Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Vote for Bewitching Book Tours in the 25th Annual Critters Readers' Poll

This year Roxanne has two nominations in the 25th Annual Critters Readers' Poll 

Bewitching Book Tours has been nominated for 

best Promotional Firms, Sites, and Resources

Please vote here

Ghosts and Legends of Genesee & Lapeer Counties 

has been nominated for best non-fiction book of 2022

Please vote here

Friday, December 23, 2022

New Release - New York Miracle: A Christmas Novella by Margo Laurie #PNR #ChristmasRomance

A sweet, festive story with a dash of the supernatural

New York Miracle: A Christmas Novella
Margo Laurie

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Women’s Fiction
Length: Novella
Publisher: ‎ Calleia Press 
Publication Date: ‎December 18, 2022

Book Description:

Ellie Peach travels to Manhattan for an apprenticeship in the Garment District. While staying at a historic boarding house, she meets the charming and eccentric James Denny. He claims to be a Broadway actor waiting for his lost love. When Ellie offers to help search for her, it leads to old secrets and adventure...

#holidaynovella #christmasbooks #festivereads #christmasread #holidaybooks #christmasghoststories #christmasnovella #margolaurieauthor #christmasbookstagram #ziegfeldfollies

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Sally Feng's Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series

Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series – on screen and in writing

These series have influenced my own writing, last but not least my latest novel The Glint of the Luopan, an Urban Fantasy novel about psychic spies.

1. Twin Peaks

This series follows an investigation, headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper and local Sheriff Harry S. Truman, into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington. I just love its wonderfully quirky characters and the 90s vibe of the first two seasons. Season 3 is set 25 years later and really whacky, at times surrealist.

2. X-Files

Another cult series from the 90s revolving around FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who investigate paranormal phenomena. I know the show has its lengths, but the main characters are so well-written that they always manage to engage the viewer.

3. The Metamorphosis series (Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko)

This is a rather unknown series by a Ukrainian writer’s couple, starting with the novel Vita Nostra. It’s about Sasha Samokhina who has been accepted to the Institute of Special Technologies. Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences that are nothing she has ever dreamed of. At first, it's a bit hard to get into, but as you read on, this novel makes you more and more feel like you're constantly on the brink between reality and fantasy.

4. Inkheart (Cornelia Funke)

How I loved this trilogy when I was young! It’s about a girl and her dad who has a special ability where he can bring things out of books just by reading aloud. Yet, for everything that comes out, something must go in… a feast for someone who loves books about books, such as myself.

5. What We Do In The Shadows

This is some sort of paranormal comedy series, a mockumentary about four vampires in Staten Island. It follows the day-to-day of these vampires, from grocery shopping to parties and encounters with other paranormal beings. One of my favorite characters is Colin Robinson, an “energy vampire” who gains his energy from boring others with anecdotes.

6. The Twilight Zone

Of course, how could I forget the Twilight Zone? It could serve as a masterclass in Sci-Fi writing. Many episodes are written with such care as is rarely encountered these days.Alien invasions, time travel, murderous dolls, twists of fate – the Twilight Zone did it first. 

7. A Thousand Li (Tao Wong)

This is a trilogy in a genre that has evolved in China: Xianxia. Xianxiagenre of Chinese fantasy heavily inspired by Daoism and influenced by Chinese mythology, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, and Chinese alchemy. It’s about Wu Ying, a young farmer who suddenly finds himself on a path to become a “cultivator”, an immortal being fighting for the good.

8. The Great Cities Duology (N. K. Jemisin)

Urban fantasy by an author who has a rather unique voice. A story of culture, identity, magic and myths in contemporary New York City.

9. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

Ready for great British humor? Then try out an episode of Garth Marenghi’sDarkplace. The series is presented as a special release of the fictional television series Darkplace, written by horror writer Garth Marenghi. Darkplace's fictional show-within-a-show includes deliberately poor production and special effects, sub-par acting, choppy editing and storylines that lead nowhere. Another delightful mockumentary!


This is a relatively new series about immigrants travelling on a steamship who get caught up in a mysterious riddle after finding a second empty ship on the open sea. I did enjoy its diverse cast of characters, and the way they interact with each other, as well as the inclusion of theories about the mind and the brain. However, the end of the first season is rather overloaded.

The Glint of the Luopan
Sally Feng

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: CinnamonBooks
Date of Publication: 11.11.2022
ISBN: 978-3000739385
Number of pages: 292
Word Count: 65.000
Cover Artist: MiblArt

Tagline: A Daoist journey through New York and Beijing. A secret society. A young woman on a mission to find her dad.

