Tag Archives: fantasy

MY BOOKS

1.) PROPHET FROM THE MOON

Description: 

Alyssira “Aly” Beaulieu had a full ride to college, a loving grandmother, and a troubled older sister to take care of. Then the bombs fell.

Three hundred years after the destruction, she awakes in the streets of an unfamiliar Boston in a whole new body. Lost and buffeted by shock, she searches for help but instead ends up in the hands of the city’s most dangerous gang.

A strange boy who goes by the name of Prophet from the Moon rescues Aly and leads her to his home, a compound of soldiers led by an ambitious young captain and her handsome lieutenant.

Aly has only one goal: to survive. She imagines a second chance at life in the refuge, falling in love, training as a soldier, and becoming an older sister to Prophet.

But a cosmic entity threatens her dreams when it reveals she is part of an order of intergalactic guardians called Curators, souls of the dead infused into supernatural bodies. It instructs her to cross a perilous wasteland to Toronto to find a journal capable of stopping elites living in cities on the Moon from selling Earth to an alien race within ten years.

But the captain plans to attack the compound’s enemies and needs Aly’s help, too. Now loyal to her new family, Aly must decide whether to fight for her compound’s future or abandon her loved ones to fulfill her purpose as Curator of Earth.

READ CHAPTER ONE HERE!

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The Chrysalis Garden

“You getting out?” the taxi driver asked.

Tessa glared at the man through the rearview mirror, her gloved hands gripping a black leather handbag, a gift from her late grandmother. “Where I come from, a driver opens a door for a young lady and helps with her suitcase,” she said.

He snorted, wiggling his blonde moustache. “I see no young lady here,” he said in a thick Southern drawl. “Now, you gonna pay me or do I have to call the cops?”

Tessa raised her brows, shrugging her shoulders. Fine. Be an uncultured pig. She removed twenty dollars from her purse and dropped the bills onto his sweaty, outstretched palm.

“I want all my change back.”

The taxi driver grunted and returned three crumpled dollars.

Tessa swung open the door to step outside and slammed it shut. She stomped on gravel to grab her suitcase from the trunk, slamming it, too. The car sped ahead, tires squealing, leaving behind a plume of exhaust. She coughed and swiped away the fumes stinging her nose and lungs.

Eyes closed, she heaved out a breath and clomped on the path to one of Louisiana’s oldest mansions, the Buras Estate. The house was unremarkable; others might admire the French colonial design, but she expected mental health patients to come running out of the enormous cage at any second.

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On the front porch, facing mahogany double doors, Tessa patted down her floral dress and tucked the stray curly hairs into her green suede hat. She rang the doorbell and waited, turning her neck to inspect the property. Her eyes widened at a giant oak tree; its thick branches stretched like the crooked fingers of giants clawing the clear blue skies.

the-oak-tree

The birds stopped chirping, and the autumn leaves no longer caressed the air with their gentle rustling. Startled by the silence, she dropped her purse and suitcase, gaze pulled upward. Heavy and threatening rain, dark clouds gathered across the once blue sky. A gust of wind knocked off her hat, and it tumbled down the wooded white stairs over to the tree. Tessa chased after it and stopped to pick up the hat resting at the base of the great oak.

Black shadows, the shape of long spaghetti strings, raced from the bottom of the tree, falling on top of each other, to the tips of the branches. The center of the tree rippled like a disturbed pool, and a hand of black smoke emerged from inside the hypnotizing swirls. The spidery fingers rotated, palm up, mimicking the gesture of a beggar.

Tessa held her breath and stumbled back to the porch, kicking up dirt and grass with her loafers. She rammed her back against a white pillar, gaping at the shadowy hand.

The front door opened. A petite young woman gazed at Tessa with half-closed eyes blacker than charcoal, frizzy red hair in a ballerina’s bun. Her pale skin possessed a grayish tint, reminding Tessa of a corpse resting in a coffin.

