Bryn’s Flight, book 8 of my Zodiac Assassins series, is coming out in December! Here’s a sneak peek…
Like before, it only took days for Bryn to heal, but this time, she wasn’t under orders to stay in her room. This time, Helena and her brothers, Alexander and Magnus, helped her into a wheelchair they insisted be rented so they could include Bryn in every meal, every excursion around the ranch. Or as many as could be reached in a chair.
Bryn had watched Rota as she patiently fielded the twin’s questions about the break-in, or rather dance around giving the boys any real answers. She had watched Rota answer the sheriff’s questions about how the boys had come to stay with her. She had listened to Rota talk to the parents and give her reassurances that all of them would stay with her until they got home and wondered why Rota, a former Valkyrie, would be aligned so closely with a human family that she’d tolerate the indignity of babysitting their children.
But none of the explanations or assurances she’d overheard provided answers about the break-in. Mr. C’s sons and friends didn’t seem to need money, and the fact that they were rifling through an office instead of looking for valuables that could be sold off made Bryn wonder what the hell was going on. What were they looking for that could be more valuable than money, jewelry, or art?
Rota’s smooth evasions spoke volumes; she knew what was at stake and she wasn’t sharing. That peaked Bryn’s interest. She could quiz Rota about the break in and the why of it and soon.
More importantly than the break in, knowing that the prickly Valkyrie cared about someone other than herself was good; something to use.
Bryn smiled to herself and basked in the morning sun, her belly full, her pain mostly gone, and her heart full as she watched Rota work the horses. That was the greatest surprise of all: Rota’s deep relationship with every horse under her care and the responses of the horses to her love. It took Bryn’s breath away.
The Valkyrie horde had never loved their battle horses; they held a deep respect for what the magnificent beasts could do in a fight, the sacrifices many of the horses had made to protect the life of the Valkyrie on their back. There was a symbiosis, yes, and it was critical to both horse and warrior, but to call it love would be a stretch. Mutual admiration, mutual dependence, but not love, not like she saw in Rota’s eyes, in her touch, in her every movement and manner around her horses.
They flowed, for lack of a better word. Horse and woman moved and communicated as one.
The difference in what Bryn had grown up witnessing and what she saw now, was startling. It didn’t change what she had to do, but it had set up a longing in her that she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to get rid of.
“Bryn,” Helena called out as she trotted over. She plopped on the ground at Bryn’s feet and placed a notebook on the ground. “How are you doing?”
Bryn turned her attention away from Rota and to the girl. “I think I’ll try those crutches tomorrow.”
“Wow, you do heal fast.”
“Thought you figured that out before.”
“Yeah, but those were bruises and stuff. These are bullet wounds.”
“Well, don’t get any ideas that getting shot is no big deal, because it is. I heal faster than almost everyone, and I was lucky that those men had terrible aim. It’s not like television, okay?”
“I know that. Not sure my brothers do though.”
Bryn laughed at the girl’s exaggerated eye roll.
“Hey Bryn, I wanted to ask you about something.”
Helena scrolled through her phone for a second then held it up. On the screen was a photo of Bryn’s back, bloody and swollen, her brand on full display. “What is that?”
Bryn stopped herself from recoiling. She wasn’t ashamed of her brand or her numerous scars, but none were easily explained. Not to a teenage girl. “Why do you ask?”
“Because…” she lowered the phone and scrolled again. “…there are paintings of my ancestors in our house, and they have the same brand.” She put down the phone and picked up the notebook, thumbing through it for a second. She showed the page to Bryn. “Your brand is part of my family crest.”
Bryn stared at the crest for a long moment before she raised her head. “Rota!”
“I’m busy!” Rota snapped as she led a horse into the barn.
“Helena, can I look at your notebook while you get Rota for me?”
Helena stood and wiped the dirt off her jeans. She handed the notebook to Bryn, her expression puzzled but she didn’t question Bryn’s request. “Okay.”
Bryn waited for her to leave before she stared at the page again, taking in all the details in the crest. Irritation didn’t quite cover the emotional turmoil bubbling up inside her.
She kept a finger on the one page as she flipped through the notebook, studying the girl’s beautifully detailed and skilled drawings, and reading her thorough notes. Helena had indeed done a lot of research into her family. A shadow fell on her. She flipped the pages back to the crest and held it up to Rota. “Care to explain this?”
