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The Giant King is here! Also, What’s Next?

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Today is Launch Day!

Get The Giant King Now!

99 CENTS TODAY ONLY! (Or always FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

I literally couldn’t pick a favorite character from my Fairy Tale Academy series. Each character has come alive in my head. Jak and Maggie are no different.

My take on the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk is, in my opinion, hilarious. And sad. You see, in a sick twist of fate Jak accidentally killed the giant king, which makes him the new king, a position that can only be relinquished by a duel to the death.

Maggie (or Magnolia-which is another name for Mulan) is the only person at the Academy who can best a giant in a fight.

Toss in a grouchy giant bodyguard and all sorts of interesting things happen.

Here is The Giant King!

This is book 6 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 Giant King: Cover Reveal and Teaser

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My Fairy Tale Academy Series continues with the next installment:

The Giant King!

This is, obviously, a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling. In my version, it was the king of the giants that fell down the beanstalk, and because Jak killed him, Jak is now the giant king.

Poor kid. I feel bad for him.

Good thing Maggie (*cough* Mulan) is there to help him.

Official release day is Wednesday, April 3rd!

I’ve had so much support and excitement for these books, that I’m going to have another fan appreciation day, which means the price will be 99 cents on release day!

Here’s the first chapter. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Jak sat on his bed and stared down at the objects in his palm. The opaque, green, kidney-shaped beans made a neat little pile. He used his thumb to spread them out, as if looking at them from a different angle would help him understand.

It didn’t.

Jak’s eyes moved from the beans to the folded parchment sitting next to him. He sighed, dropping the beans back into the red velvet bag and pulling the drawstrings shut. Then he gently set it on the bed and picked up the parchment.

His mother hadn’t bothered to seal it. Instead, she’d simply folded it in quarters, then rolled it enough to get it in the bag with the beans. The parchment crackled under his fingers as he unfolded it and found his mother’s neat script on the page. He’d read it more times than he remembered, but some part of him hoped that if he read it again, he might find a different meaning in it.

Dear Jak,

I’ll keep this brief. The council has agreed to let you stay at the Academy for two years, which keeps you out of their way, and safe. When they bring you home, it is likely that one of them will challenge you for the throne.

While I understand how terrifying that must be for you, you need to focus on the more pressing matter of our fields. A majority of the crops from the summer have failed, and as you know, the soil has become toxic. There is enough in our stores to last through the winter, but if we can’t grow anything in the spring, we will have to find another way to feed the people of Oreroth. The giants will blame us, and their solution will be to let us starve while they take what they need from another kingdom, which will result in a war that will likely cascade out of control.

The giants do not know the extent of the problem. They think it is a few fields and just the bean crop. We need to keep it that way.

Find out where the beans I sent with you came from, and how they work. Get back to me as soon as you can.

Mom

Boom, boom, boom!

“Sure, Mom. No pressure.” Jak refolded the parchment.

The slender bed creaked as he rose to his feet. The desk drawer gave a squeal as he opened it and put the letter inside.

The room looked almost as barren as it had upon his arrival. The desk sat at the far end of the bed, the long side against the wall. Beyond that, light poured in through a window. A single blanket lay on the bed, now wrinkled from him sitting on it. The dresser stood at the head of the bed. An invisible line ran down the middle of the room, and the other side was a mirror image of his own. Only no one slept there.

Boom, boom, boom!

The pounding penetrated the wood, and likely the entire building. Jak wondered what the Academy made their doors of. There wasn’t much that could stop a determined giant.

Your Highness, we need to get going.” Beklor’s voice dripped with irony.

“I’m coming. Don’t have a cow,” Jak said before Beklor started pounding in earnest.

Jak caught his reflection in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. Tall and lean, Jak looked like a beanpole in his school uniform, which consisted of a white shirt, black pants, a red-and-blue plaid tie, and a red jacket. The collar of the shirt struck a drastic contrast with his ebony skin. His mother had cut his black hair short the month before, and it had finally grown enough to form tight curls on his head.

He adjusted the tie, smoothed the jacket, and reached down for his blue messenger bag.

A low growl floated through the door, and Jak reached out and turned the knob before Beklor began foaming at the mouth.