Mouth opened, Tessa blinked at the young woman and turned to the oak tree. No shadows blanketed its giant frame, the creepy hand at its center gone. The clouds parted, sun rays piercing through them. The birds resumed their singing, and the leaves crinkled from the wind sifting through the trees.

“Good afternoon, I’m Amelia, the head maid. Are you Tristesse Bien-Aimé?” the redhead asked, her face bored and deadpan.

Tessa took deep breaths to calm her racing heart. In her six years of hunting demons, loup garou, and other sorts of monsters with Grand-mère, Tessa had yet to encounter a cursed tree, or rather, a portal. She had spoken about gates to other worlds, but her grandmother had said they were rare.

“Good afternoon, I’m Amelia, the head maid. Are you Tristesse Bien-Aimé?” the young woman repeated.

Tessa coughed into a fist and wished she could ask the redhead to call her a cab, but she had no destination. Although Grand-mère left her the New Orleans apartment after her death, Tessa couldn’t fight the landlord who sold the building and forced her and the other residents into the streets with only fifty dollars for their trouble. This new job provided both shelter and money, along with a salary higher than every other post she had researched.

“Yes, I’m Tristesse,” she finally said, grabbing her purse and suitcase from the floor.

Amelia nodded. “Good. We were expecting a Tristesse Bien-Aimé.”

“Please, call me Tessa.” She gazed at the tree, curiosity picking at her brain. “Have you ever noticed anything strange about the oak tree over there?”

The head maid side-eyed the great oak. “No.”

Tessa furrowed her brows.

Amelia stepped aside and raised her arm. “This way, please.”

Tessa followed the head maid into a vast foyer, walking on a beige Persian rug set over hardwood floors. Hunting paintings, five-foot canvases of hunters shooting stags and geese, adorned walls covered in red and yellow wallpaper. Tessa cringed at one painting of seven dogs overtaking a stag, their jaws sinking into the deer’s body, its tongue slipping out of a gaping mouth.

She and Amelia entered a circular reading room. Heavy drapes dressed towering windows, and a golden chandelier hung from the high ceiling. Books filled wooden shelves lining the walls. Tessa’s fingers itched to grab one and devour its words. Distracted by the library, she almost missed the tall woman in a black turtleneck dress standing in front of her.

Amelia lifted a limp hand toward the woman. “This is Lady Eunice, the stewardess of the Buras Estate.”

lady-eunice

The woman’s face was long and ageless, her graying hair wrapped in a tight chignon tugging the skin on her forehead. Her eyes were black. Not dark brown, but pure black, the blackest Tessa had ever seen.

Tessa shivered and tightened her grip on her suitcase’s handle.

“Tristesse Bien-Aimé?” Lady Eunice asked. Her straight lips could shame a ruler.

Tessa nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Your résumé impressed me. A high school education. A strong reference letter. Excellent for a nineteen-year-old. Do you plan to attend college?” Lady Eunice’s voice possessed an eerie softness as she enunciated every word.

“Yes, as soon as I’ve saved enough money for my education.”

The stewardess dropped her eyes on Tessa’s suitcase. “It’s bold to presume the position is already yours.”

“That may be, but I’m intelligent, motivated, and a hard worker. Honest, too. My intentions are good. You’d be pleased if you hired me,” Tessa said.

“You sound convincing enough, but can you keep a house clean?”

“I did most of the cleaning in my grandmother’s apartment.”

Lines creased on Lady Eunice’s forehead. “An apartment and a mansion are two very different things.”

“Yes, but with all due respect, ma’am, dust is the same everywhere, and I can get rid of it.” Tessa trembled inside from the stewardess’ penetrating gaze but she forced her body to stay upright.

“Very well. I will give you one month’s probation at three-fourths the normal wage. If I find your work satisfactory, you can stay and expect a full salary. Do you agree to these terms?”

“I do,” Tessa said, alarmed and excited she fought to make this strange mansion her new home.

“Then I welcome you to the Buras Estate.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

Lady Eunice turned to the head maid. “Amelia, show Tristesse her quarters and help her get settled. See she finds a uniform her size.”