May your words flow freely,
The Zodiac Assassins series Available on Amazon Kindle and Print, Nook and Kobo
When you say the word energy, what comes to mind? Depending on the time of day, this word can make me think of sustainability. It can make me think of oil. It can make me feel a rush of positivity as if the sun is shining down and it can make me feel zapped like i do at the end of the day.
As I write this, I am most definitely feeling zapped with the sneaking suspicion that my children and dog somehow stole all of my energy but I know that is not true. Perhaps it is partly true but it all started before they even got home from school. It started with work and an aging parent. It was compounded by those who have nothing more to do than complain about life and my kids and dog became the cherry on top. But that is life is it not? And when I went for a run midday, I drained more of my physical energy but replenished my emotional energy—it’s all a big cycle that drives each of us until we run no more.
So the lesson is? Refuel, refuel, refuel! Happy writing this week!
Life isn’t easy. We are shaped by those we love and the events that challenge us to the core.
On September 11, 2021, a nation was changed by terrorists attacks that took the lives of thousands.
A cousin’s wife was supposed to return to work at the World Trade Center in New York. She had just had a baby boy. On Sept. 11th, she called in sick, so she wasn’t there.
Another cousin had been on top of one of the towers to take panoramic photos of the city only a few days before.
Too many more were not as fortunate.
In 2009, I had a dream. I never can tell where my dreams will lead me, but I woke and wrote as fast as I could. I also cried. I dreamed about Sept. 11th but from the view of paranormal characters. Truly New York is a diverse place.
Even fictional accounts need non-fictional research. I needed to know more about that day and the aftermath. I started my research online and read blog diary accounts of that day from survivors and first responders. I mentioned my research to a friend, and she loaned me newspapers from that day all perfectly preserved in plastic.
A school principal announced emergency protocol to his teachers. Staff called parents notifying them where to meet their children. Together, students, teachers, and staff walked several blocks to the school that was their safer emergency destination.
A man kept going in to get people out. The last time he went in, he didn’t come back.
The stories of tragedy and heroism are endless.
I read every preserved newspaper in its entirety, returned them to their protective plastic, and returned the historical archive to my friend.
After all that reading, I went back to my dream journal and began to write.
“I would have never thought I would like a love story based on the September 11, 2001, but I was wrong. Regina and Gregor’s story was heartfelt and compassionate with a zing of magic and the paranormal. When Love Survives is a wonderfully written love story of two hearts finding each other on a day when terror ruled.”-Joyfully Reviewed
Truly, -Susan Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance and now YA novels too. www.susanhannifordcrowley.com Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
Authors find inspiration in the world around us. Sometimes we are inspired by other creators or art, music, or literature. I have always been inspired by Vincent Van Gogh!
Vincent grew up as a minister’s son. When he was a missionary in an impoverished part of Belgium, Vincent gave his comfortable lodgings to a homeless person and slept instead in a hut with straw on the dirt floor. The church authorities dismissed him for “undermining the dignity of the priesthood”. Per Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh
Vincent’s had an academic education in art. He also studied with other artists, but his art became vibrant and alive after he moved to Paris and hung out with the artists there.
Vincent was ill yet kept going. He had been in the hospital after the incident with his ear and also the asylum for bouts of depression. During his time in the asylum, he created “Starry Night” as well as some of his other greatest works.
In his lifetime, he sold two paintings and several drawings. Yet while being desperately poor, Vincent kept painting. “He produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches.” (Also from Wikipedia)
You can find a lot of dark theories about Vincent’s life and death, but I prefer to remember his accomplishments and personal strength that moved him to create his life’s work.
Who inspires you?
All the best! -Susan Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance and now YA novels too. www.susanhannifordcrowley.com Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
I love to learn new things. Book things, craft things, researching mythology things…all the things. If it’s a thing, I want to learn it. My love of learning things manifested over the years; growing more quickly after college, darn it.
I especially love researching. Imagery for my series, or the many, many world mythologies that I’ve only dipped a toe in to date, I love to learn. The only downside to this love is the time involved.
