Henge Betrayed -- Flight

Flight Janet Lane Walters
Mundania Press
Rating PG

* * * * *

He removed the scrying cup from one of the cloak’s inner pockets. The need to know burned. He filled the cup, then sat cross-legged and held the cup in his hands. Once more, he stilled his thoughts and rippled the water with his breath. He thought of his parents. An image formed. He saw the spiral staircase and the wall that contained the inner chamber. Of his parents, he caught no sign, but the hidden room was sealed against invasion.
He released the image and sought further. This time he wanted to see what passed beyond the walls of the henge.
Pictures rose in rapid succession. Men mounted on war steeds, their single horns polished to a silver gleam, followed scores of foot soldiers to the first wall. The secret gates opened and the army entered the gardens of the henge.
“Who has done this?” His question caused the water in the scrying cup to bubble. A distant figure grew larger. On a rise at a great distance from the henge, a man stood with his arms wide. The sides of his black cloak spread like wings. Bran shivered for the man resembled one of the carrion birds that feasted on the dead.
The water in the scrying cup stilled. Bran saw the man’s long pale hair and skin and knew this enemy wasn’t from the lowlands. He was a dom of highland birth.
The dom raised his head. His pale eyes bore into Bran’s. He sees me. Bran’s heart beat a staccato rhythm. He tore his gaze from the face he’d never forget. His hands shook and the scrying cup fell. Water splashed across the cavern floor. Fear erupted inside him. Had he betrayed his siblings? Did the enemy know where they were?
He looked at the torch and saw it had nearly gone out. With a fresh one from his bundle, he touched it to the dying flame. Then he knelt beside Ash. “I’ve lit the fifth.”
She stretched. “Then Let us go.”
Ash woke Jay. Bran touched Ky’s shoulder. “Time to go.”
A spatter of flame zipped across the rocks. “Sorry. Did I burn you?”
Bran pulled her to her feet. “You must learn how to be awakened without singeing people.”
“I only react when someone rouses me. There’s no problem when I’m not disturbed.”
Before they left, they filled their flasks in the pool. “How long before we can sleep?” Jay yawned through his words.
“Two torches,” Ash said.
Bran shook his head. “We’d better keep on as long as we can. Papa said not to tarry.”
The others nodded. “This way.” Ash strode around the pond.
Bran saw three gaping holes. “How will we know which is the right one?”
“In two, the air leaves. We’ll use the one where the air enters the cavern.
He was glad she’d come this way before. Otherwise, they could wander forever. She must have heard his thought because she grinned. He answered her smile with his,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

by Gloria Oliver

"Harry Potter meets the Dragon Riders of Pern"


By the time Talia reached the trees, Kel was removing his helmet and critically studying the dragon’s predicament. Clarence’s neck was twisted up and over his back; the dragon watched Talia as she came close.

“Are you both all right?” she asked them.

Kel glanced back in surprise, but quickly looked away, his cheeks flushed. “I’m fine. I’m just a little winded.”

I’m in good health as well, except for this bit of trouble of course. Clarence sent an annoyed glance at the trees pining him where he’d fallen.

“He’s stuck?” She was already pretty sure of the answer.

Kel sighed. “Afraid so.”

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.”

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident—Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

Yes, thank you for your offer, but Kel will be able to deal with this on his own.

She blinked several times as she mentally stumbled for something to say. “I see.”

More info and Sample Chapters available at

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Willing Sacrifice

Willing Sacrifice - YA Fantasy - Just made finalist in the 2007 Dream Realm Awards.

To Save the World she must Die! Or does she?


La’tiera was left alone with the two men who’d kidnapped her. She rose to her feet, feeling tense, and stood near the wall. So she was quite startled when Rostocha dropped to one knee before her and bowed. Dal followed suit.

“Bearer, please allow me introduce myself. I am Rostocha of the fifth tier of Watchers, son of Lalu and Nathan.” He lifted his head, his eyes seeking her surprised ones. “I earnestly apologize for our methods, but they were necessary. We needed to make sure we could take you safely from your prison and could privately explain ourselves to you.”