Amelia bowed and gestured toward the door. “This way,” she told Tessa.

“Do not disappoint me, Tristesse,” Lady Eunice said, raising her brows. “I expect much from you.”

Tessa shuffled one foot back. “I don’t plan to…ma’am.

The stewardess nodded. “You may leave.”

Tessa took one last glance at the stewardess and followed Amelia out of the room toward the main staircase. It split in the middle, curling at the end like two arms ready for an embrace. An imposing grandfather clock’s face drilled down on her, but the glittering crystals from the grand chandelier above astounded her with their elegance and shimmer.

Amelia said nothing as they walked. Servants padded out of rooms with dirty linen, some vacuuming rugs and animal pelts. Others dusted and wiped furniture, ceramic vases, and African statues. Not one woman or man threw a curious peek at Tessa. No one talked or whispered. Sound escaped only from the hustle and bustle of their work. The silence contrasted the cacophony of New Orleans, and Tessa almost drowned in a wave of homesickness.

Not one woman or man threw a curious peek at Tessa. No one talked or whispered. Sound escaped only from the hustle and bustle of their work. The silence contrasted the cacophony of New Orleans, and Tessa almost drowned in a wave of homesickness.

A young maid with big hazel eyes and her hair in two pleats smiled at her. Chest swelling with the hope of a new friend, Tessa smiled back and stopped to ask for her name, but Amelia stepped in between them and shook her head.

“Do not disturb the others,” she said.

Tessa searched behind Amelia for the young woman, but the pretty maid had disappeared, perhaps entering one of the many rooms. She sighed, hoping to see her again.

Upstairs, the head maid took out an iron key from her apron’s pocket and opened a white wooden door. The room contained six beds, three lined up on opposite sides of the walls. A chest of drawers and a wooden desk and a chair flanked each bed, and two corners of the room had a sink and mirror. There was only one window.

Amelia pointed a finger. “Take the last bed to the right. Meet me downstairs in ten minutes, outside the reading room. We will find you a uniform that fits.”

“When will I get a key? Will the door lock on its own when I shut it?” Tessa asked.

“Yes, it will. Your key comes after we get your clothes. Do you have any more questions?”

“No, that’s all.” Tessa walked over to the window and dropped her suitcase at the foot of her new bed. She peeked outside. The large oak tree stared back at her. It stood larger and more foreboding than the first time she had laid eyes on it. The hairs on her skin stood upright at the thought of shadows swarming the tree again.

Amelia closed the door, and the sound snapped Tessa’s attention away from the great oak. Relief spread over her at the pleasure of being alone again. She unbuckled her suitcase and opened it, staring at the folded clothes and shoes, too exhausted to unpack. She sat on the bed and removed her hat, smoothing down her French braid. Tessa kicked off her loafers to stretch out her toes and reached for her pen and pocket calendar from inside her suitcase.

She circled the date: September 17, 1954, her first day at the Buras Mansion. A year ago today, she sat in her apartment’s kitchen with Grand-mère, prepping for a late night hunt. Tessa had only supported her grandmother with the equipment, cleaning the crossbows and their silver arrows, sharpening daggers, and mixing the ingredients for stun bombs.

Grand-mère had sensed her death and buried her monster hunting gear, along with the poison vials and bags of herbs, behind a mausoleum at the St. Louis Cemetery. It pained Tessa to leave her grandmother’s treasures behind, but she couldn’t pack all of it. She brought only Grand-mère’s favorite dagger.

Tessa’s hands dug for a bundle of black cloths in her suitcase and took them from between her trousers and blouses. She unfolded the bundle, revealing a dagger with a leather braided hilt. Tessa slipped off the black sheath and admired the curved blade made of pure silver.

Despite hours of training with her grandmother, she had never killed a monster. But before Grand-mère passed away in her bedroom, Tessa had promised her grandmother to take her place as monster hunter, to preserve her family’s legacy as destroyers of evil. But Tessa hadn’t expected her first test to happen so soon.