Hear that swooshing, sucking sound? It’s not the Coriolis Effect of a flushing toilet. That’s the sound of the time suck I experience when I fire up the Google and start a search. Maybe it’s a writer thing—many of my writer friends have the same addiction—or maybe it’s the mark of a curious mind. Either way, tick-tock goes the clock and the day when I’m wading through articles and images.
The other time suck I’ve succumbed to lately is learning components of book cover design. More specifically, I’ve wanted to learn how to create metallic text. I tried some You Tube videos and had zero luck. I couldn’t seem to grasp the Photoshop terminology, so I eventually gave up. Then two days ago, a friend sent me the link to a video that she used with great success. So, I girded my loins and tried again.
Guess what? I was able to make silver, then gold text! Voila!
So, what’s my point?
Keep learning. No matter how far you got in your education, our minds are miraculous things, and the more you use it, especially as you age, the more mentally elastic your mind will remain. You don’t have to be a writer to do this. Read, study what interests you, take classes at your local community college, go to/or back to college, play games, do the crossword puzzle. Whatever excites or soothes or challenges your mind, do that.
Learn all the things!
May your words flow freely,
The Zodiac Assassins series Available on Amazon Kindle and Print, Nook and Kobo
I’ve had this conversation with my son and thought about it many times as to why I am such an optimist. It isn’t that I’m blind to all the world’s issues or choosing to be ignorant. My eyes are wide open and I simply have to hope and push for more and better. Maybe it my own need for self preservation—I mean if we are doomed in every possible way, what becomes the point of life and quite frankly, I can’t imagine that sort of thinking does anyone any good.
Instead, I choose to believe we can all do better. We’ve done it before so why not again? I realize this is a difficult way of thinking, especially when every day we are bombarded by news articles and stories so dire and depressing that it is easy to feel overwhelmed and sink into despair. But again, what does this change?
Now, I’m not saying we are robots nor are we void of feeling. We need to let ourselves feel sad or hurt by situations but then we move forward. Time is continuous but not endless for each of us. I also am not advocating we change who we are. My oldest son is a bit of a pessimist and this helps him at times. But we also need to step back and reassess sometimes. Ask ourselves if there is realistically no other outcomes for a situation. Most likely we’ll find we’ve left something out.
That is my book set in New York, New Orleans and south. I love New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole, and can’t help but think of all those in danger with a heavy heart. People are still being rescued from flooding and millions are out of power. Today a tribute to their paranormal tales.
While I am not qualified in any way to read neither stars nor planets, I am intimately linked to the paranormal in the world in many ways. So are you.
The paranormal-scope is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to guide your life by.
Aries: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is the oldest building in the US and is a bar now. Jean Lafitte has been seen attending. Discovering your history could have some surprises.
Taurus: Rougarou is a sort of Cajun Big Foot that wanders the swamp looking for its next victim. Lay low and out of trouble this week.
Gemini: The Bentley Hotel has human and ghostly guests. Consider a day trip to add an adventure to your life.
Cancer: The Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge was a hospital and a prison during the Civil War. It has ghosts galore. Does your house feel overcrowded? Reduce your clutter today!
Leo: Le Feu Follet are ghost lights. Some say they are the spirits of pirates that protect Lafitte’s treasure in the swamp. Beware offers at this time. They may not be what they seem.
Virgo: The Honey Island Swamp Monster is 7 feet tall and 400 pounds with yellow gator eyes. If you’re seeing this, you may be overtired. Schedule more sleep into your life.
Libra: In the 1930s, the Carter brothers were executed.Their victims were drained of their blood. The brothers’ bodies vanished from their family mausoleum. Don’t lose sleep over something you cannot change.
Scorpio: Some say on St. John’s Eve, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau appears to lead the ceremony. Surprises are coming your way.
Sagittarius: The woods beyond New Orleans harbors a strange creature called the Grunch who lures motorists out of their cars with a stray injured goat. Beware scams this week.
Capricorn: Alligators live in the swamps of Louisiana. They are true foodies. It’s time to try a new cuisine.
Aquarius: Cats tell no tales. They are the best listeners and in New Orleans there is a lot to listen to. Be a good listener and keep confidences close.
Pisces: While hunting fish, the Great Blue Heron can stand as still as a statue. Being still to observe the world around you is a gift. You never know what you will hear.
Thank you and stay safe.
-Susan Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance and now YA novels too. www.susanhannifordcrowley.com Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
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