Book Description: 

Lai Fang, a Chinese native living in New York, is working to recover her lost memory and find her father. Along the way, she finds herself in the arms of the mysterious Suresh who supports her search in unconventional ways.

Guided by a Luopan, scattered remnants of recollections, technology, and a little magic, Lai Fang desperately clings to what she hopes will be the path to her truth. However, what if the truth lies far beyond the scope of human comprehension? What is the truth to begin with?

The Glint of the Luopan weaves a mesmerizing web of a world that begins as a dream and unfolds in a journey for family, hope, and love.


The elevator jerked to a halt and the doors slid open to a circular room with high Greek-looking columns in the corners. Everything was in muted colors, beige, and blue-grey.

“Oh wow.”

In the middle, there was a circular table with a model of China on it.

“So, this is where we plan our utopia, or at least its rough outlines.”

Izzy went up to the table and propped her hands on it.

“These are all regions in China where we have established so-called cities in the sky. You might even have seen a picture of it on the news that went viral a couple of years ago, in Foshan.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to prevent it from becoming public. Of course, most people took it for a mirage, a Fata Morgana.”

“Cities in the sky?” I had actually thought that nothing could shock me anymore, but this was just unbelievable.

“Yes. As of now, about half a million Chinese people live there. We are still in our experimental phase, but so far, we have made good progress.”

She talked about it as if it was an everyday thing.

“You know, China has had a demographic explosion during the last couple of years, after the pandemic. Even during the one-child policy, population growth was significant, especially in the countryside. China couldn’t admit that to the rest of the world. The outcry and the fear would have been enormous. Not to mention, the Chinese themselves began to suffer from the density of the population in the cities. They began to house people everywhere: in cellars, in tents, but there were just so many. Also, the space programs didn’t bring the desired success.” She stroked the table.

 “So, the Dreamer Society began to look for other options. They rounded up a team of people from all disciplines – geologists, biologists, remote viewers – to map out a future for the Chinese population. What they found was just so, so much more interesting than anyone had ever thought.”

Izzy took a deep breath and pushed a button next to the model of China. There was a whirring sound, something opened in the middle of the model, and a glass pillar rose up. At the same time, a hissing sound rang out as the pillar f illed with smoke. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Slowly, very slowly, tiny outlines began to form out of the smoke. They looked strangely solid. The smoke pooled into walls and roofs, culminating in towers...

“What the-?”

“This is Jindan, the substance used for creating the sky cities. It’s a kind of energy that can condense into something solid. Initially, it was only used for manipulating the weather, like at the Olympic Games. Then we found out how powerful it really is. If you achieve a tremendous degree of compaction, you can actually create solid bodies. It is said to be inspired by the early Daoists who practiced inner alchemy.”

The smoke in the glass pillar was still forming and condensing. By now I could also see small roads. I slowly circled the pillar, keeping a cautious distance, and found more and more details.

“I mean…how do you create whole, life-sized cities?” It seemed suitable for a small project in chemistry class, but how could you create something lifelike with it?
Izzy circled the model and looked at the pillar as well. “Guess why it’s called the Dreamer Society?”


“It turned out that the Jindan substance interacts very well with dream energy. Before that, the Society experimented with all sorts of things – hydrogen, carbon, and so on. Then, someone had what is called a ‘happy accident’. They fell asleep in the lab, and when they awoke the next morning, their dream was hanging from the ceiling. In 3D and touchable. Then, they went from there. Actually, what you see in the pillar is a sky city in its purest form, without dream energy.”

I searched Izzy’s face, but I couldn’t find any trace of exaggeration.

I didn’t know how much more absurdity I would endure. I only knew that the sky city in the vessel was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen: an airy, fluffy-looking, slightly glittering thing, like cotton candy that seemed to be constantly reassembling itself.

About the Author:

Sally Feng is an expert in Chinese culture and philosophy and loves to spread the word about these topics. She holds a Master’s degree in Literary Translation and Sinology. Her interests also include the paranormal and Asian religions.

After completing her first novel translations for different publishers, she published the Urban Fantasy title “The Glint of the Luopan”. It's set in New York and Beijing and deals with Chinese magic and philosophy, among other things.

She works as an author, translator and editor. "The Glint of the Luopan" is her third novel.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Character Confession from Grayson- In the Moment Before by C.G. Coppola

(POV from Grayson)

Is this going to take long?