Light crawled out of the room. She looked up from her calendar, gripping the edge of her bed. Tessa took tiny steps to the window, and her finger reached for the sill, eyes closed. She counted down from ten and looked.

Swirling shadows wrapped around the oak tree, and five robed spirits stepped out from within it, one after the other. They wore long, pointy hoods with no holes for the eyes, nose, or mouth. They shuffled across the grass, dragging the long hems of their flowing smoky robes.

Tessa ducked beneath the window with her arms outstretched against the wall. Her breaths rapid, she raised her head to catch another peek of the robed shadows. One of them trailed the others. It stopped and turned to Tessa, raising its hand, ready to receive. Her body surrendered to multiple tremors. What does it want?

Someone else stood outside. It was the pretty maid who had smiled at her earlier. Standing still, she held a large woven basket in her hands and stared at the hooded spirits.

Tessa abandoned the window and slipped her loafers back on. She rushed out of the door, closing it, and raced down the stairs to the main floor, past the reading room.

“Where are you going? We must get your uniform,” Amelia called out.

But Tessa ignored her and burst through the front door. The wind hit her heated face, sun rays beating on her perspiring brows. Flustered, she stepped left and then right, scanning her surroundings.

Everything had returned to normal once again; the shadowy robed spirits had disappeared. She gathered her courage and approached the oak tree. Her hands groped the rough bark, unsure of what she wanted to find.

“You saw them too, didn’t you? Those dark creatures that look like giant black Klansmen, right?”

Tessa turned to the pretty maid behind her. “What are they?” she asked.

The young woman shrugged. “I don’t know. At first, I thought they were demons, but they’re something else. Still evil though. Anyway, it’s nice knowing someone else can see them, too. I’m Denise Johnson.” She adjusted the basket onto her right hip and held out a hand.

Tessa shook it. “Tristesse Bien-Aimé, but call me Tessa.”

“What a lovely name. Beloved Sadness. Sounds poetic. Are you Haitian?”

“My grandmother was, but I was born in New Orleans. And thank you.” She switched back to the dark creatures. “Do those shadowy creatures always leave this tree?”

Denise dropped her hazel eyes to the ground, shoulders shaking. “Yes. That and more.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ll find out tonight. You should go back inside. See you around, Tessa.” Denise walked away, leaving her alone.

 What would happen tonight?

Tessa let her eyes linger on the oak tree, curious to know its secrets.

***

Enjoyed this snippet? You can read the rest here

And if you have any comments about this sample of my work, please let me know! Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. 

 

The Awesome Abstract Art Used in My Twitter Timeline

Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve written a BOOK and it’s called PROPHET FROM THE MOON (THE MOON’S EDGE, #1)!

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I’m calm on the outside but my insides are EXCITED!

This book’s journey is five years long from conception to the final edits. You can read the description and first chapter HERE!  My pen name is Dasist Winter.

Because I want to people to read, rate, and comment on my book, I have to promote my baby on Twitter.

To do that, I picked abstract artwork from artists who inspired my imagination and ignited my desires to write.

I want to give them credit so here’s the list. Enjoy their work!

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Agnes Cecile

Thoughts on Cecile: I love the intensity radiating behind her eyes; almost gives me goosebumps. You know she’s been through shit, seen enough, and won’t let anyone stand in her way. This woman is a freaking powerhouse, ready to conquer the world. I want to write a story just for her.

artistic-fantasy-abstract-composition-goddess-woman-compo-fun-funny-humor-enhanced-color-colorful-e-142967417823
Unknown 1

Thoughts on Unknown 1: Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the artist behind this picture, but I put a link where you can find the image. Her purples eyes grabbed me instantly, and she’s simply beautiful. What’s her story? Hmmm.

asbtract-purple-woman
TheBoyofCheese 

Thoughts on BoyofCheese: I used to LOVE the color purple. When I say love, I mean I was obsessed with the color, buying purple clothes, accessories, and notebooks. Right now my favorite color is red, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this beauty of a purple dream. What’s the sad story hidden in this girl’s eyes?