He appeared earnest, but La’tiera didn’t believe him. “I don’t care to hear your explanations. I only want you to take me back where I belong.” She tried to make her expression hard, though in truth she quivered inside.

Rostocha looked away. “I’m sorry, but that is not possible. Our world is in peril and you are the key to our salvation. It is our duty to educate you, to keep you safe, until the time comes. Then after the danger is past, if you still wish to return, we will do as you ask.”

“What lies!” La’tiera felt a flash of anger bring heat to her face. “If you honestly wanted the world to be saved, you wouldn’t be making these promises to me.”

“La’tiera, what are you talking about?” Dal asked her.

She pierced him with a hard stare. “I could hardly choose to go back home once I was dead, could I?”

This brought Dal to his feet. “Dead? Why would you be dead?”

“Because it is required!”

Rostocha followed suit, a look of comprehension dawning on his face. “You believe you have to be a sacrifice.”

Dal spun to stare first at him then at her. “What? That’s insane!”

His utter shock at the fact confused her.

“You were expecting to die? You were going to allow yourself to be killed?”

She possessed no idea what to make of the horrified expression on his face. “Of course. I will do what is necessary, what I was chosen to do.”

“The Eye is not a mark of Death!”

Sample chapters and other info at

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Inspiration Behind "The Stone Beach"

Readers always want to know where authors find their inspiration. Often there is no easy answer to that question. Ideas come from all around: family stories, life experience, news articles even jokes. Often a story comes from a combination of ideas.

In the case of “The Stone Beach,” inspiration was a clear as a knock on my door. Our cat, Casey, an alarmingly orange, long-haired tabby, had been diagnosed with diabetes and hyper thyroid disease. He was fourteen years old, and as I watched him shrink from a robust 17 pounds down to 11 pounds (he shrunk to only 6 pounds in his final days), I knew that we didn’t have much time left with him. My daughter was only five-years-old at the time. One afternoon, after one of our many trips to the veterinarian, she asked, “What if Casey just doesn’t wake up one morning?” My heart broke to tell her that might happen. I thought back to other pets I had lost and realized how hard it was to speak of such things to a child. As a parent, I wanted to brush her worries aside, tell her everything would be all right. But how could I make such empty promises, when her heart was so full of love and worry?

So I wrote The Stone Beach. In the course of editing it, I’ve read this book dozens of times, and my eyes still prickle with tears in certain parts, but it brings me comfort. I hope my daughter and all the children who are hurting from the loss of beloved pets, will read it and find comfort too.

Casey (March 31st, 1992 - October 18th, 2007)

Casey started life as a runt. He was so tiny, I worried he wouldn’t live. He was also shockingly orange with wide, blue eyes. His brother, Moe, was identical, but black. I called them my Halloween cats. They came into my life in 1992. It seems like a lifetime ago now, and I guess it was—Casey’s lifetime. We lost Moe in 1995. Casey spent weeks sitting on our back deck, scanning the horizon for his brother.

Casey was a trooper. For the first two years, he came to work with me everyday. We moved ten times in sixteen years and adopted numerous kittens, puppies and other critters. Casey took it all in stride.

For the first few months, he hid from me constantly. He was so timid; I thought I’d never get a cuddle. By the end of his life, he was my constant companion. Many of my typos can be blamed on his big pink and orange paw stretching out to tap my keyboard.

Though he outgrew his runtiness (he was 17 pounds in him prime), his life was plagued with inexplicable illnesses, so I am thankful that I had sixteen fabulous years with him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Excerpt from The Henge Betrayed -- Flight

The Henge Betrayed – Flight Janet Lane Walters Mundania Press Two sets of twins must flee their home and seek the teachers their parents have called to help them. To survive and to defeat Dom Senet, he who walks with evil, they must to learn to use their affinities. Ashlea is Air, Brandien is Water, Kylandra is Fire and Jaydren is Earth.