Look, I know I’m supposed to say nice things about Caitlin or whatever, but I’ve got a busy day so let’s keep this short, okay? I’ll give you the basics.

My author, C.G. Coppola—we can call her Caitlin, I guess—did a pretty decent job. It’s hard writing someone like me without making me sound like a total piece of shit. Because I know I can be an asshole. What can I say? It just comes natural, and Robin, well, she’s always fun to mess with.

Anyway, Caitlin handled me well. I’m not looking forward to my own book, which rumor has it might surface in the foreseeable future, but who knows? I’m a pretty private guy which is probably why she started with Robin’s story first. Either that, or she knew I needed a better lens for the audience to see me through instead of my own because I’ve done some messed up shit. But I made Robin fall for me, and I think that helped put me in a good light. I hope, at least.

So, yeah. Things could’ve gone a lot worse, but I think C.G. Coppola—I mean Caitlin—did pretty well with what she had to work with. But she also already wrote Nikolai’s book, so she knew all about him and Perish and the bullshit that goes on. I was just the next badass character that showed up, and believe me, it’s not because I sat there and did nothing. I had to FIGHT MY WAY to the forefront. You think Kato or Luis liked that I was getting my own story first?


No fucking way. They were pissed. Caitlin already knew they’d be getting their own spinoffs or short stories or whatever, but here I come changing her mind because I offered her the one thing she’d been wanting. Ready for this?

*leans forward*

The enemies-to-lovers trope. Out off all the other characters crowding around in her head, none of them had a story like me and Robin—the enemies-to-lovers thing that’s so “hot market” right now or whatever. I didn’t plan it. I just happened to have the winning lottery ticket for what Caitlin wanted to write, so yeah, I’m a lucky bastard. The craziest part about it? I don’t get just one book. Since I’m so fun to write, I get a second and third book PLUS a possible crossover in the main Coyote and the Claw series. It’s like a dream come true. I really didn’t need any of it. I only wanted Robin.

But now I have her on multiple planes of reality. The one that exists inside C.G. Coppola’s brain…and now everyone else who reads our story.

In the Moment Before
The Coyote And The Claw 
Companion Series Novella 1
C.G. Coppola

Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy Romance / 
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: 12/16/2022
ISBN: 9798201753146
Word Count: 39,000
Cover Artist: Wicked Smart Designs

Book Description:

I hate Grayson Knight with a passion. Ever since he pulled a prank on me as kids, I’ve kept him in the mortal-enemy category, and we both prefer it that way. Now we’re seniors in high school and he’s still the same immature jerk. I avoid him as much as possible, but when an argument turns ugly and lands us in detention together, I know my life is over—especially when my dad, the city’s police sergeant, finds out.

I have no idea how we’ll get through this, so I’m surprised when Grayson comes to my rescue after I’m cornered by a sleazy basketball player. Suddenly, the boy I’ve always hated isn’t the enemy. If seeing him with new eyes isn’t confusing enough, a secret kiss sends everything scrambling, leaving me to figure out what I want, and if I can even have it. Because Grayson isn’t like other boys—and I’m starting to find out why.


“You said none of it was true.” I tighten my arms over my chest, leaning against the wall, hoping it supports me because this is about to get tough. “That people were spreading lies.”

“They are lies. We’re not dating.”


It’s like I’ve been punched. I know what he’s saying is true, but to hear it from him…and like that…doesn’t make it feel any better.

“You…didn’t think we were, did you?” He pops a brow, sliding his hands out of his pockets as he stands firmly in front of me, his olive hoodie unzipped. Surprise and confusion and something else brew behind his eyes, like he’s adjusting with new information.

Can’t show him I’m hurt.

I press my shoulders back, trying to project the confidence and strength I need. “That would mean I stopped hating you—and I haven’t.”

Pain flickers but disappears a moment later. He sinks his hands back in his pockets, rolling on the balls of his feet again. “You still hate me?”

“Well, it’s only physical between us, right?”

“That’s…what I want to talk about.”


“We really should…stop.”

“Yeah?” I ask, tightening my crossed arms further. “And why should I believe anything you say? Last time you said it was a mistake, and you’ve only come on stronger since.”

“I know.” He rubs the back of his neck. “It’s my fault.”

I drop my arms. Is he being serious this time? Does he really want to stop this? Why is that thought agonizing?

“It’s not fair to you.”