Beklor’s wide frame practically filled the doorway, and he had to lean down to see beneath the jamb. His massive shoulders barely fit into the black tunic he wore, and he’d ripped the sleeves so his muscled arms could be free below the elbow. The gold belt buckle around his thick waist had to weigh more than Jak’s head. His boots, which rose to Jak’s mid-thigh, cinched around his muscular calves.

“Are you finally ready?” Jak asked the giant. “I’ve been waiting for hours.”

Beklor ignored the remark. “We’re going to be late.” His dark blue eyes regarded Jak. He’d pulled his long blond hair into a ponytail at the base of his neck.

Jak rubbed his smooth chin. “The trim looks nice.”

“Apparently humans find food in their hair disgusting.”

Jak pointed at the giant. “Everyone should have that problem.”

Beklor stepped aside and followed Jak down the stairs. They’d arrived late the night before, and hadn’t had a chance to look around.

A smattering of furniture filled the lobby. A semi-circle of chairs had been dragged to the fire, and Jak could imagine students gathered there, laughing and talking. Now they sat deserted except for a single figure standing before the fireplace. He must have heard Jak and Beklor, because he turned to greet them.

He wore a school uniform. Short brown hair topped his head, and the color of his skin sat somewhere between the pale white of the northerners and Jak’s. He had to be about Jak’s age, but he carried himself with almost as much confidence as Beklor.

“King Jak?” the young man asked.

Jak made a face. “Please don’t spread that around.” He offered his hand to the young man. “Stick with Jak.”

Beklor let out a little grunt.

The young man’s fingers tightened around Jak’s, but not to the extent of a challenge. “Tayle. I’m in charge of security here at the Academy.”

“Sounds like a big job.”

“Not as big as being king,” Tayle said.

“But we’re not talking about that.” Jak put a finger to his lips.

Tayle’s eyes flickered to Beklor.

Jak pointed. “This is Beklor.”

“I am the giant king’s keeper,” Beklor said.

“Good to meet you.” Tayle didn’t hesitate to shake Beklor’s hand.

“Please don’t break him,” Jak said to Beklor. “We need him to like us.”

Beklor looked mildly disappointed.

Tayle gestured outside. “Are you ready for the tour?”

“Ready,” Jak said.

Tayle opened the door and held it as the other two went through.

“Mind your head,” Jak said to Beklor.

The giant glared and ducked. Before Tayle joined them, the giant muttered, “You need to show your dominance.”

“How? By outwitting him?” Jak might be taller, but Tayle obviously worked out and could probably tie Jak in a knot if he wanted to.

A cold breeze licked at Jak’s skin, and he shivered. Gray clouds hung low in the sky.

“These are the dorms,” Tayle said. “The first years live in the far building, second years in the next one over, and so on.”

“So the rooms get better as you go?” Jak asked, noticing that the fourth-years’ building was much larger than the first-years’.

“Basically.” Tayle pointed over and behind the dorms. “The fields there and the woods beyond are within the Academy limits. Don’t get too close to the barrier.”

“Or what?” Jak asked.

“Or it will fry you like an egg.”

“Understood.”

A huge, round building stood across the cobblestone path that ran in front of all four dorms.

“That’s the library,” Tayle said. “The entrance is on the far side.” When they reached the edge of the fourth-year dorms, Tayle turned right. They followed the curved wall of the library around to the first of six other buildings. All were roughly rectangular and rose one to three stories. Tile covered slanted roofs to high peaks.

“These are our academic buildings.” He pointed in turn. “Magic, arts, math and science, agriculture, the gymnasium…”

Jak lost interest when he got around the library far enough to see the square.

Before him stood a fountain with a two-tier bowl resting on the backs of a human, an elf, and two others that he couldn’t see. At the edges, eight statues representing other races spit water into the pool.

Cobblestones lined the fountain’s perimeter, which sat in front of the library and formed a box around a large expanse of grass. Several clusters of tables with benches dotted the area.

“Do you guys paint the grass green?” Jak asked.

Tayle chuckled. “The grass is enchanted; it never dies.” He pointed at the other side of the square. “That’s the dean’s tower and other administrative buildings.”

Jak glanced over his shoulder and found Beklor’s eyes scanning every inch of the area. “Already planning how to invade?”

“And defend,” Beklor said in a serious voice.