He removed the scrying cup from one of the cloak’s inner pockets. The need to know burned. He filled the cup, then sat cross-legged and held the cup in his hands. Once more, he stilled his thoughts and rippled the water with his breath. He thought of his parents. An image formed. He saw the spiral staircase and the wall that contained the inner chamber. Of his parents, he caught no sign, but the hidden room was sealed against invasion.
He released the image and sought further. This time he wanted to see what passed beyond the walls of the henge.
Pictures rose in rapid succession. Men mounted on war steeds, their single horns polished to a silver gleam, followed scores of foot soldiers to the first wall. The secret gates opened and the army entered the gardens of the henge.
“Who has done this?” His question caused the water in the scrying cup to bubble. A distant figure grew larger. On a rise at a great distance from the henge, a man stood with his arms wide. The sides of his black cloak spread like wings. Bran shivered for the man resembled one of the carrion birds that feasted on the dead.
The water in the scrying cup stilled. Bran saw the man’s long pale hair and skin and knew this enemy wasn’t from the lowlands. He was a dom of highland birth.
The dom raised his head. His pale eyes bore into Bran’s. He sees me. Bran’s heart beat a staccato rhythm. He tore his gaze from the face he’d never forget. His hands shook and the scrying cup fell. Water splashed across the cavern floor. Fear erupted inside him. Had he betrayed his siblings? Did the enemy know where they were?
He looked at the torch and saw it had nearly gone out. With a fresh one from his bundle, he touched it to the dying flame. Then he knelt beside Ash. “I’ve lit the fifth.”
She stretched. “Then Let us go.”
Ash woke Jay. Bran touched Ky’s shoulder. “Time to go.”
A spatter of flame zipped across the rocks. “Sorry. Did I burn you?”
Bran pulled her to her feet. “You must learn how to be awakened without singeing people.”
“I only react when someone rouses me. There’s no problem when I’m not disturbed.”
Before they left, they filled their flasks in the pool. “How long before we can sleep?” Jay yawned through his words.
“Two torches,” Ash said.
Bran shook his head. “We’d better keep on as long as we can. Papa said not to tarry.”
The others nodded. “This way.” Ash strode around the pond.
Bran saw three gaping holes. “How will we know which is the right one?”
“In two, the air leaves. We’ll use the one where the air enters the cavern.

He was glad she’d come this way before. Otherwise, they could wander forever. She

must have heard his thought because she grinned. He answered her smile with his,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Stone Beach by Kim Chatel

When Caroline begins her last year of middle school, she barely recognizes her best friend. Brenda dresses differently. She blows off classes, homework and friends. But has Brenda really changed, or is Caroline just seeing her with new eyes?

Caroline has worries that Brenda doesn’t even understand. Her fifteen-year-old cat, Casey, is sick and the vet has been hinting that it’s time to put him to sleep. How can Caroline lose her two best friends at once.
In the next few months, Caroline learns that some friendships are not worth keeping, others are worth fighting for and still others will endure into the afterlife.

Read more about Casey and Caroline at


“Casey! Casey!”

She felt foolish calling him, but she was far enough from the house that no one would hear her. She walked along the river’s edge toward the stone beach and was so intent on peeking under every shrub, she didn’t see the river open up before her until she came right up to the beach. When she saw the pink stones under her feet, she looked up and held her breath for a moment. The stones were a mirror of the sunset sky. The river was smooth obsidian. The sun lit the willows from behind and they glowed like gold filigree.

This is truly the most beautiful place on earth, she thought, and sat on a large rock to enjoy the play of light area.

“I never should’ve shown you this place,” said Aimee, from behind her, as she clambered onto the rock beside Caroline. She carried the same purple book which had caused the fight earlier in the week.

“Now I guess I have to share it with you,” she added.

