Tag Archives: The Academy

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The Wish Giver is here! Also, What’s Next?

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Today is Launch Day!

Get The Wish Giver now!

Only 99 cents (today only) or FREE on Kindle Unlimited

I had so much fun telling this story! It is a Fairy Godmother retelling, but I used Eastern folklore and traditions instead of the more familiar European stories.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about India or Eastern culture in general, but I pulled a few things I found interesting and made a story out of them.

You met Kawbra in The Monkey King. I based him loosely off of the tale of The Snake Prince.

Now meet Nasuka, a common girl with an uncommon gift.

Here’s the Wish Giver!

This is book 5 in my Fairy Tale Academy Series.

If you missed the first chapter, click here to read it.

 

Here’s what’s in line for two weeks from today!


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The Wish Giver: Cover Reveal and Teaser

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My Fairy Tale Academy series continues with the next installment:

The Wish Giver!

This is a Fairy Godmother retelling mixed with the Snake Prince.

I didn’t use any fairy tale for the Fairy Godmother. Instead I incorporated some Eastern lore for her story. Exploring that was fascinating. I had a great time writing it and I hope you love it!

 

You met the snake prince, Prince Kawbra, in The Monkey King. He’s back and still the only snake who can roll his eyes.

 

 

Here’s my inspiration photo for Nakusa. She’s from a little village that no one has heard of. No one there treats her with respect. She’s at the Academy to become a fire caster, but things don’t go quite as she planned.

 

Official release day is Wednesday, March 20th!

Because I’m so grateful for all of you, I’ll have the price at 99 cents on release day. A sort of fan appreciation day.

 

Here’s the first chapter. Enjoy!

Nakusa stood next to the other fire casters, who lined up shoulder-to-shoulder at the edge of a ring of sand. Flagstones covered the ground beneath their feet.

The trio watched as Solomon marched to the pit with his shoulders back and his nose in the air. When he reached the rim of black rocks in the ground, he stopped and peered down at the single flame coming from a coal, as if daring it to disobey him.

“Remember, Solomon,” said their instructor, Rulcan Lunaignis, “you need a will of iron to command fire.” A thick scar covered half of the older man’s face. He wore the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up to his elbows, and black pants and boots. His dark hair lay cropped against his scalp.

Solomon, a first-year student at the Academy and grandson to the most powerful fire caster in recorded history, shrugged a shoulder.

Nakusa wanted to hate him. She did hate him, but it would be easier if he wasn’t so handsome. He stood a head taller than she did, with creamy white skin and light-brown hair. His green eyes shone as he narrowed them at the flame.

The instructor continued. “Fire responds to commands, not suggestions. Yet you need it to flow, almost like water, but it will not naturally go where you want it to.”

Marianne, the oldest mermaid princess at the Academy and their premiere water caster, gave the older man a tight smile. Her long blonde braid curled around her red school jacket.

S’ula, a first-year sea witch, snorted. Despite the extra weight on her body, S’ula wore the school uniform—a white shirt with a red-and-blue plaid scarf and plaid skirt—without apology. Her dark skin and eyes shone in the firelight, and her short, spiky black hair with red tips almost looked like it was burning.

Solomon ignored the instructor and raised his hand. He uttered the word “grow” and clenched his fingers into a fist.

The flame sputtered. The blue-and-white center flared before the fire roared to life, reaching three feet into the air.

Nakusa and the other two fire spellcasters stepped back.

Marianne and S’ula held their hands up, ready.

Solomon opened his hand and lowered it. As he did so, the flame went back to the size it had been before.

“Good!” Rulcan said. “We need to work on your control, but good.”

Solomon looked down his hooked nose at the older man and sneered. “Yes, sir.” Nakusa’s breath caught in her throat as Solomon walked back to stand at the other end of the line. Sunlight caught the green in his eyes, and he almost smiled.

The instructor turned to the three remaining students. “Let’s see if you’ve all been paying as much attention. Next!”