When Jak looked back, he noticed a ring of students around a trio of nearby tables. He strained to see what they were doing, and caught a single glimpse through the crowd. “Are they playing Shiji?”

Tayle glanced over and nodded. “That is our Shiji club. Do you play?”

Jak shrugged. “A little.”

“Would you like to meet the players?”

“Sure.” He leaned closer to Tayle. “Remember, it’s just Jak.”

Beklor gave him a jab with his elbow, and Jak swatted him away.

“It makes things awkward,” Jak said.

“They should know who you are,” Beklor said.

“Later.”

Tayle watched the exchange, then waved for Jak to follow.

A few heads turned their way as they approached. Most eyes went wide when they spotted Beklor. Jak could only imagine the expression the giant was giving them. “Be nice,” Jak muttered.

“Giants are not nice.”

“Believe me, I know.”

Tayle stopped a few feet away and waved a centaur over. Short, white hair the same color as his coat and tail stood up in spikes. A swirling blue tattoo started on his cheek and disappeared into the shirt of his uniform.

“Tayle,” the centaur said.

“Haleros, this is Jak. He’s new.”

The centaur turned to Jak but did not approach. Instead, his eyes slid from Jak to the giant behind him.

Jak closed the distance. “Nice to meet you, Haleros.”

Haleros kept half of his attention on Beklor as he shook Jak’s hand. The centaur was almost as tall as the giant. “Welcome to the Academy,” Haleros said. “Where are you from?”

“Oreroth.” Jak plowed on. “You’re the captain of the team?”

“I am.” Haleros finally dismissed Beklor and looked at Jak with raised eyebrows. “Do you play?”

“A little.”

“If you have a minute, come watch.”

Jak licked his lips. “I think I will, thank you.”

A strangled sound came from Beklor, but Jak ignored him. He would have to endure the Pride-of-the-Giants speech later, but for now he could pretend like he was a normal teenager.

Haleros made a hole, and Jak slid in next to a short girl with almond-shaped eyes. Her straight, dark hair hung to her shoulders. She barely gave him a glance before returning her attention to the game.

Winters were long in Oreroth, and Jak and his father had spent countless cold nights playing and discussing the game. It only took Jak a moment to assess each board and take an educated guess at their strategy. One pair of players had just started, another looked to be in the middle of a game, and the last were only a few moves away from the end.

Another inspection showed Jak that the game that looked half over would be decided in the next three moves. If the satyr didn’t notice the goblin’s strategy, then he would likely lose.

“What are your thoughts on that one?” Haleros asked.

Jak blinked. “You always talk about people like they’re not sitting in front of you?”

Haleros laughed. “We put silence spells around them. They can only hear one another.”

“Then why is everyone so quiet?” Jak asked.

“Habit, I guess.” Haleros pointed. “Well?”

“The satyr is going to lose unless he protects his goblin.”

“Interesting way of looking at it,” Haleros said. “Would you mind explaining?”

Jak narrowed his eyes. “The goblin pieces are some of the most versatile on the board. If the satyr playing loses that one, then the right flank of his First Fey is going to be exposed.”

“You’re wrong,” the girl next to Jak said.

Jak turned to answer, but the words stuck in his throat. The girl’s dark eyes studied him. Delicate cheekbones and full lips struck a contrast to the muscles in her neck. A strange combination of beauty and power. He cleared his throat. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

She thought a moment before saying, “He’s still got several puppets he can use to protect the right flank.”

“But they’re vulnerable.”

“So is the other player’s king.”

Jak looked at the board again. It took him a few seconds to work out what she was saying. “I’ve never seen that strategy before.”

“Glad to know you can still be taught,” the girl said before walking away.

Jak tried not to stare. A girl who knew that much about Shiji was worth getting to know.

Haleros waved a hand. “That’s Maggie. Don’t take it personally, she’s like that with everyone.”

Jak looked back at the board as the satyr moved his piece. He winced. “That was a mistake.”

“You might be right,” Haleros said.

Tayle appeared at Jak’s side. “Come on, we need to finish the tour before classes start.”

“Right.” Jak nodded to Haleros. “Thank you for letting me watch.”

“Come by later. We’re here before and after classes, and we can always use new victims.”

 


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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

Tags : 

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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