Caroline didn’t say anything. She wasn’t in the mood for Aimee tonight. Casey was lost. It was getting dark and she’d have to leave him outside, to fall prey to whatever the night would bring.

They watched in silence for a while as the last light faded, leaving the stone beach in shadow. Suddenly, from high up in the trees behind them, Caroline heard yelling. She tensed for a moment, thinking her mom had called, but no. The voices were an angry man and woman. They were too far away to hear the argument, but the rage was clear enough. Something shattered. The voices were quiet for a moment and then exploded again, louder than before.

“I guess I can’t even escape them here,” said Aimee. Caroline was about to ask who, when she noticed the strange expression on Aimee’s face, embarrassment. She hadn’t thought it possible to embarrass the brash Aimee Jones.

“My parents,” said Aimee, with a shrug, as if it explained everything.

“Oh,” said Caroline, hating herself for uttering such a stupid response. She didn’t know what to say. Her parents rarely argued, and never with such vehemence. How did Aimee stand it?

The two girls sat on the stone beach, listening to the parent-storm above them. Caroline was too embarrassed to get up and leave now, as if it would make it worse somehow. Aimee, clearly, had nowhere else to go.
Eventually the storm blew itself out. Aimee still made no move to leave, despite the growing dark. Caroline’s mother would be worried about her, but she couldn’t make herself leave. Not without saying something.

“So how come you spell your name that way?” she asked, pointing to the notebook with “Aimee” scrawled all over it.

“It’s French. My grandma’s from the south. They still speak French there, or something like it.” She smiled at Caroline wryly. “It means ‘loved’.”

Caroline smiled back at her.

“That’s pretty sucky,” she said. Both of them seemed to know, Caroline would never tell another soul Aimee’s name meant something so mushy.

“Yep,” said Aimee. “I sure feel the love.”

The girls burst into nervous laughter that turned genuine.

“I think my parents were hippies,” said Aimee, finally catching her breath.

“Mine still are,” said Caroline. “If I have to hear one more time about the benefits of compost, I’m gonna puke.”

After another moment of companionable quiet, Aimee asked, “So what are you doing out here, anyway?”

“I’m looking for my cat,” said Caroline. “I haven’t seen him all day. I’m worried he might be hurt.”

“You know,” said Aimee, “Cats often go off to hide when they’re about to die. It’s instinctual or something.”

“Why do you always have to do that?” said Caroline, getting to her feet.

“Do what?”

“You know what!” Caroline’s voice cracked, and she fought back tears.

Not in front of Aimee, she thought. Please, not it front of Aimee.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Spaz. I was telling the truth.”

“It might be true, but it’s really mean.”

“So sue me,” said Aimee.

“See what I mean,” said Caroline. Anger had won out over the tears. “Every time you’re nice to me for even a minute, you have
to ruin it. You’re such a . . .such a . . .jerk!”

She spun to leave and her ankle turned on a stone. She went down with a thud, banging her knee and badly scraping both hands.

“Dammit!” she swore. Aimee always made her feel so awkward and small. There was nothing nice in her. No point looking for what wasn’t there.

As Caroline painfully got to her feet, Aimee shushed her.

“Shush yourself,” said Caroline, but Aimee waved at her curtly with one hand while she listened to the night.

A pathetic mewling came out of the bush behind them followed by a bedraggled cat.


Caroline ran toward him, ignoring the pain in her leg. Then she noticed the strange way he walked as if he were drunk. And his meow was almost strangled in his throat. He took another step and his back legs collapsed on him.

“Oh, Casey!”

She sat beside him and gently stroked him all over, looking for broken bones. He didn’t hiss at her touch, so he wasn’t in any pain. In fact, he purred. Caroline wondered if it was a nervous purr. He did that sometimes at the vet.

“I’ve got to get him home,” she said. “Something’s wrong.”

“Wait,” said Aimee, staring intently into the bushes. The night was silent. Unnaturally silent. No crickets, no frogs, no rustling leaves. A chill shook Caroline. As she bent to pick Casey up, a shadow burst out of the bushes, knocking her to the ground.