The boy next to her gave Nakusa a little shove.

She stumbled forward and into Rulcan’s line of sight.

“Nakusa.” The instructor motioned her to the spot where Solomon had stood. “I hope you’ve been practicing.”

Nakusa walked across the sand, the ground moving beneath her feet, and stopped at the edge of the ring of flat black stones.

“Remember, you must be firm.”

She nodded and stared at the flame. Fire casters should be able to feel the flame like an extension of their bodies. Like a finger or a toe. They should be able to command the fire with the same control as an appendage.

“Go on,” the instructor said.

Nakusa sighed and held her hand out. She closed her eyes and opened her mind.

Everyone, even non-magical races like humans, left a magic imprint. Nakusa had mastered feeling that on her first day. Find the magic around her. Feel the power as it moved through the earth, the water, the air and fire. She could do all that. Unfortunately, that had been the end of her easy lessons at the Academy.

A fire caster should be able to connect with the fire, but Nakusa could not. Feel it? Yes. Connect to it? No.

That didn’t stop her from trying.

Power built inside her, like water gathering behind a dam. Her skin buzzed. Nakusa waited until she had enough magic, then released it.

The power rushed out of her, and Nakusa cracked an eye open.

The flame remained as it had ever been, brightly dancing in the middle of the stones.

“Try again,” the instructor said in a strained voice.

Nakusa closed her eyes and repeated the process. This time when she released her power, she opened her eyes and watched the flame, hoping it would help her focus.

Again, nothing happened.

Rulcan let out a frustrated snort. “Have you been doing the additional exercises I gave you?”

Nakusa lowered her hand and looked down. “Yes, sir.”

“You are a fire caster, are you not?”

“All of my people are fire casters.”

He took a step closer. “Then you need to work harder.”

Shame burned Nakusa’s brown skin, and tears gathered in her eyes.

“Get back in line.”

She nodded and walked to her place, refusing to look up.

“Next!” the instructor bellowed.

The student next to Nakusa squared his shoulders and spoke under his breath. “I wish I could beat Solomon.”

Rulcan went through the same instructions, and Nakusa blinked her tears away and forced herself to watch. To figure out what she was missing.

The student, a blond boy named Svin from the far north, held out his hand and closed his eyes.

Nakusa studied every inch of him. His feet. His stance. The way he leaned forward before he said “grow.”

A strange sensation twisted in Nakusa’s stomach.

Power poured from Svin and into the fire. The flame sputtered and almost went out, then exploded. It shot high into the sky, the apex rising above the nearby magic building.

“Control it!” Rulcan yelled.

Svin’s already light skin paled, but he kept his hands out and spoke. “Diminish!”

That should have calmed it, but instead the fire became thick, like molten rock.

“Get back!” S’ula bellowed.

“Diminish!” Svin yelled again. The geyser of magma ignored him and turned into a fountain, spewing fist-sized comets of glowing, acrid death everywhere.

Nakusa, Solomon, and the other boy scrambled away. Nakusa stumbled, suddenly dizzy.

S’ula and Marianne held their hands out and spoke a word. Water poured from their fingers, giving the glowing red magma a cool bath before it hit the ground.

Svin cried out in pain and crumpled.

Marianne left S’ula to the shield and turned toward the ring of smoking stones. She whispered something, and a single line of water sprang from the ground and wrapped the base of the flame like a rope, then tightened. The air sizzled and steam rose, but the water didn’t evaporate until it had strangled the flame back to its original size.

Rulcan waved his hand, and all the pieces of fire that had reached the sand dimmed and disappeared. Some had turned the sand to hazy glass.

Solomon shook his head. “He needs to learn some control.”

Nakusa frowned; Svin had the best control in class. Why had he suddenly lost it?

The instructor and Marianne rushed to the fallen Svin. The mermaid princess put her hands on him and closed her eyes. A moment later, she opened them.

“Healing crystal,” Marianne said to S’ula.