My chest constricts, and I can’t believe the words as they tumble out of my mouth. “So, you don’t want to…anymore?”

He glances away. He takes a deep breath like he’s still considering everything. “Probably not smart. We’re enemies, Robin. We had some fun, but—”

“Fine. Get out.”

He stares at me. “What?”

“If we’re enemies, get out.”

“You’re seriously kicking me out?”

“If you’re telling me this has all been a mistake—”

“I didn’t say that. I said it’s not smart.”

“That’s the same thing.”

“No, the fuck it isn’t.” He steps forward, raising his voice a little. “I don’t regret anything, okay? But I also don’t think it’s smart. I don’t do the girlfriend thing and keeping this strictly physical isn’t going to work. And, on top of everything, it’s you—”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He huffs. “It doesn’t make it any easier.”

I push off from the wall and pace in a small circle, everything inside boiling. “So, what, we just pretend none of it happened?” I ask, secretly hoping he disagrees.

“Afraid so.”

Double ouch.

This hurts more than I expected it to. Part of me wants to cry, and I hate that he makes me feel this way, that he’s able to hurt me like this. I stare at him, anger still fueling my words and actions. And maybe it’s the anger that makes me brave enough to ask what I’ve been wondering this entire time. “If we’re enemies, why did you even kiss me?”

He stares back a moment, his face softening. He’s had the answer ready all along; he just didn’t want to admit it. “I was tired of wondering what it would be like.”

About the Author:

C.G Coppola is the author of the sci-fi adventure series, Arizal Wars, and the contemporary romance series, Better Than This. In addition to stories that explore magic and the paranormal, she writes realistic fiction set in fantastical universes, usually with a lot of kissing. Married with two fur-babies she spoils rotten, C.G. Coppola lives in Florida where she grew up and attend college. When not writing, she can be found decorating the house, bantering with her husband, or dancing to Meghan Trainor—sometimes all at once.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Avalon: a Heartwarming True Cat Story by Vanessa Morgan - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza


No Christmas is ever complete without at least one serving of Egg Nog, the holiday-themed cocktail drink that is popular in the United States and Canada. It is a frothy beverage that contains milk, cream, and eggs. You can combine this mixture with other ingredients such as alcohol, sugar, and spices. It is best served chilled.

You can easily modify the Egg Nog recipe below to be vegan-friendly (by replacing the eggs with silken tofu and by using almond milk instead of cow's milk).

When I was in my twenties, I used to buy Egg Nog in the supermarket at Christmas-time. Nowadays, however, I prefer to make it myself.

My cat Avalon used to go all crazy whenever I pulled out the Egg Nog, so I started by making a cat-friendly version, just for him. It may sound a little crazy, but trust me on this one... Kitty Egg Nog is sure to please even the most discerning palates, and your cat will be eternally grateful to you for it.

On top of that, we are celebrating the French edition release of Avalon's memoir, so we should all indulge a little extra this year, don't you agree?

Here's what you need to make Egg Nog for both you and your cat.

Egg Nog for you


2 cups of milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla powder
1/8 tablespoon nutmeg
¼ cup cream

If you like it sweet, you can add three tablespoons of sugar. Also, I usually make Egg Nog without alcohol, but if I do add some, I prefer to add rum over any other type. 


Beat the eggs until smooth
Add the milk, cream, vanilla powder, and nutmeg (and any other ingredients)
Put everything in the blender
Serve chilled

Egg Nog for your cat

200 ml cat milk
1 egg yolk
1 pinch of turmeric (don't use cinnamon as it can be toxic to cats)
A little whipped cream


Put all ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth
Serve in small portions, as it is a heavy drink, even without the alcohol.

Warning! Don't use real milk for your cat's Egg Nog. After all, the lactose in cow's milk may cause diarrhea and other digestive problems in cats.

Let me know in the comments if you will be making Egg Nog for yourself and your cat this year.


Avalon: a Heartwarming True Cat Story
Vanessa Morgan

Genre:  Memoir / Cats
Date of Publication:  June 4, 2015 
Number of pages:134 pages 
Word Count: 31.468 words
Cover Artist: Gilles Vranckx

Tagline:  Some cats need nine lives to make a difference. Avalon only needed one.

Book Description:

From Amazon bestselling author Vanessa Morgan, Avalon is the heartwarming and once-in-a-lifetime love story of a girl and her neurotic Turkish Van cat.

With humor, the author details how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. 

Avalon was so incorrigible that even the landlord ordered to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon's demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.

Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.

Avalon is also available in French.

Filming of The Strangers Outside took place in August and September 2010. Avalon joined the set for two days. The location: a vacation cabin in the woods of Sint-Katelijne-Waver, a place where shadows came alive and danced with the rare patches of light. The perfect site for a horror movie.

Outside the vacation cabin, the film crew prepared for action. Camera tripods and lights were set up. An actor in monk clothes smoked his last cigarette before the shoot.

Two large tables with food and drinks sat in the shade, each bottle of water labeled with the name of an actor or crew member. Avalon had a bottle all for himself.

Avalon was remarkably at ease on set. He examined the vacation cabin for about half an hour, sniffing his way through the dusty corners, before settling into a deep sleep on the couch.

While everyone fawned over Avalon and fed him snacks from the buffet table, the director gave us a quick rundown of the scene to come. “The camera focuses on Avalon lying on the coffee table. In the background, through the windows, we see actors Pierre Lekeux and Iulia Nastase arriving home. Avalon follows their movements with his head as they move from one side of the house to the other. When the front door opens, Avalon jumps off the table to greet them.”

“Avalon won’t do that,” I said. “Just like children, cats are uncontrollable. It’s a great idea for a scene, but I’m afraid you’ll have to come up with something less demanding.”

Apparently, I didn’t know my cat very well, because Avalon did exactly what was expected of him.

The scene was shot several times in a row and Avalon never missed a beat.
In another scene, while eating his Schesir dinner, Avalon suddenly had to look up in panic. The fear in his eyes looked genuine. He was perfect.

Sitting at the dining table, actor Pierre Lekeux watched Avalon with incomprehensibility and admiration, shaking his head in denial. “I need at least twenty minutes to prepare a scene, to enter a certain state of mind. But this cat nails it in a matter of seconds. Avalon’s the best actor on set. He’s even better than me.”

Pierre was right. Avalon had this air--he carried himself in a certain way, very much aware of his charisma. He was a natural performer. A miniature star.

About the Author:

Vanessa Morgan is the editor of the movie reference guides When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies with Killer Animals, Strange Blood: 71 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies, and Evil Seeds: The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children. She also has had one cat book (Avalon) and four supernatural thrillers (Drowned Sorrow, The Strangers Outside, A Good Man, and Clowders) published. Three of her stories have been turned into movies. She has written for myriad Belgian magazines and newspapers and introduces movie screenings at several European film festivals. She is also a programmer for the Offscreen Film Festival in Belgium. When she's not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching movies, eating out, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Mother of the River by Emily McPherson #YAFantasy

Mother of the River
The Protectors 
Book One
Emily McPherson

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Eyebright Books
Date of Publication: 03/07/2023
ISBN: 9798986797311 
ISBN: 9798986797304  
ISBN: 9798986797328 
Number of pages: 272
Word Count: 73,800

Cover Artist: Berterra Forester

Tagline: May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far. - Irish Proverb

Book Description: 

Ianthe was only six years old when her mother vanished and the strange statue appeared in the river near her home. Now, eleven years later, the statue stands as a memorial and a place where Ianthe often visits to tell her mother about her life. But when an old acquaintance returns to town and suggests the statue isn’t just a statue, the presence of a mythical creature comes into question, and Ianthe begins to wonder what really happened all those years ago.

With her best friend, Fintan, by her side, Ianthe searches for a lost legend and discovers fantastical dangers, family secrets, and the magic of Ireland. But finding the myth may not be enough to mend the past. And finding the truth just may threaten her future.


“Ianthe, you could have said goodbye to your friend, you know. I didn’t mean to pull you away so quickly.”

“Oh, it’s fine,” Ianthe said, waving her hand in dismissal. “You didn’t.”

“But I did interrupt something, didn’t I?” Dubheasa smirked, almost amused with Ianthe’s discomfort.

“Well… sort of,” Ianthe said, “but believe me. I might owe you a favor for that one.”

Ianthe dropped her hands into her pockets and suppressed her embarrassment for another time. They arrived at the tea shop, opting for the outdoor seating on such a beautiful spring day, and claimed a small table with chipping white paint at the edge of the patio. The proprietor, Idina, weaved in and out of tables taking orders, quick as a hurricane wind.

“What’ll you have, darlings? Oh, Ianthe.” Idina’s tone brightened as she recognized Ianthe at the table. “Evening, love. How are you?” she asked with a dip of her head. A deep brown coil fell in front of her eye, and she flipped the curl back into place.