Except she’d felt nothing, even as it pushed past her. No, not past her. Through her!

Another long wraith erupted from the bushes, and then another and another until the beach was filled with the bounding shadows. They ran along the edge of the river, never touching the water.

“They’re cats!” said Caroline.

Orange cats, black cats, striped, calico. Hundreds of cats.

She held onto Casey as the ghostly cats ran around them. He mewled, and Caroline bent herself over him, protecting him from the wraiths. They caterwauled with an ear-splitting howl. Caroline covered her ears but nothing could block out the piercing noise. She shut her eyes tight, but she could still feel the wind against her skin as they swirled around her.
Casey squirmed in her arms, and Caroline held on tight. The ghost cats wanted him. Deep in her heart, she knew it. They wanted to drag him off on their monstrous hunt.

They screamed and raced around the beach until Caroline thought she would go mad.

As suddenly as they’d appeared, they were gone. Caroline opened her eyes to see the last ones running on sleek soundless paws along the river’s edge. They melted away, shadows into shadows.

In the silence that followed, Casey mewed loudly. One of his eyes drooped shut. Caroline had to get him home, but she couldn’t move. She looked over at Aimee, who also looked frozen in place. Aimee met her eyes and shook her head.

There was nothing to say.

Coming Soon: Read about the real Casey, the cat who inspired "The Stone Beach."

Kim Chatel is a Canadian born novelist and picture book author. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and assortment of animals, which, until recently, included an alarmingly orange tabby cat named Casey. Website

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ninth Lord of the Night

Ninth Lord of the Night


Moonlight floods the ancient ruins of Tikal. The park’s gates are locked, the tourists safe and comfortable in their hotels. Only the night creatures and ghosts from the past are witness to the eerie shadows cast upon the Great Plaza by the giant temples. From the depths of the jungle the roars of howler monkeys and the drone of insects mimic ancient Mayan voices.

In the bright moonlight a lone figure crosses the plaza. The Mayan chimán climbs the North Terrace stairway, ascends the stone steps of a temple, and disappears into a small opening at the summit.

Deep within the innermost chamber, he sits cross-legged on his multicolored woven mat. He faces northwest before an altar of white flower petals, beeswax candles, and copal incense. Under the flickering candlelight the grotesque drawings on the walls seem alive while the corners of the cell remain shrouded in darkness.

The medicine man’s weathered face bears a vacant, glazed expression as he enters his self-induced trance and concentrates on the vision appearing before him. He sees the image of a seventeen-year old boy with long reddish-blond hair, troubled blue eyes, and a glint of gold in his left earlobe.

The vision fades leaving the chimán with a clear mental picture of the youth. The waiting is almost over. Soon the chimán will attempt the most important ritual he has ever done, a ritual taking a lifetime of preparation. Using knowledge passed from father to son, from generation to generation he will invade nighttime dreams, create daytime visions, and use his influence to bring this young man to a point beyond fortune and personal gain. This boy is destined to return to the Mayan people a part of their lost and ancient heritage.