S’ula reached into an inside pocket, pulled out a small blue crystal, and tossed it to Marianne. Then she turned her dark, angry eyes on the rest of them. “You all okay?”

“Of course,” Solomon said.

Nakusa nodded, as did the other boy.

Solomon moved to Nakusa. His green eyes looked down at her, and for the first time, she found a bit of compassion there. “What do you think about when you cast?”

Nakusa’s mouth went dry, and she had to swallow before she spoke. “Uh, the fire.”

“Just the fire?” He stood only a few feet away. His eyes continued to study hers. His lips pressed together in concern.

His lips…

She blinked. “Sorry, what?”

“What else do you think about?”

“I, uh, I do exactly as Rulcan instructs us. I build the power, focus on the flames, then let my power out.”

His lips pulled into a frown. “So it should be working.”

Now she ducked her head. “Yes, it should.”

Solomon sighed. “Well Nakusa, perhaps you should rethink your assignment as a fire caster.”

Her head came back up. “What?”

“You’ve only had the one experience with fire casting. It might not be your calling.”

“My…my calling?”

He placed a hand on his muscled chest. “Where I come from, magic is a calling as much as it is anything else. If the magic hasn’t chosen you, it will not heed you.” His hand moved to her shoulder. The weight of his arm took her off balance. “Most fire casters are men. Perhaps this is too much for you.”

Nakusa, whose insides turned from raging hot at his touch to freezing cold at his words, looked at him in horror. Was he saying she should quit?

A groan from Svin pulled Solomon’s attention away from Nakusa. He dropped his hand. “Is he all right?” Solomon asked.

“He’ll be fine,” Marianne said as two students on the security detail appeared to haul the now awake Svin to the medical building.

Rulcan wiped sand off his pants and walked to the other students. “I’m afraid that’s all for today. We’ll have to get to you next time.”

The last student didn’t seem disappointed.

The instructor eyed Nakusa. “And we’ll give you another chance.”

“Yes, sir,” she said.

 


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The Monkey King has Arrived! Also, What’s Next?

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It’s launch day again!

Get The Monkey King now!

Only 99 cents (today only) or FREE on Kindle Unlimited

This story took me some time to figure out. The relationship between Aurora and Saru is complicated to say the least. Coming up with a satisfying and believable ending was harder than I expected it to be. Hopefully you enjoy it!

Here’s a couple of inspiration photos I used for the characters.

 

Saru

Does he look mischievous enough to you?

 

Here’s his crown.

 

This is Aurora. The short hair is explained in the story.

 

Here’s The Monkey King!

This is book 4 in my Fairy Tale Academy Series.

If you missed the first chapter, click here to read it.

Here’s what’s in line for two weeks from today!


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The Monkey King: Cover Reveal and a Teaser

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My Fairy Tale Academy series continues with the next installment:

The Monkey King!

 

In case you’re not familiar, The Monkey King is an ancient folklore tale from China. He is a monkey born from stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. He fights the four dragon winds, rebels against heaven, is imprisoned and eventually helps a monk travel to the west and save some Buddhist texts.

My favorite retelling of The Monkey King (besides mine) is an anime called Saiyuki. I took a few tidbits from the show for my story. One of them is that Goku (the Monkey King in the show) is always hungry. Plus he’s funny. The whole show is funny. Check it out. And watch with the English dub. Trust me.

I also incorporated his three-section staff from the legends as well as the circlet/crown that keeps his powers in check.

The love interest for this story is none other than Aurora, but her story isn’t anything like the usual fairy tale, and she’s much more than a damsel in distress!

Official release day is Wednesday, March 6th!

Because I’m so grateful for all of you, I’ll have the price at 99 cents on release day. A sort of fan appreciation day.

Here’s the first chapter!

Chapter 1

A strange weight pressed down on Saru’s eyelids. He fought to keep them open, but to no avail. The droning voice of the instructor went on and on, talking about things that literally lulled him into a stupor.

