What Will He Choose? Weekend Writing Warriors

Warriors logo revisedHere’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)

Today I’ve gone back to Healer of the Nile,  because it has now been released! (More details and the buy links after the excerpt so I don’t break the rules here).

Tadenhut, elder son of a noble house and heir to the Hunting Cat estate, has been gravely injured in a battle against Pharaoh’s enemies and brought home to die. Mehyta, a woman from the estate’s village who has skills as a healer, has been ordered to assist the physicians in his care.

Having used her magic to assess his injuries, she finds herself dreaming of Tadenhut, who remains in a coma in the real world. Her dream and their conversation takes place on a battlefield, after the combat has ended.

Watching him, Mehyta repressed a sigh. Only in his own mind could Tadenhut still move so freely, with such purpose and energy. In the Afterlife, he’d be fully restored to perfection of mind and body, of course, if he chose to pursue death. She shifted on the rock, seeking a more comfortable perch. “The estate needs you, my lord,” she said, attempting to reopen the discussion.

            “My father lives, you say?”

            “Yes, praise the gods, but he won’t live forever, and your brother—”

            Grimacing, Tadenhut raised one hand. “No need to tell me about my half-brother. Spoiled by his mother, nursed on her poison, raised to believe everything I possess or will inherit should be his.”

Healer of the Nile is included in the just-released, best selling HERE BE MAGIC box set with seven novellas from other authors, only $.99!







New Release Healer of The Nile

022I’m excited to share an excerpt from my new novella Healer of the Nile, which has been included in the just-released box set HERE BE MAGIC.  Can Mehyta, a village healer, persuade the god of Fate to help her save Tadenhut, a soldier trapped between Life and Death? I’ve mixed magic and ancient Egypt with a bit of romance (of course!), to tell a new tale of life in 1550 BCE. 

Here’s an excerpt:

…. Mehyta shrank against the wall as servants carried an elaborate litter into the room, followed by the lord and lady of the estate, accompanied by a grand personage in a gold trimmed robe, who she realized was Pharaoh’s physician, as well as several high ranking soldiers. Peeking over Simut’s shoulder, she observed Tadenhut unmoving on the litter, eyes closed, face pale. His arms lay at his sides, palms down on the thin mattress.

As the servants transferred the limp patient to the bed, the royal physician said, “I’ve done everything possible within the canons of good medicine. Pharaoh felt Tadenhut should be at home, now that his fate is so clearly in the hands of the gods.”

“Pharaoh is kind,” Lord Wadjmose said, his jaw clenched. Lady Nebetta squeezed his hand and he gave her a grateful, tired smile.

As the litter and the litter bearers exited the room, two more servants carried in a large chest, decorated with inlaid faience and turquoise. Nebetta directed the men to set their burden in the bedchamber itself, against the wall.

“Where’s the local doctor?” said the man from Thebes.

Simut left Mehyta’s side and bowed. “An honor to assist you, noble sir. I am Simut, trained in Memphis, at the temple of Sekhmet.”

The royal physician pursed his lips, nodding at the impeccable academic pedigree. As Wadjmose and Nebetta moved to the bedside to stare at the unresponsive form of Tadenhut, the doctors drew aside to confer. Mehyta tried to be unobtrusive as she followed Simut. If she was required to assist him, she’d better hear the instructions.

“I’m to stay the night and leave in the morning,” the visiting doctor said. “Pharaoh doesn’t want me absent from his court for long. I’ve brought an ample supply of drugs, more than you’ll need by the looks of our patient, but the Great One insisted we be generous, in case you lack anything here. We have specialized medicines in Thebes, after all. “He opened the chest and removed a papyrus, handing the scroll to Simut. “Doses and spells for administering them.” He leaned closer to his colleague and lowered his voice. “It’s a miracle the man’s lingered this long, frankly, with his injuries. Pharaoh is fond of him, regards him as a friend and a shieldmate, and Tadenhut saved his life in the battle, sacrificing his own for all intents and purposes. There’ll be gold of valor in the trunks we carried here from Thebes, which will adorn the soldier’s tomb nicely. He takes a good record into the afterlife. Now let me show you the proportions of the night medication.”