Chapter 1

Zack tucked an unruly lock of curly hair behind his ear and checked his watch. In exactly twenty-nine minutes he’d planned to be cruising down Sunrise Boulevard. This unexpected family meeting definitely cut into his schedule. What the heck was it about anyway? His family wasn’t a democracy. They didn’t discuss problems in an open forum.
More annoyed than worried, he sauntered into the den and joined his family for what would turn out to be their last family conference.
“Let’s get this over with quick,” he said. “I have things to do, places to go, people to see.”
The silence was deafening.
Zack’s father sat in the faded tan recliner, his large body bent over, his powerful forearms resting on his knees. He didn’t bother to look up, but kept his eyes focused on his shoes as if they possessed some fascinating feature he’d never seen before.
His mother sat on the sofa, very businesslike in her brown suede suit. Her face was dry-eyed, serious, and composed as if she were about to give a major presentation to a potential client. Only her hands betrayed her nervousness as she rubbed her palms over non-existent wrinkles.
Even Zack’s older brother remained mute. Kyle leaned against the patio door, gazing out at the swimming pool like a kicker who’d just lost the team a championship game by punting the football wide of the uprights.
Zack began to get panicky. Whatever this family meeting was about, it was big. He slid from the sofa arm to the seat cushion trying to make himself small and mentally inventoried his latest escapades. He could think of several exploits that would mean his death if his parents knew of them and they wouldn’t look so serious unless they had extremely damaging evidence. He steeled himself for a barrage of accusations and the lecture he knew would follow.
“Okay,” he conceded. “What’d I do now?”
But, it wasn’t about him. Not directly.
His mother’s voice possessed a gentleness he hadn’t heard in months as she explained that she and their father had problems they couldn’t seem to work out. Every now and then her voice would quiver and catch and she’d pause as she fought to regain her composure. She cast pleading glances at her husband, but he continued to stare at his feet. He wasn’t helping her out of this one.
Zack’s eyes drifted beyond his father to the trophy case that housed Kyle’s gleaming football trophies and his own tarnished little league ones. Memories of glory days flooded over him. He shifted his gaze to Kyle who shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘Well, what did you expect, fool?’
Not this. Not ever.
“Jeez,” Zack whispered. “When?”
His mother stood up and took a deep breath. “This summer. Right after school is out.”
Couldn’t be. School ended in two days.
“Holy shit!” Zack blurted. His father arched an eyebrow.
His mother continued on, “I’ve purchased a townhouse and I’ll be moving my things out at the end of the week.”
“You’re moving out?” His mom bit her lower lip and his father looked up. The sadness in his eyes told Zack all he needed to know.
“Your father earns more money in construction than I do in health care,” she said, making the word construction sound like a swear word. “And, teenage boys should live with the father.”
“Where’d that come from?” Zack said. “You making up new rules as you go along?” From the corner of his eye he saw Kyle frown.
His mother continued, “As you know, Uncle Clifton is at an archaeological dig in Guatemala. You boys will spend the first month of summer vacation with him while I get settled in my new place and your father and I work out the details of the divorce.”
First month?
Zack shook his head. “Nope. No way. Can’t do it. I’ve made plans with the guys and my first month of summer is all booked up.”
“Unbook it,” his father stated. “You’re going to Tikal.”
“Tikal?” Kyle asked.
“Tikal is an ancient Mayan city,” their mother explained. “One of the archaeologists, a Dr. Collins, has brought along his daughter and a group of her friends. You and Zack will be staying with them. Your passports are still current and we’ve already purchased your plane tickets. You’ll be leaving Wednesday morning.”
Whoa. The lump in Zack’s throat grew larger and a knot appeared in his stomach. There wasn’t a lot of time to prepare. Only two days.
“Hey, cool!” Kyle piped up. “New babes.”
Their father gave Kyle a slight smile.
Zack groaned. “Oh, right. Chicks.”
“Well, I guess that’s all for now,” their mother said.
Zack leapt to his feet, towering over his mother. “What do you mean, that’s all? Excuse me, Mom, but don’t we get a say in anything? First, you lay this divorce thing on us. Then, you add that we’re being shipped off to Guatemala.” For an instant emotion appeared in her blue eyes, then faded as Zack blundered on. “What about what we want? Huh? Did you even think about us? Maybe we don’t want to go to Guatemala!”
Kyle stepped away from his spot by the door. “Zack, cool it.”
Zack stared at his father. His dad had always been such a tough guy. He never took any shit off anyone. “Why are you letting Mom get away with this?” Zack demanded. “What’s wrong with you? Tell her to forget it. Tell her she can’t have a divorce.”
His dad’s muscles were taut and well defined underneath the white cotton of his v-necked T-shirt. The veins in his neck began to stand out as a warning of his anger.
Zack’s mother positioned herself between them. “Stop it,” she said. Zack’s dad stared at her for a second then stood and quietly left the room. “Kyle, you and Zack need to think about what to pack. Later you’ll be given a list of items to purchase. Zack, you look like a slob. Get a haircut and lose that earring. I want you to look presentable around your uncle. Is that clear?”
They were dismissed and there was to be no discussion. Zack retreated to his room and flopped down on his bed. At least finals were over. These last two days of classes would be a breeze. He slammed his fist into the pillow, leaving a nice dent right in the middle.