“We only have tales from a few of the ancient races. Some we know originated with the oldest fey, while others don’t belong to any particular race.”

Saru’s ears shut down, and for a moment darkness snuggled in around him. Maybe just a quick nap.

Then someone poked him from behind. His chin slipped off the heel of his hand, and his face almost fell onto the desk before he recovered. His eyes shot open and he took a deep breath.

Saru found the teacher staring at him with cold green eyes. He waited for the censure.

Instead, Master Aloon—a rail-thin human with a stubby nose and long blond hair, dressed in blue robes—sniffed once and continued with his lecture.

“For instance, we have the story of the Monkey King. A powerful being born of stone and resembling a monkey. Some stories make him out to be a trickster. Others describe violent tendencies if provoked. The fey take credit for his departure, but no one knows what really happened.”

A yawn overpowered Saru’s resolve to sit quietly, and he covered his mouth.

Several students around Saru sniggered.

With another poke from behind, a paper slid between his arm and his side.

A light hiss sounded as Saru pulled it forward and set it on his desk. He mentally wondered what it would say this time.

It could be another thinly veiled suggestion that he ask her on a date. Or it could be her congratulating him for almost winning the Assassination game, which he’d rather not be reminded of. Or it could be her trying to make fun of the teacher in order to impress him. Saru bet on the last before he opened the piece of parchment.

It crackled as he smoothed it. The words had been laid out with precision, and the handwriting could have come from a book.

Do you have a group for the project?

Saru took his own pen and wrote in sloppy letters. What project?

He handed the note back while Master Aloon wasn’t looking. The guy never stopped talking. Considering this was literature class, Saru saw a sort of ridiculous irony in the situation.

“Another ancient story we have is of the predecessors of the First Fey. The accounts differ so widely that many historians believe they are nothing more than fairy tales, or stories with morals to impart on young children.”

The parchment returned to Saru. The project he’s about to assign us.

Saru glanced over his shoulder and waved his finger in a circle.

Catherine sat up straight with her shoulders back. She managed to make the school uniform look extra good with her pleasing proportions and her long, golden curls. Her ruby red lips—glossy thanks to some potion she’d put on them—spread into a smile as she took the parchment back and wrote more.

Saru returned his attention to the teacher.

“Believe it or not, the merpeople have some of the oldest stories. The Kraken in particular has a fascinating history.”

Saru put his chin in his hand again and scratched at the golden circlet around his head. His bushy brown hair almost covered it, but no matter what he did, it itched. And he couldn’t get it off.

The note came over Saru’s shoulder, and he snatched it up.

We split into groups of four, then we pick a story and make a play of it.

A play? Saru frowned.

The teacher moved to the front of the room and held up a thick book with a painting of a tree on the front cover. “Tomorrow we will split up into groups of four. As a group, you will choose a story and make a production of it.”

Half the class tittered, while the other half slumped in their chairs. Saru joined the latter.

Master Aloon continued. “You will have two weeks before you perform your play. The group with the best production will have the privilege of presenting at the annual Peach Ball.”

That brought another titter of excitement from every girl in the room, and a collective groan from the boys. Saru shook his head and vowed to find a reason not to go.

The Academy was a place for the nobles of different regions and races to meet and learn the etiquette of court. Unfortunately, the dean felt that learning how to behave in public settings was important, so they had a ball every month.

Luckily, the first two had held some excitement. During the Welcome Back Ball, the human Prince Samuel had been exposed as a liar and all-around jerk. After homecoming, a handful of students had been attacked by briars and almost died, and supposedly Prince Adem had fought a bunch of trolls to save everyone. Maybe someone would go on a rampage at this one. At least it would break up the monotony of tedious dancing and practiced conversation.

“Come tomorrow with names of who you want in your group.”

Catherine nudged him from behind.

Saru ignored her.

“Get your book as you leave, and find a story you are interested in. This presentation will be fifty percent of your grade, so choose something you feel you can represent to the class.”