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Karol Bak

Thoughts on Bak: Welcome to a world of pure fantasy. This piece transported me to an epic land where magic reigns supreme and fearsome power awaits anyone brave enough to find it. She will definitely be a powerful character in whatever fantasy adventure I create.

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Unknown 2

Thoughts on Unknown 2: Here’s another piece with an unknown artist. I chose this one because it translates into pure bad-assery. Seriously.

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Januz Miralles

Thoughts on Miralles: The blacks and grays of this image soothe my soul. I feel like I’m floating amoung the clouds, undisturbed by the world raging around me.

red-lady
Gabriel Moreno

Thoughts on Moreno: Yes, child! Give me red  and orange all day. This woman’s hypnotizing gaze has me falling in love already. Do not mess with her heart!

sci-fi-woman-warriors
Ignacio Bazan Lazcano

Thoughts on Lazcano: Okay, so this isn’t abstract art but I ADORE this post-apocalyptic picture featuring two bad-ass women ready to ride the wastelands with their cool bikes. Yes, I was a big fan of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Also, this image is definitely happening in THE MOON’S EDGE #2.

wire-woman
Cane Dojcilovic

Thoughts on Dojcilovic: I enjoy mash-ups of science fiction and fantasy and this artwork does it for me in an impressive way. Here, I get an android with super powers ready to take over all our minds if our hero/heroine doesn’t step in to stop it. I want to use her in a future WIP.

 

Which piece did you like and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please be sure to head over to Amazon and read my BOOK for FREE on Amazon Unlimited!

Stay cool,

CSS

Patience or Waiting to Live?

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

PATIENCE has been on my mind, its feelers rummaging through my brain, reminding me of its scalding presence in my life. I breathe its stinging fumes in the morning as I awaken and condemn the day before it has even started. My eyes open and I ask myself two obligatory questions, my passwords to re-entering the land of the living:

“Are you okay?”

“No.”

“When will you be okay?”

“I don’t know.”

Cranking all the levers in my mind, body, and soul to attempt interactions beyond mere existence, I wonder if I’m waiting for something good to happen before I can be “okay”.

Sometimes reality is like wading through waist deep Jell-O, the icky kind that reminds you of the gooey part of a skateboarder’s scraped knee. Encased in this blob of never-ending red, time becomes a hundred times slower, and each step I take gets me nowhere closer to my destination. I’m tempted to fall back into the Jell-O, allowing the jiggling clumps to fill my lungs and drown me. But my ambition is stronger than my pain and drags my tired feet forward.

Patience isn’t my friend. We wrestle, argue, and plot to kill each other while the other sleeps. I hate its life lessons because it’s oblivious to the millions of needles stabbing my spine. The pain steals my focus from whatever nugget of supernatural wisdom patience offers its victims. And yet, I endure it, letting it rule my life because without patience, I would be dead.

That’s our pact: I carry you on my back, and you keep me breathing to open my eyes to another day.

Patience isn’t waiting. But I wait anyway, stupidly, like a naïve teenager still checking the chimney for Santa Claus. Waiting is poison, the lesser, weaker form of patience, preying on crushed hearts too jittery and scared to succumb to the deep cuts of patience.

I wait for no one and nothing. I wait for everyone and everything. I wait, contradicting myself over and over, bumping my sound philosophies against my irrational fears. I’m a walking storm, full of tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis on the inside, but a fragile façade of calmness and forced cheeriness on the outside.

I wait, losing time in the present, forgetting to live, experiencing every cell in my body age, die, get replaced, repeat. Clouds race in maddening speed overhead; the sun and moon rise and set, circling like the braying horses on a merry-go-round. Life fast-forwards around me while I’m stuck trudging through nasty, red Jell-O.

Patience isn’t peace, but like patience, peace is a choice. Patience hurts. Peace doesn’t. When I run out of time, peace smothers my irrational fears, barring them from transforming into the debilitating lies posing as truths intent on ripping my sanity to shreds. Patience helps me bear the torture, allowing me to stay conscious for every sadistic twist and stab of the knife.