When had his parents begun to think about a divorce? Where had he been? Kyle didn’t seem too surprised. Somehow he’d seen it coming. Zack hadn’t. He recalled vague memories of his mother on the phone, discussing real estate. He hadn’t paid too much attention, never thinking that she might be buying a new house for herself.
Jeez, now he’d have to call his friends and cancel his plans. No cruising tonight, and no scuba diving off the California coast this weekend. No surfing in Malibu, no camping trip to Yosemite, no hiking in the Sierras. Not for the first month of summer anyway. After that, he would be back home and his life would get back to normal. Except, of course, that his mom wouldn’t be around anymore. He tried to imagine what his father was feeling and couldn’t. What would it be like not to have her in the house? Would there be an emptiness? A void? Or would they just be eating more take-out? He felt someone watching and rolled over to see Kyle standing in the doorway.
“What?” Zack demanded.
“Hope you’re friggin’ satisfied,” Kyle said, and left.
Zack’s reflection stared back at him from the mirrored doors of his closet. Blue eyes peered out from underneath reddish blond hair and once again he was reminded of how different he looked from the rest of his family. Wrong, he corrected himself. Kyle’s family. They were Kyle’s family.
Being adopted was a slap in the face, especially when he’d started high school and his failures were measured against Kyle’s successes. The more he competed in sports, the more he was compared to his brother, and the more apparent it became that Kyle had not only inherited his father’s physical stature and looks, but also his natural athletic ability and timing. Last year Kyle was the football team’s MVP. Zack only made the second string, spending most of the season sitting on the bench. He lifted weights and busted his butt, but he couldn’t compete with an older brother expected to be the next great pro quarterback.
This past year it finally got around school that he and Kyle weren’t from the same gene pool and Zack quit getting so much pressure to perform. It bothered him though that being adopted elicited so much sympathy, as if there was something very sad about it and something very wrong with him. Public attitude negated his parents’ supposedly loving explanations.
He hated being compared to Kyle – especially by his parents. And, he hated being constantly hassled about his grades, his hair and his dude attitude. Kyle was their golden boy. Kyle could get away with murder while he got clobbered over the slightest infraction. Kyle dated the prettiest girls, was favored with the use of his mother’s ice-blue Mercedes convertible, while Zack was lucky if he got to drive his father’s trusty Toyota.
Things could be worse. The number of cute chicks who schemed to get Kyle’s attention by dating his younger brother was staggering. Although it was pathetic to see the disappointment in their faces when he pulled up in the Toyota instead of the ice-blue status machine. He never bothered asking the same girl out twice, though. Why set himself up for more humiliation than necessary?
Only now, Kyle’s life was as screwed as his. He, too, was going to Central America; hot, humid, buggy Central America where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got sick while filming the movie, Predator. If the climate in Central America could make a fitness expert like Arnold Schwarzenegger sick, then Zack knew he’d probably die.
He pushed his hair away from his face and winced as it tangled on his earring. Lots of guys had longer hair than his, but he was willing to bet they didn’t get hassled the way he did. Didn’t matter. From this day forward, his mother had relinquished her authority. No longer did she have the right to order him around. He wasn’t going to get his hair cut, and he wasn’t going to remove the small hoop earring he wore in his left earlobe.
The next two days of school passed quickly and Zack got his report cards. His lowest grade was a C in history. The grade wasn’t unexpected, as he hated studying about dead people. In fact, he got the shivers just thinking about spending the next four weeks in a city whose only claim to fame was that it had been built and deserted by people long dead and decayed.
By Tuesday evening he and Kyle had purchased insect repellent, good flashlights, and cool cotton clothes. Zack had also packed a few CDs and his player. Their father assured them that money wouldn’t be a problem as he handed both boys a small fortune in cash.
Zack fingered the wad of twenties and fifties. Maybe this trip wouldn’t be so bad. Then he reconsidered, yeah it would. He would be bored, absolutely bored to death. It would be hot and humid and there would be nothing to do except sit around and look at a bunch of stupid ruins.
Before dawn on Wednesday, Kyle and Zack were dropped off at the airport. They departed Sacramento, changed planes in Dallas and continued on to Guatemala City, the whole time traveling in relative silence. Zack and Kyle hadn’t discussed the divorce before and they avoided the subject now. Kyle never explained the remark he’d made when he asked Zack if he was satisfied.
He didn’t need to explain. Zack knew what he meant.
They arrived in Guatemala City at 6:30 p.m., central time, and Uncle Clifton, white Stetson in hand, met them at the airport. In less than eight hours Zack had gone from California, land of fun in the sun, to the third world nation of Guatemala. In less than eight hours, reality as he’d known it had forever changed. He was now a statistic, a child of divorce and a kid from a broken home. There was nothing he could do to alter the situation even though he’d been the one to set these events in motion the previous January, on Super Bowl Sunday.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