Saru was the first student on his feet, the first to grab a book, and the first through the halls and back outside.

“Saru, wait.”

He gritted his teeth. When would this girl figure it out?

The slap of her high heels on the cobblestones got faster and louder. Saru sighed and stopped. “What is it, Cathy?”

Princess Catherine of Danor—one of the highest-ranking human princesses at the Academy—pursed her lips at his use of the nickname. Somehow she managed to look positively radiant, despite how hard she’d run to catch up with Saru. Her green eyes narrowed just enough to catch his notice. “Saru, I think we should be in the same group for this project.”

Saru turned and walked toward the fountain. “And why is that?”

“Because you’re going to need a good grade.”

Unfortunately, she was right: he did need a good grade on this project. Without it, he might fail literature class and have to retake it.

Catherine continued. “And because I think we would work well together.”

What she really meant to say was that she thought the two of them should be the main couple in some sort of romantic tragedy in which they would have to kiss at least once.

“Do you?” Saru asked as they joined the other students heading for the cafeteria.

Despite her tiny figure and short legs, she managed to keep up with his strides. “I do.”

He huffed. Enough of a fall breeze blew that overspray from the fountain settled on Saru’s skin. Part of him wanted to jump into the fountain and get wet all over, but he’d tried that once and then spent the next month cleaning the stupid thing.

Catherine put a delicate hand on Saru’s arm. “Think about it.”

Saru kept his eyes peeled until he found his savior.

Catherine made a face.

Saru gave her his winning smile. “I’ll think about it.” Before she could grab him, he slipped into the crowd of students.

“Hey Saru,” a human third-year student said.

“Hey.”

“Get in any fights with the pixies this week?” a centaur asked.

“Have you tried fighting them?” Saru asked with a laugh.

“Saru, are you going to try the Assassination game again?” a satyr asked.

“Of course.”

Girls smiled at him. Boys waved or nodded. Saru fought the crowd until he got to Teth.

The half-woman, half-bird, and all-siren gave him a wry smile. She stood almost as tall as Saru. The upper half of her body resembled that of a woman with creamy skin and long, inky-black hair. Dark, shining feathers covered the lower half of her body, which resembled a bird’s, complete with taloned feet and wings nestled close to her back. Her eyes, the color of the sea, regarded him. “Still using me to ditch the princess?”

Teth had been the red team’s medic in the Assassination game, and Saru had grown quite fond of the siren’s sardonic humor as well as the ease with which she frightened off other girls. “She’s terrified of you,” Saru said.

“As well she should be.”

“That girl doesn’t know when to stop,” Saru said.

“Maybe if you stopped being so dashing,” Teth said.

“I can’t help it,” Saru said. “It comes naturally.”

Teth chuckled, and all the boys within hearing distance stopped and stared.

Saru shook his head; her powers didn’t work on him. They both found it refreshing. The two of them followed the crowd into the cafeteria.

Rows of long tables filled the space, and a buzz of noise came from the students already occupying almost half of them. Food lines had formed along the far wall. The aroma of spiced meat and roasted potatoes overpowered the subtler scents of bread, vegetables, and cake.

“Are you going to sit by us?” Teth asked.

Saru made a face. “And watch you and the other sirens eat raw meat? No thanks.” Besides, he knew they preferred their privacy.

“Who will save you from the princess?”

“I’ll think of something.”

Teth chuckled again and moved off to the window where they served the races who preferred uncooked meat.

Saru moved to the end of the line and grabbed a wooden tray. He saw the number of students between him and the food, made a face, and decided to go straight for dessert.

Several of the other boys eyed him with envy. Everyone else had to go through and get the nutritious stuff before they got cake, but Saru didn’t like living by the rules. Instead, he walked to the far window and set his tray down on the counter.

“One of each,” he said as he looked over the tables, trying to find someone to sit with whom he could stand but Catherine hated.

The person behind the window scoffed. “You have to get real food first.”


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