As the two men fell to discussing the merits of one potion versus another, Mehyta let her attention wander. Simut would tell her what to do. Her healing skills and the herbal remedies she used were in no way related to the Egyptian practice of medicine, but learned at her late grandmother’s knee. She stared at Tadenhut, gaunt, pale, lying on the bed equally oblivious to his father’s grief and the learned doctors’ chat. Lady Nebetta lowered her head, dabbing at her skin carefully, so as to not mar the kohl and malachite perfectly outlining her large brown eyes. No actual tears fell. Her son was next in line to inherit the estate when the current heir died.

The Story:

When Pharaoh sends injured warrior Tadenhut home to die, his noble family asks Mehyta, the local healer, to ease his path to the Afterlife. Mehyta discovers he’s trapped between Life and Death, caught in the dreamspace. Touched by his fighting spirit and will to live, Mehyta vows to use all the powers Shai, god of fate, gave her. Together Tadenhut and the brave healer battle to overcome his injuries, as well as threats from devious family members. While struggling to rescue her patient, Mehyta comes to realize he matters more to her than any man ever has before. But even if his life can be saved, what do the omens say about a match between a highborn soldier and a simple healer?

Buy Links for the $.99 Box Set:   AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

I have an article over at USA  Today Happily Ever After featuring Q&A with my fellow authors!



Paranormal Week – Worldbuilding in Ancient Egypt

I’m kicking off Paranormal Week over at the Here Be Magic blog today. I took world building as my topic, writing about the wonderful Ancient Egyptian civilization and how the various gods and goddesses get involved in the events surrounding my characters.

I regard Sobek the Crocodile God as my unofficial good luck charm, since he was the hero of my first published novella, PRIESTESS OF THE NILE. I’m beginning to have quite the collection of crocodiles, thanks to my family! Plastic ones, china ones, pictures of them, you name it! I’ll draw the line at either live or a mummified one though, thank you very much!


FREE Micro Short Story Today: There was a rocking chair…

Over at the Here Be Magic blog, we recently did a fun series of posts where the writing prompt was “There was a rocking chair in the middle of the forest…” Here was the resulting VERY short 1000 word story that came to my mind:

1416842_79576120Eolynd was fascinated by The Rocking Chair in the woods, from the age of five, which is when first she saw it. She and her brothers and sisters were berry picking with their mother and other village children.

“Look, someone’s left a new chair here in the clearing,” Eolynd said, tugging on her older sister Mairea’s hand. “I want to rock in it!”

“No, little one, you can’t sit in that chair.” Her older sister’s voice was hushed.

“Why not?”

“Twas left here by the Elf King himself.” Mairea glanced around uneasily. “it’s a trick, an enticement for the unwary.”

“Truly?” Eolynd retreated a step, chewing her lip and thinking this over.

Her sister made the sign of the evil eye. “See how there’s a ring of moss around it and nothing else grows within five feet?”

“If you sit in the chair, the elf king takes you to his hidden realm and you’re never seen again,” said one of the older boys from the village, grabbing Eolynd and swinging her high in the air. He was the red headed one who liked to keep company with Mairea.

“What happens to you there?” Eolynd wanted to know as he set her down.

“We need to be picking berries, not standing here gawking at the Elf King’s chair,” her mother said. “Just you listen to your elders and stay away from that thing.”

“But – “

“Enough, girl. There’s work to be done.”