In the Service of Samurai Excerpt

YA Fantasy set in Feudal Japan

Available at Amazon and other outlets.

He whirled around as he heard something land behind him. He took a step back, stunned by what he found there. A figure dressed in black straightened up before him. A slit in the stranger’s mask showed two dark sockets with points of intense red light shining from within.

A bubbling scream rose up in Toshi’s throat as he recognized the ninja before him. Ninja were hired spies and assassins, people highly skilled at their craft and trained from birth. And this one was the very crewman who had so filled him with fear when he’d first come aboard. Yet, before his scream could cut loose, a black clothed fist rose from nowhere and sent him sprawling across the room.

Blood filled his mouth. He’d bit his cheek upon colliding with the wall. Dizzy, battered, he tried hard to recover enough of his breath to try to yell for help. He attempted to dodge to the side as he saw the black-clothed demon pounce.

He had barely been able to get up on his feet when a steel-like hand clasped itself around his throat. Shoots of numbing cold flooded into him and paralyzed his voice. With horrified eyes, he stared at the ninja’s glowing gaze. He struggled to tear the clamped hand from his throat even as he felt the cold mercilessly sap his strength away.

Helpless and full of despair, he reached out to the wall beside him and pounded on it as hard as his waning strength would allow. He was about to strike the wall a third time when the ninja’s free hand snapped out and latched itself to his wrist. Deep, numbing cold coursed through it, paralyzing it almost instantly.

Toshi struggled to breathe, his insides growing numb from the eerie cold still pouring like water into him. He could no longer move, his gaze frozen on the face of his assailant. His vision blurred even as the thought of his impending death got pushed aside for a moment as the ninja’s red, glowing eyes were replaced by those of a normal, living man. He could see flesh where moments before there had only been dark emptiness. With an odd clarity, he recalled the visions he’d had of both the geisha and her lord. Filled with wonder, he felt his consciousness falling into a great abyss.

A warrior’s yell kept him from going under as the door into the room was kicked open. The ninja shifted, giving Toshi a blurred view of the door. Blinking, he lay amazed as a strong, fierce-looking old man drew a katana from his scabbard. “Traitor.” With another ferocious yell, the bent old man rushed forward, holding his sword in both hands above his head.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Welcome to YABEO!

YABEO stands for Young Adult Book Excerpts Only. Here, you'll find book excerpts and information for Young Adult books in every genre category. Like what you see, come back and get informed.

Authors may send link requests and permission to post requests to Kara Griffin.