I hate patience, but without it, I could never be a writer, and writing is the lifeblood of my existence. So patience and I have been intricately linked since I started writing stories at eight. When I sit to work on a novel or a short story, more so a novel, I can’t rely on motivation and discipline alone. Something much more significant, much more profound and powerful, carries me from the first line to the final word, from one round of edits to the final round, from idea to creation. Hope, the child of patience.

Although I work hard to keep it at bay, I love hope. It’s a tiny gem, not worth a prolonged glance, but it has enough strength to pull more than 80,000 words from the stormy mess that’s my mind. I can’t harness the power of hope without accepting the pain of patience. Hope keeps me human while patience wards off the beast. There’s a difference. Trust me. I give up a million times in my head, wishing I could hang up the NO VACANCY sign on my body. Please look elsewhere to affirm your existence. So many things I want to say, but I can’t because I’m a highly functioning human being. It’s naïve, but hope seasons the bland tasks of operating through this life, through adulthood.

The dangerous side of patience is daydreaming, the enticing promises we whisper to ourselves, the melting of reality for the sweet core of fantasy. I live half my life in a daydream, setting my mind free and wild to conjure the most pleasurable experiences and adventures. I dance in my room and the kitchen to music only I can hear, to beats others would find too abrasive or weird. Everybody should dance no matter their ability; sometimes only our bodies can express the feelings overwhelming our hearts.

The fantasy is addictive, like sugar, cocaine. Feels good but will destroy the body and mind in time. Too bad it thrives best in the hardest swells of patience, in the moments when life’s the tightest, most constricting, most painful. Sometimes fantasy’s everything keeping me dancing. But it’s not hope. Fantasy is a big, beautiful diamond, yet useless, empty, a precursor to deep disillusionment, cynicism, and stubborn darkness. I indulge in fantasy while knowing its true face and lies. If I don’t rip my fingers away from its grip, no writing gets done because writing lives in the realm of reality.

I’m a creative so my whole life is patience. I hate it but my hands fit in all its curves and grooves in ways more intimate than an eager lover. I’m not patience’s slave nor its owner; we live organically as two separate entities bound until death—for as long as I plan to be a writer.

What’s your relationship with patience? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share if you liked this post.

Featured image: Aeonium by Russ Mills aka Byroglyphics. Purchase the image here. 

Review of VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab

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Mmm. So evil.

Category: Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy

If HEROS and DEATHNOTE had a lovechild, it would be called VICIOUS. And what a beautiful and dark child it is. This fast-paced sci-fi book by V.E. Schwab pits two brilliant adversaries against each other in an entertaining chase full of unpredictable twists, passion, and intelligence. The superbly crafted plot sinks it claws into the reader with the first sentence and never lets go. The main characters start as friends, each drawn to the other’s darkness lurking beneath the skin. A high-risk science experiment to unveil the existence of ExtraOrdinary humans, people with supernatural capabilities, eventually turns the two into mortal enemies who will do just about anything to destroy the other.

I love these types of stories because I’m always on the edge, waiting to see who will outmaneuver the other and get the upper hand—especially when the foes are equally matched in cleverness and, in this case, cruelty. The side characters are another bonus; they’re well developed and interesting, each possessing his or her own razor sharp qualities and quirks. I highly appreciate novels with great side characters; they’re so essential to the whole journey of MCs and the story itself. Sometimes I might drop a book if the side characters are lackluster, but this isn’t the case with VICIOUS.  Furthermore, the writing is fantastic, not a single word is wasted.

And lastly, a sense of dread loomed over my head from beginning to end while reading this book, making my heart race. Seriously, you have to read it. I believe each one of us has a little viciousness in us, and VICIOUS lets us relish in it without feeling guilty.

I read somewhere that the book will be made into a film. You know I’ll be watching it.

Rating: 4.6 / 5

Stay amazing,

Sammy