“Hello, Mrs. Kent,” Ianthe said with a cordial nod. “Just grand, and you?”

“Fine, perfectly fine. And I’ve told you to call me Idina, haven’t I?”

“Right. Sorry, Idina.”

As Ianthe got older, more and more people in town asked her to call them by their first name, as though she was one of the adults—a concept much too odd for Ianthe to accept. Now she was expected to call Ms. O’Malley from down the road Eleanor. Mr. Wilson, who brought the morning paper, asked her to call him Norman. (Who knew he’d named his cat after himself?)

And now Mrs. and Mrs. Kent were Idina and Hazel.

“You’ve just had a birthday, haven’t you?” Idina said.

“Yes— well, it’s been a couple of weeks.”

“Seventeen now, are we?” she asked, adjusting her apron.

“That’s right,” Ianthe said, and she straightened up in her chair as a proud smile dimpled her cheeks.

“I’ll have Hazel bring you some dry herbs and teas to take home then. Now, what’ll you two have?”

“I think tea and scones,” Dubheasa said, raising her brow at Ianthe, and Ianthe nodded.

“Two cups, two scones,” Idina confirmed. “Extra butter, Ianthe?”

“Yes, please,” Ianthe said with a smile.

A loud shatter sounded from inside the shop, and Idina jumped out of her skin.

“Oh, Hazel, good grief. Slippery fingers, slippery fingers,” she continued to mutter as she hurried inside.

“I hope she remembers our order,” Dubheasa said, chuckling at the commotion.

“She will,” Ianthe assured her. “They can be a bit chaotic, but Idina and Hazel are the best around. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Hazel is magic with her teas.”

“What makes you so sure she isn’t?”

Ianthe giggled at the insinuation, but Dubheasa’s eyes only narrowed.

“You’re not serious,” Ianthe said. “Tea can’t be magic.”

“Perhaps not, but people can be.”

“Pft. I was only having a laugh, Dubheasa. I know Hazel doesn’t make magic tea because magic isn’t real.”

“Here you are, darlings,” Idina said, setting the tea and scones on the table. “Enjoy!” And she rushed off again.

Ianthe slid a cup and a scone to her side of the small table and slathered butter onto the bread while Dubheasa eyed her carefully.

“Well then,” Dubheasa said, thankfully moving on to a new topic, “when did we last see each other, dear? Do you remember?”

“Um,” Ianthe paused to take a bite of her scone. “Two summers ago, I think.”

“And has much changed since then?” Dubheasa asked, stirring cream into her tea.

“Besides growing a bit taller, nothing at all.”

“Well, I’m glad to see you’re still here.”

“Why wouldn’t I be here?”

Dubheasa sipped her tea and waited for Ianthe to come to some sort of conclusion, but Ianthe stared back, lost as ever.

“Well, the Scréch Sídhe, of course,” Dubheasa finally said.

Ianthe couldn’t help but subtly roll her eyes, feeling a sliver of annoyance in her gut.

“Oh, right. Of course,” she said flatly. “How could I forget.”

“You still don’t believe in the Sídhe, do you?” Dubheasa asked, though she already knew the answer.

“No, I must admit. I don’t.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, why is that?”

“You told me the Scréch Sídhe would come for me after my mother disappeared, but it’s been eleven years. Do you really believe a magical faerie would need this much time to find a person?”

Dubheasa continued to sip her tea with squinted eyes before offering another question.

“Then how do you think your mother turned to stone?”

“Oh, this again?” Ianthe said, reminding herself a bit of her dad. “My mother didn’t turn to stone.”

“I’ve seen her, Ianthe. I know she stands in the river.”

“I’ve told you,” Ianthe said, dropping her hands to the table rattling the teacups. “My father had that statue made in remembrance of her. It’s not actually her.”

“And yet, he never visits her to remember her.”

“N—no, you’ve got it wrong, Dubheasa. My mother disappeared.”

“And disappearing into thin air is a more acceptable explanation for you?” Dubheasa asked, studying Ianthe’s face.

“Certainly more acceptable than ‘cursed by a faerie’,” she said in a failed whisper, gripping the edge of the table and leaning in.

About the Author:

Emily McPherson is an author for young adult readers with a liking for fantasy. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she strives to normalize seeing characters of the rainbow on the page without harmful stereotypes. She is an Irish dancer with a slight obsession with mythological creatures. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, son, and—the real mythological creatures—her two rescue pugs.

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