1302077_90809285As she grew older, Eolynd  often went to the little clearing in the pines to admire the chair. It seemed rooted in the mossy earth, like a tree perhaps, although it was clearly meant to be a rocking chair. Had it been there so long the earth was swallowing it  up? The center of the chair’s back was a beautifully carved woodlands scene, with a proud stag filling most of the center. At a certain time of day a shaft of golden sunlight poured directly on the mysterious item, revealing intricate flowers and leaves carved into the arms and the rockers.  The Chair never aged, its wood always gleaming and shiny, no matter how much snow had fallen in the winter or how hard the summer sun baked the forest.

Years passed. Mairea married her red headed suitor and started a family which soon grew to five children. Eolynd’s other siblings became adults, those who didn’t die in the Great Sickness, which also carried off Mairea and both of Eolynd’s parents.

The world became a darker place, with rumors of a war raging between the lord Eolynd’s clan owed alliegance to and invaders from beyond the seas. Most of the men in the village went off to serve as soldiers in the war, leaving the women to keep life going as best they could. Only a few elderly men and younger boys remained and that wasn’t enough the day a marauding band of the enemy fell upon the village, slaughtering everyone they encountered.

Taking Mairea’s youngest girl in her arms, Eolynd fled the carnage and the violence, running headlong into the woods with no clear idea of where she was going. Behind her she heard the screams of the dying mixed with the harsh war cries of the enemy.

And then she heard the baying of the hounds that ran in a fearsome pack with the invaders and her blood ran cold. They’re hunting down the survivors. They’re hunting me!

 Now she fled like a terrified doe, the toddler clinging to her silently, but the sound of the dogs came closer and closer. Without clear thought Eolynd ran to the clearing and slid to a halt beside the Chair, silent and beautiful as always.

“I can’t run any more,” she said to the child in between panting breaths.

“They’re coming, Auntie.” The tiny girl hid her face in Eolynd’s skirts. “I’m scared.”

She stroked her hand through the child’s tangled black hair with one hand and leaned on the Chair for support with the other. The wood was satin soft under her hand, cool and faintly scented. The elf king takes you away. That’s what the legend said. “How much worse can it be, to live as a servant of some kind in elfdom?” she said out loud.

Picking up her niece, she sat took a deep breath and sat in the chair, pulse racing.

For a moment nothing happened. The shouts of her pursuers grew louder.

Eolynd scooted back more firmly, holding the girl.  “Please, please, elf king, if you exist, take us away.”

Thunder rolled overhead in the clear blue sky. The chair rocked under her. Startled, Eolynd made an attempt to rise but her tired legs wouldn’t obey  the command.

“You know the consequences of sitting in my chair,” said a deep voice from the edge of the clearing.

With a half shriek, Eolynd turned to see a black haired warrior astride a magnificent stag, with two wolves sitting on either side. The man was handsome, with a thin golden crown on his brow and rich green and purple raiment. An uncut emerald glinted dully in the massive ring on his finger.

“Yes, yes, I do. Please, the enemy soldiers are coming. They’ll kill us as they’ve done to my entire village. Can you – will you, save us?”

The stag paced forward and the man smiled. “And your name, maiden?”

“Eolynd. This is my niece Roschae.” She patted the child on the shoulder.

“Devonn, king of Elfdom, at your service.”   He dismounted, landing beside the Chair. Bowing he, said, “I’ve waited a thousand years for the woman brave enough to sit in my Chair and become my Queen, as the legends foretold.”

As thunder rumbled through the skies, Devonn handed her up into the saddle, placing the child in front of her and led the stag from the clearing, the two wolves trotting behind.  The trees seemed to close in behind them, creating an impenetrable barrier. Already forgetting the specifics of her ordeal, Eolynd hugged Roschae and looked eagerly ahead, to their shining destination, off in the distance.

And when the bloodthirsty enemy soldiers burst into the clearing, they saw only an old tree stump, gnarled and bent, hollowed out with age.

???????????????????????I hope you enjoyed my little story! someday I may take it and write a longer version…in the meantime, please hop over to Here Be Magic to read the very different, free short stories our other authors came up with, using that same prompt! You can go to this post or the second day of short stories.